Limit Riders on Teams in US Racing

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Okay, I’ve written about this before, but I can’t let it pass now that Nature Valley Grand Prix is happening with the same old boring ass bike racing. USAC needs to change the rules and restrict the number of riders to a maximum of 6 riders. Or better yet 5. I have no idea why this hasn’t happened already. The photos below show it all. All the criteriums turn into a 8 rider team time trial. That isn’t what criterium racing is all about. It isn’t good for anyone, the promoter, the riders, and especially the spectators.

Before this cat bite, I had wished I would have gone up to Nature Valley, but after looking at yesterdays results, I realize I’m not missing anything. I know a bunch of guys that don’t race these races anymore just because of the day after day tempo sessions. And I know a lot of super fans that don’t go to watch races like these either. Really, in general it is lazy ass bike racing.

So, anyone out there that has some sort of power to govern the sport, get off your asses and pass a rule to allow actual bike racing to happen at bicycle races.

Boy, exciting racing. Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Pretty close finish. Wonder why they didn't wait for 4th and 5th.

Criterium racing at it's best.

Or how about this finish in the NRC race last week back East. 1-2-3-4. Excitement galore.

12 thoughts on “Limit Riders on Teams in US Racing

  1. dull

    Dull race. UHC did what they had to do in a stage race crit. But it was so dull. Only once did Bissell try to take over, but got swamped by blue. With 8 laps to go i predicted 1,2,3, only thing i got wrong was Sutherland not being in the 1-3. If anything with 3 to go they got too zealous and went too hard, should have been 1-5. Dull racing.

  2. Lindsay

    I have to disagree. Yes, it sucks to be in the race when one or a few teams can dominate. But at the same time, good on them for being well-trained, polished machines. And as a spectator, it is cool to see the UHC guys form up out of a huge pack of fast-moving guys and line up at the front to set up for win.

  3. FPA

    How you are not a regular contributer to Velonews or better yet: Podium Insight or Peloton Mag I do not know…

    Someone should have a “Steve’s Corner” or “Tilford’s Thoughts” column regularly.

    Love this blog.

  4. Karen

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Steve. I am really trying very hard to not be snarky about other comments especially the ‘well trained’ one. What a boring a$$ race Clarendon and AFCC turned out to be when these HUGE guys showed up in blue and bullied the peloton. To be fair they didn’t bully, but they did block, cover and dominate, all 8 of them. The other issue I had with Clarendon was the very small field size in comparison to previous years. Hot boring day of racing for sure.

  5. tilford97 Post author

    Lindsay-I respect that opinion, but have to disagree. It is somewhat interesting watching a team work in unison to set up for the end of the race, but it is getting ridiculous. Less than half the teams at Nature Valley have a full team at the start. Mainly, the only teams with full roosters are professional teams. So, it’s a bunch of the best riders on teams with more riders controlling the race.

    In the Clarendon and Air Force races last weekend, UHC had 8 riders out of less than 60 finishers. That is a joke. 8 of me could have controlled that race and I’m not nearly as good as most the guys on UHC. It isn’t a difficult thing. It is just the numbers.

    Watch Sunday in Stillwater. A very hard technical course. Probably the hardest criterium in the United States. It will be a tempo session. I could have told you that it was going to be a tempo session a year ago. Boring, not exciting, not bike racing. It’s bike riding.

    Feel free to go and watch the mass roll around until 2 laps to go. It’s not worth the gas money.

  6. Nathan

    With multiple NRC events on the same dates, a 6-rider max might encourage more of the big teams to split their squads at more events. UHC could have sent 4-6 guys to Tulsa Tough and still line a solid team up for the AirForce Classic.

    I would hate to see the local teams leave guys on the sidelines, but these teams don’t really need (or want) 8-12 guys in a regional P/1/2 race either. Smaller teams equal smaller budgets, which equals more competition. Sounds like a win-win to me.

  7. PackFill

    Your comments about boring bike racing aside, I think every Continental Team at NVGP should protest to the UCI that UHC was allowed to participate at all!! The rules governing PRO CONTI teams not being able to do non UCI races was well advertised and a rule the UCI specifically said they were going to enforce. BMC, TYPE 1 and Spidertech should also protest. Why not allow Pro guys to enter cat 3 races, or let 20+ guys enter master races.

  8. Fabio Cardoso

    Can one 8 man team, hold off 5 other smaller teams of 4 and 5 riders attacking them all the time ? I think what those races are lacking are more aggressive and not riders who are afraid of shifting one more gear down and pushing the pedals. Riding is riding, racing is about racing and now sitting in. Shooooot, if I paid to race, who cares if I blow-up trying. At least I my excitement out of my race. I’m sure the rest of the field at those races are feeling great about not doing anything at the race. What if Lance Armstrong shows up with his Tour Team ? ATTTTTTACK !!! Make it fun …. ( Just my selfish thoughts….of how to have fun at a race, which I know I will not win ).

  9. Nick Frey

    Steve, I agree 100% having been at these races as well as Wilmington and Tour de Grove. I feel I cannot escape the dogfight behind the UHC train. It just sucks, and makes for super dangerous races as well.

  10. notpro

    Attack? Really, you have clearly never been there. Almost impossible to get by the train when they are chopping the course and you are going to need at least 4 more guys to even ride the same tempo as an 8-man UHC train. Plus it is a crit at the start of a stage race.


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