Explainers Races

Race classifications

Understanding race classifications can be a complicated business. This brief explainer attempts to decode things.

British Continental teams will typically race a mixture of UCI certified races and British Cycling certified races. UCI races trump British Cycling in the race pecking order, so let’s start with the UCI race classifications.

UCI race classifications

UCI races are rated with numbered codes (e.g. 2.1, 1.HC, etc). The first part of the code denotes whether the race is a one-day race or a multi-day (stage) race.

  • 1 = One day race
  • 2 = Stage race

Then, the second part of the code indicates the race ranking. From highest to lowest these are:

  • .WT (World Tour)
  • .HC
  • .1
  • .2

The Rutland – Melton Cicle Classic, for example, is classified as a 1.2 race, meaning it is a one day race, with the lowest UCI race ranking. The Tour de Yorkshire, meanwhile, is denoted as 2.HC, as it is a stage race ranked just below World Tour level.

Importantly, Continental-level teams are only permitted to take part in races below World Tour level:

  • .HC races – Continental teams are permitted to race these if they are held in the country the team is registered in. Two foreign Continental teams are also allowed to race
  • .1 and .2 races – open to all Continental level teams, no matter their country of registration

Note that a national team of the country hosting the race is eligible for all the race categories (including World Tour races). And all national teams are eligible for invites in .1 and .2 races.

Other race classifications to watch out for are:

  • ‘U’ – races ending with the code U (e.g. 2.2U) are U23 races, like the U23 Giro d’Italia
  • NCup‘ – races with the code NCup are Nations Cup races involving national teams or ‘mixed teams’*

*Mixed teams are defined as teams composed of riders from teams eligible for the race but whose team is not racing. This allows teams like the UCI’s World Cycling Centre team and regional teams to compete alongside national teams.

British Cycling race classifications

British Cycling races sit underneath UCI-level races in the race hierarchy.

The key race classifications at this level are:

  • National A
  • National B
  • Regional A
  • Regional B
  • Regional C and Regional C+

The main focus for British Continental teams is National A races, especially as these are important for Tour of Britain qualification (more on that in another post to come), although many also ride some National B races too.


UCI Road Race Regulations (Part II – Road Races)

British Cycling road racing licence categories 


Feature photo: Canyon Eisberg / Hugh McManus

Hat tip to Matilda Price (@matildaprice_) and Lukas Knöfler (@lukascph) for their clarifications about .HC race permissions for Continental teams

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