Many if my friends have been asking about racing, what “level” I’m currently on, and where I race.
First off, there is the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) based in Aigle, Switzerland which the IOC (International Olympic Committee) recognizes as the main organization for cycling. The UCI covers all competitive avenues of biking, ranging from Track to BMX (8 in total). This is about the road racing branch of the organization. After that there are the national federations that have there own races, most are categorized differently. Road races are numerically categorized, the first number denoting if it’s a one-day or stage race (either 1 or 2), the next number is the status/prestige. To be a WT (WorldTour) you somewhat need to be grandfathered in, most of those races have been going on for 60+ years. Here is an example of a one day race (if it was a stage race, a 2 would be put for the first number) ranking from highest to lowest-
Road cycling team ranks-
Amateur/Club- No ranking, riders on these teams can participate in their respective category (In America there are 5 categories, with 1 being the highest level before pro status).
UCI Continental– The first tier of professional racing, where teams can partake in every UCI races just below WT status (if invited). Currently 158 teams
UCI Pro-Continental– These teams can race in every UCI categorized event, even WorldTour if they get a wildcard invite. Currently 20 teams
UCI WorldTour– The pinnacle of the sport, these teams have a set WT racing calendar which they must all participate in, along with being able to do HC category races if invited. Currently 19 teams
The team I’m on, Bontrager Pro Cycling, is continental. We’ve been invited to HC category races (Tour of California and Colorado) for the past two years and have done a good bit of .1 ranked racing as well. This year, I raced for the USA Cycling team most of the time where we did racing from local to .1’s and Nations Cup races (another series exclusive to U23’s which decides how many riders you can take to the world championships at the tail-end of the season). Yeah, many things going on! This just scratches the surface of all the tours and points system’s that are in place. At the moment I’ve already been able to race in Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands! For another part of cycling, here is a link if you want to check out how much money these levels make- http://cyclingtips.com.au/2010/11/how-much-do-pro-cyclists-make/