You will no doubt have heard the story regarding Adam Brayton not having the amount of points to race the Andorra World Cup.
So why can’t Adam Brayton race? It all comes down to UCI rules.
The UCI rulebook states that UCI points are only available for one run per race, usually finals.
The key difference here is that World Cup overall points and UCI points are not the same thing.
Hop to 2:04 for Eddie Masters’ unique take on the situation:
The Wrong Kind Of Points
Adam Brayton clearly had the requisite points to race the opening three rounds of the 2023 UCI Downhill World Cup, and finished top 40 in the second two, leaving him in the top 50 overall.
As Adam hadn’t gained any UCI points from finals, as we understand it, he was informed that he’d not be allowed to race Andorra. Because of this, he raced the European Champs in Les Menuires where he unfortunately got a flat.
A decent result at Les Menuires would have secured Adam UCI points, opening up access once again to the World Cup series.
Oddly enough, you could finish 31st all year at every World Cup, likely ending the year in the top 25 and still be ineligible for the 2024 World Cups. All because you’d have the wrong kind of points.
Pay To Play
On the flip side of that, like in Gee Atherton’s case, you could pay the fee to be a UCI trade team and only need one rider with one UCI point to enter the race. In the case of Atherton Racing Charlie, Rach and Andi took care of that single point.
No criticism of Atherton Racing, or anyone else there. Those are the rules.
Clarity is Key
While rules may well be rules, it would appear the clarity on the matter has been somewhat lacking. It’s not as if Adam Brayton or Eddie Masters are new to racing World Cup downhill, so how they knew nothing of this change is a little worrying.
The push to make the sport ‘more elite’ may well be in action, and it would appear that perhaps the new semi-finals will be the thing through which this will happen. It’s not getting any easier to progress through to finals, and the riders that do, will likely not need the UCI points.
This rule will most affect those who aren’t on UCI trade teams. Or those teams without a UCI point between their riders, which seems unlikely.
Money, therefore is the key factor here, and it’s unlikely that we’ll see as many breakout performances from up-and-coming riders as a result. Fast juniors are usually picked up by big teams which means they can hit the ground running in their first Elite year.
Whilst the concept itself isn’t without merit, the application leaves a little to be desired. A mid-season cut-off for points will again target the riders not on the big teams as they can’t sell their talents based on maybe not being able to rock up to the second half of the season.
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