Toon Aerts at Jingle Cross 2018
Photo credit: Phil Roeder

A Deep Dive into the UCI Cyclocross Rules for 2020/21: Part 2

We are continuing our deep dive into the rule changes for the 2020/21 season. In part one, we discussed the changes to cyclocross events (races) themselves as well as the changes to cyclocross rankings. In this article (part two) we will discuss the changes to the World Cup rules, UCI teams and the UCI points table.

World Cup

We will discuss the changes to the World Cup schedule in a future article, but there are a number of rule changes that we need to point out.


The World Cup is now defined as a maximum of 16 races, with no country hosting more than 50% of those races. This gets broken down further:

  • If the number of events is between 9 – 13 events, a minimum of six different nations is required. 
  • If the number of events is 14 or 15 events, a minimum of seven different nations is required. 
  • If the number of events is 16 events, a minimum of eight different nations is required. 


This rule has been removed. It dealt with media rights, which as we now know are owned and dictated by Flanders Classics.

5.3.005 – Participation

With the addition of the Junior Women category, there are now changes to the number of World Cups that must have specific categories. Over the past few years, the World Cup rounds in the United States did not offer specific races for the U23 or Junior Men. As we saw with the calendar release, this is still in effect for multiple World Cup rounds.

All World Cup races must offer an Elite Men’s and Women’s race. A maximum of eight rounds will host the Men Junior, U23 and Women Junior categories. Other World Cup races can offer those categories, but they will not count to the overall.

In addition to those changes, they specify the ages for each category as follows (no real changes here):

  • Men Junior: men aged 17 to 18 
  • Women Junior: women aged 17 to 18 
  • Men U23: men aged 19 to 22 
  • Men elite: men of 23 years and above 
  • Women elite: women of 19 years and above


This rule has been significantly modified. It deals with riders/nations who qualify for World Cups and how many riders can qualify.

In what we thought was an existing rule, it now explicitly states that for the Elite Men and Women, the top 50 riders in the UCI ranking are now pre-qualified for the World Cups. However, there is now a limit of 12 riders per nation and there are six further criteria that each nation must meet.

  • A federation having 6 pre qualified riders will select its 6 best ranked riders and 2 riders of its choice, 
  • A federation having 7 pre qualified riders will select its 7 best ranked riders and 1 riders of its choice, 
  • A federation having 8 pre qualified riders will select its 8 best ranked riders and 1 rider of its choice, 
  • A federation having 9 pre qualified riders will select its 8 best ranked riders and 2 riders of its choice, 
  • A federation having 10 pre qualified riders will select its 8 best ranked riders and 3 riders of its choice, 
  • A federation having 11 or more pre qualified riders will select its 8 best ranked riders and 4 riders of its choice. For the women’s race, each national federation entering 8 or more riders, may in addition enter 2 women under 23 riders.

All this really means is that despite the pre-qualification, nations are increasingly restricted on who they can bring from that list. It also allows nations to enter other riders who are outside of the top 50. This really shouldn’t affect most nations. The two big ones are the Netherlands and Belgium, so that will make things more interesting.

The only other change to this deals with host nations. Host nations may register an additional four riders, with a maximum team of 12 riders in the case of nations having more than six pre qualified riders.

5.3.010 – Clothing

A minor change involves riders wearing their national colors. The verbiage is a bit confusing, but if a nation is registering a rider in the Elite Men’s or Women’s race, they can be forced to wear their national colors. For the U23 women, this gets trickier as they can only wear their team colors in specific cases.

5.3.013 – Classifications

With the expanded number for World Cup races and categories, there has been a massive restructuring of points. In general, the amount of points are being reduced by half. Of most importance is that now only the top 25 (not 50) riders get points. The World Cup is also using the same points structure across all categories. 

We like this as it simplifies things and should result in a closer overall. The gaps between the points earned are a lot smaller, similar to that of the Superprestige series. However, it still favours riders who compete in the whole series. You can view the previous tables and structures via the UCI website, but here’s the new structure:






In addition to the same points structure for all categories, the limits on points for the non Elite categories has been changed:

  • If there are seven or less races, the best four results count.
  • If there are eight races, the best five results count.

The rest of the rule modifications now consider races UCI World Cup licensee rather than UCI races. It’s a minor change because Flanders Classics now runs the World Cup.

Cyclocross Teams



The major change that we alluded to earlier is there are now two classifications of teams: UCI cyclocross professional teams and UCI cyclocross teams. The requirements and parameters of the UCI teams are the same as last year.

A professional team must have a minimum of 10 riders and a maximum of 16 riders. All riders must be 19 years and older i.e. no juniors. As usual, the UCI’s weird attempt at parody and gender equality has led to some further odd requirements.

A team must include a minimum of 10 male riders or include a minimum of eight female riders. We think the idea here is to allow a full on men’s and women’s team. Of course, per the UCI being just odd, a women’s team must have at least two male riders.

In perhaps the most interesting change, if a team includes a minimum of 10 male riders may participate in any road event where UCI Continental teams participate. The same goes for a team with a minimum of eight women. However, their results will not count towards any team rankings i.e. UCI World and Continental rankings.

The rest of the rules just add “UCI cyclo-cross professional teams” to the verbiage.


We are going to skip this section. It talks about things such as bank guarantee and when teams can register. There’s nothing hidden inside here such as minimum salary or anything. It appears that most of these changes, which only apply to “professional” teams, will use similar requirements as continental road teams.

UCI points table

While the points table looks like a jumbled mess of race class, category and places, there is one interesting development regarding the Junior Women. For World Cups, C1 and C2 races, the Junior Women follow the same points structure as the U23 Men. This is interesting because the U23 Men’s points structure offers more points and places than the Junior Men.

The other major points changes are to the Elite Women and Men’s fields for Continental and National Championships, as well as C1 events. Essentially the points go the same amount of places deep, but have been nearly doubled across the board. Below is a table to illustrate these changes:








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