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How Does UCI's Tier Division System Work?

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How Does UCI's Tier Division System Work?

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Old 07-17-07, 05:54 PM
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ShuaMarc
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How Does UCI's Tier Division System Work?

This weekend I watched a rider from Jittery Joe's lap an entire field of Cat 1 racers. I was amazed.

Of course I was impressed by his ability, but I was also surprised that there could be such a difference in ability. I came to realize that Jittery Joe's is only a tier III team. So now I'm really curious about the difference in ability among the tiers.

How big of a difference is there between tier III and tier I pro teams? As big of a difference between NCAA division I and III teams?

In Wikipedia it says that UCI is controversial, among other reasons, because the lack of mobility in the tier system. Is this true? How do they decide where teams are? How do teams move up?

I'd appreciate any feedback on the subject or tangents. After seeing Sunday's crit I'm trying to figure out what it means to be a pro.
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Old 07-17-07, 09:22 PM
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While his feat was indeed impressive, no doubt, you have to keep in mind that there might be some other factors besides his incredible LT at work.

1) Blocking
2) Non-cooperation from chasing teams
3) Crashes

All of these things can really, really give a guy an advantage. Also, it should be noted that there are plenty of Cat1's who could be riding as "pro" racers but choose to have a family/real job/life instead of trying to live the $12,000 dream. A Pro is just a Cat 1 (or 2, even) who has just had a professional team sign him to their roster. I could cat up next week, and if a pro team wanted to sign me, I could be a professional instantly, despite having no real credentials.
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Old 07-17-07, 09:24 PM
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And to answer your question:

The UCI's Tier system is basically based on the amount of money that the team's sponsors are pouring into the team for bikes, travel, salaries, personnel, etc. Your division is based on this, and generally speaking, the biggest and best funded teams can afford to pay for the best riders, so you get a sort of natural selection that way. The best stay the best as a result of their sponsors forking over the $$$.
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Old 07-17-07, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ShuaMarc View Post
This weekend I watched a rider from Jittery Joe's lap an entire field of Cat 1 racers. I was amazed.

Of course I was impressed by his ability, but I was also surprised that there could be such a difference in ability. I came to realize that Jittery Joe's is only a tier III team. So now I'm really curious about the difference in ability among the tiers.

How big of a difference is there between tier III and tier I pro teams? As big of a difference between NCAA division I and III teams?

In Wikipedia it says that UCI is controversial, among other reasons, because the lack of mobility in the tier system. Is this true? How do they decide where teams are? How do teams move up?

I'd appreciate any feedback on the subject or tangents. After seeing Sunday's crit I'm trying to figure out what it means to be a pro.
He didn't lap the "entire" field. I was with Neil (the Jittery Joe's rider) until about 35 minutes to go. My saddle had come loose shortly after we had attacked the group 20 minutes into the race so I was riding with a saddle that I couldn't sit on firmly for the rest of the race. After 35 minutes, my legs weren't recovering when I needed to stand and I couldn't keep up with him up the hill. He definitely would have beat me but I'm sure I would have stayed with him. I know he didn't lap the group I was in or the group right behind us, but he had lapped the main field as my group did also. Neil did have an excellent ride and was just stronger than everybody else. There was no blocking going on as he had no teammates and I had only one that dropped out early due to the difficulty of the course. Also, everybody was chasing and that is why the field disintegrated. There were also no crashes in our race. Neil is one of the better riders on any of the Continental teams. He has won stages and jerseys at many of the top US stage races.

Duke of Kent gives a pretty good Cliff's notes version of how the tier system works, however, he makes it sound very easy to get on to a pro team. Protour teams (used to be called Div. or Tier 1), which are the top teams, must do all of the Protour races and can do other races. Pro Continental teams (used to be called Div. or Tier 2) can be invited to Protour races and also usually race internationally. The three Pro Continental teams from the US have raced in Europe this year. Continental teams (used to be called Div. or Tier 3), can race through out their continent. There are also rules that regulate Continental teams. They do not have to pay a minimum salary like the Protour teams, but they are developmental so they must include young riders. They used to have to have an average age of 25, then I believe it changed to 27 and now I think they must include 5 riders under the age of 25. Pro teams can only sign category 1 riders and usually someone that has become a 1 has at least some credentials. Usually teams will sign guys after they have at least a year of putting up results in the 1s. The young guys that I have seen get signed have usually put up solid results, ridden with the junior or Under 23 national team, or both.
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Old 07-18-07, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by redal
He didn't lap the "entire" field. I was with Neil (the Jittery Joe's rider) until about 35 minutes to go. My saddle had come loose shortly after we had attacked the group 20 minutes into the race so I was riding with a saddle that I couldn't sit on firmly for the rest of the race. After 35 minutes, my legs weren't recovering when I needed to stand and I couldn't keep up with him up the hill. He definitely would have beat me but I'm sure I would have stayed with him. I know he didn't lap the group I was in or the group right behind us, but he had lapped the main field as my group did also. Neil did have an excellent ride and was just stronger than everybody else. There was no blocking going on as he had no teammates and I had only one that dropped out early due to the difficulty of the course. Also, everybody was chasing and that is why the field disintegrated.
Congratulations Josh--nice result! Out of curiousity, how would you rate (or rank) the San Marcos course compared to, say, La Mirada, Manhattan Beach, West LA, etc.? I didn't realize it was so challenging, but based on your race report, it really must have been tough. (Or course, it's the riders who take advantage of the course to break it up like that...)

Mark
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Old 07-18-07, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by OTB View Post
Congratulations Josh--nice result! Out of curiousity, how would you rate (or rank) the San Marcos course compared to, say, La Mirada, Manhattan Beach, West LA, etc.? I didn't realize it was so challenging, but based on your race report, it really must have been tough. (Or course, it's the riders who take advantage of the course to break it up like that...)

Mark
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Mark,

You would have done great. I've admired your results this year. I don't consider the course at Manhattan Beach to be too challenging, it's hard for me because of who shows up and the fact that it usually (99.9% of the time) comes down to a field sprint. I don't like field sprints. San Marcos is probably between La Mirada and West LA in terms of difficulty with La Mirada being the easiest of the three. I could be kind of biased since I have had good rides at La Mirada but have never had a good ride at West LA (I can't figure out why). The grade is really similar on all three courses to me with West LA maybe being the steepest. San Marcos is also right in the middle distance wise. They advertised the course as 1.7 miles but I think it was a little shorter because we were doing almost exactly 3 minute laps. I feel like you get the most recovery on the La Mirada course and the least recovery on the West LA couse.

Josh
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Old 07-18-07, 03:00 PM
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Thanks Josh. Sad to have missed it. BTW, I admire your results more. Mine are pretty one-dimensional ...hilly and hot being the common denominators. You've got nice results across the entire spectrum of races! Keep up the good work.

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Old 07-18-07, 03:10 PM
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Thanks! In local races I can usually find a way into the placings as long as it isn't a field sprint.
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