UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

The weekly update and a significant moment as there’s the first change among the top-18 teams. Cofidis climb out of the relegation zone, overtaking the Israel-PremierTech team which slips to 19th place.

What’s Changed Since Last Week?

  • Cofidis scored 592 points, Israel 58 points and this allowed the French team to move up to 18th place and so Israel fall to 19th and below the relegation line
  • It was a busy week, including four 1.Pro one day races which bring 200 points to the winner, 150 for second, 125, 100 and so on
  • Alpecin-Fenix were the top scorers with 827 points, ahead of Cofidis, then Bahrain with 585 points and Arkéa-Samsic 521 points
  • Arkéa-Samsic keep moving up, now overtaking EF Pro Cycling
  • Bike Exchange have been close to the relegation zone but after Simon Yates in Paris-Nice the previous week, this time Michael Matthews scored big with his fourth place in Sanremo
  • The three low scorers were EF on 34 points, Ineos 16, Astana 15
  • Currently Total Energies and Lotto-Soudal stand to get the automatic invites to the grand tours in 2023 as the best ProTeams

Israel-PremierTech are like someone who’s gone for a walk on the beach and got a shoe wet from a rogue wave, they’re hardly up to the neck in salt water. It’s news that they’ve slipped to 19th place but in a long season all can change and we should keep our eyes on other teams. We’ll see how Israel score in the coming months, there’s a current injury worry for their top scorer Giacomo Nizzolo who fractured his wrist in Sanremo and could miss some races. But Michael Woods should thrive in the Volta a Catalunya this week, especially as there’s no time trial this time. Strategically we might wonder if relegation matters to the team, after all it’s a project primarily funded by wealthy hobbyists rather than a marketing project driven by strict commercial imperatives. But things are bound to get crunchy because as things stand – stress caution again, it’s still March – if Israel were to get relegated they’d not get an automatic invite to the grand tours. Would races invite them and if not, what happens to the team?

Animated Bar Chart Race

One reader said this was a gimmick last week and they’re right. But it’s better than a line chart, trying to get 24 lines of data, label them and spot the differences is too much, the chart is too messy for the desktop or phone screen you’re reading now.

Background info
If this is all new to you, then at the end of the season in October the top-18 teams based on the three year rankings meet the sporting criteria for WorldTeam status. Teams outside of the top-18 risk being relegated down to UCI ProTeam status which means they are not guaranteed to start in the biggest races like the Tour de France.

The UCI publishes rankings overnight between Monday and Tuesday. The rankings are compiled from the sum of UCI points won by each team’s 10 highest scoring riders for each season, 2020, 2021 and now 2022, as shown in red on the chart above. You can see the points available in different races in the UCI Points and Rankings Tables Explainer post from January.

38 thoughts on “UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly”

  1. IPT really need one of their well-paid old timers to step up and score. Given that’s unlikely to be Froome, then maybe Vanmarcke (one of my favourite riders) for E3, Gent-Wevelgem, one of the two Flanders or P-R, or Fuglsang for Amstel, La Flèche or LBL. Interesting stuff.

    • It’s good for them and they scored 492 points last week, with Turgis as you say landing most of this… but they’re surely out of the promotion/relegation race? Where they can do well with the points is position themselves for automatic invites next year by scoring plenty.

    • I feel Sagan is on the brink of landing some points. He’s had some not really noteworthy, but decent results already and he didn’t have a lot of luck, although the saying is that when you’re on form, you evade bad luck. I might be wrong, but he also looks not as bulky as usual. He seemed to have gained a lot of muscle mass compared to his early and succesful days and I’m not sure that was a good thing.

  2. The gimmick comment was me 🙂 Visualizing 20+ data traces in a single graph that is readable on a mobile device is a big ask. In the end, I guess it is a good choice to use the graph type that is most fun to watch.

      • Yes, it might take a race-by-race assignment of approximate points wins for each team to build a prediction from the ground up.

        Eyeballing the first chart, my guess is somewhere just under 15,000, let’s say 14,873 – if the previous years are any guide.

        I’ll check in on this you-saw-it-here-first prediction in October!

    • In 2019 and 2021, the team finishing 18th had about 4,700-4,900 points.
      Because of Covid, 3,000 points were enough in 2020.

      If you add those together, then you’re looking at about 12,600 points over the 3 years. I suspect teams are aiming for at least 13,000 before they start to feel confident.

  3. I wrote a lot on the subject commenting on a previous post, but it’s worth stressing again that this is a mere tool by which the UCI is trying to leave the “less competitive” teams out WT (given that they *have to* leave out some teams, in order to save spots at GTs for invited teams, or they’d be at war again with organisers).
    That is, the idea is IMHO sort of: “since we can’t have a totally closed league system because at the end of the day such a system would hinder grassroots and races, let’s try not to lose those projects whose contribution to the whole competition system, smaller races included, is the most valuable”.
    Which is why, among other things, you reward very generously teams going hard for small races, and notably some small Classics, which are very important for the “well-being” of cycling movements (it doesn’t explain at all why this is further boosted in France, but, hey, let’s avoid an excess of questions, as Borrell once said).
    All the above has something but not very very much to do with being a successful cycling pro team. Pro cycling is essentially winning races, and big ones way more than smaller ones. Podiuming (i.e. getting close) at least, or getting close although your final position gets worse trying. Obviously, it all also relates to the team’s level (i.e. budget, i.e. how much money was thrown jn by the sponsor), and hence relative expectations.
    The point system barely mirrors the above. But that’s because it isn’t about who’s doing great as much as about who’s being generally competitive.
    Matthews’ 4th place at the Sanremo is quite much a failure by most means (he did better before, he could do better with his present form, he was quite much invisible most of the time – which is how you win Sanremo, indeed, unless you don’t win it; if the latter is the case, you’d better try something, perhaps, just ask Turgis). Yet he bagged a lots of points for the team because, no doubt, he was a top competitor, he went hard for the race, and in perspective it would be a pity to have out a team with this sort of player.

  4. I an season where several teams are already beset with illness and injuries the ability to maintain a healthy squad may well play a substantial role in season end points. In the case of teams like Groupama-FDJ where gaps can be filled by riders from the development squad there seems to be a clear advantage. A quick glance through the Conti team shows that already nine riders have ridden for the WT team (several multiple times). The riders help bringing back breaks and leading out, but do their points count for the team for which they are riding at the time (WT) or the team to which they belong (Conti)?

    • I’ll try and keep it a weekly thing, we might not see teams change position every week but it’s worth keeping an eye on, I find it adds something, eg you see Yates and Woods not make the front group in Catalunya and there’s added drama.

      Besides I’ve got the tables/charts so might as well share them each time the official numbers come out every Tuesday morning so I can drop them into the spreadsheet.

      Not sure about Israel yet, they have old riders but some good ones like Woods, Nizzolo and Fuglsang who can score, up to them. Lotto are very dependent on Ewan, and we’ll see if Cofidis can keep going throughout the season. Plus more teams could get sucked in soon.

      • > Plus more teams could get sucked in soon.

        At BORA, 19 of 30 riders are out with sickness or injuries. So these 19 can’t score and as Ralph Denk remarks, the other riders are going from race to race and can’t get in shape as they don’t regenerate.

        East to imagine that sickness might play a role in not scoring with so many riders out.

  5. It is interesting if you look at how all these relegation battle teams have their points distributed. Israel’s 10th rider is Ben Hermans at only 13 points. He is someone who could pick up a few top-10 GC’s and get a ~200-300 points by season end, but Dan McLay at Arkea is 10th on his team at 110 points, but also will end up likely at ~200-300 points by season end. So some teams have a lot more opportunity to improve just by their lower counting riders not having scored many point yet.

    • If Ben Hermans doesn’t get more than 300 points by season’s end then something will have gone wrong either with him or the team. He’s an ideal rider to send to smaller climbers’ races from May onwards when the GTs start and the pressure of Spring is off. It’s been his MO for a few years and he’s good at it.

  6. I know nerds like us all love tables and data, but the underlying policy cuts to a vital issue: to give more value to results beyond the winner.
    This afflicts racing from the juniors to the pros. It’s not about downgrading the value of a win. In a winner takes all sport, #1 will always be the most important.
    But by recognising lower finishing places, albeit through a rather labyrinthine structure, you open new angles: for riders to show wider value; teams to work up fresh marketing channels; smaller races to demonstrate their importance, however small; and journalists (and bloggers) to shine a light on undercovered parts of the calendar.
    I’m not defending the detail of this current plan, as I’m not knowledgeable enough about the money and power politics in Aigle and beyond. But the overarching concept seems constructive.
    (From someone who in their racing days invariably finished ‘nearly 7th’.)

    • It’s a tricky system, how to reward wins vs teamwork and all that? I’m wary of any rankings system as it tends to say more about the committee that designed the system more than the sport. But here at least the three year system’s been in place for some time so teams have been able to plan for it as best they can, and now watching those teams involved here (not the Ineos/UAE etc) brings added interest.

  7. My question – do all the teams ‘have to ‘accept world tour status if in the top teams ? Can they decline ? I’m thinking teams like alpecin who get all the benefits of WT like invited to big races , but can cherry pick ones they don’t want, which they couid not do as a WT team

    • No, teams don’t have to get promoted. But Arkéa-Samsic have said they will apply so that’s a given. For Alpecin-Fenix, as things stand on the rankings they qualify for the World Tour on the 3 year rankings but if they don’t apply then on the basis of the one year ranking they won’t get invited to the grand tours next year (as things stand, long way to go etc) so why would they not apply? It’s such a cheap insurance to get a seat at the top table, the admin fees saving is about €50k but the real cost of being World Tour is having to do different races at the same time, so having the roster and the logistics to support this. But Alpecin, with Fenix and Deceuninck and Canyon, can surely manage this.

  8. Why would alpecin not get invited if they decline WT status? Are there no invites to any grand tours next year ?

    Thanks inrng for all you do, I’m currently working through your book reviews and reading them

    • They don’t get the automatic invites. As things stand that’s currently Lotto-Soudal and TotalEnergies. Now they could hope organisers give them a wildcard but it’s a big risk, sure everyone likes van der Poel but if there are only two places left, one might go to local team for a grand tour and what if Uno-X do well, what if Davide Cassani’s new Italian team project happens… especially by 2024 and 2025 it seems a gamble to try.

    • Groves won great, nice confidence when nodding at Matthews to push on although Bauhaus had stolen first wheel ahead of him. Commenters here were indeed expecting him to step up, and he did. Fun stat: the two back-to-back WT stage victories in one of the top 7 historical stage races in the calendar were worth (slightly) less points than Dion Smith (2nd) losing to Hirschi the Per Sempre Alfredo “classic”, thanks to Kevin Colleoni’s 10th place in that same race ^__^

    • However, not a 100% joy day: Yates crashing and then finding himself on the wrong side of some echelons might cost the team a good deal of points when final GC us concerned, at least if he doesn’t blast the competition (which he could do, nice form)… now that he’s over 30″ back to 35 riders or so, among whom there’s also a number of decent climbers.

    • I don’t know if “content” would be the right word, as he seems pretty competitive. It’s definitely not a catastrophe, though. His big target for the season is the Giro (and if he keeps his current form up he’s got to be considered one of the favorites in Italy).

  9. I don’t really get why invites are based on one seasons score yet relegation is based on a three year score. Wouldn’t it make more sense for them to be the same?

  10. Why are the invites worked out on a one year points total but the relegation is based on a three year points total? Wouldn’t it make sense to align them?

    • I suppose three years gives teams a chance to build, target races and helps protect against bad luck, eg a top rider who crashes out eg Van der Poel’s back injury. But year on year has more variability, a team doing well one year can count on a smaller, incremental form of promotion for the following season.

      • Very true and I guess if a team is continually winning the rankings and being invited to world tour races then they can attract riders and sponsors to make a transition to world tour more feasible

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