The morning after the GP Sven Nys, where Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) battled Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) for victory, the world champion called on the UCI to change the rules regarding lapped riders. Brand and Alvarado were separated by only four seconds at the finish after swapping turns at the front for the final two laps of the race. The last lap saw Brand finally distance the former world champion, but at a crucial moment, Alvarado was caught behind a lapped rider and forced to slow her chase.
Brand was audibly upset as she and her compatriot tried to dodge lapped riders. Alvarado’s race was significantly impacted, especially when she was caught behind a USA Cycling athlete. For Alvarado, the race was a comeback moment. The Alpecin-Fenix rider didn’t have the early season she was hoping for and has struggled to see the front of races.
“It’s not about this particular rider, this happens every week,” Brand continued. “I already contacted you last year about the problem and even came up with a solution, but nothing happened.”
The rules regarding lapped riders in cyclocross state that the rider must complete the lap in which they were lapped and leave the race once they reach the finishing straight. The president of the commissaires can also decide to implement the “80% rule” for specific races, where any rider whose time is 80% slower than the leader can be pulled from the race in a specific zone of the course. Unless, of course, they are on their final lap, in which case the lapped rider is permitted to finish the race.
In her tweets, Brand suggested using the pit area as the 80% zone, where riders can be pulled.
“It feels unfair to get warning after warning from UCI officials for small things like the placement of my arm numbers,” Brand said. “But the real problems which are influencing the race are ignored right now!”