BMX Numerology … the new ‘UCI International Elite Number System’

On January 1 2022 the new ‘UCI International Elite Number System’ comes into effect, all previous Elite Career Numbers will be revoked … here’s what comes next …

BMX Numerology … the new ‘UCI International Elite Number System’

On January 1 2022 the ‘UCI International Elite Number System’ comes into effect, all previous career numbers will be revoked revoked … here’s what comes next …

Bethany Shriver 2021 UCI BMX World Champion Papendal - DSC09911

​Elite riders have traditionally been given the opportunity to select their ‘UCI Career Number’ in the past, and they have chosen that number for a variety of reasons, from personal philosophies to birthdays and everything in between. But the UCI Career Number system has been frozen since January 2018, or to be more specific, the ability to select a Career Number has been frozen. Since the date of freezing, Championship riders registering for UCI events including the World Championships or the UCI Supercross World Cup Series were allocated a ‘temporary’ number. Now, a new system is about to come into effect … and as with everything, some will benefit and some, unfortunately, will not.

On the 31st December 2021 all UCI Career Numbers will be revoked and a new era of plate number allocation, the ‘UCI International Elite Number System’, will begin …

MARIANA PAJON #100 ‘I picked 100 after riding with a career number 111, as winning for me was an obsession … win, win or win, but after about two years of racing World Cups with that number I understood that I really love what I do and I had to put that in first place and so I changed my number for 100 because for me a victory is doing my absolute best every race and even if I didn’t win I wanted to cross the finish line knowing that I gave my 100%’


CONNOR FIELDS #11 – ‘There were only a handful of 2-digit numbers available in 2010 when my year was selecting … 11, 24, 39, 49 I think may have been the only ones. I had first choice and of those options I chose 11 as it was my favorite of the bunch.’


BETHANY SHRIEVER #911 ‘There’s no reason at all really, it’s my license number, and I just like how it looked and it’s now easily recognisable as my number, so I just stuck with it’


EDDY CLERTE #815‘It’s my birthday – 8 15 >> August 15’

Riders ranked in the top 40 of the ‘UCI Individual Rankings’ for Men Elite and Women Elite on 31st December 2021 will be invited to select a ‘UCI International Elite Number’ in the range from 10 to 199. As always numbers 1-8 are reserved for riders who make the UCI World Championship final, and, as before, nobody will get the option of number nine! A rider, who qualifies to select, and who previously held a number above 199 may choose to keep that number if they so wish, so for example, the USA’s Jeremy Smith (currently ranked 30) could decide to keep #259, while The Netherlands Justin Kimmann (currently ranked 49) would unfortunately lose the chance to keep his #243, unless of course he breaks the top 40 by year end.

Mariana Pajon 2019 Zolder Words - Fifteen BMX - DSC06481

In addition to the top 40 riders, all riders selected by their federations to attend the Tokyo Olympics, excluding reserve riders, will also get the chance to select or retain their current number. These numbers, once issued, will give the rider the ‘exclusive right of use for the entire Olympic Quadrennial for which it was awarded’ … essentially meaning the new ‘UCI International Elite Number System’ will be renewed every four years, assuming Covid23 doesn’t become a thing and extend the Olympic cycle again.

LAUREN REYNOLDS #21 ‘I chose it back when I was 19 or something and I knew I’d be turning 21 right around the London Olympics. My first Olympics. Sam also had 21 as a kid so I wanted it for that reason too! And visually I just liked the look!’


SYLVAIN ANDRE #39 ‘When I got to choose in 2010 there was very few numbers to pick from. 11-24-39-49, you know them right. I didn’t want to ask for 11 since it was Allier’ number. I was a big fan, but I wanted my own thing. My little brother has 39 (it’s random in France and you keep it for life). When my dad raced a few local races, he was given 39 as well. So, 39 was my first pick and I got it.’


LAURA SMULDERS #110 ‘I didn’t pick a number when I had to for my first year in Elite (2012), because I wanted 111 and it was already someone else’s. So thought to wait a year for it then had to quickly choose something for the games, 110 is literally almost 111. So, I went with 110. And then after I just stuck with it because London was pretty good’

Elite World Champions and Olympic Champions get to operate outside the four-year renewal system, they get to keep their number for their ‘entire Elite career’ once they figured in the Elite ‘Individual Rankings’ in the previous ‘Olympic Quadrennial’, meaning they must have gotten at least one UCI point, in at least one of the last four years. They must also still be in possession of a valid UCI Elite Licence.

Multiple requests for the same number will be decided upon by ranking in the top 40 … although riders in the top 40 who want to keep their current number will have first option on that number. The hierarchy of selecting is … present Olympic Champion, present World Champion, and then the top 40 ranked riders. We are not sure where Tokyo Olympians who do not rank in the top 40 come into the equation … for now we are assuming they will figure after the top 40 select, although they do of course get first option of their current number.

Sylvain Andre 2021 UCI BMX World Championships Papendal - DSC09911

It will be interesting to see if top of the list Niek Kimmann and Beth Shriever have been perusing their two-digit options or will they stick to 313 and 911 respectively, although we assume they will both run #1 until the 2022 World Championships.

Once a rider retires, and we’ve had a recent slew of them, their plate number will become available to others at the end of the Olympic Quadrennial in which they retired (see link below for rules on when a rider is deemed retired). The UCI also have the right to ‘permanently retire’ individual numbers, but as of now, have only opted to do this twice, Sam Willoughby’s ‘91’ and Kyle Bennetts ‘88’.

Riders who do not qualify to select a number will be issued a number in the following ranges: Elite 200-499, Under-23 500-799, Junior 800-999.


See the post 2021 World Championship UCI Career Number Lists >> Elite Women and Elite Men

See UCI Rules 6.1.094 to 6.1.098 HERE for the full UCI International Elite Numbering System.

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Laura Smulders 2021 UCI BMX World Championships Papendal - DSC09911