The Cycling Ireland Technical Working Group have approved a number of changes to the current road grading as well as recommendations for promotors.
A Road Grading Working Group was established in November 2022 with the aim of increasing participation in road cycling and to ensure inclusivity for all.
The Road Grading Working Group assessed the overall strategy, from technical rules around grading to the structure of race days and the race calendar with the goal of making racing more attractive and accessible.
The consultation process included input from riders, promoters, commissaires and Cycling Ireland members.
The following rule changes (in bold) have been made as well as clarification from the Road Grading Working Group on the reasoning.
T3.1(a) Points will be awarded on all open races in Ireland as follows: – (a) In road races and criteriums up to 50km, points to be awarded 6-5-4-3-2-1. All mid-week evening races (excl. Bank Holidays) to be awarded points 6-5-4-3-2-1 regardless of distance
(b) In A1, A2, A3 & Junior Road Races over 50km points to be awarded: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 exception for mid-week evening races see T.3.1(a) above.
(c) In A4 road races over 50km, points to be awarded, 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 exception for mid-week evening races see T.3.1(a) above.
We wish to prevent mid-week races from offering 1st place 10 points for a 52km race which is essentially a club race. The reason behind this is to prioritise points for weekend racing and to prevent riders from targeting a Thursday night league with the same riders racing each week for their points.
T3.2(d) An A4 (incl. Junior A4) rider on amassing 13 points, cumulative across years will be upgraded to A3.
T3.3(a) A youth rider on becoming a Junior will be graded as A3. However upon reaching 45 points as a first year Junior they may be upgraded to A2 for the remainder of that season. A 2nd year Junior A2 may opt to commence the season as an A3 on Zero points or remain as an A2 with Zero points. A 2nd year Junior A3 on reaching 30 points they may be upgraded to A2 for the remainder of that season. A Junior A3 rider may opt to remain an A3 for the remainder of the season in order to focus on their studies. Such upgraded Junior’s will not be exempt from the Junior Maximum Distance (140km) and will be entitled to ride Junior only events. In the event of a race (A2) being above the maximum distance, a junior with an A2 licence may ride the A3 race at that event.
Lowering the upgrade limits for Juniors (90 points for 1st year JR to A2 halved to 45 points, and 60 points for 2nd year JR halved to 30 points) we feel these were too high and it held some of our Juniors back over the last few years. This change will allow top level Juniors to experience competing at the front of an A3 race early on in the season and then to move on to A2 more quickly. The next wave of juniors who are a bit behind the top juniors will then have a path clear in A3 to allow them to compete and enjoy racing for a win. We also feel that moving the top Juniors out of A3 quickly will create more competitive racing for all A3 riders where ability gaps are not as large.
T3.3(b) A 2nd year Junior A3 on Moving to Senior will be graded as A3 with Zero points. A 2nd year Junior A2 on moving to Senior will be graded as A2 with Zero points. However any Junior who has amassed 50 Points or more in their 2nd year as a Junior may apply to the National Development Coach for grading to a higher grade.
Allowing a 1st year Junior A2 remain at A2 in their 2nd year racing also makes sense as the rider will only be held back from racing at their ability level. We give the option for Juniors to remain at A3 if they want to focus on their studies.
A4 to A3 upgrade amnesty – for 2023 only, we will allow A4 riders to upgrade to A3, provided they have previously held a full competition racing licence, upgrade requests should be made prior to renewal to firstname.lastname@example.org
The reasoning around this is that we have numerous experienced A4 riders who have been in that category for years, feedback has shown that some of them would like to upgrade and test themselves at a higher level, they have struggled to get up in sprints but are well able to handle themselves safely in bunches. The group thinks this may help to swell numbers in the A3 bunch and keep the A4 category as more of an introductory category.
The full updated road grading rules can be found here.
Recommendations To Promotors
· Feedback from a recent grading survey has shown that A2 is a category which has been neglected in recent years and one in which there is a lot of interest. We feel that a lot of riders will be interested in racing A2 only races, rather than being put out the back of an A1 race in the first lap. We hope that promoters consider hosting A2 or A2/A3 only races to encourage greater participation in these categories, as opposed to an A1/A2 race. Also if there are other A1 races on the same day in the country perhaps one of the promoters will consider changing their headline race to A2. All of this will need a big push from Cycling Ireland and the racing community to make it happen.
· We encourage Race Promoters to explore the possibility of hosting races between two clubs over a weekend. For example, one club hosts youth races, women’s race and A4 race on Saturday while the other club hosts separate A1, A2 and A3 races on the Sunday.