UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

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

Background info
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.

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

  1. I was almost wondering if Israel-PT could cite force majeur (Covid, accidents…) as justification if they appear likely to lose a WT place, though it hardly appears valid as Covid, illness and accidents are common to all the teams. IPT badly need points from the Ardennes and Romandie as scoring big in the TDF and Giro seems improbable at best. If they do manage to survive at WT level considerable dead wood will have to be eliminated and some wise recruitment done, something they have not been able to do to date.

    EF need points too but at least they seem to have more depth, youth and potential than IPT

    • Israel’s big signing has been Fuglsang and we’ll see if he can deliver, so far he’s got 105 points and is their fourth best scorer, if he was on Arkéa he wouldn’t be among their top-10 scorers.

      EF have a dilemma because they’ve said they just want to race in their style but sooner or later they’ll have to think about points, is shepherding Carthy to eight place overall in the Giro (220 points) better than two stage wins (200 points) there? Normally not but they’re in a scenario like Pogačar last Sunday and could get boxed in and passed by other teams.

      • Problem of EF is they dont start in the smaller races and dont really have a sprinter.

        But I understood last week that there’s a maximum of world tour teams on those smaller races? Problem might also be lack of invitation in some races? What are the exact rules? I dont expect anyone to give EF a wild card if they dont bring a big name like Bettiol, Cort or Valgren.

        They have a mediocre sprinter with Marijn Van Den Berg, but questionable if he can reach top 10 of his team. He scored points in Almeria and Wevelgem though.

        I think 10 of the following players might get more than Van Den Berg: Uran, Cort, Valgren, Powless, Chaves, Bisseger, Eiking, Carthy, Padun, Bettiol and Guerreiro.

      • Israel this has a lot of potential scorers indeed, with Fuglsang the main Fish.

        But also Vanmarcke, Impey, Wurtz, Woods, Biermans, Houle, Boivin,… could take points between now and Liege.

        Israel has a lot of good racers, might just depend on how hard of an effort they do to grind for points.

        • EF is in freefall. The trouble is that I don’t see Uran as a GC contender at all anymore, so they can’t count on those points. Carthy could outperform expectations at the Giro, which would help. If not, they’ll really need to spend the rest of the season stage hunting (although, as mentioned, they don’t have a decent sprinter and don’t do the smaller .pro races, which automatically leaves a *lot*of points on the table). Magnus Cort could be the rider that drags them over the line. Too bad that Lachlan Morton’s ride to the Ukrainian border didn’t count for UCI points. It should be worth at least 1000 just on inspirational value alone.

        • Unfortunately, other than Nizzolo (who is injured now) and last minute signing Clarke, none of those is converting that potential to results. Two or three weeks ago this article said “Israel is not scoring but Michael Woods should earn good points now in Vuelta Catalunya”. Then Woods was nowhere to be seen in that race.

      • Israel and EF have very weak field for strong finishes in 2022, all of their big names are past their prime or don’t have consistent finishes throughout the season.

        Lotto and Cofidis are on a roll. Should score a lot over many races in next few months. Expect by August both will be well above this drop line.

    • If there is only one existing WorldTeam falling outside the top 18, I could see it being quite possible that the UCI will grant an exceptional 19th licence for the next period to avoid facing a legal challenge where they simply couldn’t afford the legal firepower to defend the decision.

      But given that COVID has been a thing for all of the teams for the whole of the present ranking period and crashes have been a part of cycle racing ever since 31 May 1868.

      If an exceptional WorldTeam licence is granted to IPT, it should come with exceptional conditions. It should be a one year licence with a requirement to team transfer in at least three established pros (i.e. not neo pros in first/second year) under the age of 27 and at least one sporting director with previous experience in the role at WT level. Renewal for the second and third years to have the same condition.

      • Good point, you don’t want a team bumping up to the top tier that doesn’t have the budget to sustain a full competitive roster. That would mean having the depth to cover multiple races on some weekends.

        And all the racers can’t just hop into the broom wagon after 25 minutes.

  2. While de Lie’s points in Volta Limburg are definitely useful, I think it was not the only reason to send him there. Looking at his recent results (48th at Gent-Wevelgem, DNF at Dwars Door Vlaanderen) Ronde isn’t really a race for him, he currently seems to act as a replacement for Caleb Ewan and doing really good job at this for a 20 years old rider.

    • His big dream is to win the Ronde and I think he’s got the ingredients of a contender… in the future but had little chance of a big result last Sunday. So yes, better to put him in smaller races for now, it was interesting to see the squad they sent in support of De Lie.

  3. While I have no doubt all this excites number-crunchers of all types, can the rest of us say that the racing under this system has improved in ANY way that could be linked to this?
    I think of guys at MSR who would normally ride straight to Sanremo rather than turn up the Cipressa or Poggio once their work for the team was done. Did they have to ride the entire course this time and if so, who gained from it? I’d bet plenty of fans on those climbs would prefer the long-dropped skip the climbs so they could get outta there sooner while few late-finishers get shown on TV crossing the finish line, so what is the point?

    • I don’t think it’s designed to make racing better, just to ensure the top teams get to start the top races and the weaker ones get demoted. It’s more about the system rather than trying to adjust the sport/contest. But in your example someone who is dropped before Cipressa or Poggio isn’t going to score anyway so they can ride the route or DNF without changing much.

      • OK, I’ll buy that – it’s to prop up “Heinie’s Folly” and try to make it worth the teams ponying up the dough to be part of while kinda/sorta copying relegation in football. Also gives the nerds something to do.
        As to the boob who claimed “MSR is not the only race in town” do you understand the concept of an EXAMPLE? How many examples would I need to provide to convince you? Yeah, I already know…it doesn’t matter, you’re convinced Arkea has livened things up and somehow would not have done so without the relegation scheme, but YOU don’t need to bother with any proof or an actual example..of course.

        • It would be a good start if you provided one example, but valid. Last rider who scored anything for UCI ranking in MSR was Andrea Bagioli, finishing 60th, 1:14 down. You might be confusing UCI points with PCS points, which are completely non-official (and indeed were given to every single finisher of that race, including those over 20 minutes down). Maybe you need to get a bit more into nerd side of things before you start writing 😉

        • I partially agree, I don’t think the relegation/promotion enlivens the racing, the same is it doesn’t in football – it doesn’t make the teams play more entertaining football, if anything it does the opposite. I think the point is that it creates a narrative across the season, which in itself adds excitement as the season progresses.

    • Because MSR is not the only race in town. For example, plenty of races so far this year have been enlivened by Arkea being here, there and everywhere as they chase points week by week.

    • Modern Italian fans are so short on passion these days that they want to go home as soon as the lead group has passed?

      It’s just become a lot clearer as to why major Italian companies don’t think it’s worth sponsoring a top level cycling team.

  4. I think it is a good thing. Cycling is a team sport but the spotlight is always on individuals. This shines a little light on the teams overall.

  5. Updated the piece above to mention that this week’s rankings from the UCI don’t include the GP Miguel Indurain won by Barguil so 200 more points for Arkéa-Samsic but also Total Energies scored so they won’t be negative this week and Simon Clarke got 125 points.

    These results can get delayed a week or two sometimes but generally work their way into the tables.

    Gràcies to a reader for getting in touch to point this out.

    • So we’ve already reached the point in the season where Procyclingstats have a more accurate version of the UCI rankings than the UCI do!

      • Quite possibly but only partially because they need all the commissaires bulletins as well because there are fines to process as well (which is why the UCI data is used here, just running the results wouldn’t work).

        • Is there any good source to read on those fines? For example, is Merlier likely to lose any serious points for his post-finish adventures at Scheldeprijs yesterday?

          • Not really, some races issue press releases, eg ASO and RCS races which include the commissaire jury report but these go to the media, other races it’s a form posted/faxed/emailed to the UCI by the chief commissaire after the race.

            I think a public register could be a good idea, after all if the points won are public, it’s useful to know where they were subtracted as well. Plus knowing which riders/teams litter the most etc can have a reinforcing effect on the rules.

          • Re:INRNG comment,
            Yes, I always found it strange that these things were never official in a more formal way.
            I think it dates back to before subtracting points, so as not to expose repeated offenders giving certain riders a reputation that perhaps could adversely affect the race organisation, the UCI or the jury (yes, we are prone to predispostiontins despite claiming neutrality and bearing no grudges. Humans, you know).
            Anyway, the points-“fines” are definately worth a more official communique from the UCI/Race HQ also from minor events.

    • GP Indurain for the main relegation candidates

      Some teams have more 5000 points in a season. Everyone with 13.000 points or less is still theoretically a relegation candidate.

      Total only competes for best non-worldtour, but the other 10 are less then 2900 points apart. If any of these teams barely scores points, they are not safe yet. Astana with 4000 spare points is safe.

      Arkea 200 points (Barguil)
      Total 170 points (100 Vuillermoz & 70 Latour)
      AG2R 140 points (85 Vendrame, 40 Champoussin, 2×5 Paret-Peintre brothers, 5Prodhomme)
      Israel 125 points (Clarke)
      Cofidis 60 + 3×3 (60 Izagirre)
      Lotto 45 points (25 Cras, 15 Van Gils & 5 Moniquet)
      Movistar 38 points (35 Izagirre and 3 Oliveira)
      BikeExchange 0 points – DNS
      Education First 0 points – DNS
      DSM 0 points – DNS
      Intermarche 0 points – DNS

      Not all Lotto, AG2R and Movistar racers will reach the top 10 racers though.

      Crass (25 pts) 9th scorer for Lotto, Van Gils (15 pts) 6th and Moniquet 15th (only 5 points).

      Conclusion: Lotto only 94 points behind Israel if you include GP Indurain.

      • Sylvain Moniquet is a good example of Inrng’s point. One of Lotto’s top 10 if you look just at his race results, but if you look at the UCI site you see he picked up a penalty somewhere along the way. (Although the maths on the UCI site seems a little odd, as they reckon 46 – 25 = 16.)

        • It would be nice to see the points for the top 15 racers for each team. That way you know what’s to arrive.

          Where do I see the exact number of points per racer for 2022?

          • I don’t think there is one place you can see them.

            The UCI rankings page allows you to sort the individual rankings by team, but the individual rankings are done on a 12 month basis not a calendar basis, so you have to look at each rider’s score to subtract their 2021 scores.

            PCS allows you to see each team’s UCI ranking score and shows the riders outside the top 10 too (example in link above), but this doesn’t include any deductions for penalties so you have to look those up separately on the UCI site.

  6. Re your ‘what if’ paragraph… I would argue that there’s not too much point getting hung up on this, certainly to the extent of writing weekly updates on it, when there’s a very good chance some of the teams won’t even exist in the none too distant future (as well as the fact the UCI might just decide a different approach is better on one of their whims). Enough cycling teams, top teams, have disappeared over recent years/all of cyclings history to make anything like this largely pointless. You’ve got to assume at least one team on that list won’t be around next year. So if, say, Isreal miss out by a point it might not matter if DSM decide they don’t want to sponsor a cycling team anymore and they get bumped up any way? Who knows, there might be a rule to cover such a scenario that I don’t know about but I’d still argue not to lose any sleep of any of it.

    • It’s worth asking the question because the UCI rules do change… and as you say the future of teams can change too so there can be a lot of moving parts and “what ifs” that aren’t in the tables. I’d add Astana to the list of teams with a question mark. But if there’s a weekly update we won’t be questioning the rule or the future of this or that team, just raising the issue this time to explore the subject.

      Also on the subject of changing rules, the UCI have altered the wording for promotion, to paraphrase it was “the top 18 teams are eligible to move up” and now it’s “those teams who have applied can move up if they’re in the top 18 teams” which is curious, almost as if one team like Alpecin might not have applied which brings us back to whether being the top 18 or 19 matters.

      • Well, Mr INRNG, since your ‘minor blog’ started highlighting and explaining this whole thing, you’d better believe if there are still 19 teams standing, next year’s due diligence and financial escrows will be very strictly enforced.
        And no matter what the UCI says, ASO and RCS will continue to hand out wildcards after only 18 WT team places are awarded.

      • Why paraphrase? The actual UCI regulations are freely available online.

        The actual text reads
        “ The 18 top-ranked teams in the above-mentioned ranking, among the teams having applied for a UCI WorldTour licence in accordance with articles 2.15.009 and 2.15.010 and having met the criteria defined in articles 2.15.011c to 2.15.011f, are deemed to meet the sporting criterion”

        … which means to my reading that 18 licences will be awarded to the best 18 teams applying which meet all of the non-sporting criteria (ethical, financial, administrative, organisational) and that teams not applying (potentially Alpecin?) or not meeting other criteria (Astana?) will essentially not exist so far as the qualification ranking is concerned.

  7. Love the bar charts — suggestion though — maybe make the WT tour names a different color from the conti so it’s easy to tell at a glance who is what without having to try to remember?

  8. I’m happy to see I’m not the only one who thinks this whole thing is stupid: Harry Sweeney disagrees with. “You see some of the ProTour teams and other guys in the relegation zone and they’re trying to get as many guys in the top-10 instead of winning the race,” he said. “I don’t think that’s in the spirit of pro cycling. If we start riding to fight a relegation battle, well then it’s not really cycling. Cycling is racing to win.”
    From: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/racing/worldtour-relegation-battle-angers-and-confuses-teams-it-doesnt-make-any-sense
    And here’s something that reads a lot like a post I made not too long ago: Alessandro De Marchi said: “It’s bulls**t because it’s really way too early to start thinking about this. it’s early April – we have so many races in front of us.”
    Now, where’s that Amstel Gold preview? 🙂

    • It is utterly needless and the way points are allocated is preposterous, but I see its as a minor diversion to talk about here – I don’t think about it at all during races, or, indeed, at any other time.
      And I think Richard S nails it above.

      • +1 Richard S indeed nailed it, but I couldn’t resist posting some comments from those with real knowledge/experience that back up what I’ve been writing since the whole scheme started being talked about.

          • Had not seen this, thanks! So it seems the team (rider) would rather have a power-meter than a bike that works properly since-
            “Mainly only 172.5mm 12s power meters were delivered to our sponsored teams.”
            seems to indicate they’re using 11-speed chainsets that Shimano says are incompatible with 12-speed components and (surprise, surprise!) the mix of stuff doesn’t play well together.
            Gawd, how I’d hate to be a team mechanic these days, butchering groupsets together and crossing my fingers. Brings back memories of the old bike tour daze when clients would show up with what we jokingly called “vanity triples” – two chainring setups with gawdawful component mismatches that needed constant tinkering and never worked very well – but we were told by the clients that somehow “this worked perfectly before I put it in the box” as we (most of the time) bit our tongues and did the best we could trying to make “chicken soup from chicken s__t”

          • It made me laugh too that the marketing manager – with no sense of the ridiculousness of this – assumes that the power meter is more important than the stuff that makes the wheels go round.
            And I kind of suspect that many riders do agree with him – so many times I’ve seen riders in stage races take their hands off the bars before the line at the end of a hilly finale, losing momentum and thus time, in order to press the button on their computer at exactly the right moment. The irony of this doesn’t seem to strike them.
            And I’m talking about GC riders here. Once you’ve noticed it, you’ll see it quite often.
            I think it’s almost an instinctive reaction: they ride to the meter so much, and they’re told that logging their times, etc. is so important that in the moment they forget why they’re actually doing all this.

          • Ya gotta wonder if anyone has muttered: “Well, I lost the race when my chain fell off but I have all my power data!!!” Have some lost sight of what this sport is all about? Don’t get me started on the crank lengths…172.5 is the only 12-speed crank available with a power-meter, but some would rather risk chains falling off if they can’t have a 170 or 175 mm? I don’t argue that perhaps they can tell the difference (even if I can’t) but again, you race on a half-assed setup the component maker says won’t work properly…so you can have a crank arm a massive 2.5 mm longer or shorter? Really?
            At least now I understand more why so many avoid shifting the front and cross-chain the bike until the bitter end when they can’t keep going without a lower gear…and then BLAM….the poor chain’s pushed off the big ring under insane tension and way-too-often falls onto the BB shell or worse, get’s jammed.

  9. I dont think it is stupid or a waste of time at all, though I can see commercial pressures leading to the whole thing being quietly dropped. It gives the smaller teams something to work towards. Realistically there are few teams who can aspire to the major prizes, for the rest the highlight seems to be a stage win at the Tour (or maybe just featuring in the normal kamikaze daily break) . Nothing wrong with that but if it gives race results outside of who “won” a bit of meaning it must be a good thing. Bike racing is an odd setup with the winner being an individual but they almost inevitably rely on a team to get them over the line. This goes a small way to recognising the team effort, pushing to take 5th place in a sprint could just make a difference at the end of the season.

    • Only as side comment: in many stage races we already have something for the teams that don’t have a rider likely to fight for stage wins – unless a lucky breakway brings them the opportunity – let alone the GC. Namely, the team competition in which the times of the four (IIRC) best riders in a team on each stage are put together.

      That said, in one-day races there is also the motivation of being there visible and man-strong in the final. I mean, if you aren’t going to win, you won’t get much publicity anyway, but if you have three riders wearing the sponsor’s colour or logo when the final stages of the race are shown in news and replays, you can be kind of satisfied and hope that our sponsor is happy, too.

  10. I read on laat weeks discussion that for the 1.1 races
    – Worldtour teams dont have a starting right
    – there is a maximum (percentage) of worldtour teams.

    Is that correct? What are the exact rules?

      • Thanks. And no quota for the ProTeams?

        That gives lots of power to French and Belgian organisers to decide who gets invited.

        Lotto, Cofidis, AG2R, Arkea, Intermarche and Groupama could probably start every time they want? Or would French organisers want to prevent Lotto from scoring?

        I dont think EF, Israel, Movistar and BikeExchange will be allowed to start much in 1.1-races, as they usually dont really bring any good racers to the table.

        Arnaud De Lie has a real shot at victory in Paris-Camembert I think. I dont understand that Lotto doesnt start in Paris-Camembert, where
        – only 3 worldtour teams start (Groupama, Cofidis & AG2R)
        – 7 protour start (Total. Arkea, Alpecin, B&B, bingoal, sport vlaanderen, uno-X)
        – 4 lower teams start (Tarteletto, Nice, Nantes, Auber93, Roubaix)

        Its not about the quota it seems.

        I also cant believe it’s about not getting invited so that Cofidis can take more points than Lotto. But you never know.

        So it seems their own decison, either budget, planning/logistics or rest times, with a race in between Amstel and Brabantse Pijl and a race in Turkey in parallel. Car from Basque would be back in time.

        Paris is not far from Belgium and they should have a car, team leader and racers available …

        De Lie doesnt start in any races next week, so could have gone with some fillers such as Malecki, Drizners, Kluge, Frison, Moniquet, Beullens who dont race anything that period. And who could always approach it as a training-day and quit early.

        Scharzmann, Conca, Holmes, Grignard and Selig are other supporting players who ride only one of Amstel, Brabantse or Roubaix.

        (Doubs and Joura selections not yet decided, but Lotto starts for the first time)

        Really a missed opportunity I think, because for me they need to start as much as they can in these kind of races to avoid relegation. And they have a chance of victory in a race that gets Belgian media attention, so Soudal would also benefit.

        • 50% maximum of WorldTeams is the only quota for 1.1/2.1 races in Europe.

          If less marketable teams want to race in more races at this level, they can approach the organisers and negotiate, e.g. is an invitation on the table if we commit to bring rider XYZ to the start?

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