Technical Director Update for June 2012


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June 2012 Technical Director Update

Dear Official:

Since last month’s was a tad lengthy, this will be a shorter one.

Technical Program Manager
Please join me in welcoming Tom Mahoney as Technical Programs Manager. Tom has helped me ex officio with the official program for some time now, but as of a departmental reorganization last month, he will now be spending his copious free time :) helping me with the officials program and other technical-based programs. With his help, I am confident that we will start to rock and roll the officials program even more now.

Officials Clothing Program
The sale item for June will be men’s and women’s polos. Please use the code: JUNE2012.

Please see this link for our clothing store:

We get a lot of questions about how our results and rankings systems work. Officials in the field may also get these questions, so I asked Tom Mahoney, formerly the results and rankings manager, to write a brief blurb about this:

Officials and the Results & Rankings Program
Last fall, we here at USA Cycling revamped the Results & Rankings program to make the program more viable for our members. During development, we split the process into two phases; Phase 1 was to completely rethink and implement how we rank riders around the country, Phase 2 was dedicated to the re-imagining of how we capture results.

Phase 1 – Rankings (Warning – math approaching!!!)

During the previous four years we found that the previous ranking system wasn’t really giving us the best results. It wasn’t telling us whom the best rider in the country was, just which rider had been to the races with the biggest prize lists.  We looked at other sports to see how they ranked their athletes and what would make the most sense for our sport. We found that a modified version of the algorithm used by US Ski & Snowboard would best suit our needs. Simply put, the new rankings system accounts for your opposition, not which races you contest.

The rankings system is twofold, with a rider’s national rankings and then their event rankings. A rider’s national rankings are determined by averaging their five best rankings for Criterium, Road Race, Time Trial, Cross Country and Cyclo-cross, and their 3 best rankings for all other disciplines within the last 12 months. In the new rankings system, the lower your ranking point average, the better you’re ranked. The system will only rank riders with current licenses. If a rider’s license is expired, or pended for any reason, then they will not show up in the rankings list.

A rider’s event ranking will take the five best ranked riders from the top 10 finishers, average their rankings and multiply that by 90 percent to create the quality of the race. Once the Race Quality is determined we need to establish the Points per Place to be distributed. Points per place are determined by taking the average rankings of all finishing riders to get the midpoint. We then take that number, subtract the Race Quality value, multiply it by 2 and then divide that number by the number of finishers, less one. Once we have both the Race Quality and the Points per Place, we can determine Rank Points for all riders. Rank Points are calculated based on the Race Quality value plus a rider’s place minus one multiplied by the points per place for the event.
In summary:

1. Race Quality Value = (Average of 5 best ranked riders in race’s top 10) x 0.9

2. Points per Place = (((Avg. ranking of all finishers) – (Race Quality)) x 2) / (total number of finishers – 1)

3. Rank Points = Race Quality + ((rider’s placing – 1) x Points per Place)

Please note that there are certain instances that may override this general calculation. Specifically, the maximum value for any individual race result is not allowed to be more than 590, so any finisher will receive better points than the maximum value of 600. Also, if the average of all race finishers is better (less) than the average of the best five in the top 10, then the overall average is used in calculating the Race Quality. However, the Race Quality for any race is not allowed to be better (less) than the ranking points of the best (lowest points) rider in the top 10 finishers. Finally, the Race Quality value of a race is not allowed to be worse (greater) than 540 (90 percent of the max point value of 600).

If you’re like me you might need a visual example to really get this, so please see below.

Phase 2 - Results

To go along with this new algorithm, we needed a new way to capture results. We remolded the results system so that it would hopefully make it easier for people to upload results. We added features that would automatically attach license numbers for results where they are missing and the riders name is unique within our database. We've also added a claim results function, which will allow riders to add their license numbers to results on their own. In rolling out this new results program, we also created something tha tUSA Cycling has been missing for a while, a Results Submission Guide. The guide gives you a step-by-step view of how the upload process works.

Officials and the Results & Rankings program

Most questions you'll receive about hte rankings program in the field can be answered by referring the riders to the Rankings FAQ page. The major question that you might get is "How can I tell before the start of a race what it's race quality is going to be?" The answer to this is short and sweet, you can't tell. Anything outside of that you should refer the riders to sending their question to the USA Cycling Rankings inbox. That email adress is

When it comes tot he results, that's where USA Cycling needs the help of Chief Judges around the country. By and large the majority of the results issues that we run into here in the office are pretty simple: add my license number, change my team name, change my name. But sometimes we get those fun questions about race order, and we won't make those changes without input from you.

Well, if you made it through all that in one reading and understood it all, you are mathematical genius, just like the guys who designed it.

Shawn Farrell
Technical Director

USA Cycling License Number — {compid}

You will know valid messages from USA Cycling as we will include your license number in all membership-wide emails from us. All licensed officials will receive the Technical Director Update as part of their membership in the program.


This Article Updated June 6, 2012 @ 11:09 AM For more information contact: