UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

A data dump of a week because all the points from the Giro are included… but no big changes in the standings.

  • No change to the relegation teams, Lotto-Soudal and Israel face the drop
  • Bora-hansgroghe, Bahrain… and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert top the table for the best scorers
  • The lowest scorers were B&B Hotels, Israel and Arkéa-Samsic
  • As things stand Lotto-Soudal and Total Energies would get automatic invites to the grand tours next year
  • As much it’s been as a busy week of one day racing and all the Giro’s points get added up, there weren’t any big changes in the table, Ineos climb up to second ahead of Jumbo-Visma, Astana overtake Ag2r Citroën, Intermarché climb above Arkéa-Samsic and BikeExchange swap 18th for 17th place

This week’s update includes all the points from the Giro. Bora-hansgrohe collect molto points thanks to Jai Hindley’s overall win, plus his stage win and one for Lennard Kämna’s too, more than Astana and EF Education have collected all season… but it still leaves Bora-Hansgrohe in fifth place on the three year table and also fifth on the points earned this season as well.

Three stage wins for Bike-Exchange helped them collect some points but not as much as a solid GC bid by Simon Yates would have, but it’s enough to lift them back above EF who drop to 18th place.

If there’s no change in the positions with Lotto-Soudal in 19th and Israel in 20th, there is the points and the direction of travel: the Belgian team continue to score while Israel stall. As the chart above shows Lotto-Soudal started the season almost a thousand points behind Israel, overtook them on 17 May and now have over 500 points lead on them. Lotto-Soudal now have EF Education in reach too, having started the season some 2,738 points behind, they’ve closed the gap to 750 points. But there’s still a long way to go because things are very close. The relegation story continues to bubble away.

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.

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

  1. Thanks for keeping track of this. The line chart with the 3 at risk teams is helpful. If it covered the 6 teams from Movistar to Israel PT that would probably be enough to describe the relegation battle fully.

    • I agree that it’s a very useful graph. Movistar and Cofidis should indeed ideally be added next week, and maybe even DSM, just to show that the gap to the next team is 2.024 points right now.

      That gap can still be bridged though, so I don’t consider DSM safe yet, as they don’t do many of the small races with lots of points, unlike Lotto and Cofidis.

      I think Lotto can catch up a lot of points before the Tour.
      – Of the 17 races that are held before the start of the Tour de France, they participate in 10, while Education First only starts in 3 and BikeExchange in 5. Lot’s of opportunities to get points.
      – There are 2 mandatory races (Suisse and Dauphiné). Education First only does 1 extra race (Route d’Occitanie) and BikeExchange 3 (Brussels, Aargau and Slovenia)
      – Lotto only skips Maleisia (Langkawi), Slovenia and Italy (Adriatica Ionica en Giro dell’Appennino), which are logistically not ideal, expensive and in parallel with other races. For the closer races Mont-Ventoux is in parallel with Suisse, La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi with Belgium and Suisse and ZLM Tour with Dauphiné, Aargau, Hageland, Brugge and Suisse. They’re close to the maximum what they can do without over-extending their team 🙂

  2. If Lotto passes EF would EF qualify as one of the teams with automatic invites to GT’s or have they not scored nearly enough this year?

      • Ah! Israel just took the Mercan’Tour Classic 1 and 2.
        Not that it will take them past Lotto-Soudal, but every little thing helps.

        • It certainly does help, and it’s why this story is interesting as it’s a live situation where a result here or there has a secondary meaning to it.

          If there was no battle and teams were all separated by a thousand or more points it wouldn’t be so tense… or worth blogging about each week.

          • Fuglsang takes 125 points and Woods 85.
            However, Stef Crass of Lotto also picks up 50 points, so they only catch up 160 points to Lotto.
            (Points for 11-25 are not known yet, but with 15-10-5-5-5 for top 15 and 3 for the rest it’s not going to change that much)

          • Froome takes 15 points for place 11. Kron 3 points for 20th place. However, Froome is not 1 of the top-10 scorers of Israel. So they catch up 157 points.

            The surprising top 10:
            Nizzolo 419 pts
            Woods 404 pts
            Clarke 360 pts
            Bevin 305 pts
            Fuglsang 209 pts
            Houle 105 pts
            Hagen 85 pts
            Einhorn 68 pts
            Neilands 59 pts
            Berwick 44 pts
            The first six were expected, but 7-10 surprises me. They can be easily bypassed by Froome, Brandle, Barbier, Biermans, Hermans, Impey, Vanmarcke, Wurtz Schmit or Zabel, who are racers you expect to have scored more than 44 points already…

          • 157: Kron got 3 points too for his 20th place! (And while Froome also placed, he’s not one of Israel’s top 10 this season, so his 15 points don’t count.)

            Perhaps more importantly, EF didn’t take part, so Israel catch up 210 on them.

          • On a different note, that’s got to be Froome’s best performance for a long time – ahead of riders like Pinot, Barguil, Izagirre on a mountainous route, and presumably he did some work to help set up Fuglsang & Woods…

        • Israel seem to have woken up: they’re signed up for 9 races before the TdF. Only Arkea (11), IWG (10), and Cofidis (10) have entered more. BikeExchange, OTOH, as noted earlier are up for 5, Movistar and DSM 4, EF only 3.

          • Forgetting Lotto in your overview. The participate in most races before Tour de France.

            We might see the gap with EF, BikeExchange and even Movistar much closer at the start of the Tour.

  3. Curios on how Arkea would have fared if the competed in the Giro rather than focus in other races. They racked up points successfully, but would a 4th place by Quintana have been more valuable? He isn’t what he was, but I imagine he could top Nibali..

    • As a French team they’re always going to want their star rider to do the Tour and they have a decent team for the Tour but the rest of the roster is a bit thin to cover multiple grand tours.

      As they look very likely to secure promotion it’ll be interesting to see what they do in the recruitment market, there’s talk Quintana could go to Astana and so they could hire Carapaz in his place but that’s frothy twice over, every rider with an expiring contract seems linked to Astana and Carapaz seems much more likely to stay with Ineos or move to Movistar. But then what for Arkéa, they need to bolster the squad… one option is to pilfer riders from the relegated squads.

      • Going for GC in the Giro wouldnt have been something Arkea could handle indeed, but they could have started and go for the sprints, other stage wins and maybe even the points jersey.

  4. It would appear that everyone at Israel – Premier Tech should keep their fingers crossed and hope that Lotto Soudal continues to grab points here, there and everywere and overtakes EF Education.
    It will be much easier for Israel to collect more points this season than EF and thus be the second team (after Total Energies) to get the automatic invites than it will be to overtake two teams in the three-year points race.

    A relegation is no big deal when you know you will ride the Tour and when your team will ride the Tour it it will be much easier to sign new riders who, in turn, will help your team the points to win a promotion.

    • With relegation you don’t have guarantee of your starting right in 2024 and 2025. You need to make sure you get enough points again the next season. And some racers have a clause that they can leave for free if the team relegates, although I expect most of them to stay as Israel overpays.

      For the Tour de France, invites will go for sure to Total and B&B. Israel could get the last invite, but it’s no guarantee.

      Starting in Giro/Vuelta will be difficult: In Giro, the 3 wildcards could go to Androni, Bardiani and Eolo. And for Vuelta to Burgos, Caja Rural and Euskaltel.

      • Did I get the 2022 points situation wrong or did you miss the point I wished to make?

        If Lotto Soudal overtakes EF, it will be the 18th team and avoid relegation – and therefore will not be one of the two teams with the most 2022 points that will get the automatic invitations in 2023.
        The two teams would – if the present trends continue – would be Total Energies and Israel. Am I mistaken?

        And it very much looks to me that it will be near impossible for Israel to rise to 18th position, even with Fuglsang and Woods finding their form and winning stages and an odd one-day race. But staying ahead of EF on 2022 points is eminently doable, isn’t i?

        Israel would no doubt prefer to avoid relegation and bouncing back after one season is easier said than done, but the situation will be much worse if it gets relegated *and* fails to get automati invitations to GTs.

        • I totally get your point. If Education First and Israel relegate, it’s good for Israel. At least for next season as they get the starting right for the most important races.

          Next season, they would then be competing with Total, Education First, B&B and Uno-X for the top-2 spots, otherwise they don’t have that starting right the season after. That’s the point I wanted to make.

          If I see the contracts for next season, they only have 14 racers under contract:
          WOODS Michael, FUGLSANG Jakob, NIZZOLO Giacomo, HERMANS Ben, HOULE Hugo and VANMARCKE Sep being the most important ones. With support of NEILANDS Krists, EINHORN Itamar, BERWICK Sebastian, FRIGO Marco, GEE Derek, HOLLYMAN Mason, JONES Taj and STRONG Corbin.

          Education First on the otherhand still has 19 racers and their most important racers under contract for next season, except for Guerreiro and Uran as main names end of contract.

          I don’t see Israel beating Education and Total next season, unless if they do some serious hiring. But that will be tough if you can only guarantee them 1 season of Tour de France or the classic races. Israel won’t be allowed to start in all 1.1-races like Total can to grind points, as the amount of professional teams apparently is limited there.

          • “ Israel won’t be allowed to start in all 1.1-races like Total can to grind points, as the amount of professional teams apparently is limited there.”

            This is the one aspect of the points/relegation system I don’t understand. There are the series of races for the “Coupe de France” that have to have at least ten French teams starting each race, so there are only a limited number of spaces available for non-French teams. This means that FDJ, AG2R, Cofidis, Arkea, Total etc. all have a huge number of points available to them that other teams do not. How can the UCI justify relegating a team that does not have access to all of those potential points? If I were the legal department for Israel, Bike Exchange or EF, I would take a long, hard look at this as the basis of a lawsuit. I’m pretty certain this will come into play if one of them is relegated.

          • @RV: to have any legal ground to stand on, any such team would have to prove that they were indeed denied participation. Coupe de France 1.1 events, as any UCI 1.1 race, can have up to half of starting teams being at World Tour level. And they don’t get close to this limit. Today’s Classic Alpes Maritimes had 7 WT teams (3 French, Intermarche, Israel, Lotto, Movistar) and 10 lower level teams. So you could add both EF and BikeExchange to the list and still be below UCI limit.

          • @jacek: of the next few 1.1 races, Aargau has reached the max amount of worldtour teams, the rest would have spaces.

            For 1.Pro the max percentage is higher?

          • @Jacek I don’t know what’s the situation like in France, but several small races I know, especially stage races, do already invite as many teams as they can (above all, they have to pay hotels, and then, for example, local authorities may require a smaller peloton etc.). Which means that, if this was also the case in the race you cite, they could at most invite one further WT team, switching it with one of those 10 lower teams. Mere conjectures, of course, the most probable scenario is that the WT teams which weren’t there, simply didn’t want to.

  5. Wonder if you’d like to comment or elaborate on the following,
    “The WorldTour was originally created to ensure the best riders were all at the top races and in this first three-year experiment with this points system, signs are beginning to point to the very opposite. The Tour de France organisers ASO fought tooth and nail for a promotion/relegation system – if the small races that aren’t even televised internationally attract better fields, they’ll undoubtedly find a way to make the UCI shut it down.”

    • I think you’re seeing better fields at some of these smaller races, but I don’t think it’s impacted the fields at the bigger races so I don’t think the ASO, who I assume this mostly refers to, would care that much yet.

      • I quite much agree with you, although I think that some pretty much relevant effect could be noticed at the Giro.
        Notwithstanding, given that it’s mostly – if not only – referred to French teams, it’s hard to say to what point it depended on the need to score in smaller French races which indeed rewarded a lot these weeks, rather than on keeping resources focussed and ready for the TDF instead of wearing them out at the Giro.
        Moreover, it’s not like those teams are all following the very same pattern among them, so it’s even harder to assume that the situation is a consistent by-product of the UCI point system.

    • That was – more or less – one of the declared aims of the WT (another was gaining some tool for a political leverage of sort, another one again was for some people to make more money etc.), but that never was its only task: to start with, the mere presence of minor races in the WT doesn’t fit well with that single explanation.

      And – as long debated here – the above is surely *not* the main aim of the UCI point system, which goes along with the process of promotion and relegation, although the latter, in a wider perspective, is actually a part of the idea of “having the best teams in the WT”.

      Moreover, to put it in a different way: as such, the performance in top races alone does not necessarily measure well which are the teams you don’t want to renounce to as a sport – both within a global view of the sport itself *and* in top races. It’s partly about attitude.

      Just a little example among several other facets I won’t delve into. Defending a 7th-8th GC place in a GT a la Mentjes, Zubeldia etc., maybe even countering attacks from other riders/teams, might be an effective way of getting a result of sort, while taking a risk for the sake of slight winning chances could bring worse overall results.
      Yet, in smaller races it’s probable that the athletes and teams who are so good doing the former still don’t get their wins, whereas the latter are rewarded.
      So, including races of a smaller category becomes a little factor to partially balance the above, which surelly isn’t the best for the competitive level of a race.
      Riders and teams with a “go for victory” attitude may otherwise find little reward on the top level (or less than their virtual max), but it’s that sort of attitude the one which actually raises the level of the challenge even for superior contenders, who, on the contrary, simply need not to care about which riders duly follows the wheels until he drops by himself once the pace rises halway up the last climb. Vinokourov represented more of a problem for Armstrong then, say, Beloki or Escartín and Nibali 2015 might have cost Froome the whole Tour, just as Contador cost him the 2016 Vuelta…

      Surely, none of the above is a law of nature of sort. Many other factor can be at play, and actually be much more dominant than the point system as such, not to speak of its supposed intentions. EF is a team which can animate races but still they aren’t having a great time, same for Astana or DSM in 2022, until now at least…

  6. As a follow-up to my own comment above, I’d also like to point out the obvious. Neither EF or Bike Exchange have access to domestic races to score points. In the case of EF, with the demise of Tour of California, there are precisely zero World Tour races in the US. Australia does have the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans race, but neither has been held since the pandemic hit. So, if there is a system where many races (and thus many UCI points) are closed to “foreign” teams, how can that be considered a level playing field? This is the one thing about the relegation system that makes absolutely no sense to me.

    • “Level” playing field or no, the 3 big movers upwards so far have all had one thing in common that the big movers downwards lack: urgency. Intermarche, Arkea, and Cofidis went full press as soon as the season started and they haven’t let up. They don’t have the biggest names in the game (though it looks like IWG soon will have one) but they go full gas with whatever they’ve got. EF, BEX, DSM, Israel have all been a bit complacent, picking and choosing. EF, BEX, and Israel in particular target the GTs and big one-weeks. That’s a risky row to hoe when you’re going up against Pogacar, Roglic, and to an extent Bernal. There are only so many points on offer in those races and you’re not taking the max points unless something bad happens to one of them (like Bernal). There have been plenty of points on offer elsewhere — lots of .1s and even .Pros don’t fill their quota of WT teams, but IWG, Cofidis, and Arkea (not WT but acting like one) are usually there. If EF, BEX, or Israel go down it will be because of strategic error, not because there haven’t been enough points available.

    • EF and Israel shouldn’t find races closed to them. Many organisers would be delighted to host them, having Chris Froome show up for example would be a big crowd puller. It’s more whether it’s worth the travel, the publicity etc… now the calculus changes given the points on offer.

      • This is what I see as a strength of the system.

        People have bemoaned the points on offer for ‘smaller’ races, and I can see room for tuning, of course. But this is how the UCI is helping smaller races become bigger races. Why are races big? History brings prestige (and a decent parcours). The big names there racing each other for points today makes history for tomorrow – in years to come these smaller races will have a history and can be big in their own right.

        Giving points according to the current prestige of races makes sense. But it also ensures racing stays the same as it – and it’s very, very Eurocentric. That “I” in UCI stands for something, and the Pro Tour was changed to the World Tour for a reason.

        • It’s not like the UCI never loaded with knowingly overestimated points races in China, Australia, USA, Canada, UAE, and even Turkey, Argentina, Malaysia…

          Perhaps not always for the most noble reasons, but the UCI actually took action for its “I” in this century at least. More could be asked, but it’s also worth wondering if actions are going to work top-down only out of good will, or the focus needs *also* to be put on local grassroots (the UCI can and should act in that direction, too, no doubt; but dropping points here and there should go hand in hand with this different sort of policies…).

          • Apologies, Chris, I guess there was a confusion due to the mixing up of two separate subjects, “small races around the world” and “small races in Europe (Belgium was also named but the problem is actually with France, above all”. People usually complain for the former but the latter was being criticised, too, in various versions. I say their two separate problems because people will often take opposite stances about them.

  7. I really like these weekly updates.
    Ag2r – How have they managed to be so safe in the relegation race? I think they were at the Giro but cannot recall them doing anything of note. Do they hunt points in local club races?

    • They do, but they pretty consistently put riders in top tens of a lot of races. That adds up. In the last three years the biggest results that spring to mind are Bardet’s TDF mountains jersey, Greg Van Avermaet‘s third in Flanders, and Ben O’Connor’s fourth in the TDF last year.

    • As RV says, they do quietly pick up a lot of results…they’ve had big stage wins over the last couple of years with Ben O’Connor & Nans Peters in the TdF, Andrea Vendrame in the Giro, Champoussin in the Vuelta…not to mention O’Connor’s 4th place in GC at the Tour last year. They pick up lots of one-day top 10s in the classics with GvA, Naesen etc, and then also have riders like Godon & Cosnefroy who clean up in the Coupe de France races…with the latter, admittedly, they are one of the teams who most benefit from the points on offer in smaller races…

  8. This whole thing seems like a farse. The intended consequences of the current point system are playing out.

    The current point systems reward teams to show up at one day .pro and .1, races and to try to pack the top ten. Looking at the Belgian / french teams – we have some of them doing up to 17 one-day races between May 1st and July 31st outside the WT schedule, versus others like DSM, Movistar, and EF doing a few stage races or a couple of one-day races.

    Furthermore, if you look at Arkea, or Lotto, most of their points come from non-WT races. If you look at Arkea, Lotto, Cofidis, and Wanty, some of their UCI top-10 riders, have guys that have between 0-20 points from WT races this year.

    Perhaps we should limit the number of teams from Belgium and France that are gaming the system and not taking the WT races (or GC) seriously. It would be better for the long term if there was more diversity of teams… ie a team from Norway (or Japan, or China, or India, or South America….)

    Kudos to Wanty – to knocking it out of the ball this year.

    Kudos to DSM, Movistar, EF, Bike Exchange, Ineos, Trek, Bora, Jumbo, and others …. – for not gaming the system.

    I get that some of the races are set up for Belgium and French clubs to win races against each other… but as stated it is going awry. ( Also, at some point the UCI has to take a stance against rights abusers….and eliminate connections that are too close … the Russian foreign minister, if you marry his daughter at some point you have to expect you are going to lose the right to be able to participate on the international scene -…. goodbye Vino)

    • I wouldn’t be quite so harsh. We all recognize that it is of huge importance that there are Italian, French and Spanish riders at the Giro, Tour and Vuelta, respectively, winning stages and being competitive in the KOM conpetition when not in the GC, and that it is similarly important for Italian, French and Spanish cycling that their ProTeams receive wild cards (even when objectively better teams are denied them),
      But it is indeed quite essential that there is a healthy race scene above national level in those countries and one prerquisite for that is, in my opinion, that WorldTeams and ProTeams are regular participants in those races. It is the big or at least relatively big names that guarantee sponsors and audiences and spectators.’
      The price we – or teams from other countries, to be more exact – have to pay for it is, again in my opinion, not too big. And even if it is bigger than we would wish, I don’t see a ready alternative.
      Do we really need a rule that says half of the WT or PT teams must be foreign? 🙂

    • The teams who have been rewarded most by the system are the ones who would be rewarded by any system: Quickstep, Ineos, JV, and UAE; to a lesser degree, Bahrain and Bora. And the mid-tier teams feel about right too. Our focus is on the teams who found themselves between 10th and 20th after not paying attention for 2 years and are now trying different ways to catch up, which skews the overall impression of the system.

    • Besides what I commented below (reply didn’t work), why exactly the kudos to BEX under your perspective? It’s not like they counted on WT races alone (and wasn’t it for Yates’ Giro, figures would be even more shocking in that sense).
      Their 2nd, 3rd and 4th top scorers (Matthews, Groenewegen and Groves) racked up a good deal of points outside the WT, respectively some 30%, 50% and 65% of their total. Same goes for other three top scoring men (Edmondson, Smith, Colleoni) – however I’ll admit it’s less significant ’cause below 4th placed Groves all have little points.
      Estonia, Turkey, Oman, Saudi Tour, Tour de Hongrie (or the four (!) one day races in Mallorca where Matthews got over 150 total points without *ever making the podium*) is not “gaming the system” just because they are not in France or Belgium?

      On a different note, how isn’t EF’s third scorer Valgren “gaming the system”, in a sense, given that he’s scoring points mainly placing quite far back, where there’s usually no competition at all anymore… only in big WT races?
      He’s exploiting his natural basic level of athletical and technical skills (not racing at his top form ever, surely) just to get around without being much of a factor – he never made *any single top-10* this season to achieve his points, whereas he’s been collecting little precious points being 15th, 20th, 25th (at Sanremo… nearly laughable), 35th and so on.
      Note that I don’t think he’s “gaming the system”, it’s just that you’ve got this system, the guy is racing as he finds himself able to, and he collects points by the way. At WT races.
      But here you have an unintended consequence (being rewarded despite a general lack of competitiveness) of the WT facet of the point system… So what?

      By the way, 4 out of their 10 scorers score 0-20 WT points for now, and good riders, too (Carr, Padun, Bettiol, Chaves), plus Guerreiro is only slightly above the figures you name above (36 points, barely making a top…20! in GC at Itzulia or… UAE Tour!).
      Why should they deserve your kudos while you single out other teams precisely for having riders who have scored low WT points?

      Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t well-known and notable problems within this system (mainly about French races – Belgian ones are less of a problem, to start with) but it’s pretty unfair to accuse the teams for that, especially when one ends up depicting it all in terms of black and white which, as I hope to have shown here, really don’t apply that much.
      I’d have BEX and EF in the WT quite much over Cofidis (although I appreciate greatly both G. Martin and I. Izagirre, but the team isn’t racing as even those two guys would deserve), not to speak of Total Energies getting invites at GTs instead of the former (facepalm). IMHO, Arkea doesn’t really have the level, either – they work great as a quality wildcard. Yet, one must admit that at least Cofidis and Arkea brought serious value in some WT races also, unlike what many more established WT teams often tended to do – think Pa-Ni, Catalunya, Tirreno, Itzulia: occasions that are there to seize also for EF or BEX, and yet…

      Not to speak of having a solid calendar of Classics and semiclassics, Omloop or Waregem or Strade Bianche or E3 are now WT, and Lotto Soudal was *nearly always* up there in the final top-10, as very often was Groupama, and sometimes also Ag2R, unlike others who may now regret it. But it’s not just “the system” ‘s fault, because in this case we’re speaking of taking seriously very good WT races, which EF or BEX or DSM or Israel didn’t or couldn’t do, but they should only blame themselves for that.

  9. Hey,
    An interesting graph would be a bar chart showing the new points won since the last update. Then it’s easier to see how well a team did in catching up.

  10. Russophobic delirium by a commenter named Pax(x), funny turn of events ^__^

    Gaming the system? As long stated here by many, those being rewarded are the teams which do actually comply with the system’s requirements. Moreover, there are several different strategies which all do look to be working (check Angulo link above), so it’s not at all a one-way system you can really blame.

    And. We had of course in the past one or more teams from China, Colombia, Ethiopia racing also in .1 European races, and sometimes, in the case of the Colombians, even WT races. Not to speak of Norway, where Uno-X is currently registered. Speaking of diversity, while denying visibility to those who have walked that path as if they don’t exist or never existed? Truth is that grassroots are built in the long term, not only from above (important, of course) but also bottom-up, plus any progress ain’t gained forever, and, know what?, those are the reasons why the point system (whose relevance is actually quite relative) is built like this. It’s not drying up existing grassroots that you’ll grow new ones, rather developing a long-term and multifaceted process. Guess what, again? Where did those smaller teams registered in emerging cycling countries had most options to meaningfully race in Europe? In the small one-day races…

    Reality is not made of slogans, nor is actual change, nor is building peace.

    • That was obviously answering to Paxx above. Please also note that this system can of course be criticised for several reasons, and I myself did it more than once. Only, you must have a solid point about consistency or the likes, while “you need to score WT to stay WT” is rather an opinion… the system was expressely *not* designed like that, so nobody is “gaming” it. Besides, a system based only on WT points also has its side effects, probably more troublesome than the current one (I’d say that the former tends to foster a bit more “negative racing”, but I won’t debate that now).

      • Gabriele – if you think Russia’s behavior is justified, you must live in a different world than many of us. Likewise affiliating yourself with that administration of Russia, deserves the strictest of sanctions – that is what Vino has done. Should I remind you of prior state-sponsored doping as a further example?

        Makarov needs to be removed from the management committee – it is an embarrassment to the sport that he is there.

        • Of course gabriele thinks Russia’s behaviour is justified! Why did you think you needed the “if”? BTW if you sthink it’s okay to beat your wife, you must live in a world that is also in several other ways different from the one I live in. On second thoughs, drop that “if, make it “since” 🙂

          What has Vino done now? The woman I took for his wife certainly wasn’t Sergey Lavrov’s daughter the last time I dropped in! Maybe she was just posing as Vnos wife? 🙂

        • I can’t see how seeing Russian invasion as “not justified” (as I tend to consider violence “not justified” more often than not) should force me to necessarily think that every sort of arbitrary and absurd sanction is therefore “justified”.

          Of course, I also see quite clearly that a lot of violence both explicit and structural has long been carried out in the Ucranian scenario by a broad set of different parties which didn’t include only Russia.
          Curiously, some people prefer to see random Russian being punished merely for their nationality rather than also blaming – and asking for sanctions against – the behaviour of those other very influential actors who have been intervening for years (or decades) in a totally unjustified way, including: some violent actions by the Ucranian government, which aren’t more acceptable at all only because they were acting within their territory; paramilitary actions; international political coercion; policies by supposedly private international corporations; and so on.

          You can cite Russian state doping, of course, although I can’t really see what for. Anyway, it’s a very good example of things being much more complicated tham they look at first sight, like the huge manoriy of athletes being later acquitted, the unfairness of close to no action being taken to seriously investigate the TUE scandals (not only in cycling), the structural lack of impartiality in WADA and much more.
          Guess what? Doping ain’t no good, but that doesn’t mean at all than *any* action wjich comes vested as “antidoping fight” is actually: a) intended to fight doping b) fair and square. People who folow cycling should have become aware of that since long – and maybe it could help to see other holy wars under a different light. Yes, I know that’s a very tough ask…

  11. So the question becomes; which team is worth less than its hold on a top tier licence?

    Put another way: If a magnate wants to put up a top team à la Bernard Tapie and La Vie Claire with marquee riders on top money, can this be done without using another team as the shell?

    In a sport where benificence (or call it funny money if you want) has so much importance, is it wise to put such a barrier in the way of new entrants? Of course the sport needs a structure so it might as well be this one, but it does throw up the issue that a badly-run and poorly resourced team is worth money simply because it got results three years ago.

    Of course Tapie was french and ASO is just another media company to such people but his input was key to the growth of procycling at the time, so my question must apply to present conditions. Just trying to see beyond the routine, that’s all, but there are big money individuals around who are said to like cycling that are not yet in the sport.

    • If you’ve got the cash you can create a new team and rise up the ranks. Get the team going in year one with some star riders signed and in the invitations will come and you will score points, hopefully for year two you will have earned enough points to get an automatic invite to the grand tours and big classics and you keep on scoring, repeat for year three and then you are probably in the World Tour for the next round, 2026-2028. You could end up having to spend a lot but this is pretty much how Alpecin-Fenix have managed and their budget is far from outrageous.

      The next question is whether the rise of Alpecin (or Arkéa) causes the demise of another team, for one team to move up, you move one down. The problem here is that a team that gets demoted also risks big if they’re not invited to the Tour de France, sponsors might flee.

      • Or, if you are in a hurry & really have lots of money, you can just buy a existing team/license…
        (And if you are lucky that some team is in financial difficulty, it might even be not that expensive!)

  12. I find these weekly updates interesting, particularly all the comments from all the knowledgeable people on here. I must admit I really don’t ‘get’ this system it seems riddled with all sorts of inconsistencies and questions but my main question is what is the problem that this solution is trying to solve ?

    • I think the idea is to help/or bump the good teams up and relegate the weaker ones to make space, but it’s a more complicated system than a football league, using a three year system so a team isn’t done for if a star rider has illness/injury one season. But it is complicated because of this and also because it uses the usual UCI points scale which varies between different races.

    • Hard to believe for people who’ve been following the Pro Tour -> WT adventure across the years, but… the problem is that for the first time in history or so we have more teams which want a WT spot than WT spots themselves.

      I guess that when the UCI finally said that there would be a “relegation” of sort because “not everybody can really get one of these”, suddenly everybody realised they wanted one ^__^

      So, how do you decide who’s dropped with the least damage for the sport? That’s what they’re trying to solve.

      Excursus. Abundance of French teams also factored in… it’s like an ecosystem, really, to be a second-tier French team in the ’10 was so good (they’d invite you to the TDF, Pa-Ni, maybe a Monument, too) that they became a lot, they went from 5 WT teams to 2, and new ones appeared.
      So, one day they discovered that it wouldn’t be so automatic they’d get invited, and several of them slowly began to think they’d fit better in the WT – Cofidis made the jump in 2020, Wanty in 2021 (Belgian but it had French links), now it’s Arkea’s turn, Total Energies next?

      (funny thing is that when it all started Cofidis and Total Energies were in, unlike Ag2R or FDJ who waited one more season!, but after 2010 the former both went out amidst the confusion post UCI-organisers war… at first, it looked like that they wouldn’t be granted the GT spots despite being in the “WT” :-O ).

      • I think the abundance of the French teams is due to UCI being terrible at managing the 2-3 wildcard spots they own for all World Tour races (using them to create two additional pseudo-WT spots valid for one year and giving all the rest to the 3rd best team instead of spreading this more evenly) and French federation being really good at managing their home calendar – making sure there are a lot of races and they are registered at UCI with reasonable level.

        If 6 Grand Tour wildcard spots “belonging” to the UCI went one each to top 6 Pro level teams, and invitations to other races were also spread out amongst all/most teams registered at this level (with prize for the best being getting to choose first which races they prefer), some Continental teams from countries other than France, Spain, Italy and Belgium could consider stepping up. At the moment it makes completely no sense for them – there’s lots of additional requirements, but not much incentive when you are not sure that you are going to receive some invitations.

        For next year, with Arkea going to WT and Total Energies on course to earning an invitation to all races, I think it is very likely that one of Continental teams from France is going to make a step up – they would be sure to get invited to most ASO races and quite likely also to Tour de France.

        • By definition, the wildcard spots don’t “belong” to the UCI but are negotiated with the organisers.

          By the way, it wasn’t long ago when the Giro was inviting foreign wildcards. Of course, the relatively dire situation of the Italian movement has been creating huge pressure to protect the few local pro teams still surviving, but very often money was what mattered the most for RCS, irrespective of where it came from.

          • In all fairness it must be said that I see the wild card spots that ASO and RCS have given away after sitting down at a negotiation table with UCI as “belonging” to UCI.
            In the 10+ years that I’ve been following pro cycling beyond reading the occasional newspaper headline – and maybe even the main article, too, if it wasn’t about doping or Lance Armstrong 🙂 – the number of wild card spots that has been left for the race organisers to deal as they wished has varied from four to two.
            The current system of 18 WorldTeams + 2 automatic invitations + 2 genuine “old skool” wild cards (with small variation, if a team turns down an automatic invitation or if the UCI grants the organisers a right to have 23 teams) may well have satisfied all parties at the time, but it will be open to re-negotiation at some point.

            It could possibly be quite interesting to read a historical overview and to learn what on earth made the GT organiser give away 1-2 wild card spots they held in their hands after UCI created the WT system. What did they believe they would gain and have they done so in recent years?

            And, last but not least, could we be “going back” to 18 WT teams + 4 wild cards given entirely at the disretion of the organiser? (I, for one, don’t think that the possibility of a soft landing for a relegated team will be there forever; the automatic invitations probably weren’t meant to be a permanent feature.)

          • Two (for stage races, Grand Tours included) and three (for one day races) wildcards are so much under control of the UCI, that there is an entry in UCI Road Cycling Regulations (2.1.007 bis) saying who gets them. Unfortunately UCI uses those to create two further pseudo-WT teams instead of creating some healthy system of spreading those invitations among multiple teams. Which results in Pro Team system being completely unhealthy and existing only in places where domestic calendar can support their existence.

          • I looked up 2.1.007bis and as I read and understood it, the regulation says that (when we talk about Europe Tour races) organisers of 2.1 and 2.2 races “must invite the first 3 UCI continental teams in the classification by team for the relevant continental circuit of the event, on the last day of the previous season”.
            In other words, there are no automati invitations for 1.1. one-day races for “pseudo-WT teams”.

            Is my interpretation totally wrong or did I read the wrong part of the regulations?

          • @Jacek They’re in the rules because it’s been negotiated so. As Eskerrik Asko says, that may change, just as the power relations between organisers and UCI could also change in time. But it’s not like the UCI is totally free to set those rules. What we have now is a typical compromise which was the result of a long-term process, and which included the UCI President being changed along the way as ASO wished. Have a read to inrng time-machine, some 6-7 years ago:
            Incidentally, you might also observe where the promotion-relegation idea comes from, and why we have a mix of 3-year WT process and 1-year Pro Teams classification (the latter is also what makes the Pro Teams wild card spots slightly different from a pure WT license).
            Note that it wasn’t an “ASO wins all” sort of thing, either, although they surely achieved a result closer to their wishes.

          • @Eskerrik Asko
            You need to read a little further on in the article. A couple of paragraphs later it deals with 1. races:
            Provisions for UCI WorldTour one-day races
            The organiser must invite the best UCI ProTeams on the UCI World Team Ranking, as considered on the last day of the previous season (under the terms of article 2.1.001) (1), according to the followings:
            Number of UCI WorldTeams Obligatory Invitation of best UCI ProTeams Remaining wild cards for Organisers
            19 2 4
            18 3 4

        • And, of course, the elephant in the room is the heavy intervening role that, according to the tradition of the last decades, the UCI president plays in managing the institution thinking to particular, very particular, interests rather than general ones.

          • Jacek. Regarding “I think it is very likely that one of Continental teams from France is going to make a step up – they would be sure to get invited to most ASO races and quite likely also to Tour de France.”

            Actually B&B Hotels will increase their budget next year from 9 to 18 million euros per year.

            The race to be the best ProTour team will be interesting. Imagine Total, Israel, EducationFirst, B&B and Uno-X competing to be the best. They will probably compete for the last Tour de France wildcard, unless another team attracts some good French racers/sponsors. I dont see another French team becoming ProTour…

            Of the other ProTour teams, only Vlaanderen-Baloise and Bingoal-Pauwels-Wallonia would get invited enough to big-points races, but as part of their money comes from the government I don’t see them being able to increase budget and attract enough high-scoring racers.

      • I suppose that raises the question of what question the World Tour is trying to solve. Which, ultimately, is “how do you know which teams will appear in the big races*, and therefore are most worth sponsoring”:

        * you could go further: how do you know which teams will be in the Tour de France.

        • Race organisers want some wildcards indeed, sometimes for local teams. And logistically its not easy to start with too many teams.

          In the big races you have 18 WT + 2 best PT + 3 Wildcards. Thats really the max.

    • Sure, it wouldn’t make too much difference, across all teams the big scorers score big, once you go lower down the order in a team the tail of points thins out anyway.

      But it’s probably so that a team doesn’t have to send their 25th or 30th rider out to hunt points but instead it allows them to ride in service of their leaders which is a valuable role in itself, sacrificing themselves during the first 100km of a race rather than trying to save them so they can finish 13th or 36th overall etc. It also works as a mitigation for team budgets where a big team’s 11th rider could have a lot of points, less so for a small team.

  13. Why are your numbers not aligned with procyclingstats? Is it the fines you talked about earlier?

    Or they add races within the week, such as the victory of De Lie and the +/- 40 points in Brussels Cycling Classic?


    According to Procyclingstats, Lotto only needs to catch up 555 points to Education First.

    They might score 100+ with De Lie and top 20 in Limburg.

    They didnt come with a strong selection to Dauphine though. Cras and Van Gils only racers in the top 10 of Lotto. Cras could try to go for top 10 in GC, Van Gils for top-3 in stages, but the rest has less than 115 points. Sweeny is good, the rest I dont have much faith in.

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