USA Cycling has altered the road and cyclocross upgrade structures for 2013, increasing the points requirements for certain upgrades and eliminating the 12-month window for road points.
In cyclocross, the federation has added points triggers to mandatory upgrades to Category 2 and Cat. 1, which previously came after two wins in fields of at least 11 riders for Cat. 2 upgrades and 40 riders for Cat. 1 upgrades. Now, USAC will automatically upgrade a Cat. 3 who accumulates 15 points or two wins in a race fielding at least 30 riders; a mandatory upgrade will also apply to a Cat. 2 who accumulates 25 points or two wins in a field of at least 40 riders.
Additionally, the minimum of 10 starts or points for an optional Cat. 3 upgrade will now trigger a mandatory upgrade, and junior women are now exempt from mandatory upgrades to Cat. 2.
On the road, points will no longer expire after 12 months, a change that applies at the start of 2013.
Upgrades to Cat. 2 now require a minimum of 30 points (up from 25), and 40 points within a 12-month window will still trigger an automatic upgrade. Upgrades to Cat. 1 now require 35 points (up from 30), while 50 points within 12 months will still trigger an automatic upgrade.
Junior racers will no longer face mandatory upgrades to Cat. 2 or Cat. 1, but may upgrade if they achieve the appropriate points totals.
All upgrades to Cat. 4 (10 finishes in mass start races) and Cat. 3 (20 points, 10 top-10 finishes in fields of at least 30 riders, or 20 pack finishes in fields of at least 50 riders, with 30 points triggering a mandatory upgrade) remain unchanged.
The changes mean that upgrades become even more difficult as a rider progresses through the ranks in road and cyclocross, while junior racers will have more time to develop in a given category before upgrading or aging into the elite ranks.