UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

The weekly update and it’s been great for Intermarché thanks to Biniam Girmay’s win in Wevelgem, the ranking points are a side story… but we’ll zoom in on the points here as usual for the standings.

What’s Changed Since Last Week?

  • Jumbo-Visma (1355 points, of which 1120 scored by Wout van Aert and Christophe Laporte), Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert (855 points), and UAE Emirates (798 points) were the top three scorers. Spot the interloper among the big budget teams. Biniam Girmay’s Gent-Wevelgem means a lot more than UCI points but he collected 500 points for it and the team’s bid to stay in the World Tour gets reinforced by this. IWG now overtake EF Education in the three year standings
  • Among the teams included in the charts here, EF Education (87 points), Israel (50 points) and B&B Hotels (25 points) scored the least
  • No change in the promotion/relegation places. Last week Israel-PremierTech slipped into the relegation zone after Cofidis leapt past, the French team has kept the foot on the accelerator to widen their lead
  • Arkéa-Samsic had another solid week with 620 points, Nairo Quintana’s fourth place in Catalunya helping, likewise Nacer Bouhanni winning for the first time since 2020
  • DSM are beginning to pick up points. EF and Astana are still struggling, their haul for the season so far is less than many other teams have got in a week
  • Israel’s having a rough time and if they were faring better there’d surely be a tighter relegation battle with Movistar, EF, Intermarché and BikeExchange all in the mix
  • BikeExchange did well considering Simon Yates was one of many Catalunya DNF, 433 points was a decent haul with Kaden Groves getting in the groove but it was Groenewegen’s second place in De Panne that posts 250 precious points
  • Lotto-Soudal had a quiet week, just 154 points which leaves them loitering in the relegation zone. Quick-Step scored 154 was well which is surprising as the blue team tends to score big in the spring classics but they’re misfiring and we don’t need the UCI points to tell us this, but they do help to show just how badly
  • Currently Total Energies and Lotto-Soudal stand to get the automatic invites to the grand tours in 2023 as the best ProTeams, the French team continues to score sans Sagan, he’s only their 9th best points earner

Two things to muse on. First Arkéa-Samsic, 13th in the standings and obvious for promotion but not certain. We can at least begin to think about what the future holds, scoring points has been the objective so far this year but what for 2023-2025? It’s one thing to aim for the World Tour, but reach it and what comes next? Do they try and continue as a team trying to hustle and rustle points or aim for something different? Quintana’s contract is up and he’s on the market, this will tell us something about the direction they go, if the Colombian leaves, who comes in? Also with Alpecin-Fenix presumably looking for promotion – they still haven’t said anything aloud – what will Canyon do, is it worth having two three World Tour teams given they supply Movistar too?

Second, UCI points don’t matter to the big teams but they do for the smaller ones. Patrick Lefevere even said the other day that having the UCI number one logo on the Quick-Step jersey annoyed him as it’s real estate he can’t sell; although before anyone points it out in the comments, all teams have a UCI WorldTeam logo anyway. It’s nice to be number one but first or fifth, there’s not much meaning to it, what counts is having a memorable season: better to win the Tour de France rather than to place fourth throughout the season. But points matter to the smaller teams and those scrapping for promotion and relegation. A case in point, here are Lotto-Soudal’s provisional rosters for the Volta Limburg on Saturday and the Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday:

  • Limburg: Gilbert, Wellens, De Lie, Drizners, Grignard, Kron, Selig
  • Ronde: Campenaerts, Buellens, Wellens, Frison, Grignard, Van Moer, Vermeersch

For a Belgian team they’re clearly sending a strong team to a Dutch race on the eve of the Ronde and the UCI points system here is a big incentive.

Animated bar chart race

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.

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

  1. I note that with the return of MVDP and Merlier starting to score, Alpecin-Fenix are now in touching distance of the automatic invites. So the promotion question might still be live…

    • It’s unusual they haven’t said so, especially as it’s either/or because if they wanted to apply for one they had to tell the UCI by January this year anyway. I still think they should have because if Merlier leaves etc or whatever, they get a place inside that’s surely worth more than the risks of being out.

      • I think the biggest reason for them to go WT is that if they choose to stay at the automatic invite level, they will game the system so blatantly, that the UCI may finally decide to change it somehow so that it is impossible to get full World Tour calendar invite and instead those spots are spread among higher number of Pro teams. WT status is safety for 3 years, auto invite is safety for 2023 only.

        • Maybe it’s because I’m so used to the promotion/relegation system in football, but to me it makes no sense that promotion to World Tour would be optional. Has the UCI made any public statements outlining the logic behind their reasoning? I’m struggling to imagine a scenario where, say, Schalke 04 were promoted and made a statement to the effect of “we have decided to stay in the second division “… It would be absolutely surreal. If you’re going to institute a system of binding relegation, then surely promotion should also be binding as well. Would a team sponsor ever be happy to keep sponsoring a team that declined promotion to World Tour? I get the sense that one of the problems is the system of “automatic” invitations and wild cards for grand tours and other big races. If that system were reformed, there would be no incentive for a team to decline promotion. On the outside looking in I find the whole system very confusing, and I’m not convinced that the UCI themselves completely understand how it is supposed to work.

          • There’s more money in football to be in the top league. Alpicen Fenix will likely not start getting more money if in the World Tour. In fact it may cost them more (have to appear at more races). The only real advantage to WT is auto entry to TDF.

          • The extra cost of being a WT team can be overestimated. When I – out of sheer curiosity- looked at the list of races Alpecin – Fenix did, it turned out that they did indeed skip (IIRC) two WT races, but they raced the same amount of .Pro and .1. races as WT teams did.
            And they were not simply doing the races in Belgium and Netherlands and picking a few suitable ones elesewhere. They for instance did pretty much a calender of smaller stage races in Spain and Italy that was quite similar to what most WT teams do.
            It wasn’t a question of saving money by not having to maintain simultaneously two or even three separate teams of riders and support staff, either: Alpecin – Fenix essentially had no fewer concurrent races on its calendar than a WT team would have.

            This begs the question what was the point of not seeking WT status? I’m not sure 🙂

    • A difficult one to work out as there’s gross salary, net salary etc (eg you can’t compare Lotto and Quick-Step’s budgets directly as one is registered in Belgium, the other in Luxembourg). For 2022 Given Arkéa-Samsic face high taxes too you’d probably think Euro-for-Euro they’re up there, only UAE and Jumbo-Visma have scored more points than them this year but keeping this up is going to be difficult.

      • Since country of registration is a team decision, I would say gross salary is all that counts. I would also take the whole budget because how you divide the money between equipment, support staff, riders, etc. is also part of the decisions teams make.
        On the other hand, it would be interesting to see net salary vs points for the individual riders.

        • Some teams don’t have a choice though. Lotto-Soudal has to be Belgian, Groupama-FDJ French etc. The convention in other sports, like football, when comparing team budgets is to look at the gross and net as it’s such a big difference. But it’s easy to get caught up here if we try to rank things too much, there’s exchange rates as well etc.

  2. Why do you say the auto invites go to Loto and Total and not Israel, it’s because it only counts this year points?

    Also wouldn’t relegated teams have preference for the invites, I thought I’ve read something about that?

    • Yes, it’s the top two ProTeams from this year’s ranking only, not the three year standings. A WorldTeam relegated at the end of the year gets put into the rankings alongside them, so as things stand Lotto-Soudal includes.

  3. Re your first musing on Arkea – Could it potentially be three World Tour teams for Canyon with Movistar already in WT being joined by Alpecin and Arkea?

    Very much enjoying these weekly updates!

          • I dont see Total Energies still making World Tour. They would need to get much more points, seems they would need to catch up 3000 points?

            Sagan isnt performing as expected, they would have needed his points in the Flemish races. They do have a lot of 1.1-races left, but catching up 3000 points in 75 of those races is enormous… Movistar, EF and BikeExchange would need to really disappoint in the big races.

  4. “For a Belgian team they’re clearly sending a strong team to a Dutch race on the eve of the Ronde and the UCI points system here is a big incentive.”
    May fit nicely into someone’s narrative, but is there any proof these decisions were made on the basis of the UCI points system? Did someone at Lotto-Soudal explain the choices and the reasons for them? This stuff seems like an excuse to “nerd-out” in the same way MLB fans do with hundreds of (mostly) meaningless statistics. I’d prefer a “How G-W was won” post, but that’s just me 🙂

    • Well Gilbert’s eschewing the cobbles to concentrate on the ardennes one last time. Maybe the others are following this route too.

      • I took the trouble of putting the gist of it throur G****e T******e for those whose Dutch isn’t quite there yet: “Remarkable: Lotto Soudal removed De Lie from the list of participants for the Tour of Flanders. John Lelangue’s team is engaged in an intense battle for a spot on the World Tour next season and must score UCI points. That is why it has to line up its sprinter in the Volta Limburg Classic in the weekend of Vlaanderens Mooiste.”
        But one might argue that, too, is only one person’s take on the reasons beyond the decision.

        • It’s a slight oddity that a World Tour team’s fate in the World Tour may be decided by these ‘smaller’ regional races.
          Bouhani today winning a race in the French Road Cycling Cup, and taking 125 UCI points in the process.

          • Not that odd. It’s good for smaller races to have some bigger team with well known/very promising names in the mix, and I suspect that’s one specific goal of the points allocation system.

          • Agree on that generally but today’s start list is largely a French affair as may be expected.
            But for the WT French teams, it looks like points for old rope?
            Are Israel, for instance, allowed to enter and, if so, what’s the incentive to their sponsor/s, other than the points obviously?

          • Agreed. I find it amazing that every position in a rather anonymous 1.1 regional race provides more points per position than a Tour stage. When I’ve suggested this previously, some on this forum have indicated that there’s arguably a greater challenge in winning some 1.1 or 1.Pro races compared to a Tour stage, but I’m not convinced (it’s not a big mystery why someone like Coquard has won a heap of races but never a WT race). There’s obviously the huge prestige of a Grand Tour stage win, but you need to first get the points to be there.

            I guess the flipside is that some decent UCI points encourage strong competition at races that might otherwise struggle, as well as the footballing analogy that a win means 3 points regardless of the opposition. I do agree about your point below though – the system seems to be skewed in favour of those WT (or wannabe WT) teams that have a reason to be there (or an invite, given the limitation on WT team % at 1.1 level). Is there an analysis of the geographic distribution of where UCI points are available?

          • What do you mean with “or an invite, given the limitation on WT team % at 1.1 level”? There’s a maximum of teams that are allowed to start? Lotto wouldnt have the right to start in Paris-Camembert for example?

          • What’s odd, of course, is comparing races which are receiving similar category in France vs. other countries, but I’ve analysed that elsewhere on these pages.

          • The points allocations to various races are because the team ranking system is a compromise to award entries to teams on both sporting merit and their contribution to the sport.

            A team that has the firepower to beat everyone at popular races will get mega points, but the purpose behind awarding meaningful points hauls at lower ranked races and non-Euro WT races is to reward the teams which do their part for promoting the sport by lending some star power to local races.

            If it were all about awarding a prestigious season championship to the top team in the WorldTour, it would use a far clearer points system much closer in concept to the 25-18-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 of Formula 1. The only variations needed would be for grand tours to be boosted (an extra 10 points on each position in the top ten, and 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points for positions 11-20) and a 5-2-1 scale for stage results and secondary jersey final results at all stage races.

          • Where is the Israel team based, I take it that they don’t have to ship out their bikes and support from Israel itself every time there’s a race on?
            I can see the merit in supporting the cycling pyramid, so to speak, though the French Road Cycling Cup has existed for decades now.
            The points scheme is trying to be all things to all people it seems to me.

          • My info is a a couple of years out of date, but at that point in time the Israel team was based in Girona. Kjell Carlström mentioned it in an interview, he thought it was a sound and working decision to have the base where many of the riders lived.

        • I believe a win always looks good from a sponsor’s point of view – even if it’s only a 1.1 race. It’s all good publicity and it is better to be associated some success somewhere than with a lack of success 🙂 BTW it was in a .1 race that Michael Woods brough Israel – Premier Tech its sole win so far this ear.

          The problem for the team remains, though: it may be easier to amass UCI points in a French .1 race than a .Pro race but it is still quite difficult to win one – unless you happen to have a rider in top form and the race is as if made for him – because the other WT teams with similar goals will also bring some of their “A-team” riders…

          There is of course nothing to stop Israel – Premier Tech from entering, apart from the 50% ceiling of the quota for WT teams, a .1 race. Or is there? Are there any races where there have been too many WT teams willing to race? Or, indeed, are the races in effect invitation only and the organisers can, if the so wish and see wise, to turn down the application of a WT team the don’t much care for and instead give a de facto wild card to a Conti team they like?

          • There are obligations on Class 1 (everywhere but Europe) and Class 2 (all Continental circuits) to accept entries from the previous year’s top Continental teams in the Continental circuit where the race is hosted, but no such requirement to accept a WorldTeam or ProTeam they don’t want.

            ProSeries and European Class 1 races don’t have any mandatory invites at all, just the caps on the number of WorldTeams and Continental teams. So long as they don’t breach any caps they have full control and can accept/reject whoever they want.

          • Wow, that’s surprising. I would have assumed that race organisers would have to accept any pro tour team.

            So basically the organisers of 1.1-races might help decide who stays in the world tour then…

            With most 1.1-races in France and Belgium, thats good news for french teams such as Cofidis, Arkea, Groupama-FDJ,B&B and AG2R. And for Belgian Intermarche WGG and Lotto Soudal.

            Lotto is already adding some of such races for the first time (Limburg, Besancon, Joura). But in April they dont/didnt do Vitré and Paris-Camembert. Also in May they dont start in a few races I would like to see Lotto, although maybe they couls still get added?

            Teams such as Israel, Education First, Bike Exchange and DSM dont seem to be on the starting list a lot. Either no interest or not invited to start?

            With about 75 non-worldtour one-day races remaining where number one gets at least 125 points (1.1 or more) and most of them in France, Belgium and Italy, there’s a lot of opportunity for the grinding teams.

            If Belgian and French teams and organisers agree to always let the Belgian/French teams start, this could help the teams staying in World Tour.

            Teams getting into danger then are Israel, Movistar, BikeExchange and Education First.

            I dont think TotalEnergies will get enough points to be world tour, but they might be top2 of the rest.

            Movistar and BikeExchange might get enough GC-points in the big tours. And have a sprinter with Groenewegen that also might be allowed to start in Flanders.

            Education First could also get much points there although I value less. And they dont have a sprinter. But not excluded they get some invites if they promise to start racers such as Bettiol.

            I would bet money on Israel not making UCI World Tour (and would be happy as it’s a team with money but without much intelligence). They are the retirement-home of overpaid players that are over their peaks. And are currently below the line.

            And I hope that Lotto still can save their ass, so Education First seems the logical “target”. With BikeExhange and Movistar that are for sure also not safe yet.

          • One of the surprises is that Israel aren’t racing much, eg if they had a team in Italy for the Settimana Coppi e Bartali, they could have gone to Per Sempre Alfredo two days before and the GP Industria & Artigianato just after, both a short drive but crucially big on points.

  5. Hey INRNG

    Just a quick one – will you do a deep dive on Girmay?
    Apologies if you already have.

    I just feel it could be such a huge positive for cycling when so many fans are crying out for a more diverse peloton and hopefully he can inspire kids to drive the next generation. I also think teams should be encouraged or even mandated to do more and it feels like a real embarrassment to the sport how similar the riders are whatever the history might be.

    (Not that any of that is your responsibility! I’m just interested)

    I’m also quite curious where he might go or whether Wanty could have the bank balance to keep him?
    There feel like so many sponsors who’d love to be associated with Girmay that his future outside of results is nearly as interesting as on the road.

    I realise you’re not one to deal in speculation but it would still be fun to hear your thoughts.

    Either way, Saturday felt like quite a momentous day for cycling and would love to see it marked with a dedicated post in someway here, as there wasn’t a moment the race was won or anything to see after.

    Best Wishes, Dave

    • Cyclingnews are reporting that Intermarche are keen to stump up extra cash and resign him on €1m per year as soon as he returns to Europe following his break…

    • He could have earned way more with other teams but preferred the approach of Wanty. He is still under contract for a few more years, and that he will not leave.

      However they announced they will renegotiate his deal. I dont he will get bumped to a salary of 1 million euros.

      I see Merlier leaving Alpecin though, for a salary of over 1 million. Due to the relationship with Jasper Phillipsen. Not sure where he’d end up though. He would need a sprint train without a real finisher, certainty to do Tour de France and protected role in races such as Roubaix I would expect. Who could offer that?

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