Policy VIII - Rider Category Upgrading

revised: 8/17/20

General Upgrade Policies

  • Only races permitted by USA Cycling, another UCI affiliated National Federation, or another organization upon written agreement by USA Cycling will be recognized.
  • Races for voluntary upgrades will be recognized that date back 36 months from the upgrade request. The 36 month period has been extended due to the pandemic. Riders will be able to use results from March 2017 through the time when racing can resume without restrictions.
  • Riders who have upgraded will start with a zero race points balance in their new category. Where indicated in the policies, clinic points may be carried over (road and track 4>3).
  • Junior and Youth riders are exempt from mandatory upgrades in Road, Track and CX for points earned in junior and youth races
  • Juniors, Youth and Masters who earn points in Elite or U23 races in Road, Track and CX are subject to mandatory upgrades with those points only up to Category 3.
  • Series: Riders who are more than halfway through a series of ten races or less may request a one-time waiver of mandatory upgrade with approval from the series director and USA Cycling.
  • Professional: A Professional is a member of a UCI registered team in that discipline (note: “Pro” is an ability level in MTB, and a Professional would race in the Pro MTB category).
  • A rider who feels like they have advanced too quickly may request a downgrade through their USA Cycling account, with the request subject to review. Riders may not downgrade to the Novice category in any discipline.
  • A rider may be downgraded by USA Cycling for the following reasons: unsafe riding, lack of ability to compete in current category, or lack of placing within current category.
  • Juniors, Youth and Masters who earn points in Elite or U23 races in Road, Track and CX are subject to mandatory upgrades with those points only up to Category 3. Masters may only use a maximum of 10 points from age graded events for a Cat. 1 upgrade in road.

Road Upgrades

Place5-10 Starters11-20 Starters21-49 Starters50-69 Starters70+ Starters
13781011
2256810
314579
43468
52357
61246
7135
824
913
102
111

*mass start races only*


Other Criteria

Beginner Racer ProgramApproved ClinicStage Race
Recommended for all novices. 5 points upon successful completion for 4 > 3 upgrade (earned at any time)Up to 5 points for 4 > 3 upgrade as determined by USA Cycling (earned at any time)Points awarded per points table for overall GC based for 3 > 2 and 2 > 1

Track Upgrades

PlaceChampionships and UCI Omnium or Sprint TournamentChampionships and UCI Mass Start Single Race/Non-Championship Omniums or Sprint Tournament*Non-Championship Mass Start Single Race or Sprint Tournament^
1753
2532
3321
421
51

Upgrade points may not be earned in individual events that are part of an omnium - upgrade points for these events are assigned based on omnium placing only. * Sprint Tournament with more than 6 riders ^Sprint Tournament with less than 6 rider

Other Criteria

Road Category EquivalencyApproved Clinic
Riders who are Pro or Cat. 1 on road may be upgraded to Cat. 2 on track with approval of USA Cycling and may be required to successfully complete clinics or other skills training.Up to 5 points for 4 > 3 upgrade as determined by USA Cycling (earned at any time)

Cyclo-cross Upgrades

Place5-10 Starters11-20 Starters21-35 Starters36-60 Starters61-80 Starters81+ Starters
134581011
22346810
3123579
412468
51357
6246
7135
824
913
102
111

CX Conversion

Road Cat.MTB XC Cat.Suggested CX Cat.
Pro/1Pro1
2Pro3
324
4NoviceNovice
NoviceNoviceNovice

Cyclocross (CX) categories may also be upgraded by conversion from a rider’s earned road or mountain bike (MTB) cross country (XC) category. If during the season, a rider upgrades in road or MTB XC, the CX category can be upgraded to match the road or XC category shown in the chart.

Mountain Bike Upgrades

General Upgrade Policies

  • Only races permitted by USA Cycling, another UCI affiliated National Federation, or another organization upon written agreement by USA Cycling will be recognized.
  • Races for voluntary upgrades will be recognized that date back 36 months from the upgrade request. The 36 month period has been extended due to the pandemic. Riders will be able to use results from March 2017 through the time when racing can resume without restrictions.
  • Riders who have upgraded will start with a zero race points balance in their new category. Where indicated in the policies, clinic points may be carried over (road and track 4>3).
  • Junior and Youth riders are exempt from mandatory upgrades in Road, Track and CX for points earned in junior and youth races
  • Juniors, Youth and Masters who earn points in Elite or U23 races in Road, Track and CX are subject to mandatory upgrades with those points only up to Category 3.
  • Series: Riders who are more than halfway through a series of ten races or less may request a one-time waiver of mandatory upgrade with approval from the series director and USA Cycling.
  • Professional: A Professional is a member of a UCI registered team in that discipline (note: “Pro” is an ability level in MTB, and a Professional would race in the Pro MTB category).
  • A rider who feels like they have advanced too quickly may request a downgrade through their USA Cycling account, with the request subject to review. Riders may not downgrade to the Novice category in any discipline.
  • A rider may be downgraded by USA Cycling for the following reasons: unsafe riding, lack of ability to compete in current category, or lack of placing within current category.
  • Juniors, Youth and Masters who earn points in Elite or U23 races in Road, Track and CX are subject to mandatory upgrades with those points only up to Category 3. Masters may only use a maximum of 10 points from age graded events for a Cat. 1 upgrade in road.

Road Upgrades

Place5-10 Starters11-20 Starters21-49 Starters50-69 Starters70+ Starters
13781011
2256810
314579
43468
52357
61246
7135
824
913
102
111

*mass start races only*


Other Criteria

Beginner Racer ProgramApproved ClinicStage Race
Recommended for all novices. 5 points upon successful completion for 4 > 3 upgrade (earned at any time)Up to 5 points for 4 > 3 upgrade as determined by USA Cycling (earned at any time)Points awarded per points table for overall GC based for 3 > 2 and 2 > 1

Track Upgrades

PlaceChampionships and UCI Omnium or Sprint TournamentChampionships and UCI Mass Start Single Race/Non-Championship Omniums or Sprint Tournament*Non-Championship Mass Start Single Race or Sprint Tournament^
1753
2532
3321
421
51

Upgrade points may not be earned in individual events that are part of an omnium - upgrade points for these events are assigned based on omnium placing only. * Sprint Tournament with more than 6 riders ^Sprint Tournament with less than 6 rider

Other Criteria

Road Category EquivalencyApproved Clinic
Riders who are Pro or Cat. 1 on road may be upgraded to Cat. 2 on track with approval of USA Cycling and may be required to successfully complete clinics or other skills training.Up to 5 points for 4 > 3 upgrade as determined by USA Cycling (earned at any time)

Cyclo-cross Upgrades

Place5-10 Starters11-20 Starters21-35 Starters36-60 Starters61-80 Starters81+ Starters
134581011
22346810
3123579
412468
51357
6246
7135
824
913
102
111

CX Conversion

Road Cat.MTB XC Cat.Suggested CX Cat.
Pro/1Pro1
2Pro3
324
4NoviceNovice
NoviceNoviceNovice

Cyclocross (CX) categories may also be upgraded by conversion from a rider’s earned road or mountain bike (MTB) cross country (XC) category. If during the season, a rider upgrades in road or MTB XC, the CX category can be upgraded to match the road or XC category shown in the chart.

Mountain Bike Upgrades

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Novice category?

The Novice category replaces what was the lowest numerical category in each disciplines. Road 5, Cyclocross 5, Track 5, MTB 3.

The Novice category replaces what was the lowest numerical category in each disciplines. Road 5, Cyclocross 5, Track 5, MTB 3.

Why change the name?

The Novice category is an indicator for new riders that this is where they should start.

The Novice category is an indicator for new riders that this is where they should start.

What changes about the Novice category and how is it different that the old numerical category?

For the present, the old numerical category and new Novice designation are completely interchangeable. This includes any policies or regulations that apply to races or race directors. As an example, someone who has a Cat. 5 and is now a Novice will compete in the same races and under the same policies and regulations whether the event is labeled Novice or Cat. 5

For the present, the old numerical category and new Novice designation are completely interchangeable. This includes any policies or regulations that apply to races or race directors. As an example, someone who has a Cat. 5 and is now a Novice will compete in the same races and under the same policies and regulations whether the event is labeled Novice or Cat. 5

I am a Race Director and my race is for Cat. 5 – do I need to change the name?

No. Understanding that this is a rolling change the categories will be interchangeable for the near term. USAC is suggesting that events change the designation when permitting and creating event announcements and will be requiring this in the future.

Example

Cat. 5 Road Race  is now  Novice Road Race

Cat. 4/5 CX Race  is now  Cat. 4/Novice CX Race

No. Understanding that this is a rolling change the categories will be interchangeable for the near term. USAC is suggesting that events change the designation when permitting and creating event announcements and will be requiring this in the future.

Example

Cat. 5 Road Race  is now  Novice Road Race

Cat. 4/5 CX Race  is now  Cat. 4/Novice CX Race

I am a Race Director, is there anything different I need to do for the Novice category?

There are no current regulatory changes. However organizers are encouraged to provide a race experience catered around welcoming new race participants. 

There are no current regulatory changes. However organizers are encouraged to provide a race experience catered around welcoming new race participants. 

I am a rider and my license says Cat. 5 – do I need a new one?

No. The lowest category number designation in a category is completely interchangeable as part of this rolling change. Eligible categories on electronic licenses will be switched converted over to the new Novice designation. There is not need to obtain a new hard copy license.

No. The lowest category number designation in a category is completely interchangeable as part of this rolling change. Eligible categories on electronic licenses will be switched converted over to the new Novice designation. There is not need to obtain a new hard copy license.

Can I be a Novice in one discipline and a higher category in another?

Yes. You upgrade in the different disciplines based on the published upgrade criteria.

Yes. You upgrade in the different disciplines based on the published upgrade criteria.

Can Novices race with other categories?

Generally yes, subject to the rules that govern entries and how an event organizer creates their schedule.

Generally yes, subject to the rules that govern entries and how an event organizer creates their schedule.

Can I use a one-day license to race novice?

Yes.

Yes.

Can I stay a Novice forever?

There is no requirement based on time in category, however riders who meet certain performance criteria/success in racing/participation must upgrade to the next category per USA Cycling’s upgrade policy. See the specific guidelines per discipline.

There is no requirement based on time in category, however riders who meet certain performance criteria/success in racing/participation must upgrade to the next category per USA Cycling’s upgrade policy. See the specific guidelines per discipline.