Another week, another update and the big story is Lotto-Soudal are firmly in 20th place, facing relegation and now they’re hiring riders mid-season to help.
What’s Changed Since Last Week?
- No change with Israel and Lotto-Soudal in 19th and 20th place below the relegation line but Israel have had a second good week, scoring 288 points. They’ve scored almost a third of their season’s haul in the past two weeks
- Bahrain topped the week for points ahead of Quick-Step, Bora-Hansgrohe and Movistar, with the Spanish team getting enough points to move from 17th to 15th
- Among the low scorers were Cofidis (70 points) and Lotto-Soudal (52 points)
- B&B scored two points and while they’re not in a promotion/relegation battle, they’re in a survival contest because with few points it’ll be harder to give them wildcard invites for which they exist for
- Assuming Arkéa-Samsic and Alpecin-Fenix apply for promotion, the automatic invites for the grand tours go to Total Energies and Lotto-Soudal
The bigger story this week is Lotto-Soudal hiring Carlos Barbero and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg out of their reluctant retirements in the wake of the Qhubeka team fiasco. The Belgian team had only 27 riders on their roster so there’s space to recruit the pair, an option neither Israel nor Cofidis enjoy. While there’s still doubt about Alpecin-Fenix applying for promotion then sitting 19th could still be safe, but Lotto-Soudal are in 20th and face relegation so they’re taking big measures.
The new hires have been handy riders and normally only points scored from the day they don a team jersey count, they don’t bring any past points with them but that’s for transfers. This year van Rensburg has been racing for himself, as pointed out by Steve in the comments below, and earned 343 points in national and African championships and these could go now to Lotto-Soudal, he’d be there fourth highest scorer after De Lie, Wellens and Campenaerts and ahead of Ewan. If these points are added when he joins from 1 May onwards then it’d just lift Lotto above Israel, everything else being equal.
It’s both a desperate move and a sensible one: desperate because it’s reactive and signing them for 1 May means they’ve missed on a lot of races where these riders could have scored; sensible because it reflects reality and the team is actively taking measures to help. Both riders are decent signings capable of results, especially if targetted with harvesting points and we can imagine their contracts incentivise this.
More hires and tranfers?
Teams are free to recruit riders who are out of work or riding for third tier Conti teams at any time. But it’s fine to scour for the best riders on Conti squads, sign them and only points scored with their new team count so a team is buying potential and not any points they’ve earned this season. Teams cannot hire riders from other professional teams, ie rival WorldTeams and ProTeams, except during the August transfer window, but this is an opportunity to exploit both for teams needing points and teams who might be releasing a rider at the end of the year who could cash in on a sale.
Animated bar chart race
If you’re new to the story of promotion and relegation this year and want it explained then click here.
To see how many points are available in each race or category, click here.