There has been a lot of talk—maybe too much talk—about this next issue. Yes, I’m talking about the introduction of a time-trial qualifier at ‘Cross Nationals. What was proposed at last weekend’s “Cyclocross Promoters Summit p/b USA Cycling” was a bit confusing and not necessarily explained well in the blogosphere. Thankfully, USA Cycling has now weighed in and issued a press release. Most of the release is about what a great time everybody had at “Cyclocross Promoters Summit p/b USA Cycling.” If you want to read about that, the full release can be found here.
What interests us, however, was in one of the last paragraphs in the release. And it’s not as bad as first portrayed on the Interwebs and by no means a done deal. As you will see, the time-trial will not disqualify anybody from starting a race. Its purpose, for now, is to determine starting positions after the top eight for non-elite category racers. Here is the relevant language from USA Cycling:
“USA Cycling staff presented the idea of conducting a time trial at the Cyclo-cross National Championships to create the call-up procedures for the non-elite category riders. The top eight finishers in each category will continue to be called up first. The time trial will offer all participants (for those categories that are not seeded by UCI points), the opportunity to vie for start position via a time trial held on a separate course. All participants, whether they choose to compete in the time trial or not, will retain the right to compete in the their race category with those opting not to contest the time trial called-up behind the last time trial qualifier. The final details on the time trial rules, schedule, process and the time trial course set up will be established and announced by July 1.
Any and all discussions pertaining to the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships are preliminary as the International Cycling Union (UCI) retains all rights to final decision making on world championship policy.”
Is this good, bad, flawed, perfect. Heck, I don’t know. But at least the proposed changes are a little clearer and from the horse’s mouth. You may now discuss amongst yourselves.