The morning after the Sven Nys GP, where Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) battled Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) for victory, the world champion asked the UCI to change the rules regarding returned riders. Brand and Alvarado were separated by just four seconds at the end after exchanging turns at the front for the final two laps of the race. On the final lap, Brand finally turned away from the former world champion, but at a crucial moment, Alvarado was caught behind a cyclist on the lap and was forced to slow down her pursuit.
Brand was visibly upset when she and her compatriot tried to dodge the lapped riders. Alvarado’s career was significantly affected, especially when she was caught behind a USA Cycling athlete. For Alvarado, the race was a moment of return. The Alpecin-Fenix driver did not have the start to the season she expected and has had problems seeing herself at the head of the races.
“It’s not about this particular rider, this happens every week,” Brand continued. “I already contacted you last year about the problem and you even came up with a solution, but nothing happened.”
The rules regarding cyclists with laps in cyclocross state that the rider must complete the lap on which the lap was made and leave the race once they reach the finish line. The chairman of the stewards may also decide to implement the “80% rule” for specific races, where any rider whose time is 80% slower than the leader can be removed from the race in a specific area of the course. Unless, of course, they are on their last lap, in which case the rider with the lap is allowed to finish the race.
In his 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 little things like the location of my arm numbers,” Brand said. “But the real issues that are influencing the race are being ignored right now!”