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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

World Championship Qualifying

So it is a bit early to be talking about the World Championships but the deadline for the UCI points that go towards the number of riders a country can select for the U23 World RR Championships is on August 15th. While every member nation can send a maximum of 2 riders to the individual time trial, there is a whole points system for how many riders can be sent for the U23 RR, which is detailed here by the lovely people at the UCI.

Below, I have broken down the countries that would qualify riders under the current UCI rankings that date back to July 25th. These are not final by any means and could change a little bit before the final rankings in a few days time.

Africa

5 riders- Eritrea (possible +1)
4 riders- South Africa
3 riders- Morocco, Algeria, Rwanda

America

6 riders- Colombia (+1 for Pan Am)
5 riders- Costa Rica, USA
4 riders- Guatemala, Chile, Venezuela
3 riders- Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, Puerto Rico/Ecuador (tied for 10th...not sure of any tiebreaker)

Asia

6 riders-  Kazakhstan (+1 for Asian Champs)
5 riders- Malaysia
4 riders- Iran, Macau
3 riders-Hong Kong, South Korea, India

Oceania

5 riders - Australia (possible +1)
3 riders - New Zealand

Europe

6 riders- Switzerland (+1 for European Champs)
5 riders- Denmark, Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Norway, GB, Austria, Russia, Romania, Turkey, Slovenia, Spain, Poland
4 riders- Portugal, Georgia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, Slovakia
3 riders- Latvia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Belarus, Ireland, Serbia, Finland, Luxembourg

Also included (and not included yet) in those rankings were some countries that received a bonus rider as well as others that automatically qualified due to scoring Nations Cup points. A country can field a maximum of 6 riders in the U23 RR.

The bonuses or automatic qualifiers include:

-A nation finishing top 5 in the UCI Nations Cup Ranking. Currently, those nations are France, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark and Norway. All of these countries would receive an additional rider unless they are already at their maximum of 6. These rankings will not be final until the end of the month when the Tour de l'Avenir is over.

-If a nation is not qualified through UCI but they have scored Nations Cup points, then they are eligible to put 3 riders (out of 6 picked) in the U23 RR. Currently, this applies to Finland and Luxembourg. Both scored UCI Nations Cup points thanks to Alex Kirsch (U23 Ronde) and Matti Manninen (European Championships). Luxembourg is currently tied in 27th in the European rankings with Serbia but will get 3 riders in any case. Finland got lucky with a Manninen qualifying them because they don't have a deep talent case.

-If you have the outgoing Continental Champion, then you get an additional place on the team. The three continental championships on the Nations Cup Calendar are European, Pan-Am and Asian. The three countries that would get an additional rider include Switzerland (K√ľng), Kazakhstan (Galayev) and Colombia (Gaviria). Now, I am not certain if this includes Africa and Oceania because they happen off-season but if they do, it would cover Eritrea and Australia.

-The organizers nation gets an automatic 5 starters. So Spain, you might be lackluster in your economics but you are getting a little boost here. Now let's see if you can do much with that gift.

Another facts is that these countries *MAY* start these number of riders. Even though Finland got three starters for the U23 RR, they may only end up sending one. Macau, Georgia and Guatemala sending four riders? I somehow doubt that will happen. You might see some countries just sending a single rider. In any case, the official stuff will be out in a couple of days and then I can really begin my speculation.

**Some countries on the outside looking in for the RR include Ukraine, Sweden, Czech Republic, the three Baltics, Argentina and Canada, among others.

**EDIT: As of 8/15, these rankings are now official. The only way that countries can gain any additional riders or still qualify for the World Championships are by being in the top 5 of the Nations Cup ranking (gain 1 additional rider) or scoring any points in the Nations Cup. Really, the only countries that the latter could apply to are perhaps some of the rider's nations on the UCI Mixed Team.

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