Ironman today announced a global standardization of competition rules, thus aligning drafting distances, penalties wetsuit cutoff temps and some other rules worldwide.
“We have been working closely with the ITU on this initiative for the past year. As Ironman continues to grow globally and expand into emerging markets that have limited Federation support, it is important that we have a uniform set of rules at our races,” said Andrew Messick, CEO of Ironman. “This is a big first step for us to harmonize our competition rules, which will create a more consistent race day experience.”
This now allows an age group athlete from Europe to race either 70.3 Oceanside in the USA or 70.3 Busselton in Australia and have a clear understanding that the legal distance is 10 meters (or 5 bike lengths), measured from the leading edge of the front wheel and extending towards the back of the bike, and that is also true for that athlete when racing 70.3 Wiesbaden in Germany. That age grouper has then 20 seconds to go through that zone when attempting a pass. For the Pros the distance is 12 meters, which represents 6 bike lengths of clears space between bikes, and Pros have 25 seconds to make a pass, and that is a global standard. There is also a standard now when it comes to penalties. The first penalty now is 5 minutes, the second another 5 minutes, and the third one will mean a disqualification. Previously it was 4, 4 and out.
Wetsuit cut-off water temperatures have also been standardized, but one thing that is still a big headache for age group athletes racing globally is the non standardized or confusing helmet rule. That means the European age grouper we mentioned earlier is likely to get in trouble with Charlie Crawford or one of his assistants when that age grouper shows up with a CE certified helmet in Oceanside. Even an Aussie age grouper, where the helmet standards are considered the toughest, would not be welcome at 70.3 Oceanside or any other US 70.3 or Ironman event if the helmet did not have a CSPC sticker attached. That decision or rule however is not in the hands of Ironman or Jimmy Riccitello, that is something that needs to be addressed by USA Triathlon who enforces that rule and pushes it thus on Ironman. For Pros at least USA Triathlon gave the green light last year that these athletes would not have to show a CSPC sticker in their helmets in order to race.
Ironman also announced that Jimmy Riccitello would now be the global head referee of Ironman and in that role will travel to the majority of regional Ironman Championships.
"Minimizing drafting is a massive point of interest. It is a big deal for us and we don't want our events to become draft fests. We get that," said Riccitello to slowtwitch when asked about his new role.
Here now are the specifics of the rules announced today.
Age Group Athletes: The Age-Group bicycle draft zone is 10 meters long, measured from the leading edge of the front wheel and extending towards the back of the bike (5 bike lengths of clear space between bikes). An age-group athlete may enter the draft zone of another athlete when passing and must continuously progress through the draft zone. A maximum of 20 seconds will be allowed to pass through the zone of another athlete. Professional Athletes: The Professional bicycle draft zone is 12 meters long, measured from the leading edge of the front wheel and extending towards the back of the bike (6 bike lengths of clear space between bikes). A professional athlete must immediately move to the side upon entering the draft zone of another athlete when passing (i.e., no slipstreaming) and must continuously progress through the draft zone. A maximum of 25 seconds will be allowed to pass through the zone of another athlete.
Race Referee Cards – for both Professional and Age Group Athletes:
Yellow Card: Stop and Go Time Penalty
Blue Card: Five Minute Time Penalty
Red Card: Disqualification (DSQ)
Time Penalties – for both Professional and Age Group Athletes:
First Time Penalty: Five minutes
Second Time Penalty: Five minutes
Third Time Penalty: Disqualification (DSQ)
Any combination of three cards (yellow or blue) will result in a disqualification (red card).
Professional and Age Group wetsuit cut-off temperatures:
Professional athletes will be allowed to wear wetsuits in water temperatures up to and including 71.5F/21.9C. Age group athletes will be allowed to wear wetsuits in water temperatures up to and including 76.1F/24.5C. (Please note that for our U.S.A. Triathlon sanctioned events IRONMAN reserves the right to allow athletes to participate in the non-competitive wetsuit wave for water temperatures 76.2F/24.55C and up to 83.8F/28.8C)