USA Cycling changes road and cyclocross upgrade requirements
USA Cycling has altered the road and cyclocross upgrade structures for 2013, increasing the points requirements for certain upgrades and eliminating the 12-month window for road points.
In cyclocross, the federation has added points triggers to mandatory upgrades to Category 2 and Cat. 1, which previously came after two wins in fields of at least 11 riders for Cat. 2 upgrades and 40 riders for Cat. 1 upgrades. Now, USAC will automatically upgrade a Cat. 3 who accumulates 15 points or two wins in a race fielding at least 30 riders; a mandatory upgrade will also apply to a Cat. 2 who accumulates 25 points or two wins in a field of at least 40 riders.
Additionally, the minimum of 10 starts or points for an optional Cat. 3 upgrade will now trigger a mandatory upgrade, and junior women are now exempt from mandatory upgrades to Cat. 2.
On the road, points will no longer expire after 12 months, a change that applies at the start of 2013.
Upgrades to Cat. 2 now require a minimum of 30 points (up from 25), and 40 points within a 12-month window will still trigger an automatic upgrade. Upgrades to Cat. 1 now require 35 points (up from 30), while 50 points within 12 months will still trigger an automatic upgrade.
Junior racers will no longer face mandatory upgrades to Cat. 2 or Cat. 1, but may upgrade if they achieve the appropriate points totals.
All upgrades to Cat. 4 (10 finishes in mass start races) and Cat. 3 (20 points, 10 top-10 finishes in fields of at least 30 riders, or 20 pack finishes in fields of at least 50 riders, with 30 points triggering a mandatory upgrade) remain unchanged.
The changes mean that upgrades become even more difficult as a rider progresses through the ranks in road and cyclocross, while junior racers will have more time to develop in a given category before upgrading or aging into the elite ranks.