Bikezilla

Ride the Puddles

Tying Womens’ Results to Overall Team Rankings: Follow Up

Posted by bikezilla on March 31, 2011


This is just to present some information I’ve gotten on programs like the one I’d love to see implemented by professional road cycling in order to promote womens racing.

— After I wrote Part 1 of this series, Megan Kelly, aka @MKBicycles, informed me via Twitter that USA Cycling has implemented just such a plan at the collegiate level.

So, via Twitter of course, I contacted them and they kindly provided me with this pdf file (sorry, no none pdf link available).

If you’ll read that, you’ll see that it’s a ridiculously simple graphic and explanation of an even more ridiculously simple system.

You’ll also almost immediately notice how the inclusion of a womens team becomes critically important once the numbers are combined. This is even more true if your womens team is of a high quality.

Places 6 and 7 would have been either 10th and 12th or 11th and 12th based upon the points of their mens teams alone.

The schools that refuse to fund a womens cycling program are at a clear and instant disadvantage.

Has that advantage lead to a greater number of womens teams?

I asked USA Cycling Collegiate through Twitter. Here’s there response:

“That scoring method has been around as long as Collegiate Cycling, so there’s nothing to compare it to… Although women make up 20% of collegiate cycling vs. 11% for non-collegiate licensees.”

That says a couple of things.

1. Even with the combined point totals for men and women used for the overall rankings, women are still underrepresented.

2. Even though the they’re still underrepresented, the percentage of schools with mens AND womens teams is double the representation in the professional ranks, where no such program exists.

I think we’d see just the opposite if pro cycling adopted this ranking system. Because it could make the difference between being approved for a ProTeam license and a ProContinental license, or ProContinental and Continental.

There’s more to lose at the professional level.

— THEN, Pigeons told me via Twitter that professional MTB racing recently began using such a system, with instantaneous result of increased sponsorship of womens MTB.

She even dug up a couple links for me.

UCI’s rules for combined ranking in MTB races (or at least in certain types of MTB races) counts the top so many men + the top so-many-minus-1 women (for instance, the top 3 men and the top 2 women on a team) and combines them for the team’s ranking.

This system began only 01 Jan 11 and is already seeing teams scrambling to sign the best female riders in an effort to take maximum advantage of the combined rankings.

HERE is another pdf (sorry) file showing the UCI’s system.

Scroll down to page 37 at 4.7.006 for the explanation.

It’s not all I hope for, but it’s a damned fine starting point for a trial run, especially in combination with the USA Cycling’s mens / womens combined college team ranking system.

I did contact UCI through Twitter to ask:

“Has combined men/women ranking for MTB teams resulted in increased sponsorships, races, prestige, pay on the womens side, yet?”

Understanding that this is a brand new program and the results and ramifications may not have been studied yet.

So far they’ve blown me off, but I’ll update if they reply.

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