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"Protected crosses" and the lack of more national cyclo-cross races for the best riders: this is how the UCI wants to upgrade the World Cup

“Protected crosses” and the lack of more national cyclo-cross races for the best riders: this is how the UCI wants to upgrade the World Cup

Just days after the end of the cyclo-cross season, the International Cycling Union (UCI) has proposed a series of measures to attract more of the best riders to the start of the Cross Country World Cup next season. One thing that stands out is that some World Cup races will be given 'protected status'.

The numerous withdrawals of top riders from this season's World Cup races have been a thorn in the side of the UCI for some time.

At the beginning of this month, we put our heads together to do something about it. This has led to some new measures that will come into effect from next week.

What is even more striking is that some WB intersections will be given “protected intersection” status. “This status is granted for a maximum of 50 percent of World Cup races and only when the event is of particular importance for the international development of cyclo-cross racing,” she said.

Weekends with an international cross in Belgium and a day after a World Cup competition abroad, as was the case last season with the Kortrijk-Dublin double, appear to be ruled out for next season.

The UCI also reinforces the commitment to participate in World Cup events. Starting next season, professional teams will be required to participate in all World Cup competitions with a minimum of 3 riders, in the elite category for men or women.

The top 20 of the UCI rankings for men and women will no longer be allowed to participate in national cross-country races.

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“The UCI wants to create a clear separation between the international and national cyclocross calendar and wants to encourage top riders to focus on the international level,” she said.

Finally, during a World Cup Cross race, the first two starting rows, in all classes, will be reserved for the highest-ranked riders in the World Cup standings. The UCI wants to reward the riders who performed best in previous qualifiers.