USA Cycling Officials

May Rule(s) of the Month
Post: May 15, 2013 by Tom Mahoney under category "Rule Interpretation"
There will be two rules of the month.

The first regards prize breakdowns. I would quote the rule, but essentially much of it is gone now, which is why I am bringing it up. Here is all we now have on prizes:

1H10. Prizes
(a) The complete Prize list, with values for each place, shall be available to competitors on the first day of the event. Prize evaluations shall be based on the retail prices.
(b) No Disincentives.  No prizes or primes of value greater than the last place prize may be offered for poor performance, such as a prize for the last rider across the finish line.
(c) In youth races and races exclusively for category 5 men, no prizes (including primes) of commercial value may be awarded – only such things as trophies, medals, ribbons, and certificates.
(d) In club races, individual prizes may not exceed a value.
(e) In MTB races, a race that offers a Pro category must also offer a cash purse for that category.

There are only a couple of points that need mentioning here. First, the whole section specifying how prize distributions must be for races with different amounts of prizes is gone. It is now up to the race director to decide how to distribute. That does mean that if the race has a 10,000 dollar prize list and the race director wants to put it all on first place, then that is his or her business. The riders will decide if they want to participate in the event. We no longer involve ourselves in the business matters of the race director in those regards. However, recent occurrences lead me to remind everyone to pay attention to 1H10(a). The complete prize list must be available on the first day of the event. For a stage race, that means the first stage and means that all of the prizes, including the KOM, G.C, etc, must be known to all participants. A recent trend has been for race directors to put “out clauses” in the flyers that said they reserved the right to reduce prizes under certain circumstances. When we took many of the business rules out of the rulebook, we created a separate policy for race directors. In that policy, it now clearly states that prizes may not be reduced for any reason. Essentially, while we are giving more latitude to the race directors to decide how many places to pay out, we are also making them declare it and stick to it.

The second rule is, again, the rule about massed-start legal bicycles for all juniors 14 and under. We started this plan a few years ago with the 10-12 age group, and 2013 was the first year we included the 13-14. This rule simply means that all bicycles for 14 and under, in all disciplines, needs to meet the massed-start legal criteria:

·         At least 16 spokes (no discs, no tri-spokes, etc)
·         No wheel covers
·         No handlebar extensions of any kind.

This is for all disciplines including time trials and pursuits. This rule is also not optional. We have received plenty of calls from unhappy parents who were following this rule only to find out the officials let other kids ride aero equipment at the race. Of course, we have also received calls from parents that want their kids to be able to ride aero equipment, but that is another story.

Please note that this rule does not prohibit aero helmets. It also does not control the quality of the equipment other than what is stated. A youngster could show up with a Specialized Shiv with deep dish 16 spoke wheels and no aero handlebars, and that would be a legal bike.

This rule is also like the gear restriction rule. It applies to the rider, not to the class he is entered into. For example, if a 14 year old is riding up into the 15-16 or 17-18 at a time trial, he still needs to follow that rule. For time trials, to the extent that you have any influence over race director decisions, the race directors should take that into account and not combine all juniors into one group since that would give an even greater advantage to the older riders who can use aero equipment. In my humble opinion, for time trials, there is rarely a reason to not award prizes based on traditional age groupings since the same riders are on the course and it takes no more logistical savvy to run the event. Why not award prizes to the younger kids separately and avoid the question of how a 12 year old on a massed start bike is supposed to compete with an 18 year old on a full aero bike?