UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

This week’s tables are very tight with Lotto-Soudal and BikeExchange-Jayco practically tied on points, spelling trouble for the Aussie team as their relegation rivals all had strong rides.

What’s Changed Since Last Week?

  • Alpecin-Fenix and Arkéa-Samsic remain set for promotion to the World Tour
  • Israel-PremierTech and Lotto-Soudal face relegation… just
  • …BikeExchange-Jayco and Lotto-Soudal are practically tied on 12,629 points, just 0.33 points (yes, one third of a point, they can be divided up between riders in a team time trial) separates the two teams so the Australian team must be toey as
  • Thanks to the Tour de Suisse and the Route d’Occitanie Bora-hansgrohe were the week’s top scorers with 693 points, ahead of Israel on 546 and EF Education-Easypost on 534. Lotto-Soudal got 320 points, mostly from their home Belgium tour and Tim Wellens’ second place
  • The lowest scorer was Jumbo-Visma on zero after the team quit the Tour de Suisse. Arkéa-Samsic were the 4th lowest on 63, BikeExchange got 90.

The chart above shows the three year points haul of several teams scrapping to avoid relegation and just how tight things are getting with the Tour de France looming, watch those lines converge.

That’s for the weekly changes. Looking ahead this week BikeExchange might be relieved that the 1.1 Belgian one day race Halle-Ingooigem due for tomorrow is cancelled in case it’s another Arnaud De Lie points festival. In early July Lotto-Soudal, Israel and Cofidis are starting Romania’s Sibiu Tour, BikeExchange are not.

Taking a slightly longer view, Arkéa-Samsic got 4,000 points between the start of the season and April, but from May to now then they’ve taken about a thousand points. They’re ok for now but if they carry on stalling they risk being caught up again in the points battle and would not be promoted, one to keep an eye on.

Wider still, Pierre Carrey wrote an interesting piece for Le Temps (paywall), a Swiss newspaper which a reader kindly shared. As well as the points/relegation battle now featuring in the pages of a newspaper, it explores the pressure on teams and riders to score points. You might have watched post-race inteviews on TV and openly heard riders talking about getting points, something nobody talked about openly earlier this year. Le Temps suggests the pressure is intense, one rider says “now you can’t overlook a sprint for 60th place” (there are 3 points in a one day World Tour race for 60th place). The article explains things are not as wild as before when UCI points where a virtual currency, a rider’s wage could be heavily influenced by their haul. This was problematic, an issue raised by the UCI’s ISSUL audit which looked at the incentives behind doping. Today teams can’t hire in riders for their points, today’s promotion/relegation system is about results obtained while a rider is racing for their current team.

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.

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

  1. The inability of bike exchange to secure title sponsors for many years is starting to bite. The number of riders capable of consistently getting points has reduced over the last few years to the point they only have 4. (yates, groenewegen, matthews and groves). And only one of them is GC where points are big.
    They need more funding from a proper title sponsor.
    I don;’t consider Bike exchange to be an independent sponsor as its just another company partly or wholly owned by the team owner and probably don’t contribute much.

    • In the meantime Sobrero also scored 15 points for italian time trial on top of the giro-points.

      Also Kangert scored 30 in Estonia.

      Lotto will need to score heavily in Belgian Time Trial to keep up, with also UK (does Yates start?) and Denmark (will Kron and Juul-Jensen start?) influencing the points for today.

      Regular national championships will obviously also play their role.

      • Kangert was not one of the top 10 players of BikeExchange. So they only have 15 points for Sobrero.

        De Gendt was injured, but Campenaerts scored points for third place. 5th place for Frison doesnt count, but with the additional 5 points for Vermeersch’ 6th place, Lotto Soudal is now virtually leading with 10 points over BikExchange. Tomorrow the gap might increase further.

  2. BEX (or Orica Greenedge as was) were successful at first due to a certain freshness, enthusiasm and willingness to challenge the cycling status quo. From that they obtained some oustanding results from relatively ordinary riders (Gerrans, Hayman…) who used wiles and experience to triumph unexpectedly, all aided by a youthful management prepared to rock the boat a little. That initial enthusiasm seems to have dissipated partly, as Brent Sword suggests, by Ryan’s logical reluctance to spend too much of his family’s money and also the failure to replace Orica. Sadly they have to just accept the youthful enthusiasm inevitably has a finite life.

    • They’ve also had an internal upheaval with the management changes following the Manuela fiasco and it can take time to settle in. But do think their calendar choice is a big part, they don’t like to race much outside of the World Tour often and this maybe costs then as much as other factors.

      • But Manuela was surely a direct consequence of Ryan’s pressing desire to extricate himself from his open-ended commitment to the team. Finding the right sponsor will get harder as the years pass and status fades.

      • This idea that they don’t like to race outside the World Tour often is a myth. When they had sponsorship from Orica and a better team and the youthful enthusiasm to rock the boat they were very good at placing their riders to win small races.

        They used to ride the smaller Spanish races a lot. They used to ride Slovenia before the country became hip. They rode in North American races like Utah and Alberta. They weren’t shy of sending a young Caleb Ewan to Langkawi and Korea.

        If they choose not to do so now, for whatever reason, that’s their problem. But it’s got nothing at all to do with them not liking to race outside the World Tour.

      • How much do we think BEX have suffered as a result of the TdU being cancelled for consecutive years? Naturally they always do well and dominate their home race and the Herald Sun Tour + Cadel RR. There must be a points hole there. Granted there are other factors at play as suggested above.

      • Question @INRNG – how expensive is it for teams to participate in the 1.1 and 1.pro races. If a team has a base in Spain or Italy, could each additional race be 20-40K Euro, in transportation, hotel, additional labor, etc?

        Groenewegen would definitely have been able to get a ton of points in the same races, that Arnaud De Lie was scoring. In retrospect, this seems like a tactical error. From a sporting perspective, it made sense to try to win a stage at the Dauphine, albeit with low odds, instead of just reloading for the one day .1, and .pro would probability-wise produce better results.

        • The pre-night hotel is covered by the team and there can be a small participation fee. But there’s getting all the staff, the fuel etc, and teams often hire in helpers for smaller races if core staff are at the main races. Hard to put a figure on it. But if the race is on TV then it’s often the purpose of the team to be there, it depends on the point or mission of the team and the sponsor, the audience they want to reach. As you say, now they just want points as well.

          • Most of those small races in Belgium are on TV in Belgium, and many are on Eurosport/GCN too I think? Same for many smaller races in Spain, Italy, France, etc. (local TV + Eurosport). So European sponsors get a reasonable amount of exposure.

            It might be more problematic for Australian sponsors, I don’t know?

  3. So I’d bet there must be some relegation clauses going into new rider contracts for next year at this rate. I can’t imagine Carapaz going to EF if they’re only hoping for grand tour wildcards…

    • It definitely adds an extra dimension to the transfer market. Relegation/get-out clauses are fine, but there have got to be spaces (and budget) available on other teams for you to go to (at what will be late in the year).
      For me, the 2022 points for 2023 auto invites, adds a really interesting additional layer to this. Whilst Total Energies are not in the mix for promotion, their 2022 points (and fact they seem to be starting to fire this season) means they’re a risk for teams like EF and BEX (and maybe Movistar) in 2023, should they be relegated.

      • Every team from Movistar on down is really on a knife’s edge. It looks like the margins will be very, very thin, and I’d expect that the Vuelta might be really insane. Multiple riders from the same team trying to get in every breakaway, a hard fought battle for 6th and 7th on GC etc. Things we would normally not pay attention to at all will suddenly become much more important.

        • The funny thing is… while last two seasons were covid-influenced, sure, several teams probably either neglected this whole story or – which is much more baffling – neglected it even for half of this season, until they got into the mixer.

          Afaik inrng was the first who raised this issue (at least in English?), several other blogs and news duly followed and it almost seems several teams noticed the whole thing only from those sources… I am sure that’s just an very inaccurate impression, but it has certain comical side to it imho, with Movistar directors venting frustration with the system that has been running for two and half years already etc.

          • I’d had the same thought that this blog was the epicenter for the attention to the relaxation points issue. The more it was talked about here, the more I started seeing it show up elsewhere. Just another sign of how deeply in tune Inring is with the twists and turns of this sport.

            The note that a team manager was so uninformed about this is both amazing and hardly surprising, given the nature of professional cycling (a sport that is far more tradition based than professionalized, so I say “professional cycling” with an intentional irony).

  4. On another longer view, Astana have only scored 1,800 pts all season and with Lopez dropping out of the Tour must be feeling a little nervous: they’re in the Sibiu Tour too.

    On the point of relegation clauses, it appears that the model contract for WorldTour riders already covers this:

    “The Rider may terminate the present contract, without notice or liability for damages … if the UCI WorldTour licence for the team expires, is withdrawn, or if the UCI WorldTeam is suspended for a period of three months or more”

  5. This could climax in a very weird Lombardia, even down to soigneurs, mechanics, DSs and team cars trying to get one over on each other to gain an edge.
    Watch out for the chilli oil spiked chamois cream

  6. A covid lottery for relegation?

    For GC-focused teams, there seems to be a potential that relegation might come down to who gets covid (or already did) at the wrong time. Bardet, Fulsang, Woods, Mas, Valverde, Yates, Izaguirre, Quitanna, Guerreiro, Carthy…and others would be missed.

    Also, there is the injury wildcard as well – which was in full force at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, which definitely hurt some riders’ ability to score points for a while. However, every year teams are aware that injuries/sickness can happen.

    To restate, Covid-19 is a lottery, despite an athlete’s or team’s great preparation, the externalities caused by others can have severe consequences.

    • And that is why I expect a close margin to result in both the 18th and 19th teams being waved through.

      UCI will not want to risk the consequences of making the wrong bet on the legality of their regulations.

      • It’s pretty much impossible to “wave teams through”, as the WT race organizers like ASO, RCS & Flanders Classics (and all the smaller ones) would almost certainly veto that…

  7. It also looks like UAE Emirates is soon going to be toxic for their non-neutral support of Russian energy and commodities exports. It will be interesting how soon the public starts berating the riders.

    Obviously the riders are not fault for the lax moral standards of their sponsor UAE.

    • If we lived in a world with an ethical compass pointing North, this would be a huge issue. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in, and I honestly don’t expect Pogacar fans to criticize UAE for anything, no matter how heinous. Messi recently signed on to be an ambassador for the Saudi state (despite already having more money than he or the next five generations of his family could possibly spend). From a moral perspective this should make Messi absolutely toxic. It won’t. His fans will simply ignore it. Sportswashing is a huge problem, and I don’t want to despair and say it can’t be solved, but when top level stars like Pogacar and Messi collaborate in it, we’re a long way away from any sort of solution.

  8. Love these updates. Very intrigued to see how this all plays out what with 2 Grand Tours to contest. Agree that BEX must getting nervous.
    “BikeExchange-Jayco and Lotto-Soudal are practically tied on 12,629 points, just 0.33 points (yes, one third of a point, they can be divided up between riders in a team time trial) separates the two teams so the Australian team must be toey as”
    And to add to this – “As toey as a Roman sandal” is a phrase that gets ( or used to get ) used quite a bit in Australia.

  9. I have a sneaking suspicion that all this is for nothing and no team will get relegated, or rather two teams will get relegated and then reinstated long before the new season starts.

    • I am absolutely certain there are a few very well remunerated lawyers who will find an obscure clause in EU law which invalidates relegation. In fact, I’d imagine this is all happening behind the scenes right now. We may never hear about these machinations, but it’s certain that no team is going to go down without exhausting every legal avenue possible.

      • It would be pretty obscure, given how entrenched promotion and relegation are in certain sports in Europe. The European Commission has previously described it as one of the characteristics of European sport as it rewards sporting merit. EU law doesn’t insist on promotion/relegation but it certainly doesn’t prohibit it.

        • Indeed. Should the (in my opinion) unexpected happen and there would be more than 18 WT teams when the 2023 season commences, it will quite definitely because of some “obscure clause in EU law”.

          (I chose not to comment because it struck me as not entirely seriously meant, but more as a shorthand for anything resulting from…let’s say non sporting considerations that might arise between seasons.)

          PS A good read on why there were 19 WorldTeams in 2013:

        • Also no teams have come out against the system, either collectively or by themselves. Now a relegated team could protest against the system as a whole or some aspect of it, right down to a commissaire’s decision for littering etc, but there’s no outward sign of revolution. Can imagine a relegated team tries hard to explore angles if the worst happens to them.

      • There are no EU (or Swiss) laws against relegation.

        And the rules for this have been around for years, so it’s not like this is a last minute change to the rules or anything like that.

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