Cycling South Africa recently released the selection criteria for road cyclists to qualify for international events in 2019, with September’s UCI Road World Champs in Harrogate, England, a major focus.
To make it onto the long-list – the selection qualification programme (SQP) – riders will have been required to take part in the SA national road champs held in Pretoria earlier this month.
The top 20 riders in the elite men’s race and top 15 in the elite women’s category are automatically considered for the SQP.
Thereafter, each rider is measured based on their performances and participation in other popular classics in the first half of the year.
“The selection process is designed to bring the best riders to the fore so we can maximise our national points load,” Cycling SA general manager Mike Bradley said.
“In doing so we qualify more riders for [worldwide] events such as the world champs and  Olympic Games.”
Riders will be required to complete at least five classics of the 10 selected until May.
Those races include A-graded events such as the Ride for Sight, the PPA Sportive series event at Windmeul Kelder, Berge & Dale, Herald Cycle Tour, Cape Town Cycle Tour, Tour Durban, Emperors Palace Classic and 100 Cycle Challenge.
The various provincial road champs that take place around the country and the B-graded Wilro Lions Cycle Challenge are also monitored.
“According to the policy, the 947, Amashova and Tshwane Classic are used for early-year selections and then the SQP is refreshed after SA’s [national champs] for events later in the year,” Bradley explained.
“The events chosen are to give as much spread around the country as possible.”
Riders are also urged to compete in at least three UCI-categorised events before August 31 to receive recognition.
Riders who are part of a WorldTour team or a pro-Continental or Continental team are automatically exempted from having to make the SQP.
After riders have taken part in the various selected events on the local calendar, coupled with any other UCI events, they are assessed according to a points weighting system.
The national road champs carries the heaviest weighting, with the UCI-category 1 and 2 events having the second and third most bearing respectively.
The local classics and provincial champs are categorised as the fourth and fifth highest weightings respectively.
Points are allocated to riders based on their finishing positions in each race category – the higher the weighting, the more points awarded.
However, any rider who is ranked in the world UCI top 10 at the time of selection will be exempt from all performance criteria.
Riders’ form at the time of selection, as determined by various scientific data tests, will also be considered.
Bradley explained that the number of riders to make the cut for the SQP would not necessarily have a limit.
“We have not placed a finite number on the SQP because we could be in a position where we have three [national] teams racing over similar periods.
“The SQP is for selectors’ perusal so that they know which riders have met the criteria to be selected or not,” he added.
Regarding national selection for the world champs, the criteria document states that the world showpiece is a “strategic event” and that “only riders capable of achieving results will be selected”.
“Riders wanting experience at world championships will not be considered,” the policy said.
The statement also noted that a quota system would be implemented, with each team needing to target a 33 per cent representation of previously disadvantaged individuals while still meeting the selection criteria.
“There are significant changes to the policy to ensure all interested parties have specific access to be included and considered for selection, whether racing overseas or locally,” Bradley added.