UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

With the Giro d’Italia around the corner the last thing on many people’s mind is arithmetic but there are molto points for the GC. However neither Lotto-Soudal nor Israel have any obvious candidates so they’ll have to seek points elsewhere this month.

What’s Changed Since Last Week?

  • No change with Israel and Lotto-Soudal in 19th and 20th place below the relegation line
  • Bora-hansgrohe scored over 1,070 points thanks to Sam Bennett’s win in the GP Frankfurt and Aleksandr Vlasov’s win in the Tour de Romandie. That’s almost as many points in a week as Astana have earned all season: 1,145 points with the Kazakh team on minus 12 points for the week, meaning they managed to break more UCI rules than place in any races. Bahrain were second on 476 points and crucially Cofidis were third on 385 points which lifts them up to 17th place having started the season in 19th
  • Bike Exchange were among the low scorers on 9 points, Simon Yates’ small gains in the Vuelta a Asturias seem to have been combined with deductions elsewhere and this means they’re now in 18th place, slipping behind Cofidis
  • Assuming Arkéa-Samsic and Alpecin-Fenix get promoted, the automatic invitations to the 2023 grand tours would go to Total Energies and Lotto-Soudal

Feeling the heat
Simon Yates won two of the three stages of the Vuelta a Asturias but overheated on the second stage, saying it was his first race in hot conditions. It did look that way at the time, his jersey wide open and a contrast to his Paris-Nice wardrobe (pictured). Had he won the GC in Asturias there were 125 points and that counts for the Aussie team right now. Especially as the race was the cycling equivalent of a “six pointer” in football, with the GC win going to Ivan Sosa of Movistar, a team also trying to avoid becoming a relegation candidate alongsidee EF, Cofidis and Bike Exchange. The upcoming Giro offers 850 points to the winner, were Yates to win he’d haul his team above these other squads. Now winning the Giro would be the real story of course but in the weekly look at the points, we can look at the drier side too

However one less worry for Bike Exchange, Cofidis, Movistar and EF is that they all go into the Giro with some GC ambitions while neither Israel and Lotto-Soudal have any. However they’ll aim for stage wins although at 100 points a win it’s the equivalent of finishing 12th on GC. But there’s more to May than the Giro and these two squads will need results in the smaller stage races and one-day races this month just to begin to close the gap.

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.

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

  1. Would it be worth Lotto-Soudal putting Caleb Ewan into the Giro for the first 13 stages so that he’d pick up some points? He wouldn’t have to get over too many mountains to get to that point, and hasn’t he previously done this before having successful TdFs?
    I know he’s been sick, but if he doesn’t have the fitness to do that, they could send him to do the first six stages, and he’d have the potential to collect up to four good finishes. Three seem to be nailed on sprints, and doing well in those alone would probably make him their top points scorer.
    Not how I would wish the sport to be competed, but who cares what I (or others) think if you want to stave off relegation.
    Is it likely that he can pick up that many points in other races this month?

    • Not sure if Lotto-Soudal have announced their team but pretty sure Ewan is riding and yes, he’ll be there to win stages for their own sake. The points jersey has some UCI points for the final winner, another 100 points so like an extra stage win on top.

    • I might be misreading your post, but I don’t think Ewan has any compunction about leaving a GT early when the mountain stages hit hard, regardless of Lotto’s UCI points situation. His stated plan last year was to do a portion of all three GTs while winning at least one stage in each. He’s done four Giro’s and never finished a single one, and of eight total GTs, he only finished two. As for the points jersey, he seems to understand what his strengths are and doesn’t waste unnecessary energy chasing intermediate sprint points.

      • More he might want to leave after Treviso but some team management might want him to stay; there’s an extra incentive. I think he’d win any discussion over this though and it’s far from certain he’s in the jersey anyway. But he does want the points jersey, it was a goal in the Tour de France last year before he crashed out, he was contesting the intermediate sprints.

        • I’d forgotten that he was doing intermediate sprints at last year’s TdF, which I now recall was a bit surprising since there was some question if he’d go all the way to the finish. I think I had last year’s Giro on my mind, in which he was leading in the points competition (despite no intermediate sprint points, I believe) when he quit the race the day after winning his second stage. I do wonder if the difference in prestige between the cyclamen jersey and the green jersey make it worth Ewan’s while to do the extra work.

          I suppose I’m thinking he may have a sense of unfinished business with the idea of winning a stage in all three GTs in one year. That said, since so many cycling news sites went behind paywalls, I read many fewer interviews and pre-race comments, so I wouldn’t have seen any statements by Ewan that he was indeed targeting the Giro points jersey. Has he said as much?

  2. Have wondered this in previous weeks, and can’t find an answer, but it must be something obvious that I’m missing, but: “Assuming Arkéa-Samsic and Alpecin-Fenix get promoted, the automatic invitations to the 2023 grand tours would go to Total Energies and Lotto-Soudal”.

    Why would they go to Total Energies and Lotto-Soudal, and not Israel and Lotto-Soudal? (or Total Energies if they’re the top ProTeam, and Israel?).

    • It’s because the promotion/relegation rankings are based on three years, but the automatic invitations are on one year’s points, so how the teams are doing/did in 2022. Here of the non-World Tour teams in contention, Total Energies are first with 2811 points this year; Lotto-Soudal would be relegated and eligible as they have 2765 points. For info Israel are next on 1891 points.

      The rule allowing relegated teams to count does help provide a softer landing but so far it’s only for Lotto as TotalEnergies have scored well, and you’d expect Sagan to pick up points even if he struggles to win.

  3. I’m a bit lost on why anyone finds this interesting or worthwhile?

    Always appreciative of INRNG taking the time to talk through or write about anything but as a fan of cycling, and criticising cycling not INRNG, I don’t get this.

    Outside of the WT teams, races can invite whoever so you quickly lose track of who is an isn’t a WT team, especially as so many races aren’t even WT races, so it’s easy to get lost in which races are WT let alone which teams are… it means this league has next to no real validity if a team like Cofidis is going to get at TDF invite whether or not it’s a WT team..?

    In fact as far as I can see it penalises most those teams struggling for funding who are not from a traditional cycling country? Which seems not only unfair but stupid if cycling has any interest in broadening its appeal?

    I’m likely missing something that this helps funding and management in a way I’ve not seen, but as a die hard fan of cycling this is something I cannot get excited about which I assume means a more fair-weather fan has no chance?

    I don’t get it and it feels like the last thing the UCI should be doing if it’s looking to help professional cycling grow?

    • I should add that I don’t think a league is a bad idea at some point but it only works when you have comprehensible benefits and differentiation between the different layers?

      If a season were clearly defined and only WT teams raced WT races and only ProConti teams raced PC races you might suddenly understand the value of going up or down. Unfortunately for this to be vaguely possible feels a long way off.

      Growing women’s cycling seems to be the most obviously easy win for the UCI currently, I love wkends with the womens race one day and the mens the next, more of that would be great, even if again I realise it’s not as simple as it might seem.

      One day beginning to trying to create a feasible season where we don’t hear about riders training on a secret island for half the year for a brief glimpse of them for about seven weeks max in season – ie smaller teams/shorter season and more racers racing across all forms in races that do/don’t favour them as team players to create a better version of a cycling team would be great and benefit even further the league idea. Never gonna happen. #dreams.

      • If a team like EF is relegated, and don’t automatically qualify for WT races, they may cease to exist. I assume sponsor contracts have some language to cancel if they’re not it the TdF for instance. This is why it’s interesting to me. If LS is out completely, you lose the sport’s longest running sponsor. I think all that is hugely significant, hence worth looking at every week even.

        • Sorry just to be clear – I wasn’t saying reporting on it was wrong – it’s great, the above was absolutely no comment on INRNG – I’m just saying that I read the blog, and even as a cycling fanatic I’m having to force myself to be interested and I can’t believe I’m the only one.

          That must mean something is wrong?

          Yes – I understand reEF which is why I was making the point it’s unfair on certain teams who don’t have people like Cofidis for a sponsor.

          • actually I like this stuff as it forces my attention down the order – rather than just focussing on which Quick-Step/Ineos/Jumbo guys are winning I’m now looking to see who’s mopping up the top 10s etc… so I appreciate the depth

    • It’s a way to ensure the World Tour has the best teams and the weaker ones are ejected. Is it a perfect system? Probably not which is why we can debate it and each week there are angles to explore and subjects to discuss. But it’s happening and is affecting race rosters, tactics and more, but only on a secondary level but just the sort of thing a blog can point out.

      Besides coverage of the Giro has started here, a month of la corsa rosa with previews, analysis and more.

      • Yes – I’m excited for the Giro – usually my fave GT! Even if I spend the first week finding it very boring and remember I like it in the following weeks! I’m rooting for Ciccone as I fear the Italians having no riders to support will affect the race overall.

        On the WT – you’re right, it’s happening and affecting things.
        I think you’re doing a valuable job reporting on it and I’m very thankful – even if you’re reporting is mainly highlighting to me at least how daft it is? As in – if they’re trying to get rid of weaker teams but then the same weaker teams are let in on wildcards to races what an earth is the point? It’s bonkers?

        • 1) The “wildcards vs. WT” tension is the result of an historical conflict between organisers and UCI (which the UCI generally albeit not totally lost, despite using antidoping as a nuclear weapon), and it’s obviously a compromise settlement, for good or ill, not the outcome of a single will’s deliberation.
          It kinda works, I’d even dare to say, and probably better than what organisers or UCI alone would have come up with. However, you obviously can’t expect the compromise to be fully consistent with a different plan made by one of those parts alone.
          That said, the promotion-relegation system is, on turn, a necessary by-product rather than a desired process in itself. The UCI needs to keep the number of WT teams around 18 for a series of reasons (allowing wildcards, to start with, and partially also to make it feel exclusive and premium, which it isn’t – or, better said, “wasn’t” – that much, of course), and some other considerations I won’t tackle now. So, given that they now *need* to leave somebody outside, they’re trying to figure out which team would have the lesser sporting impact if excluded. As many readers already pointed out, it would be no surprise if the UCI was “forced” to rise the number of WT teams to 19 or something else along those lines.
          Sure, it all feels strange, but that’s because of the different powers in cycling.

        • 2) Re: the Giro’s first week (which conventionally covers stages 1-9), I’d say that luckily enough in recent years we’ve been seeing how the other GTs “copied” the Giro and finally started to have (sometimes) good first weeks, while at the same time the Giro happened to water down its own from time to time.
          Last year’s TDF had a brutal first week, one of the best I can remember, but the Giro wasn’t bad at all, either (Canale, Sestola, Ascoli Piceno and Campo Felice were actually *very good*, and Torino or Guardia Sanframondi weren’t boring at all). The Vuelta, quite surprisingly (they liked to start strong then ease up in the last week, but that’s luckily changing, too), had probably the less interesting first week – not that it was disappointing or so, really.
          Ganna apart, the 2020’s first week wasn’t that great, neither was it 2019, they were quite much “too standard”, and that’s what probably generated the impression you report above. No doubt, you can’t have a five-stars Giro 2010 or 2015 first week every edition, but the likes of 2016 or 2018 can be considered frankly satisfactory (and, as I said above, 2021 surely must be too). I loved the TDF’s first week in 2020, too, but 2019 was already a bit “meh”, not to speak of 2018 (despite the pavé stage, or maybe because of it being slightly disappointing). 2017 was fine, but 2016, again…

          All in all, as I anticipated above, we’re being lucky enough to finally have a decent course design across the three GTs more often than not, especially when speaking of the first week. Obviously, from time to time you can have a botched course design or simply mediocre racing on a decent course.
          That’s apparently quite much random across the three GTs… focussing on first week only, in 2021 they were all pretty good (TDF on top), in 2019 they all disappointed, in 2018 the Giro had the best one, while in 2020 it had the worst!

    • “this league has next to no real validity if a team like Cofidis is going to get at TDF invite whether or not it’s a WT team..?
      In fact as far as I can see it penalises most those teams struggling for funding who are not from a traditional cycling country?”

      Well, one possible counterargument comes from the data. Going into the new year, Arkea (France) were on the bubble, behind Israel (Israel) and Intermarche (Belgium), ahead of Cofidis (France) and Lotto (Belgium). The French and Belgian teams could have taken it easy since they’ll get invites anyway, but it is Arkea, Intermarche, and Cofidis who’ve shown the most urgency, much more than bigger teams further up the table. Lotto are trying, though despite having greater talent on paper they’re flailing a bit. I have great respect for squads like Cofidis, who don’t have top-line talent (Martin sorta maybe…), and Intermarche, whose best rider is on the tail end of his career (we might have had hopes for Girmay going in but probably thought he was a year or two from a real breakthrough), giving everything they’ve got with whatever they’ve got. They are certainly not relying on their status as coming from traditional cycling countries to get invites.

      As for those teams from non-traditional cycling countries: Israel have all sorts of problems having nothing to with coming from Israel. Bahrain (Bahrain) are doing great; UAE (UAE) even better; Bora (Germany) are doing OK. BE (Australia) are heavily dependent on Yates and Groenewegen, who disappeared this Spring. But we’re getting into the stage races, where Yates should keep them safe. EF (USA) is built for the stage races, which is their call, so (combined with illness) not having a big Spring can’t be a huge surprise. Not sure what’s up with Trek (USA). Astana (FUBAR) have problems going far beyond the point system.

      The point system does mean that BE (especially) and EF really need a good Giro, which realistically offers more points and possibilities for stage wins than either the Tour or the Vuelta for any team not named UAE or JV. The Dauphine and TdS will also be important. If that gives the BEs and EFs even more impetus, that’s not such a bad thing. If anything, the current system actually favors them somewhat, since Arkea and Cofidis, Intermarche and Lotto have less incentive to stay up as they’ll get invites anyway. It’s just that at least the first 3 are really really hungry for WT status next year.

    • For some teams it a life and death situation. For the less well funded teams being in the world tour means they get to exist. This does not necessarily apply to the french teams that are in and out of the WT in the past like cofidis which essentially have automatic invites the to tdf anyway which is the main thing there sponsors are interested in.
      But for some of the others not having an auto invite to all the biggest races means loss of sponsors or reduced funding which either means a weaker team or straight away team shuts up shop. A big sponsor mostly needs the exposure guarantee that the WT status brings.
      Teams like trek, EF, BE etc only exist as long as they are in the WT. They might survive one year if they have to auto invite.
      For that reason I don’t personally support the relegation system but at least they have a fall back of the auto invites for at least some races which may keep a team alive.
      A related problem may be that any team that folds will probably take the women’s team with it if they have one.

      • Regarding taking the women’s team with them, extremely good point. I wonder if the UCI has even given any consideration to this at all? EF’s women’s team, for example, just made the transition to World Tour status this year. If the men’s team were to be relegated and the sponsors decide not to renew, their situation would be precarious at best. The more I think about the various angles of the relegation system, the less I like it.

    • I think it helps smaller races, because they are worth a lot more points than stages in grand tours. Another factor that helps is a lot of these smaller races are now available to watch on GCN/Eurosport. So probably it has something to do with the eternal power struggle between UCI and ASO (and to a lesser extent RCS and Flanders Classics) too? Also, it makes the fifth place in, say the Scheldeprijs, more interesting, so more teams are willing to keep working, even if the chance of winning has become low, which adds new dynamics.

      To me it seems to work, as the scene has become much healthier and livelier than during the nadir of the Armstrong years, when the Tour de France overshadowed everything and that was often a boring race. I do think there are still too much similar races in Belgium and France. It would definitely be a good thing if places in the Americas and Africa where cycling is actually popular would get more important races instead of shady Middle Eastern countries that just can provide bags of money for races along empty roads.

    • No, he’s not among Lotto’s top scorers but is on the UCI’s database again which suggests he’s back, but his points have not been counted. This might not be definitive yet, they could still appear.

  4. Thank you. I just checked the UCI Rankings (www.uci.org), he is now listed there with the team affiliation Lotto-Soudal and 458.75 points, making him their number five rider in points after Wellens, Campenaerts, De Lie and Ewan…but it could be that I get something wrong here.

  5. Will the league will be updated with points earned during the Giro, for stage wins etc? Will we then see a big change when the final points are awarded at the end of the race?

  6. Just a note- ef pro cycling owns a controlling equity stake in slipstream sports, so, more the owner of the men’s team than strictly speaking a sponsor.

  7. The ranking is working pretty well in filtering out the teams who are not taking pro cycling “seriously”. At the bottom of the ranking, disregarding the absurd mismanagement at Israel, are teams who’d rather buy riders from a specific nation than the best riders (Lotto, Bike Exchange, Movistar, Astana)(FdJ being the exception) and teams who have other goals than winning as many races as possible (Lotto, EF, DSM). They might be “fun” teams to have around but they do the competitive side of cycling a disservice.

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