UCI Rule Changes for 2018

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iceman2058

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10/18/2017 1:30 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/18/2017 4:22 AM

The UCI has just published a set of amendments to its rules, here are the highlights as far as DH is concerned:

-a reduction in the number of riders qualified for the elite men's finals to 60 (down from 80 previously). This follows the reduction of women qualifiers last year.
It is unclear what the motivation behind this change was, but what is obvious is that being a privateer at a World Cup just become that much harder (again).

-the points awarded for race results have been adjusted accordingly, only the top 60 male riders earn World Cup points.

-the way that riders are protected riders has been modified, with the top 10 men and top 5 women in the current standings AS WELL AS the top 10 men and top 5 women from the PREVIOUS season benefiting from protection - the latter being protected for the whole season. The exception is the first race of the season where the top 20 and 10 from the 2017 season are still protected going in.
The goal here appears to be to make sure the top riders from the previous year continue to be protected even if they have problems during the current season, for example upon returning from injury.

-there is new wording defining the start order, which if we read it correctly means that any protected riders must now start AFTER the fastest qualifier, whereas previously any protected top 10 rider (male) not qualified for finals would start immediately before the top 10 from qualifying, and the 11-20 placed protected riders would drop in before the top-20 qualifiers.
If you are a protected rider, playing the weather card in qualifying just went out the window.

-at the last World Cup race of the season, qualifying and race points are pooled together, with the totality of those points awarded during finals. In other words, there are no points for qualifying at this race, but the total number of points available during finals has been increased accordingly.
We can only assume this was done to increase the "drama factor" for finals, and place all the emphasis on that one run to close out the season. It also opens the doors for all kinds of qualifying shenanigans, although any protected rider playing the weather card will now have to start last, as per the rule change discussed above.

-cameras are still not allowed for qualifying and finals, but the UCI added a provision that they may grant such rights "for the purposes of the broadcast production company".
In other words, the UCI can now officially stick a camera on a rider for money (they already did, but now it's in the rules).

-this little sentence was also added: "During MTB races no electronic bikes are allowed on the course at any time during training and competition."
So much for doing Leogang laps on your 200mm Haibike. We should also point out that "electronic bike" is a typically vague UCI term that lacks a bit of grounding in the real world. What is an "electronic bike"? We're pretty such they mean ELECTRIC bikes but for the sake of arguing this moot point, does "electronic" include electronic shifting?

There you have it, the highlights of the new rules for 2018. What do you think of the changes?

2018 UCI Amendments




Oz_Taylor

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10/18/2017 2:43 AM

Interesting.

- Not sure why they have reduced the number of places. Probably to reduce costs and shorten the schedule.

- Changing the points system for the last race is a bit of a gimmick. These things rarely make a difference and just means that people won't know who the winner is until they have added up the points. I can imagine Rob Warner having a nightmare doing the math during the finals.

They tried something similar (double points at the last race) in F1 and scrapped it after one season. The world cup is a series and so one venue should not hold more weight or have more risk factor than the others. We already have the one race format at the World Champs.

But overall I think the changes are positive. Less protected riders means we'll possibly see different riders in the top 20 and on TV. I like the fact that protected riders can't play the weather game, not that they really did.

onthewhiskey

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10/18/2017 4:02 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/18/2017 4:04 AM

It has been reported the same in various other places, but the wording suggests a very key difference in the protected riders amendment: the top 10 from the previous season are protected - for the entirety of the season. Top ten in the current standings that were not part of last years final top 10 are then also protected. Max total of protected riders for rounds 2 and on is 20 (if we have another Lourdesesque first round) and minimum is 10 (if it all stays the same).

If that's all correct, the big winner is Fayolle - automatic qualification for the season and guaranteed airtime on the live stream.

This also has pretty big implications for riders in that top ten that miss rounds due to injury.

Only 60 qualifying is going to kill the privateers, and will only bring down numbers of those willing to travel long distances to race. The only way I would be excited about this is if they gave the option to watch either the opening commentary OR a raw live feed of all 60 riders without the introduction bits. How many people really actually enjoy the Red Bull intro's anyway?

iceman2058

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10/18/2017 4:18 AM

onthewhiskey wrote:

It has been reported the same in various other places, but the wording suggests a very key difference in the protected riders amendment: the top 10 from the previous season are protected - for the entirety of the season. Top ten in the current standings that were not part of last years final top 10 are then also protected. Max total of protected riders for rounds 2 and on is 20 (if we have another Lourdesesque first round) and minimum is 10 (if it all stays the same).

If that's all correct, the big winner is Fayolle - automatic qualification for the season and guaranteed airtime on the live stream.

This also has pretty big implications for riders in that top ten that miss rounds due to injury.

Only 60 qualifying is going to kill the privateers, and will only bring down numbers of those willing to travel long distances to race. The only way I would be excited about this is if they gave the option to watch either the opening commentary OR a raw live feed of all 60 riders without the introduction bits. How many people really actually enjoy the Red Bull intro's anyway?

On reading it again, I agree with your interpretation. That is effectively what is written. Pretty big change indeed! The nice thing about it as you pointed out is that top riders who slide down the rankings due to injury can come back to racing mid-season and still be protected. I guess it's in the interest of the sport to make sure the big names participate in the finals (note that the protected riders do not take up a spot in the top 60, they race finals in addition to those who qualified on their own merit).

Thanks for paying attention!

onthewhiskey

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10/18/2017 5:20 AM

iceman2058 wrote:

On reading it again, I agree with your interpretation. That is effectively what is written. Pretty big change indeed! The nice thing about it as you pointed out is that top riders who slide down the rankings due to injury can come back to racing mid-season and still be protected. I guess it's in the interest of the sport to make sure the big names participate in the finals (note that the protected riders do not take up a spot in the top 60, they race finals in addition to those who qualified on their own merit).

Thanks for paying attention!

No problem! It is definitely a change for the better in my opinion.

What I would really like to see as well is that the top 1,2, or 3 juniors that move up to elite be protected as well. It would definitely help those riders stay on (or get) good rides for that first year. Also their runs are normally some of the most wild to watch - balls to the wall!

LLLLL

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10/18/2017 5:30 AM

Alot of the big riders wanted this, was mentioned in interviews this time last year. Less slow riders blocking up the track.

burritoboy

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10/18/2017 8:12 AM

Top 20 overall for reference, so we'll be seeing 1-10 all year...



MPH24

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10/18/2017 10:36 AM

I agree on the points thing being kind of gimmicky.

I think the rest of the changes are ok. I think we want to see the consistently best riders on race day and it seems like having less riders for finals is better for the track and practice on race day.

Any word on whether there were changes in the number of points required for qualifying?

iceman2058

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10/18/2017 12:46 PM

MPH24 wrote:

I agree on the points thing being kind of gimmicky.

I think the rest of the changes are ok. I think we want to see the consistently best riders on race day and it seems like having less riders for finals is better for the track and practice on race day.

Any word on whether there were changes in the number of points required for qualifying?

If you are referring to the minimum amount of UCI points needed to be eligible for participating in a World Cup, there were no changes made there.

chup29

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10/18/2017 2:02 PM

i dont know about you guys, but this seems like less world cup racing rather than more world cup racing. I like the change regarding the amount of protected riders but limiting the mens from 80 to 60 and limiting the already too small womens field doesnt seem like the UCI is encouraging the sport to grow. Its going to make the sharp end sharper and hurt the privateer backbone of this sport. I think we need to be going in the opposite direction.

For example:
How about qualification based off percentage? Like in F1 to limit the ability of non-competitive cars to take place in the race (lol, although this never happens cough) What if we made qualifiers a percentage system like the 107% rule. This would promote competition, significantly increase the ability of the privateers to enter WC races and make their travel expenditures worthwhile and grow the sport as a whole. This would lead to a fluctuation in the number of riders that qualify each round but also reward skill.

What if we made it cheaper to hold a race, in terms of royalties to the UCI. Like we tell them, "f*ck you guys, we know you guys only care about money and power and road racing, heres our royalty check for the season so we can still have the logo and the jersey blah blah, youre welcome for all the free publicity. Oh you can keep XC if you want, but otherwise we'll take them, they're chill." Then we beg Chris Ball to think of something that includes more rounds in more places and has a clause that autocorrects any mention of the word "leogang" to "schladming." This goes along with a clause that mandates a certain number of natural, steep tracks per year to re-attract sam hill to WC DH.

I recognize that these are all pipe dreams that will never happen

TEAMROBOT

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10/18/2017 3:36 PM

Chup29, you're operating under the assumption that the UCI wants to improve the sport.

chup29

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10/18/2017 3:50 PM

yeah i know, i shouldnt even have hope at this point

big bear

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10/18/2017 6:57 PM

Including the comments above, this move has positive implications for national level racing, too.

There is a huge gap at Pro GRTs and Canada Cup races in North America between local heroes and what it takes to race at a world cup level. Hopefully, this move will hold back some racers from trying to make the jump to WCs too early. Similarly to Crankworx, the national level races would hold more value, become more competitive in the junior and elite field, and prepare rising stars for the pressure world cups demand.

Fred Trampler

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10/18/2017 9:43 PM

FRED TRAMPLER HERD THIS WAS A MOVE TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE BURGERING EBIKE CATEGORY

kidwoo

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10/18/2017 10:13 PM

Fred Trampler wrote:

FRED TRAMPLER HERD THIS WAS A MOVE TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE BURGERING EBIKE CATEGORY

Ebikes make burgers? I'm so down

Fred Trampler

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10/19/2017 12:10 AM

BURGER BURNER PLUGS RITE N 2 THA BATTERY