UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

No change but things are getting close at the relegation threshold.

Given Alpecin-Fenix and Arkéa-Samsic have said they want promotion and sit high on the three year rankings, the story looks set to be all about relegation from here until the end of the season.

What’s Changed Since Last Week?

  • No change to the standings, except Cofidis move above Movistar
  • Israel won 404 points last week, ahead of Lotto-Soudal with 316 and 245 for Cofidis
  • Astana, Bahrain, EF Education, Ineos, Jumbo-Visma and Trek-Segafredo didn’t score
  • Lotto-Soudal are now 434 points away from EF in 18th place

Little change in the positions, but things are getting very close in terms of points. Israel had their best week thanks in part to Jakob Fuglsang’s win in the Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes with Mike Woods in second place. Interestingly they’re a surprise late entry for the Sibiu Tour in Romania next month as if they’ve clocked they need the points and to win these they’ll need a high GC finish so how much do they balance sending their best riders to the Tour de France with the need to get points.

The chart above shows how six teams have fared this season and look at the convergence, it shows just how close things are getting around the drop zone.

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.

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

  1. Arnaud De Lie continues to be the MVP points nabber among the teams in the relegation battle. He and Lotto are incredibly effective at harvesting points in one-day races, especially 1.1 races (all six of his wins are in that category), though he’s scored well in several .Pro and WT races. At this point I could see him ending up the team’s top scorer, though there are a lot of races to come.

    The contrast between De Lie’s points, all from one-day races, and Ewan’s, who has done virtually all stage races, is profound and really shows how much the UCI points system is biased towards the former. Of course, from a sponsor’s point of view, Ewan winning in high-prestige WT races has a value that points can’t quantify, so the team may be fine with this.

    • Ewan’s down to ride some one day races, the Elfstedenronde coming up soon. He is paid the big bucks to win big as you say but has been struggling a bit, his Giro crash was a lot like his Tour crash last summer. Hopefully he’s back to winning ways soon because when he’s on top of his game he’s arguably the best sprinter in the world and normally a safe one too, he doesn’t pull any stunts. Interestingly in the Tour last year he started sprinting for the intermediate points too, he wanted the green jersey and that’d be great to see in July with van Aert and van der Poel trying as well, a battle across different stages.

      • I appreciate Ewan more than most people apparently do, but hey inrng you really have a soft spot for him I’d say. He has sure long held the potential to be the top sprinter in the world, only you also need to *actually* make yourself such, and possibly through a decent number of seasons… say “two”?
        Note that the only time he probably was the best of the bunch, in 2019, he didn’t win *huge* because the competition – and not necessarily a stellar one – was often close enough to take several important victories away from him. 3 TDF stages, 2 at the Giro and the Paris-Bruxelles – his whole palmares that year in relevant races of sort – is nice, but just compare it with the glorious seasons of the sprinters who actually were the best of the world in a given moment. And it’s worth more or less as the races he lost although he was in shooting position, 4 times at the Giro, as many at the Tour and Hamburg, plus adieu green jersey.
        Points believers would say that Viviani or Ackerman were better that year, and indeed the latter looked faster while the former won bigger; just choose a wider lens and Viviani is the best in 2018-2019, then comes Bennett… or Cav all over again ^__^ (which is telling…).
        Ewan is solid value and he makes sprint competition meaningful in a period in which it’s often barely so precisely because of the lack of great sprinters, but he’s not been able to take advantage of the lack of consistent rivals to position himself on the top, which is indeed a problem if you want to consider him as “the best”, it casts doubts. I’d rather say he’s permanently “among the best”, in a generation without great pure sprinters. Of course, he’s still young.

    • Unless you are able to differentiate among the broad range of stages as they are designed and/or end up being raced, it makes totally sense that a one-day win is worth more than a stage, since the competition in the former (comparing equal race category with equal race category) tends to be way harder and people actually fight for the top ten unlike in most stages. Obviously lots of exceptions, counter examples and so on, but broadly – the generality is implied by the point system – it’s like that. Of course, some races don’t really belong to the category they’re given, but that’s a different story…
      That said, I’d agree that the difference in point could be reduced a little.
      But it’s also worth noting that everybody knows that sprint victories in stage races are really meh, like, getting one of that could be “a failure” and great success starts from 3 on.

      • Of course stages vary widely in how difficult they are and how they’re raced, but the same is true of one-day races, especially at the lower levels (as we’re talking about with De Lie’s wins). And I’m not sure we can only compare equal race categories, at least when we’re talking about UCI points – every stage of the Tour is wildly more competitive than the vast majority of 1.1 races, yet landing a hard-won fifth, or tenth, place in a TdF stage is worth nothing per the UCI points system.

        Ultimately, though, I don’t have a problem with the UCI points system, and certainly didn’t mean to imply that I did. It’s an internal scoring system designed for a purpose totally separate from recognizing who the ‘best’ riders and teams are (which the PCS scoring system does try to do I think). Any system the UCI could come up with to accomplish the varied goals of their scoring system could ultimately be criticized by fans and games by professionals, and this system seems about as good as any other. One of the beauties of professional cycling is that it absolutely resists the kind of reductive process that other sports can engage in (e.g., NCAA basketball with “March Madness” or an American football playoff system and championship), so there will never be an ideal or ‘fair’ scoring system across races.

        What I was alluding to is this- Ewan is a true star, and regularly wins races that fans remember, and which come with considerable prestige. De Lie is currently the second coming of Jakub Mareczko (okay, that’s unfair, De Lie is only 20 and has excellent results in a few top races, but I think you get the point). I can see De Lie growing into a star, and winning races that actually matter. But when that happens I wouldn’t be surprised if his UCI points haul actually declines when he stops focusing on third tier races.

        • Yes, I guess we agree in practice and debating details. Yet, my point is that one-day races on a general basis are per se a more competitive setting than stages. That’s why the former tend to be (again, in broad terms) much more entertaining. So many stages, even in GTs (sometimes, even more so in GTs), even at the TDF (depending on the historical moment, it may be even more so at the TDF) are like “the peloton easily gives green light to a break, some 12 guys of diverse levels play it out, and often it soon reduces to 3, many times out of pure chance”. Or “everybody knows it’s going to be a sprint, five guys play it out in the last 250 m”. The dynamics of the whole racing day are shaped by that. It can happen in classics, too, but quite much less – and when it becomes like that there’s a sense of disappointing and an urge to change things. In stages people rarely really battle out a 5th place as you hint above, not to speak of a10th (“battling” is not as in “a low cost sprint on the very line”), in classics that can be the case.
          That said, the points allocated out of the top 10 in 1.1 races are nearly symbolic (3-5 points or so), just intended to mirror – and at the same time foster – an attitude of sort as the one described above. It makes little sense in stage races, all the better for the racing if instead of fighting for a 9th place you keep some energies to try hard again the following days.
          However, it’ s equally clear that there’s an ideological and probably strategic factor at play. I’d agree that winning a TDF stage and a 1.1 classic shouldn’t share similar weight, all the rest also being proportional. At the same time, most 1.Pro are way more competitive in their racing dynamics than most TDF stages… but not +65% more competitive, anyway.

          • I think a simpler way of saying that one-day races warrant more points than stages is that in a one-day race everyone is either trying to win (or place high if going for points as this year perhaps) or is supporting their potential winner. In a sprint stage, the climbers and perhaps GC riders are taking it easy, while in a climbing stage a huge chunk of the peloton is just trying to make the time cut. In most stages there are lots of people playing the long game, waiting for their special stage, or just trying to survive. In a one-day race theoretically everyone is all-in for that single finish.

            I will disagree that in stages people rarely battle out a 5th place. I see it all the time. Of course they’re usually battling for the win and come up just short, but that’s the same as in one-day races.

            And I’m not sure what you mean by “the points allocated out of the top 10 in 1.1 races are nearly symbolic (3-5 points or so)” – do you mean 11th place on down? 11th is still 15 points, so a tiny bit more than symbolic, but I was really talking about finishers closer to the winner. Danny Van Poppel got 70 points at Rhonde van Limburg for third place; third at Paris-Nice would net him 10 points. Hermans got 40 points for 6th place, which would net him nothing, even at the Tour. Yes, there are occasional nobodies who finish 6th at the TdF, but most of the time the top ten finishers are quality riders who are just a whisker away from being in winning form, or who had a tiny bit of bad luck. But perhaps that’s the best reason for the current system – it discriminates somewhat against the best riders and best teams who focus heavily on the Tour and other major WT races. It’s a bit of a leveling agent.

        • Of course, in a Queen Stage lots of people try as hard as they can even to be 15th, but until we differentiate stages, you can’t take that as a reference, it’s a few stages really and essentially in GTs (besides, so often it ends up being all about natural selection).

          Re: Ewan and De Lie. Right, but don’t forget that the boy is *winning a lot* and, even in cycling, victories when they flood in in quantity can overcome the general rule about quality mattering the most. After all, that’s why sprinters even exist as a category, why we’re even speaking of Cav’s record “over Merckx” …or why inrng used to have regular in-depth posts about something so trivial and bordering meaningless, in a way, as “number of victories per team in the season”. Plus, normally when Ewan was winning big in 2019 he also scored bigger than De Lie now… the only dubious season is 2020 when he got 970 UCI pts vs 1340 De Lie 2022, but Caleb actually won 2x TDF stages and Scheldeprijs… and literally nothing else of any serious relevance, but, yes, I’d agree that those 3 victories (which I can’t remember much without checking further data, to be honest) should weigh a little more than De Lie’s 6 victories in minor races.

    • Normally every Sunday night and the UCI adds them up on Monday, publishes them overnight. But Monday was a public holiday in much of Europe (which is why the Ronde van Limburg was on) and De Lie’s win in Limburg is included in the numbers for last week.

  2. Israel’s clock must be running slow if they’ve just realised that they need the points.
    Although they might be calculating on just doing the bare minimum as far as attending (and scoring at) the ‘lesser’ races is concerned?

    • I’m sure they’ve known they needed points, it’s more they’re taking active steps now to go and get more. It’ll be interesting to see who they send to Sibiu, they need a GC result for the points and while Sebastian Berwick is a good climber and a likely starter, do they bring a stronger more experienced rider who could make their Tour squad as well? You can imagine on their Tour team list will not be happy about this to put it mildly… so maybe it’s not an issue.

      Israel can also count on the national championships where they should be able to get plenty of results but not so many points but as the country didn’t have any starters in the men’s elite worlds last year and consequently the country has a lower points scale.

    • It seems EF’s clock ticks even slower then…

      I’d guess they felt safe before the season started, but they surely must be aware of their freefall now?

      • You would think so, but its not like they are adding any races to their programs so far.

        If education first doesnt score much, Lotto can almost close the gap by the start of the Tour…

  3. BEX exchange lost 2 years of there home races where they might not win but are bound to score some points because as for all home teams its important to do well.
    Too late have they twigged that they need to make up the points.
    Perhaps they should have sent groenewegen to some of these one day races. Better points haul.

    • Yes, good points.
      Groenewgen has been dropped twice now at the Dauphine.
      The seasons affected by Covid puts a large asterisk beside the points totals in my view.
      So much so that in some other sports the respective season was chalked off.

      • Yes, Groenewegen (and BEX) would surely have had a better chance of points in the long weekend’s Belgian/Dutch races (Bruxelles, Limburg, Heistse Pijl) rather than getting tailed off in a pointless Dauphiné.

        Also interesting to try and correlate team budget and 2022 UCI points. Intermarché, Arkea and Alpecin obviously doing well while the supposedly well and reliably funded Movistar are struggling – and just think where they would be without golden oldie Valverde.

        • Movistar’s budget is not that big. Other teams have seen their budget rise over the years but Movistar’s hasn’t gone up at the same rate. I don’t have the official figures to hand right now but when I did it was surprising how they managed to have a full team with some GC star riders (answer is probably they have some big stars and then a flatter pay system for all the gregarios/young riders). Still they’re said to be in the market for Carapaz and Carlos Rodriguez and having lost M-A Lopez last season there’s some budget to spare.

        • BEX not sending Groenewegen to Belgium this weekend was not that much of a problem. I think what they did wrong was sending Matthews and Groves only to Brussels Classic and then completely failing tactically in that race. Those two should have scored big over three races, only 50 points in total is a lot less than expected.

      • Good points about Groenewegen, but one could argue the purpose of him riding the Dauphine is to prepare him for the Tour where he, on paper at least, is a potential multi stage winner.

        The TdF guide on this site about stage 13: ‘this day is intended for the sprinters who’ve endured slogging the pedals for a week without a chance’. There’s two to three sprint stages after that too and some require to survive a late hill.

        While panic stations seem justified for some teams, there’s sense in sticking to the plan and not risking future big fish goals they’ve been preparing for.

        • Dauphine could be a good preparation for Groenewegen in the Tour indeed.

          Publicity wise important, but its a risk for the points they are taking. Guess after the Tour they will prioritise Groenewegen for points-scoring.

      • 2020 and 2021 effectively have asterisks by them anyway, as only about 50% then 75% of the normal number of races took place, and the points available each season were reduced accordingly.

        But, yeah, BEX would expect around 600pts each season from the TdU and Cadel races (though other teams would have scored too).

  4. still a lot of the season to play out but its interesting that the relegation battle is getting tighter as we go.

    whoever gets dropped this year can at least firstly hope to get the automatic selection slot and then have a good chance of getting promoted again next year when DSM lose that huge haul of 2020 points and are suddenly deep in relegation trouble

      • Wait a minute! I, too, had somehow missed this as I have concentrated on the situation at the bottom end and the changes (ifany) from one week to another. But doesn’t this mean that the teams that are relegated now face a future with no chance to get promoted until at the end of the 2025 season?
        No relegated teams = no vacantslots for promoted teams (unless a WorldTeam implodes or calls it a day)?

          • The licence shoould be allocated for a three-year cycle. 2023-2025… so yes, while the relegated team could get automatic invites next year (well… EF seems to be heading a rather unpleasant direction of a relegation combined with no automatic invites…) there is no guarantee of such place in next two years…

          • Total is expected to be the top scorer next season.

            With B&B doubling their budget next year and getting lots of races/invites it could go between EducationFirst, Israel and B&B for getting the guaranteed invites.

            B&B has 1316 points so far this season, which is not far from EducationFirst (1461) but still a while from Israel (2463). With the addition of a 2 high-scoring racers for B&B, this could get interesting. Much will depend on the GC in big tours also…

          • I don’t think there is any reasonable way for EF to exist as a Pro team with no Grand Tour invites. Their sponsor needs exposure, it is not a vanity project of a billionaire (like ISN). If they continue to not perform, they will be relegated with zero safety net (losing GT invites to Israel and Total Energies, classics invites to Uno-X) and most likely will fold, maybe only surviving as a gravel team in USA.

          • I agree that Education First might fold eventually if they cannot start the races with bigger exposure. But not for 2023, here’s why.

            They still have most big names under contract next season which might lead to much invites. They have Bettiol, Bisseger, Carthy, Cort, Padun, Powless, Rutsch, Valgren and 11 others. Although some might have clauses that they can leave in case of relegation, or some might request a buy-out.

            Next to that, EducationFirst has a contract for next season, which then expires. If they quit before the end, it’s not good for their brand. A merger with another team would make more sense (and B&B Hotels which wants to increase budget but doesnt have the racers yet, would be my top pick).

            If EducationFirst are not the best team in their first year as protour team, then the team might stop to exist (or just become co-sponsor somewhere). They dont have any racers under contract for 2024 the license might disappear.

            They might noy be allowed to start in Giro or Vuelta, with many local teams counting on it, but Tour de France is still feasible. There are 2 “free” wildcards and only B&B hotels to get one guaranteed as Frenchies. For the second wildcard they compete with Uno-X, “Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise” and “Bingoal-Sauzen Pauwels-Wallonie-Bruxelles”. I think their names are big enough, but smart recruitment of some French names might help.

            In the Flemish races, Belgian teams Bingoal and Topsport usually get the invites. If they have three free wildcards, I would chose Bettiol, Valgren and Cort over Uno-X.

            For Giro, they compete with Eolo, Bardiani and Androni. If they promise to start Bettiol and maybe manage to recruit free agents Zana, Ulissi, Trentin or Pozzovivo or one of the Androni-racers there is a chance they get that wildcard.

            So all in all we can conclude the situation will be really bad for them in 2023, but the main effect would be for 2024.

          • Contracts with riders are only good if you have money to pay them, other staff and travel to races. So the most important question is how the sponsorship deal looks. EF has bought out the team from Slipstream Sports when they came on board, so they have quite a lot of power, and I think it is not that rare for multiple year sponsorships to depend on continued participation in top races (mostly TdF as majority of commercial worth of cycling is in that race).

            Also, the wildcard situation doesn’t have to be that great. The worth of riding TdF is so big that, with Arkea and Total Energies winning their spots, I would not be surprised if one of the bigger French Continental teams convinces some extra sponsor to join and steps up a level. Giro will definitely prefer fully Italian teams, especially as there is no Italian team in WT. Similarly Vuelta. And top one day races are not that important from point of view of a sponsor like EF, and most of them are in France or Belgium, and both countries very often invite teams from the other one. A lot of Uno-X invites this year were very likely a result of Delko folding in August 2021 and no other French team replacing them at Pro level, but now the incentive to fill this place is much bigger, as a TdF spot is likely.

          • Good point that Education First might be able to terminate their sponsorship after relegation. But I still dont think they will do that.

            Some racers might be able to leave also, and it will be difficult to attract new quality racers.

            You would not be surprised if one of the bigger French Continental teams convinces some extra sponsor to join and steps up a level.

            There are 6 French Continental teams.
            Which one are you thinking about?
            1. Cross Team Legendre (16)
            2. Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ (13)
            3. Go Sport – Roubaix Lille Métropole (11)
            4. Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur (10)
            5. St Michel – Auber93 (10)
            6. Team U Nantes Atlantique (11)

            I dont think someone will jump in the gap next season. We would have heard about it already I think and those teams mainly depend on regional funding. A new French Protoru team would realistically only be ready in one year. Unless they decide to collaborate/merge with Education First for example.

            I agree that Giro most likely chooses Eolo, Androni and Bardiani. But just wanted to mention there is a chance if EF does smart recruitment and lobbying.

            No chance they can start in Vuelta though.

            Some top one day races still give good visibility (mainly Flanders and Roubaix).

            So as long as there’s no new French protour team, situation is not that awfull yet next year. But 2024 its probably game over if they are not one of the best 2 protour teams in 2023.

  5. Israel PT say they’re going after UCI points and Vanmarcke recently revealed he will skip the Tour de France to do one-day races in Belgium. Quote, “There is no panic”, really? 🙂

    • Vanmarcke would not have scored any points or races in Tour de France anyway, so seems good decision at first sight.

      The dauphiné-guys cant seem to do a good GC, so their victories will all rely on Nizzolo i think.

      As for Vanmarcke: there are only 3 races in parallel with Tour:
      – Sibiu Tour
      – Slag om Norg (only Lotto, Total, Alpecin and Emirates and 6 continental teams on startlist.)
      – Tour de Wallonie (many flat races, points mainly in GC)
      I dont expect him to score much there either…

      • I thought it was as much, if not more, about the smaller races in the calendar *after* the Tour as the races during it,
        The idea would be to give Vanmaercke fresher legs for those races – besides freeing him to race in Dwars door het Hageland on Saturday (and other one day race sbefore the Tour) instead of Tour de Suisse.

        • Makes more sense. I dont think Israel can still avoid relegation, but they need all the points they cab get to stay ahead of Education First.

    • “That work is more useful than riding the Tour, where there might be one stage that suits me.”

      Finally teams are starting to understand that sending a rider to 21 stages just because they might do good on one of them is not really a reasonable resources allocation. There were too many cases in the past of sending a team to a Grand Tour without a focused plan.

      • It depends. If its because you hope to be in the breakaway one time, it depends on the alternative races and the support you can give to your teammates in the other races. But chances are low you win in a breakaway.

        If its for a time trial, it doesnt matter if its only 1 race. You control your own result

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