The latest standings with a solid week for Lotto-Soudal but they’ve got a long way to go to avoid relegation and another bad week for Israel-PremierTech.
What’s Changed Since Last Week?
- Israel and Lotto-Soudal remain below the relegation line but Lotto are now just four points behind Israel
- Alpecin-Fenix scored most last week with 934 points, ahead of Groupama-FDJ (715 points) and Ineos (531 points)
- The lowest scorers were EF Education (10 points), Israel (5 points) and Total Energies (-1 points), yes minus meaning any meagre results were negated by penalties (eg littering etc)…
- …but also because this week’s release from the UCI doesn’t seem to include the results from the GP Miguel Indurain… where Israel and Total Energies scored well
- Lotto-Soudal were the sixth highest scorers in the week thanks to Victor Campenaerts in Dwars door Vlaanderen and the calculated decision to send Arnaud De Lie to the Volta Limburg race where “The Cowboy” was lassoing 125 points for the win
- Quick-Step don’t have to worry about relegation but they got only 30 points in a week with two races with “Vlaanderen” in their name which confirms how discreet they’ve been in the classics so far. We’ll see if Julian Alaphilippe can come to the rescue in the Ardennes
- As things stand TotalEnergies and Lotto-Soudal stand to take the automatic invites for the grand tours in 2023
Lotto-Soudal are four points behind Israel based on this week’s data – sans the GP Indurain – which means they’ve closed the gap to the punctual equivalent of a photo finish but this isn’t a goal in itself because it’ll just move the Belgian team from 20th to 19th place, safety is 18th or higher. For this they need to overhaul Cofidis or one of the other World Tour teams sitting just above. This can still happen with in the season if current trends continue, the Belgian team began the season over 3,000 points behind EF, now the gap is almost halved with EF notable for lowest score this season. That’s still a big cushion though for the US squad who should pick up speed but they’ll need some high GC places in stage races much more than stage wins, eighth overall in the Giro brings more points than two stage wins.
What if all this was for nothing and the promotion and relegation system is scrapped?
The UCI rules for this have been around for a long time but not a big deal in public and it could be binned on the hush. You can make a case that deciding the future of teams from three Covid-hit seasons is ranking teams on the basis of unusual results and awkward circumstances. Just this week the Israel team couldn’t even start the Ronde van Vlaanderen. But you can also advocate that this system has been in place for several years and promotion candidates like Arkéa-Samsic have played by the same rules and done well; and if we read Israel’s press release about the Ronde withdrawal, it wasn’t Covid alone but “covid and other illness and also crash-induced injuries”.
A promotion/relegation system probably can’t be changed because of any losing team’s howls, it would need some wider consensus between the majority of the teams, race organisers and the UCI, and the time to build that coalition was in 2020 or 2021. Still keep your antenna alert for any pushback against the system, for now those teams in trouble are either not talking about relegation or actively buying into the system by declaring they’re targetting certain races in order to score points. But this is pro cycling and we could still expect a fuss in the autumn.
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.