Policy VIII - Upgrades

revised: 1/30/19

1. Rider Upgrading and Downgrading

General Information

1.1 Rider Upgrading and Downgrading.

The following are the regulations concerning upgrades and are copied here for reference from the USA Cycling Rule Book.

1E1. General Information
  1. Rider upgrades are handled electronically through USA Cycling via the rider’s online account. The request will be sent to the person responsible for the area and/or category.
  2. Only races permitted by USA Cycling, or foreign races permitted by a UCI affiliated National Federation will count for upgrading.
  3. Riders who are more than halfway through a series may request a waiver of a mandatory upgrade so that they may finish out the series under the conditions below:
    1. The series is covered by a single permit and one race director.
    2. The request is approved by the race series director and USA Cycling.
    3. The waiver is granted for a maximum of three event days.
    4. Such a waiver may only be used once per rider per category.
      • Note that for MTB series, subsections (i) and (iii) are not applicable.
  4. Points, experience and rankings for all voluntary upgrade requests may only date back 36 months from the date of the upgrade request.
  5. Riders who have upgraded will start begin to accrue points in their new category with a zero balance.
  6. Junior and Youth riders are exempt from mandatory upgrade regulations, for points gained in Junior and youth racing. Points gained in U23 and Elite events will be used for mandatory upgrading, up to Category 3.
  7. All Rider Upgrade/Downgrade details for Road, Track, Cyclocross and Mountain Bike are found in USA Cycling Policy VIII-Race Category Upgrading/Downgrading.

1.2 Non-Sanctioned Events.

Events not complying with rule 1E1(b), mentioned above, may be allowed with written agreement with USA Cycling may be taken into consideration for upgrading.

2. Road Upgrades & Downgrades

2.1 Road Upgrades Guidelines

5-4:

  • Acquire 10 points by a combination of the following:
  • 2 points – complete all three sections of a Beginner Racer Program (BRP) clinic. Allowed up to 10 points.
  • 1 point – finish a massed start race
  • 1 point – participate in a mentored race experience where the mentor is at least a cat 3 rider and has been approved by the Local Association. Maximum 5 points.
  • USA Cycling-approved education clinics award points based on the curriculum, length and content. Maximum 5 points with clinic points as determined by USAC
  • 1 point - Participate in a USA Cycling sanctioned Gran Fondo. Maximum 3 points

4-3:

  • 20 points; or,
  • experience in 25 qualifying races with a minimum of 10 top ten finishes with fields of 30 riders+; or,
  • 20 pack finishes with fields over 50.
  • 30 points in 12 months is a mandatory upgrade.
  • USAC-sanctioned rider Camps and Clinics that are approved by the Local Associations for upgrading will count a maximum of 3 upgrade points when upgrading from category 4 to category 3.

3-2:

  • 30 points
  • 40 points in 12 months is a mandatory upgrade

2-1:

  • 35 points1
  • 50 points in 12 months is a mandatory upgrade

USA Cycling may add additional requirements for upgrading at their discretion. Any such changes shall be made available on the website.

2.2 Qualifying Distances for each category

 

To qualify for upgrading points, races must meet distance standards in the table below. Races shorter than the minimum distance do not qualify for upgrading. However, if a road race is less than the road race minimum but above the criterium minimum, it will count for upgrading using the criterium points schedule. Points from G.C. places in stage races may only be used for category 3->2 and category 2->1 upgrades.

 

Category Class RR Criterium
5 – 4 Men 15 mi 10 mi/20 min
Women 10 mi 10 mi/20 min
4 – 3 Men 25 mi 15 mi/30 min
Women 25 mi 15 mi/30 min
Junior 25 mi 15 mi/30 min
3 – 2 Men 50 mi 20 mi/40 min
Women 40 mi 15 mi/30 min
2 – 1 Men 80 mi 30 mi/60 min
Women 50 mi 20 mi/40 min

For the tables that follow, note that if the field contains mixed categories (e.g., cat 3-4), then the number of starters is the number of riders that are the same category or higher as the person requesting the upgrade (e.g., in a cat 3-4 combined field, all riders count for a 4->3 upgrade, but only the 3’s count for a 3->2 upgrade.

When categories are combined, such as in a 3-4 race, the finish place is always the raw finish across the finish line, not taking into account the category of the rider. In other words, the category 3 riders are not subtracted out so that the category 4 rider appears to have a higher finishing place. The only time a category is subtracted out for this purpose is if the prize lists were awarded separately for a combined field.

Points awarded for Criteriums
Placing Number of Starters
5-10 11-20 21-49 50+
1 3 4 5 7
2 2 3 4 5
3 1 2 3 4
4 1 2 3
5 1 2
6 1
Points awarded for Road Races
Placing Number of Starters
5-10 11-20 21-49 50+
1 3 7 8 10
2 2 5 6 8
3 1 4 5 7
4 3 4 6
5 2 3 5
6 1 2 4
7 1 3
8 2
9 1
Points awarded for Stage Race G.C. (Cat 3 -> 2 and Cat 2 -> 1 upgrades only)2
Placing Number of Starters
10-19 20-35 36-49 50+
1 5 7 10 10
2 3 5 8 18
3 2 3 6 16
4 1 2 5 14
5 1 4 12
6 3 10
7 2 9
8 1 8
9 7
10 6
11 5
12 4
13 3
14 2
15 1

2.3 Road Downgrade Guidelines

A rider who wishes to downgrade may request a downgrade online. Such requests will be evaluated individually.

In no case will a rider be allowed to downgrade to category 5.

A rider will not be downgraded in the same year that he was upgraded.


Road Upgrade Footnotes

1For category 1 upgrades, only 10 of the points may be earned in races that are part of a weekly series or may be earned in master’s races; and no points may be earned in collegiate races.

2For points earned in stage races, GC and stage placings both count for points, but only up to a maximum of 20 points for a cat 1 upgrade or 15 points for a cat 2 upgrade from a single stage race.

3. Track Upgrades & Downgrades

3.1 Track Upgrade Guidelines

Track upgrades and downgrades are made through the Local Associations and Regional Coordinators. All track upgrades are processed using the following criteria:

  • 5-4: Complete 4 race days or education clinics1
  • 4-3: 5 race days and 20 points as Cat. 4
  • 3-2: 5 race days and 25 points as Cat. 3
  • 2-1: 5 race days and 30 points as Cat. 2

Points:

National championships, Category A, B, or C track race will be 7,5,3,2,1 for each event.

For all other events, upgrade points are 5,3,2,1 and are based on an omnium of the event’s races. If the race ran individual events but did not award omnium prizes, the points are still allocated as though they had run an omnium.

3.2 Additional Considerations:

Ten-person field minimum for upgrading from categories 3-5, and twenty-person field minimum for upgrade to category 1.

When upgrading to a category 1, points earned need to be from more than one velodrome.

A “race day” is defined as one full day of racing.  A race day can include a number of events such as a kilometer, sprints or time trial, but it only counts as one race day.

Omniums will be counted for upgrading if at least half of the events on the omnium were massed-start.

Women and Juniors earn one point for every five race days when upgrading from category 4 through category 2.

Races exempt from upgrading are Youth races and races of more than two categories (i.e., “A” and “B” races).

With the approval of USA Cycling Staff, riders who are Pro or category 1 on the road may be upgraded to category 2 on the track, and riders who are category 2 on the road may be upgraded to category 3 on the track, without first having to begin at category 5 for men and category 4 for women. Upgrades may be contingent on participation in clinics or a set number of beginner races.

3.3 Track Downgrades:

A rider who wishes to downgrade may request a downgrade online. Such requests will be evaluated individually.

In no case will a rider be allowed to downgrade to category 5.

A rider will not be downgraded in the same year that he was upgraded.

A rider may be downgraded by an administrator for the following reasons: unsafe riding, lack of ability to compete in current category, or lack of placing within current category.

Track Upgrade Footnotes

1USA Cycling sanctioned and approved rider education clinics (at least half day), will count as three qualifying races for category 5 to 4 upgrades, up to a maximum of 5 qualifying races. It will also count as 4 upgrade points for a category 4 to 3 upgrade and 3 upgrade points for a category 3 to 2 upgrade.

4. Cyclo-cross Upgrades & Downgrades

Cyclo-cross categories are upgraded similarly to road category upgrades using the system below; and shall follow the rules for mixed and combined categories.

4.1 Cyclo-cross Upgrade Guidelines

  • 5-4: Voluntary upgrade after 5 races. Experience in 10 races is a mandatory upgrade.
  • 4-3: Voluntary upgrade with 10 points. Fifteen points or two wins if the field had at least 30 competitors is a mandatory upgrade.
  • 3-2: Voluntary upgrade with 15 points. Twenty points or two wins if the field had at least 30 competitors is a mandatory upgrade.
  • 2-1: Voluntary upgrade with 20 points. Twenty-five points or two wins if the field had at least 40 competitors is a mandatory upgrade.1
  • Points awarded for Cyclo-cross Races
    Placing Number of Starters
    5-10 11-20 21-49 50+
    1 3 4 5 7
    2 2 3 4 5
    3 1 2 3 4
    4 1 2 3
    5 1 2
    6 1

    USA Cycling may add additional requirements for upgrading at their discretion. Any such changes shall be made available on the website. 

    4.2 Cyclo-cross Conversion

    Cyclo-cross (CX) categories may also be upgraded by conversion from a rider’s earned road or mountain bike (MTB) cross country (XC) category. If during the season, a rider upgrades his or her road or XC category, the cyclo-cross category can be upgraded to match the road or XC category shown below by request of the rider or by request of the administrator.

     

    CX category based on road or XC category
    Road Category MTB XC Category CX Category
    Pro/1 Pro 1
    2 Pro 3
    3 2 4
    4 3 5
    5 3 5

    4.3 Cyclo-cross Downgrade Guidelines

    A rider who wishes to downgrade may request a downgrade online. Such requests will be evaluated individually.

    In no case will a rider be allowed to downgrade to category 5 once he or she has upgraded based on experience and results.

    A rider will not be downgraded in the same year that he was upgraded.

    Cyclo-cross Footnotes

    1For category 1 upgrades, only 10 of the points may be earned in races that are part of a weekly series or may be earned in master’s races.

5. Mountain Bike Upgrades & Downgrades

Riders may advance as quickly as they wish up to category 2 in Gravity/DH and Mtn Cross/DS, and up to Category 1 in Endurance. 

5.1 Mountain Bike Upgrade Guidelines

  • 3-2: Five top-five finishes is a mandatory upgrade.
  • 2-1: Five top-five finishes is a mandatory upgrade. Riders may choose to upgrade with two top-five finishes
  • 1-Pro: Riders may be eligible to be upgraded to Pro after two top-three or three top-five category 1 finishes according to finish time (including all classes in category 1) at USA Cycling National MTB Calendar Events.

Upgrades will be based on a rider's placings in a rider’s category. AMBC and international events may also be considered. Overall finish times are factored into upgrade requests. Riders must submit their upgrade requests through their USA Cycling online membership account.

For mandatory upgrading purposes, classes must consist of the following competitors:

Class Men Women
Junior 15-18 10 5
Senior 15 10
Master 30-39 15 10
Master 40-49 10 5
Master 50+ 5 5

USA Cycling reserves the right to upgrade Category 1 riders to Pro at any time.

USA Cycling reserves the right to downgrade riders from the Pro category at any time.

Riders who finish in the top-five in the Category 2 and 3 categories at the US National MTB Championships must move up to the next higher category immediately.  Category 1 riders who place in the top-three in the 19-24, 25-29, and 30-34 age groups will automatically be eligible to upgrade to Pro for the remainder of the current season and following season.  Riders must verify that they wish to upgrade to Pro by submitting an upgrade request through their USA Cycling online membership account.

5.2 Mountain Bike Downgrade Guidelines

A rider who feels he has advanced too quickly or is otherwise no longer competitive in his category may ask for reclassification by submitting a written request to USA Cycling identifying his results and reasoning. 

1. Rider Upgrading and Downgrading

General Information

1.1 Rider Upgrading and Downgrading.

The following are the regulations concerning upgrades and are copied here for reference from the USA Cycling Rule Book.

1E1. General Information
  1. Rider upgrades are handled electronically through USA Cycling via the rider’s online account. The request will be sent to the person responsible for the area and/or category.
  2. Only races permitted by USA Cycling, or foreign races permitted by a UCI affiliated National Federation will count for upgrading.
  3. Riders who are more than halfway through a series may request a waiver of a mandatory upgrade so that they may finish out the series under the conditions below:
    1. The series is covered by a single permit and one race director.
    2. The request is approved by the race series director and USA Cycling.
    3. The waiver is granted for a maximum of three event days.
    4. Such a waiver may only be used once per rider per category.
      • Note that for MTB series, subsections (i) and (iii) are not applicable.
  4. Points, experience and rankings for all voluntary upgrade requests may only date back 36 months from the date of the upgrade request.
  5. Riders who have upgraded will start begin to accrue points in their new category with a zero balance.
  6. Junior and Youth riders are exempt from mandatory upgrade regulations, for points gained in Junior and youth racing. Points gained in U23 and Elite events will be used for mandatory upgrading, up to Category 3.
  7. All Rider Upgrade/Downgrade details for Road, Track, Cyclocross and Mountain Bike are found in USA Cycling Policy VIII-Race Category Upgrading/Downgrading.

1.2 Non-Sanctioned Events.

Events not complying with rule 1E1(b), mentioned above, may be allowed with written agreement with USA Cycling may be taken into consideration for upgrading.

2. Road Upgrades & Downgrades

2.1 Road Upgrades Guidelines

5-4:

  • Acquire 10 points by a combination of the following:
  • 2 points – complete all three sections of a Beginner Racer Program (BRP) clinic. Allowed up to 10 points.
  • 1 point – finish a massed start race
  • 1 point – participate in a mentored race experience where the mentor is at least a cat 3 rider and has been approved by the Local Association. Maximum 5 points.
  • USA Cycling-approved education clinics award points based on the curriculum, length and content. Maximum 5 points with clinic points as determined by USAC
  • 1 point - Participate in a USA Cycling sanctioned Gran Fondo. Maximum 3 points

4-3:

  • 20 points; or,
  • experience in 25 qualifying races with a minimum of 10 top ten finishes with fields of 30 riders+; or,
  • 20 pack finishes with fields over 50.
  • 30 points in 12 months is a mandatory upgrade.
  • USAC-sanctioned rider Camps and Clinics that are approved by the Local Associations for upgrading will count a maximum of 3 upgrade points when upgrading from category 4 to category 3.

3-2:

  • 30 points
  • 40 points in 12 months is a mandatory upgrade

2-1:

  • 35 points1
  • 50 points in 12 months is a mandatory upgrade

USA Cycling may add additional requirements for upgrading at their discretion. Any such changes shall be made available on the website.

2.2 Qualifying Distances for each category

 

To qualify for upgrading points, races must meet distance standards in the table below. Races shorter than the minimum distance do not qualify for upgrading. However, if a road race is less than the road race minimum but above the criterium minimum, it will count for upgrading using the criterium points schedule. Points from G.C. places in stage races may only be used for category 3->2 and category 2->1 upgrades.

 

Category Class RR Criterium
5 – 4 Men 15 mi 10 mi/20 min
Women 10 mi 10 mi/20 min
4 – 3 Men 25 mi 15 mi/30 min
Women 25 mi 15 mi/30 min
Junior 25 mi 15 mi/30 min
3 – 2 Men 50 mi 20 mi/40 min
Women 40 mi 15 mi/30 min
2 – 1 Men 80 mi 30 mi/60 min
Women 50 mi 20 mi/40 min

For the tables that follow, note that if the field contains mixed categories (e.g., cat 3-4), then the number of starters is the number of riders that are the same category or higher as the person requesting the upgrade (e.g., in a cat 3-4 combined field, all riders count for a 4->3 upgrade, but only the 3’s count for a 3->2 upgrade.

When categories are combined, such as in a 3-4 race, the finish place is always the raw finish across the finish line, not taking into account the category of the rider. In other words, the category 3 riders are not subtracted out so that the category 4 rider appears to have a higher finishing place. The only time a category is subtracted out for this purpose is if the prize lists were awarded separately for a combined field.

Points awarded for Criteriums
Placing Number of Starters
5-10 11-20 21-49 50+
1 3 4 5 7
2 2 3 4 5
3 1 2 3 4
4 1 2 3
5 1 2
6 1
Points awarded for Road Races
Placing Number of Starters
5-10 11-20 21-49 50+
1 3 7 8 10
2 2 5 6 8
3 1 4 5 7
4 3 4 6
5 2 3 5
6 1 2 4
7 1 3
8 2
9 1
Points awarded for Stage Race G.C. (Cat 3 -> 2 and Cat 2 -> 1 upgrades only)2
Placing Number of Starters
10-19 20-35 36-49 50+
1 5 7 10 10
2 3 5 8 18
3 2 3 6 16
4 1 2 5 14
5 1 4 12
6 3 10
7 2 9
8 1 8
9 7
10 6
11 5
12 4
13 3
14 2
15 1

2.3 Road Downgrade Guidelines

A rider who wishes to downgrade may request a downgrade online. Such requests will be evaluated individually.

In no case will a rider be allowed to downgrade to category 5.

A rider will not be downgraded in the same year that he was upgraded.


Road Upgrade Footnotes

1For category 1 upgrades, only 10 of the points may be earned in races that are part of a weekly series or may be earned in master’s races; and no points may be earned in collegiate races.

2For points earned in stage races, GC and stage placings both count for points, but only up to a maximum of 20 points for a cat 1 upgrade or 15 points for a cat 2 upgrade from a single stage race.

3. Track Upgrades & Downgrades

3.1 Track Upgrade Guidelines

Track upgrades and downgrades are made through the Local Associations and Regional Coordinators. All track upgrades are processed using the following criteria:

  • 5-4: Complete 4 race days or education clinics1
  • 4-3: 5 race days and 20 points as Cat. 4
  • 3-2: 5 race days and 25 points as Cat. 3
  • 2-1: 5 race days and 30 points as Cat. 2

Points:

National championships, Category A, B, or C track race will be 7,5,3,2,1 for each event.

For all other events, upgrade points are 5,3,2,1 and are based on an omnium of the event’s races. If the race ran individual events but did not award omnium prizes, the points are still allocated as though they had run an omnium.

3.2 Additional Considerations:

Ten-person field minimum for upgrading from categories 3-5, and twenty-person field minimum for upgrade to category 1.

When upgrading to a category 1, points earned need to be from more than one velodrome.

A “race day” is defined as one full day of racing.  A race day can include a number of events such as a kilometer, sprints or time trial, but it only counts as one race day.

Omniums will be counted for upgrading if at least half of the events on the omnium were massed-start.

Women and Juniors earn one point for every five race days when upgrading from category 4 through category 2.

Races exempt from upgrading are Youth races and races of more than two categories (i.e., “A” and “B” races).

With the approval of USA Cycling Staff, riders who are Pro or category 1 on the road may be upgraded to category 2 on the track, and riders who are category 2 on the road may be upgraded to category 3 on the track, without first having to begin at category 5 for men and category 4 for women. Upgrades may be contingent on participation in clinics or a set number of beginner races.

3.3 Track Downgrades:

A rider who wishes to downgrade may request a downgrade online. Such requests will be evaluated individually.

In no case will a rider be allowed to downgrade to category 5.

A rider will not be downgraded in the same year that he was upgraded.

A rider may be downgraded by an administrator for the following reasons: unsafe riding, lack of ability to compete in current category, or lack of placing within current category.

Track Upgrade Footnotes

1USA Cycling sanctioned and approved rider education clinics (at least half day), will count as three qualifying races for category 5 to 4 upgrades, up to a maximum of 5 qualifying races. It will also count as 4 upgrade points for a category 4 to 3 upgrade and 3 upgrade points for a category 3 to 2 upgrade.

4. Cyclo-cross Upgrades & Downgrades

Cyclo-cross categories are upgraded similarly to road category upgrades using the system below; and shall follow the rules for mixed and combined categories.

4.1 Cyclo-cross Upgrade Guidelines

  • 5-4: Voluntary upgrade after 5 races. Experience in 10 races is a mandatory upgrade.
  • 4-3: Voluntary upgrade with 10 points. Fifteen points or two wins if the field had at least 30 competitors is a mandatory upgrade.
  • 3-2: Voluntary upgrade with 15 points. Twenty points or two wins if the field had at least 30 competitors is a mandatory upgrade.
  • 2-1: Voluntary upgrade with 20 points. Twenty-five points or two wins if the field had at least 40 competitors is a mandatory upgrade.1
  • Points awarded for Cyclo-cross Races
    Placing Number of Starters
    5-10 11-20 21-49 50+
    1 3 4 5 7
    2 2 3 4 5
    3 1 2 3 4
    4 1 2 3
    5 1 2
    6 1

    USA Cycling may add additional requirements for upgrading at their discretion. Any such changes shall be made available on the website. 

    4.2 Cyclo-cross Conversion

    Cyclo-cross (CX) categories may also be upgraded by conversion from a rider’s earned road or mountain bike (MTB) cross country (XC) category. If during the season, a rider upgrades his or her road or XC category, the cyclo-cross category can be upgraded to match the road or XC category shown below by request of the rider or by request of the administrator.

     

    CX category based on road or XC category
    Road Category MTB XC Category CX Category
    Pro/1 Pro 1
    2 Pro 3
    3 2 4
    4 3 5
    5 3 5

    4.3 Cyclo-cross Downgrade Guidelines

    A rider who wishes to downgrade may request a downgrade online. Such requests will be evaluated individually.

    In no case will a rider be allowed to downgrade to category 5 once he or she has upgraded based on experience and results.

    A rider will not be downgraded in the same year that he was upgraded.

    Cyclo-cross Footnotes

    1For category 1 upgrades, only 10 of the points may be earned in races that are part of a weekly series or may be earned in master’s races.

5. Mountain Bike Upgrades & Downgrades

Riders may advance as quickly as they wish up to category 2 in Gravity/DH and Mtn Cross/DS, and up to Category 1 in Endurance. 

5.1 Mountain Bike Upgrade Guidelines

  • 3-2: Five top-five finishes is a mandatory upgrade.
  • 2-1: Five top-five finishes is a mandatory upgrade. Riders may choose to upgrade with two top-five finishes
  • 1-Pro: Riders may be eligible to be upgraded to Pro after two top-three or three top-five category 1 finishes according to finish time (including all classes in category 1) at USA Cycling National MTB Calendar Events.

Upgrades will be based on a rider's placings in a rider’s category. AMBC and international events may also be considered. Overall finish times are factored into upgrade requests. Riders must submit their upgrade requests through their USA Cycling online membership account.

For mandatory upgrading purposes, classes must consist of the following competitors:

Class Men Women
Junior 15-18 10 5
Senior 15 10
Master 30-39 15 10
Master 40-49 10 5
Master 50+ 5 5

USA Cycling reserves the right to upgrade Category 1 riders to Pro at any time.

USA Cycling reserves the right to downgrade riders from the Pro category at any time.

Riders who finish in the top-five in the Category 2 and 3 categories at the US National MTB Championships must move up to the next higher category immediately.  Category 1 riders who place in the top-three in the 19-24, 25-29, and 30-34 age groups will automatically be eligible to upgrade to Pro for the remainder of the current season and following season.  Riders must verify that they wish to upgrade to Pro by submitting an upgrade request through their USA Cycling online membership account.

5.2 Mountain Bike Downgrade Guidelines

A rider who feels he has advanced too quickly or is otherwise no longer competitive in his category may ask for reclassification by submitting a written request to USA Cycling identifying his results and reasoning.