The UCI has released its 2023 rule book and there are a quite few tweaks that come into force on January 1. these changes include new clothing regulations, a change to the points scale and some updates to the protected rider system to match the addition of semi-finals
. Here are the most interesting bits.
Riders will need to race semi-finals and finals; finals runs will be shown in their entirety
One of the most significant changes for the 2023 season is that qualifying will no longer send riders straight through to finals in downhill. Instead, there will now be a broadcasted semi-final event featuring the top 60 Elite Men and 15 Elite Women from qualifying.
The results from the semi-finals will decide who makes it through to finals with the top 30 Elite Men and 10 Elite Women making it into a live broadcasted event where runs will be shown in their entirety. If a final cannot take place then the last qualifying round (either qualifying itself or semi-finals) with decide the final results.
|The top 25 men juniors and top 10 women juniors from the qualifying round qualify for the final.|
The top 60 men elite and top 15 women elite from the qualifying round qualify for the semi-final.
The top 30 men elite and top 10 women elite from the semi-finals qualify for the final.— UCI-4.11.010
Changes to Points
The points on offer at a World Cup weekend have been shaken up with the addition of semi-finals, we have broken down what this means for each category below. Elite Men
For qualifying the Elite Men will get 50 points for the fastest run with this dropping to five points if you sit in 20th place, the same system as in previous years. For semi-finals, a win will net the fastest Elite male rider with 200 with this gradually dropping to a single point for the last rider in 60th position. When it comes to finals things have changed slightly as the point scale now only needs to work for 30 riders. Whereas previously a win was worth 200 points the rider coming out on top will now secure 250 points. The previous max points total before the 2023 season was 250 but this now extends to 500 points for a perfect weekend. Elite Women
Just like the Elite Men, the Women's qualifying
points system remains unchanged for 2023 with 50 points for 1st and five for 10th place. However, the semi-final and finals points for Women see a shift. Whereas before a win in either the Elite Men's or Women's races would net you 200 points, an Elite Women's win will now score 50 points less than the equivalent Men's race. For semi-finals, this means the fastest run will get 150 points with 15th position netting five points. In finals, the fastest Women will get 200 points before the final rider in 10th place scores 20. Junior Races
The points for Junior racing will stay the same as in previous years.
Some race numbers will last for the whole season
Alongside some slight changes to the protected rider rules the UCI has added season-long race numbers for the top 10 Elite Men and five Elite Women based off the final standings of the 2022 season.
|Race number allocation will be determined by the UCI appointee. Season long race numbers will be allocated to the top 10 men elite and top 5 women elite from the final standings of previous UCI World Cup season.— UCI-4.11.002|
Protected rider changes
With the addition of the semi-finals to World Cup downhill, the protected rider system has been changed to work across a weekend of racing. Firstly during qualifying riders with a season-long race number and riders ranked inside the top 20 Elite Men and 10 Elite Women in the current UCI World Cup standings (not holding season-long numbers) will be allowed through to the semi-finals as long as they pass through the start gate. At the first round the top 20 Elite Men and 10 Elite Women will be based upon the final results from the 2022 season.
If protected riders place a time that is not good enough for the top 60 Elite Men or 15 Elite Women then they will still pass through to the semi-finals but they will be added as an additional rider and not take the place of anyone who did pass the threshold to qualify.
|Protected riders to the semi-final are:|
1. riders with season long race numbers (i.e. ranked in the top 5 women elite and
the top 10 men elite of the final UCI World Cup standings of the previous season)
2. the best ranked riders from the current UCI World Cup standings, that are not
included in point 1 above, until a total of 10 women elite and 20 men elite are
3. if any riders as described under 1. and 2. above do not confirm participation at an
event they will not be replaced.— UCI-4.11.014
|For the first UCI World Cup round of the season, the top 10 women elite and the top 20 men elite of the final UCI World Cup standings of the previous season are “protected” for the semi-final.— UCI-4.11.014|
|They must start in the qualifying round but qualify automatically for the semi-final in any case. If the times of the protected riders are not among the 15 best times for women elite or the 60 best times for men elite, they shall be allowed to ride in the semi-final in addition to the 15 women elite and 60 men elite riders already qualified.— UCI-4.11.014|
Once riders get to the semi-finals the protected rules change slightly to include a smaller pool of riders. For the newly added semi-finals riders ranked in the top five Elite Men and three Elite Women of the past season will be protected. For the Junior races, there will be no protected riders for finals at the first round. At the second race of the year, the top three Junior riders in the Men and Women's racing will be safe in qualifying. There is also a clause stating that if a rider announces retirement and informs the UCI before December 31 of the previous year then they will have any protected status removed.
|Protected riders to the final are:|
1. riders ranked in the top 3 women elite and top 5 men elite of the final UCI World
Cup standings of the previous season
2. men and women junior riders ranked in the top 3 of the current UCI World Cup
standings. At the first UCI World Cup round of the season there will be no
protected junior riders.
3. If a rider is announced as retired, he is not eligible anymore as protected rider.
The announcement of the retired status shall be done in writing to the UCI before
31 December of the previous year.— UCI-4.11.014
Starting order for the semi-finals and final will be decided on the last qualifying round. For semi-finals this means qualifying and the finals start order will be based upon the results from the semi-finals.
|The start order for the semi-final, if applicable, and final will be determined on the basis of the reverse results of the last qualifying round (the fastest rider starting last), except for the protected riders (defined in art. 4.11.014) and the fastest 5 men elite and the fastest 2 women elite non-protected riders, who will start as the last group of riders by order of the last qualifying result, reversed.— UCI-4.11.015|
Clearer rules for temporarily replacing team riders
Under the UCI Elite MTB Team section of the revised rulebook a section has been added detailing the conditions under which an Elite-level team can temporarily swap out riders mid-season. Under the new rules, an Elite-level team can apply to the UCI to replace a rider that cannot compete at a World Cup for medical reasons. As long as the rider is UCI registered and competes in the same discipline and category as the rider they are replacing then they can be added to that team's roster. Additionally, this rider must race in the same clothing as the team they are temporarily riding for.
|UCI ELITE MTB TEAMS can apply to the UCI to replace a rider that is unable to compete at a UCI World Cup on medical grounds. The rider needs to be a UCI registered rider and must compete in the same format and category as the rider they are temporarily replacing. They must race in the same clothing of the UCI ELITE MTB TEAM they will be riding for. This can be done outside the transfer period.— UCI-4.18.001|
As well as swapping out a rider temporarily for medical grounds there is a section that details the potential to add one rider to race at a specific World Cup event.
|In addition, a UCI ELITE MTB TEAM will have the opportunity to request to the UCI for 1 rider to be able to race at a single UCI World Cup event within the season in either Elite, Junior or under 23 categories. This can be done outside the transfer period.— UCI-4.18.001|
Changes to clothing rules
One of the odder changes to the rule book for 2023 is the detailed clarification of what clothing is allowed for World Cup downhills, this includes the removal of a statement banning all "lycra elastane based tight-fitting clothing."
For next season's racing, riders and teams now have a detailed description of what will be allowed for downhill racing with jerseys having to be either close fitting around the waist or tucked into pants. Any jersey used must be sold for mountain biking or BMX use with any jerseys designed for road cycling, skinsuits, or one-piece suits banned. It appears that short sleeve jerseys will be no longer allowed as the "jersey shall be a long-sleeved shirt whose sleeves extend down to the rider's wrists."
Pants also must be specifically designed and sold for use in BMX or mountain bike racing and can be either long or short when paired with appropriate knee and shin protection. It sounds like we won't be seeing any riders rocking up to World Cups in jeans in the future.
The jersey shall be a long-sleeved shirt whose sleeves extend down to the rider's wrists. Jerseys used in downhill events should be of a type specifically designed and sold for use in BMX Racing or Mountain Bike downhill events. Jerseys designed for road cycling, skinsuits, or one piece suits comprising the jersey and the pants/shorts are not permitted for use in downhill events. The jersey must be either close fitting around the waist or must be tucked into the pants before the start to not cause interference.
Long pants or short pants combined with suitable knee and shin protection are authorised. Such long or short pants should be of a type that is specifically designed and sold for use in BMX Racing or Mountain Bike downhill events. Long pants of the type described above must be of one-piece construction and made of tear-resistant material. They should cover the entire length of both legs until just above the shoe or ankle. Short pants of the type described above must be of one-piece construction and made of tear-resistant material. They should be worn together with suitable leg protection, that covers the entire knee and the entire shin until just above the ankle.— UCI-4.3.011
You can view the full 2023 revision rulebook here
It might mean fewer athletes overall... but it's the highest level of the sport, it shouldn't be for everyone.
Nude Carl out.
Somebody, QUICK, notify Bert so he cab preemptively pay UCI off so they don’t ban Kool-Aid in the water bottles and one-gallon containers in the pits.
I would have gone with a league system, three divisions, 1, 2 & 3 where riders can get promoted and relegated at the end of the season, or maybe more regularly. Third division is juniors and wild cards. Broadcast them all over a weekend. 30 riders per league and a qualifying system at each race to get into the third `division` Juniors can then climb the ranks. Same system for women, but would be less riders. Would need a method of protecting top riders if injured.
That way viewers get invested in guys coming in 40 something place, they're on TV, and have something to fight for.
It's football but that's a way you get exposure and money working down the ranks.
This new UCI system is a bit better than the old, but still most people aren't going to see lower ranked riders.
Otherwise, televised semi finals are fantastic news and full run finals are fantastic news. I still wish we knew how Loic won that world champs, but at least we'll know next time.
f*ck you Disney. f*ck you people who think it's a good thing "cos it'll be less confusing for the viewer". You are everything bad about modern mountainbiking. f*ck the viewer, the racing is the priority, and Disney have f*cked it up.
Who said anything about 'less confusing' anyway? Can't think of anything less confusing than one run finals as it's always been.
Semi finals is good because you can maintain TV exposure for the same number of riders but also show full finals runs without needing a 6 hour broadcast.
I was skeptical at first but I disagree, for the top 20 semi finals is basically going to be like qualifying but with way more points since they're automatically qualified for it. I agree with others that the points for the semi finals seem skewed high and it's certainly going to be harder for riders trying to break the top 20 since they'll essentially have to go fast three times in a weekend whereas top 20 really only needs to lay down a heater twice.
Plenty of top 20 protected riders have been injured in qualies in the past and Historically some riders like pierron and gwin have gone for the 50 points available in qualifying, now they'll have a real reason to go fast at least twice
Screams of American made for TV with more ads than content. People with short concentration spans !
f*ck everyone who had a hand in this
I can imagine some combinations:
fox-racing pants with attached tutu.
TLD skinny jeans.
Atherton racing hoodie and matching sweatpants.
Leatt BMX racing pants with research supported codpiece for protection
POC Flannel jersey
The only UCI discipline where I still sense this freedom and vibe is pumptrack racing. Let's hope they don't kill that too.
Sorry for my granddad rant. Sure these NEW rules (not "clarifications" of existing rules, as stated in the article) are going to make this sport so much better, professional and all that. There is probably someone out there who's going to enjoy that.
Please treat 2022 quallies as the semifinals…you have until Monday EOD for that, it’s the weekend
I think it’s still gonna be the same guys on top, but it’s kind of a bummer to just look at it and accept that the slim chance of a longshot privateer grabbing a podium spot just got even smaller.
having two-a-day race runs is bananas to me!
What's definitely not in doubt is that the UCI are clowns who obsess about clothing and team rules and stupid sh!t that's distasteful to fans. Do they even ride mountain bikes?!
This is an area when fans become selfish with Coliseum mentality towards Gladiators hurled into a battle to the death. "Are You Not Entertained !"- Maximus Meridius
The riders will do what is needed to stay in contention unless otherwise instructed by their counsel of course. Yes, many Racers have chosen the alternative in that case.
It’s the worst way to give us more racing, but I’ll watch it
"jersey shall be a long-sleeved shirt whose sleeves extend down to the rider's wrists."
Who the hell are these people? Go back to your athletics & tennis club grandpa!
How can they be so out of whack with where the sport is? How can they hit and miss time after time . . . .
If the vast majority of riders are already conforming to the policy by choice then how are they that far out of line with where the sport is?
But if that's the angle, I don't understand why they ban skinsuits. Thinking about other non-motorized speed sports, they all feature skin suits. Sprint runners, downhill skiers, speed skaters, bobsleigh crews, road bikers, you name it. Apparently in mountain biking image is more important than performance.
Skin suits is likely a few reasons. One is that riders probably don’t want to be forced to wear them, which they would be if they were allowed. Another is likely that many major sponsors are apparel companies. If everyone wears skin suits then those companies can’t advertise their kits to the audience they are trying to sell to.
At the end of the day skin suits dont add any performance benefits or advantage if everyone is wearing them.
This is the UCI we're talking about......
If you limit your target audience to people who practice the sport you will always stay a niche sport.
There's nothing wrong with being a niche sport, but since the UCI always say they want to grow the sport they might want to think a little bigger than mandating clothing that mountain bikers like to see.
Personally, I don't give a * what they wear. I just want to see them go fast a hell on a track that I would hardly dare to ride at all.
Other than that, seems like a very positive change for us viewers (perhaps not for the riders with an extra race run though).
Who did they consult? Were any riders/teams approached and asked for input?
Surely it's the people doing the racing that should have the most input on how the format should be evolving?
@brianpark @mikekazimer either of you know who/if any riders were consulted?
After todays announcement of the huge fee increases, maybe a breakaway, rider led racing series with no UCI involvement could materialise eventually...
Consistency over full send
we get more to watch
A lot more injuries
Times in finals getting even tighter
Therefore more injuries on live broadcast
Troy B wins the World Cup as he gets too 3 every time he drops
Fab B goes even more nuts at the party
3 runs in a weekend is laughable...
37:21 and 37:32
However, much like PB articles, UCI needs to get a proofreader or a review before they go to print. And I should probably turn the ocd down a bit. I can imagine this is but one annoying example of things sprinkled throughout the rule book:
"Long pants or short pants combined with suitable knee and shin protection are authorised. *OK
"Such long or short pants should be of a type that is specifically designed and sold for use in BMX Racing or Mountain Bike downhill events. Long pants of the type described above must be of one-piece construction and made of tear-resistant material. *OK
"They should cover the entire length of both legs until just above the shoe or ankle. *OK, but isn't that just pants. Pass, I guess.
"Short pants of the type described above must be of one-piece construction and made of tear-resistant material. *OK
"They should be worn together with suitable leg protection, that covers the entire knee and the entire shin until just above the ankle. *WHAT? Is it "short pants combined with protection or you should wear protection but don't have to?
Also, I don't recall seeing much or any footage of WC DH riders wearing shorts ever. And don't many of them wear at least knee pads under their pants? They should just say long pants and the knee and elbow pad of the rider's choosing. That way everyone is wearing protection but it can be G-Forms if they want.
Just some bleacher-clown talking junk about stuff he knows not much about.
Pants be out? But more importantly what do you have against my zip offs.
Maybe Discovery/ESO lent on them after the disastrous Q&A with Chris Ball.
Doesn’t bode well at all.
Where can tall people find pants or knee/shin pads long enough to fit “just above the ankle?”
I will miss crazy british guys flying down the hill in tracksuit pants :'(
Is that really necessary?
Its 5 steps backwards from a sport that was already great
I actually have few pairs and they actually get too baggy after the stretch(during riding) thinking indeed to start sizing down
I’m also quite old.
Cannot imagine this! It would be boring to watch full race runs!
And there are other good reasons why this never had been done by RB (though it had been discussed
- crazy effort and costs (estimated 5 times more camera points required)
- direction is much more difficult
- not all tracks are suitable for a full coverage
Regarding the other points:
They currently cover 2 mins of the track. I don't know why extending that to 3-5mins (depending on track) would suddenly mean 5 times the cost! Cameras are cheaper than they've ever been, drones more capable and they were in danger of being outdone by vloggers/gopros if they didn't.
Direction is easier because you no longer have to choose which bits to show.
I imagine if it's trees that are the problem, they'll remove some. Might be controversial, but there are highly managed forests anyway in the most part.
The main reason it's never been done before is because of the large 60-rider field, so to get it done in a decent time, you have to start the riders at 1min then 2min then 3min gaps as you go up the field. Now they've dropped the field to 30, they can extend the gaps to 4mins and still get the runs done in 2 hours - a reasonable weather window and demand on viewer's time.
The main reason it's never been done is the cost.
Till now we had (depending on the track) about 15 cameras with average 6 sec rider coverage. All cam positions were chosen by rider coverage time, camera handling and importance.
Now, to get the entire track, you will have to accept much worse camera points with less coverage times and no place to follow the rider proper.
Consequence is, that you need unproportional more cameras.
And you need the people to operate the cameras - which is the expensive thing (not the equipment itself).
Drones don't play a role in live productions.
“ If a rider is announced as retired, he is not eligible anymore as protected rider.”
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