UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

You don’t need a spreadsheet to know which teams had a great Tour de France and which ones had a rough time but here’s a look at the latest UCI points situation and the data show BikeExchange-Jayco thrived. The weekly updates are back…

What’s Changed Since Last Time?

  • No change to the promotion and relegation teams: Alpecin-Deceuninck and Arkéa-Samsic are both on course for promotion. Lotto-Soudal and Israel-PremierTech face relegation
  • Lotto-Soudal and TotalEnergies would get wildcard invites to the grand tours next year
  • Jumbo-Visma, UAE, Ineos and Groupama-FDJ scored the most points from the Tour de France, a match with their 1-2-3-4 overall. But BikeExchange-Jayco were fifth with 681 points, 21% their 2022 points haul thanks to Matthews and Groenewegen winning and placing
  • Arkéa-Samsic and Alpecin-Deceuninck both scored well, 480 points and 425 respectively
  • Low scorers among the World Tour teams were Movistar (170 points), Cofidis (110) , Bahrain (55) and Lotto-Soudal (15)

The chart above zooms in teams battling to avoid relegation. You can see Lotto-Soudal’s red line is almost flat for July (Harm Vanhoucke did score for them in the Sibiu Tour) while Bike Exchange bound away from bother thanks to a bonzer bonanza.

As the cliché goes, “the Tour is the Tour” and teams did their best this month to race without stressing too much about the points. There are some crafty ways and means to get points during the season but not at the Tour de France where only the top-5 on a stage earn points (120, 50, 25, 15, 5) and on the GC a rider must finish 20th or higher to earn more than 50 points. So a big result is all that counts although this does include a top-20 on GC. Enric Mas was on his way to 11th place overall and 150 points before leaving the race and this will sting Movistar’s management who are sounding downbeat at the moment with a current sponsorship deal only in place until the end of next year.

Points are won from results but can be deducted as well. So Hugo Houle took 120 points for his stage win in Foix but as the screengrab above shows, he lost 25 points for littering, the Israel team’s only deduction. During the Tour Jumbo-Visma had 145 points subtracted, Ineos and UAE 100 each, in part because Jumbo-Visma and UAE didn’t appear at the signing-on podium day but it shows how big teams can afford professional fouls while the smaller teams facing relegation just dare not make a mistake. Movistar, Cofidis and DSM all lost 50 points during the Tour de France and Israel 25. EF Education, Lotto-Soudal and BikeExchange kept a clean sheet.

What next?
Watching Houle, Cort or Matthews winning in the Tour just marked fine racing and a noble result, the points were a secondary consideration. Now we’re back to smaller races whose significance and existence is partly predicated on being part of the UCI calendar. So when Arnaud De Lie won a stage of the Tour de Wallonie yesterday in Rochefort, the first thought of “he’s won on his home roads, great result” was chased immediately with “another handy 20 points“.

We’re likely to see teams targetting races very carefully from now on. Will Caleb Ewan do the Vuelta or is he going to be obliged to do smaller races where his chance of victory is higher, and with it, an increased chance of points? In a normal season, even with Ewan’s lack of a results, you’d imagine he’d insist on riding the Vuelta but this time it’s less obvious.

At lot also depends on the calendar. Who is going to the Turul României (Tour of Romania)? The Tour de Taiwan’s been shunted back on the calendar, is anyone planning to go, likewise for the Tour de Langkawi which has been postponed several times this season, will it actually happen?

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.

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

      • So is the reason that Total would get it and not Israel because wildcards are based on 2022 points?

        And also, the reason that Lotto wouldn’t be too happy with getting a World Tour in all but name status is that this only guarantees participation for one year, not three?

        • That’s right, promotion-relegation is based a 3-year system (2020-2022) but invites are annual (2022).

          Relegation but getting an invite is ok, a soft landing. But this means the team are at the mercy of scoring more points to make sure they’re invited in 2023, they’re only an injury or crash away from disaster. Plus there can be wording in contracts that allow riders to leave if the team is not in the World Tour (the idea being that they won’t have the same calendar, guarantees etc) which can be destabilising as talented riders can wave the clause around and leave, causing more problems.

    • It’ll be a new three year cycle. It’s human nature to pull out all the stops in the third year but teams might do well to consider the points in years 1-2 more so they’re not panicking as much. Although who knows if the rules stay the same for the next cycle?

      Also we could have move teams trying to get into the World Tour, promotion is one route but so is buying a licence. But teams could leave, as touched on above Movistar’s financial position isn’t great and how long can Astana keep going (although they’ve survived many a scandal)?

      • Ideally the 2020-2022 cycle will be followed by reforms to make it more of a rolling system with a number of multi-year licences awarded every year rather than all of them being awarded in a single block.

        One method would be to transition towards a system of awarding 4x three year licences to the top 4 teams up for renewal (i.e. 12x teams on various stages of a three year licence at any time) and 2x two year licences to teams 5-6 (i.e. 4x teams on first/second year of a two year licence each year).

        Another method could be to award three year extensions to the top 10 teams every year, two year extensions to teams 11-13 and single year deals to teams 14-16 (unless one of those teams was in the previous year’s first tier and has two years still guaranteed).
        For example, a team on a 2023-25 licence which makes the top 10 in 2023 would have that licence replaced with a 2024-26 licence, while a usually good team which has a single bad year would be able to bounce back the following year and secure a multi-year extension again.

        Finding better ways of distributing the Merit invitations to WT races among ProTeams needs to be considered too, to revitalise the second tier of racing. Slimming down to a 16 team WT will create more space for Merit and Wildcard invites at each race, and there should be a ‘draft’ system for the top ProTeams to select their races to use Merit invites rather than it all going to just 1-2 teams.

  1. “Who is going to the Turul României (Tour of Romania)?”
    That piques my interest. The Transfăgărășan has quite the reputation.

    • It was used in the Sibiu Tour. (Sibiu lies bellow the Fagaras.) It’s just a mountain “pass” (well, rather a tunnel) – it’s nice but not that different to other alpine passes and I won’t call it special. (I trekked the Fagaras ridge, didn’t cllimb the road by car or on bike.)

    • Tour of Romania is only 11th of September apparently.

      Still quite far away. 31 races will finish before that:
      – Tour of Wallonia (Lotto, EF, Israel, Movistar and Cofidis, so far no big points besides De Lie, James Shaw for EF and Martin for Cofidis set to score. Lotto small GC points with Van Gils and Vanhoucke, Israel with Goldstein)
      (- Tour of Quinghai)
      – Castilla y Leon (BikeExchange, EF, Movistar and Israel, but no Lotto or Cofidis)
      – Classica San Sebastian (all teams)
      – Tour of Poland (all teams)
      – Coupe d’Europe des Grimpeur (Suisse – no start list yet)
      – Otxoa (Spain – Cofidis, EF, Israel, Movistar and Lotto – no BikeExchange)
      – Burgos (EF, Movistar, Israel, EF, Lotto and Cofidis)
      – Sazka (Czech Republic – only BikeExchange)
      – Volta a Portugal (Movistar)
      – Commonwealth Games (Doull for EF in Time Trial – no names yet for road race)
      – Jef Scherens Leuven (Belgium – Lotto and Israel)
      – Tour de l’Ain (France – Cofidis, EF, Lotto and Movistar – no Israel or BikeExchange)
      – Eurometropole (France – Lotto, Cofidis and Israel)
      – Norway (BikeExchange, Israel and Cofidis)
      – Polynormande (France – Lotto and Cofidis)
      – Limousin (France – Movistar, Cofidis and Lotto)
      – Danmark (2.Pro but only EF and Israel – overlap with Vuelta)
      – Vuelta (all teams)
      – Bemer (Germany – Cofidis, Movistar, Israel, Lotto, EF and BikeExchange)
      – Sels (Lotto)
      – Egmont (Lotto, Israel and BikeExchange)
      – Tour Poitou (Cofidis)
      – Druivenkoers Overijse (Cofidis, Israel and Lotto)
      – Tour of Germany (EF, Israel, Lotto and Movistar)
      – Tour of Almaty (Kazachstan – only Astana)
      – Bretagne (Cofidis, Movistar, EF, Lotto, BikeExchange and Israel)
      (- Taiwan)
      – Maryland (US 1.Pro – only EF and BikeExchange)
      – Doubs (Cofidis and Lotto)
      – Tour of Britain (Israel and Movistar)

  2. I’m wondering – with each new generation usually new sponsors and teams follow, as new countries find their stars/stars of the future – what chance do you think of a Danish team, or a Slovenian team built around Roglic (if he wants sole TDF leadership) or a new USA team looking at McNulty, Jorgensen, Simmons and others?

    Given the new system, I guess they’d need to invest in a team rather than start anew… I guess Trek would welcome investment, how tied to cycling are Astana now? It’s felt like their interest has been dwindling for a while?

    More than anything I wish the French teams would sort themselves out – four average teams rather than unite into one or two excellent ones.

    • A new US team could certainly happen. Although indeed it might maybe be a new sponsor on an existing team such as Trek.

      A new Danish team or Slovenian team could be cool, but will they find enough budget with sponsors that want to have international exposure?

      For Denmark I could think of Carlsberg, Lego and ECCO as big brands.
      For Slovenia I don’t find any brands online: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Slovenian_brands

      • As US teams go, EF has been begging for more/bigger sponsors for years…

        As Slovenian companies go, Gorenje on that list is part of Hisense now.
        And Team UAE already has ties with Slovenia, of course.

        • … as well as Radenska (in Czech hands), Barcaffe (Croatian, Russian?), Elan (Russian?), Tomos (bankrupt), Pipistrel (USA). Anyway, all of them are small brands.

          Most of the largest companies are either in retail or in energy and all focused on Slovenian and/or Balkan markets so there is no interest in sponsorship on World Tour level. The only exception is a pharmaceutical company Krka which is one of the largest companies in Slovenia. However, even Krka is too small (1.5e9 € income) and is focused mostly on eastern markets. Not to mention a sponsorship of a drug company in cycling.

          • What I meant is that Hisense is a much bigger international company, which has much more money to spend on international marketing, and probably still has a factory in Slovenia where management work who can be contacted for sponsoring.

        • It would make my entire year if LEGO sponsored a team!!!
          Would kill for that Jersey… EF would have to get their thinking caps on to compete.

        • Lego makes more tyres per annum than any other company on the planet, fact fans, so ideal for them to move into cycling sponsorship!

      • As an American (sorry world, I don’t get it either) I would love to see a new team collecting our exciting young talent. The problem is, road cycling is on life support in the US. Gravel is the “next big thing,” and I don’t see big sponsors lining up to compete in a sport that has literally no big events in their home territory. I loved the ToC and even the Tour of Utah was pretty decent, but they don’t look like returning right away (please correct me if I’m wrong). For now, we just have to enjoy having a really un-Movistar rider at Movistar, an enigmatic Kuss ripping the occasional climb for the best team in the world (atm), plus Simmons, McNulty, Powless and even Dombrowski animating races including this year’s TdF. Unfortunately, there just won’t be one team carrying that standard for the Stars ‘n’ Stripes.

        • One of the problems for the US is also the lack of (high level) one-day road races; compare to Canada which has two WT-level races…

    • Uno-X have already announced that they have ambitions to become a WT team at the end of the next cycle. That could be an option for a big Danish sponsor. And of course Visma (a Norwegian company) could also be interested to switch to Uno-X, which would leave the road open for a big Danish sponsor to join with Jumbo.

  3. BEX must be happy with the “Prueba Villafranca – Ordiziako Klasika(1.1)” a race i know nothing about but 1st and 2nd seem to have given them 210 points half as much as a successful 3 week tour de france in just one day.

    • About a third of their Tour haul, yes and it shows how clever targetting can race. This week also has the Vuelta Castille y Leon, a stage race but which is reduced to just two days, a points fiesta for whoever can win one stage (or both) and with it, take the GC as well.

      • I struggle with the logic behind the points allocation: 210 points for a one-two at the Prueba Villafranca one day race (a race I’d not heard of until john smith mentioned it above), versus 170 points if you were to manage a one-two on the Champs-Elysees. I know which result a sponsor would prefer, but can’t work out why the UCI doesn’t?

        • All stages in a stage race get the same points, even if one stage is more popular than another…

          And the points system exists in part to make sure the lesser races don’t become irrelevant. We don’t want to evolve to a system where the teams only care about a small number of races that are already popular, and all the others go bankrupt, except maybe some new races funded by petro-billionaires or dictators used to whitewash their company/country.

        • I agree with you, Sustainer, that there’s no comparison between the ‘value’ of a 1-2 in the TdF vs. a 1-2 in Prueba Villafranca. The true value for a team of doing that in the TdF (sponsor ROI, team prestige, esprit de corps within the team) is far greater than in Prueba Villafranca, as you say. As a result, the GTs have no problem with providing very competitive racing with tons of top riders giving their all in stage after stage. Meanwhile, the Prueba Villafranca offers a minor technical value of some UCI points, and as a result it’s slightly more worthwhile for a handful of WT teams to participate. So what if Yates wins a minor tune-up race, and one of his domestiques sprints for second? It doesn’t seem to have taken anything away from the TdF, and if anything it adds an interesting wrinkle to some minor races that most of us were simply ignore otherwise.

          • KevinK – Exactly – 100% agree with everything you said.

            There is no downside to have a “points imbalance” that encourages/forces teams to cover these minor races. Having minor races adds to the intrigue of the cycling season (name another sport with this much variety in the location/geography/timing/etc. of the calendar).

            The TdF provides plenty of value to the participants – points is just a cherry on top of the overall glory – HELL, some riders value their lanterne rouge more than a win in a tiny race.

    • Not only that, but Gorka Izagirre who’s a local from Ormaitzegi-Ordizia *quit the Tour on the very last day* in order to be at the start here – he was 33rd in GC in France and that would have been worth 25 points for Movistar, a rival to BEX!
      Points aren’t everything in life, and not even finishing a TDF is worth racing at home ^___^
      By the way, he was finally 38th one minute back in the Ordizia race 😛

      • Surprising that Lotto Soudal did not start in Ordiziako. They did a very bad Tour and also in Tour of Wallonia it doesn’t look like they will score big GC points.

    • Points-wise they’re Belgium’s third team this season with Intermarché and Alpecin ahead of them. This can all change with Alaphilippe and Evenepoel, the quality is there but these two are big claims on the team budget and the squad is perhaps more reliant on them than it has been on other riders in the past, even when Tom Boonen wasn’t racing they had others who were certain to win/score often.

      • This is interesting – I don’t expect QS to morph into a GC team but they are semi-doing so.

        Do you think this new system will discourage teams to leave their previous point-winning model if a transition means a few years of poor results or even being vulnerable to relegation should your new prize asset (a GC rider in this case) get injured or fail to live up to the billing?

        If a team were a sprint team, or a break away team or classics team, and suddenly pivots to a GC team because of a single star rider, they seem quite exposed if the timing is wrong and they endure a season or two of poor results during the transition.

        • I’d say teams can just do their thing, take Intermarché who have a bunch of raiders and poachers doing their thing here and there, some wins along the way but security from the points haul of a rider like Pozzovivo in the Giro and Tour de Suisse. But if a team has a lower budget and thinks they’ll be in the lower half of the table, then doing some 1.1 and 2.1 races can help.

          • On the question of budgets, are there any public records available (preferably collated in one place) that show how much it costs a team to enter each race? There has to be a serious cost/benefit analysis done regarding whether it’s worth entering a given race or not. A team with a smaller budget can’t just enter every race available and hope for the best. I’d really like to be a fly on the wall in some of these team management conversations to be able to understand how these decisions are made.

        • Just to be clear, by “how much it costs” I meant operational costs for the team, not entrance fees. I imagine entrance fees don’t make up a huge amount of a team’s budget, but transportation, lodging etc must. Are there breakdowns of these kinds of things available anywhere?

          • There’s no record because it depends, how much staff do the team bring, how long is the drive to the race and all that, who flies and so on. But the organiser must host the team in a hotel for the night before and there can be a small participation fee paid to the teams but the smaller the race, the smaller the fee.

          • So the only real cost is staff salary and transportation costs?

            Teams are allowed to carry 31 racers, Lotto only has 29.

            They could add two cheap racers, not to score points but just to reach the minimum amount of racers and add a few more races to their calendar?

          • Copy our host’s comment and adding that being a WT Team also limits the races you can enter. The UCI calendar has a lot of minor races that are off limits for most of the WT teams due to the UCI race classification and participation regulation; art 2.1.005. (https://www.uci.org/regulations/3MyLDDrwJCJJ0BGGOFzOat#part-ii-road-races – Part II)
            Also for the races a WT team can enter, some may not receive and invitation to participate. It is not like you can write and say ” We will participate” and expect to be allowed in the event. Participation is always up to the organiser’s discretion, though the organiser of some events is obliged – per UCI regulations – invite the WT teams.

            On lower team levels it even goes the other way as well; teams often have to come begging to organisations to be considered for participation. Very often it is word of mouth if a team is invited or knowing some one or having performed well in an earlier edition of the event.

          • UHJ, off course Lotto would need to be allowed to participate.

            If I read that the organiser must host the team in a hotel for the night before (and potentially pay a small participation fee, although they would probably waive that), I can understand that Lotto would not be allowed to start everywhere they want.

            The races where they don’t start yet until 11th of September are:
            1/ Sazka (Czech Republic 2.1 race from 04/08-07/08 – only BikeExchange starts and I think Lotto would be welcome. But it’s in parallel with Burgos, Portugal and Leuven. Logistically it could be acceptable if you send many racers by car. It’s not many days, lots of uphill and not much competition. Burgos brings more points as it’s 2.Pro, but competition would be higher. So either Crass, Van Gils or Vanhoucke could go position himself in GC of Sazka and not start in Burgos. Although I fully understand why they don’t go.

            2/ Portugal (2.1 race for 11 days where only Movistar starts, I would welcome them as I am in Portugal at that moment 🙂 But it’s many days for a race that mainly scores GC. Even though it only has 1 Worldtour starting, it doesn’t only overlap with Burgos, Sazka and Leuven, but also Ain, Eurométropole, Norway and Polynormande.

            3/ Norway: 11/8-14/8, 2.Pro. I don’t understand why they don’t start here. It’s not many days for much points. Norway is a rich country that could pay a starting fee to compensate travel costs and the competition doesn’t seem that big: Astana, Intermarché, Israel, BikeExchange (Shultz), DSM, Alpecin, Arkea, Uno-X, B&B, Total, Bingoal and Sport Vlaanderen + lower teams. It ends one day before Polynormande, but that’s reasonably flat so other favourites. Some of the supporting team members could even go home earlier to complete to 7 racers.

            4/ Denmark: 2.Pro from 16/8-20/8: money shouldn’t be an issue, they have Andreas Kron, it’s not much days for much points. If does overlap with Vuelta (19/8-11/9), but not all of their team will go to Vuelta. Would Kron go to Vuelta after the Tour?

            5/ Tour Poitou-Charentes. 2.1 from 23/8-26/8. Super flat, with mainly sprinters getting points. Overlap with Vuelta, Egmont (1.1), Druivenkoers (1.1) and Germany (2.Pro). As they start in all those races, I understand they don’t start here.

            5/ Tour of Almaty/Kazachstan – 2.1 from 27/8-28/8 – only Astana starting, trip would be expensive but competition low. Only 2 days, but overlap with Vuelta, Germany, Bretagne Classic (and Taiwan) and no media exposure.

            6/ Taiwan (2.1 from 28/8-1/9) –> way too expensive

            7/ Maryland 1.Pro on 04/9 –> Expensive trip, but they are obliged to start in Quebeq on 09/9 and Montreal 11/9, so extra cost could be limited if they negotiate starting fee? Overlap with Doubs, where they start, and Britain.

            8/ Britain (2.Pro from 04/9-11/9 – many days (8) compared to the points. But not much competition: Israel and Movistar starting for the points, Ineos and Bora for the sponsor. Tom Pidcock favourite to win GC. Parallel with Vuelta, Romania, Doubs and Maryland though. And also GP de Fourmies (1.Pro). I understand why they don’t start.

            9/ Romania (2.1 from 6/9-11/9) – parallel with the Canadian races and Fourmies. Logistical costs are quite high to returns I think. Better spend the money on Maryland.

            So if I were team manager with Lotto, I would focus on adding Norway, Denmark and Maryland to the calendar. Much more than that is not easy as racers would also get very tired (although you can tire out some of the supporting staff).

            If money is the problem to participate in Maryland, they could always make a specific jersey for the American and Canadian races.
            – Jersey creator/sponsor Vermarc would be happy to create a new jersey and give up their jersey space.
            – CAPS and Viking Lotto would also get good media coverage with a decision to give up the jersey place.
            – Lotto would also be ok to reduce their place if this can help in the relegation battle.
            – Sponsors such as Soudal, Ridley, Garmin or Deloitte (only teams with real interests in the US), could step up and pay in return for extra visibility.
            Give it a good media spin and all sponsors will be happy for a very low investment.

          • Thanks, Wannes.
            I should have started my comment with an @RV as I just felt RV could use some further information.
            I did not intend to get into the L-S thing or debate the ranking system as such. The system is as it is and can be exploited in some ways but that was to be expected. I’m on the KevinK-wagon on that subject. Suffice to say, do a thourough evaluation and take it from there. I am sure the UCI will do just that.
            I have no preferred team, I root for countrymen and -women – most of whom I have crossed paths with as a commissaire – not for teams, L-S is just one team.
            Have a nice day 😉

          • It should also be said that some races below WT level also pay teams to show up (and especially to show up with some star riders), sometimes in addition to paying back all or part of their travel costs. Especially applies to countries that use these races for marketing reasons, of course…

            So a far-away race might seem more expensive, but it does not always have to be (for everyone).
            And there is still other issues like jet lag & fitting inside training/race schedules too…

    • Very true, he turned pro aged 19 and it looked outwardly as if they signed him out of fear he’d sign elsewhere if he had another year in the amateurs. But what a rider, Plapp and Sheffield have had their moments but there’s a good case to make that De Lie’s the best neo-pro of the tear.

  4. Just imagine if you’re just above the relegation zone and a 2nd rider in 12 months gets popped for doping (don’t know if there are any teams in that position), meaning a 30-day suspension for the whole team.

  5. Which of the charts is correct? You have presented 2 charts and the points and ranking are different on each of them when you get to this week on the animated chart.

  6. Is Netflix filming a season 4 of “ El día menos pensado”? I couldn’t find any information on it. If they are, and Movistar end up relegated, it will be fascinating to see the train wreck caught on film.

  7. I think it seems clear that they need to reshape the point system. There are a variety of thoughts that go into it but one suggestion that I have is that they cap how many points that WT riders (or teams), can get from the .1 or . pro races.

    The thought would be you would still encourage teams to participate in such races, but you would remove the concentration (and advantage) of focusing on .1 one-day races – that seem to overweight to Belgium and France. You will still give the small teams ways to pick up points.

    The cap wouldn’t apply to the regional competitions that exist in several countries, and perhaps not to the continental cups.

    • There are a lot of great .Pro races and if anything some of them are better races than some WT races. Hard for me to see making them less desirable for the teams to enter. The fun thing about .1 races is the mixing of WT teams with top Conti and Pro Conti teams (or whatever they’re called now). As it is, it’s usually the weaker WT teams who go to those races, or the stronger teams send their lesser riders. It’s a great venue for both weaker WT teams, and stronger non-WT teams, to earn points (especially since the non-WT teams struggle for invites to the big-points WT races.

      The way it is now the teams that don’t need the points can pick and choose, and teams that are in a bad way have an incentive to go to races they can win. If there are few points on offer, what incentive can the UCI offer to encourage participation? I’m seriously curious about your ideas for encouraging participation.

      At the end of the day, the points system is just a mechanism to weed out teams that are grossly underperforming and allow excellent non-WT teams to break into the WT. Any revamp to the system needs to accomplish that while meeting other UCI goals (having a healthy ecosystem of interesting races in a variety of places, giving an incentive for prominent teams to participate in races so those races don’t become meaningless, providing races that allow non-WT teams to show themselves, help different nations maintain/build a racing culture, etc.).

      Ultimately, I’m curious what the huge defect or unfairness is right now. We have LS, IPT, BEX, and MS risking relegation and Arkéa-Samsic and Alpecin headed up. Would the proposed changes make that different? One can argue about how many WT teams there should be, but I find it hard to argue that chronic underperformance should be dinged and top performers should be rewarded. If it’s just that some hard-core fans find it unseemly for WT teams to target .Pro and .1 races, and not sure casual fans or the race organizers feel the same way. And there’s a natural check and balance system at play – the big sponsors are much more interested in winning the big races. A WT team that spends too much time targeting small races is not going to please their sponsor.

      • You miss the point though KK, if the sponsors are French / Belgian then their repeated participation in .1 races is not a problem to them.
        Quite the contrary in fact.
        Even QS show up (and win) at quite a lot of these ‘local’ races.
        A significant proportion of their victories comes from these races.

        • Exactly what point is KK missing, Ecky? His argument seems coherent, and it doesn’t seem at all clear that “they need to reshape the point system”. The unintended consequences of any change would only become apparent in time, with further meddling to try and correct them. The present system is at least understood, and needs time to work. The weighting of points to encourage participation could well be what saves some smaller races.

      • Let’s take L-S into account. Non-existent in the recent TDF; they weren’t just bad, they were farcical. All eggs in one Ewan shaped basket which totally backfired. Right now, the team seems to offer little, to say it politely, on the WT level – especially when you consider their star riders, De Gendt and Gilbert, being in the twilight phase of their career and Ewan out of form and with diminishing results.

        But still, they are perhaps on the course to salvage the situation in a lower level races. Which is totaly fair – they are playing by the rules of the game; but perhaps it reveals a minor problem of those rules – because they seem to be exactly in the position the rules are there to solve – i.e. they are chronically underperforming on the WT level.

          • Yes, I know (thanks to your blog, of course). I even want them to stay a WT team, tradition and all that jazz. But still, they are a case study for anyone who wants to beat UCI with that “unfair system” stick.

        • I get that it’s kind of unseemly to stay in the WT by feasting on .2 and .1 races while (though I continue to think that .Pro races are generally plenty hard and getting points in those races is in no way against the spirit of the system), but your example doesn’t really answer my questions.

          First, if L-S manage to get back above the relegation line, they’ll do so at the expense of another WT team that is scoring at a slightly more pathetic rate. If the system slightly favors L-S (as a Belgian team and so a lot of local .1 and .2 races AND the good fortune of a breakout small-race star in De Lie), it’ll probably come at the expense of Movistar or BEX. All those teams have been pretty equally inept at winning races (along with Israel-PT), so I’m not sure there’s any great unfairness happening.

          To be more clear, I’m asking the following questions: what is the injustice that we’re trying to solve, and how would it be solved by your proposed change? I get that at least in appearance one can take it as a skewed system, but it’s not like winning these lesser races is automatic for a needy WT team. And again, what is the replacement incentive to keep WT teams participating in these lesser races?

          My the way, De Lie just had a hard crash in Tour de Wallonie and had to abandon. Gonna be some sleepless nights for L-S management.

          And to Ecky, if these non-WT races are a big advantage to Belgian and French teams, then why is L-S struggling, and why are there no French teams at the top of the rankings? It doesn’t seem like in actual practice the current system is doing all that much for these teams.

          Finally, I do not think the current system is ideal, and I have no idea what system would be ideal (given the current history of the sport, the local of traditional races, the financial structure of the sport, etc.). But I do have a sense of the law of unintended consequences, and I know that in any system with incentives that some people will focus less on conventional success and more on harvesting the incentives.

          • To be clear, I see it quite similarly and don’t call for scrapping or heavily modifying this system – but if it should be changed (say based on general – perhaps unfounded – outrage), I’d say Pax’s idea of caping the point haul generated from smaller races seem less harmful than other proposals mentioned here btl or in other places. (Such as scrapping the system altogether.)

            Both general public and team management seem to be surprised and bemused by this system, even TV pundits here in Czechia (ex-pros and even current WT team employees)… they see the system to be unfair, usualy because their favourite team is in danger etc. I don’t see it that way, imho it’s quite clear and fair. And as you and others mention, it’s nice for small races to have WT teams etc.

            I’d say – discussing it hypotheticaly, of course – your points would depend on the point cap itself – i.e. how benevolent or restrictive it’d prove to be. Not on such cap per se. While I still suppose my case study – LS – is valid. Ok, the league standings never lies, as an old football adage teach us, but it seems teams like BEX and even Israel (which I dislike for my own stupid reasons) offers more right now in WT races terms than LS. Which is weird, you’d expect a bunch of Belgian rouleurs to show some “cojones”… I admit this view is perhaps too focused on TdF (Israel’s season is equaly nonexistent until that race) due to my lack of memory, Ewan won a Giro stage, two more last year, teo TdF’s the year before…

          • The way I see it, LS came into the TdF with a really boring/stupid approach that completely backfired. If they get punished for that then the system is working fine by me!

          • Fra, you get at something that I think is paramount in this discussion – recency bias. One of the big mistakes people (and governing bodies) make all the time is to change rules based on current one-off cases. We see a rich guy who controls some specific drug patents raise prices exorbitantly and we want wholesale pharma reregulation, even if that would create more orphan drugs. We see a particularly heinous crime and we want across-the-board increases in punishment, even if that would significantly raise the human and moral costs of dealing with crime without actually affecting the crime rate.

            If the current outrage is that L-S has not brought value to WT races and they’re trying to in some sense cheat the system by dominating small races (which they really aren’t dominating in the big picture), how would devaluing smaller races change anything? They sent their best, most high profile racers to the TdF, where those racers failed. We can say in retrospect that they could have left Ewan and Gilbert off that squad and sent De Lie, but what would everyone say if in that counter factual scenario Ewan had won some of the races De Lie won, and De Lie wasn’t able to beat Jakobsen, Philipsen, WvA, et al? I can just imagine the howling that L-S cynically substituted a 28 y/o 5x TdF stage winner in the biggest race of the year for an untried 20 y/o neopro just to harvest some crucial points.

            I’m still waiting to see concrete examples of teams on the regulation bubble clearly shifting riders away from WT races and towards .1 and .2 races in an apparent bid for points. We’ve all been looking for it, and only example I can see is a case where a team had three fast riders in a one-day race and instead of doing a lead out for one, they’ve all went for a top 10. Of course none of those three had a history that would lead you to expect any of them were likely winners, so even that’s not a clear cut case. BEX recently scored a 1-2 in a minor race, but was that because they held Yates out of a better race, or because he’s building form after the Giro for the next round of races?

            I think there’s an attitude of “where there’s smoke (indications of circumventing the intentions of the WT system), there must be fire”. But I’m not sure we’re even seeing smoke. Even if L-S is being in some way shady, which seems a very weak case, they’re not succeeding!

            Final note – do the people complaining about the current system remember the utter inanity of the previous system, where a rider’s points went with the rider and not the team? Now that was a broken system, and there were plenty of glaring examples of the ways it skewed team behavior (poaching riders to get their points, resigning a rider who is ready for retirement to keep their points, signing minor riders from small cycling countries to get their NC points, and so on).

          • KevinK: you say “They sent their best, most high profile racers to the TdF, where those racers failed.”

            I think Jasper De Buyst is important as a lead-out for Ewan.

            He was planning to go to the tour after an injury in Turkey mid-april, but appartently still wasn’t selected, even after doing elfstedenronde and Baloise Belgium ? See https://www.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/dmf20220610_97059958

            Next to that, besides Arnaud De Lie, 3 other of their top-10 racers didn’t start:
            – Campenaerts started and scored 5 points in Wallonia
            – Van Gils started and scored 60 points in Wallonia
            – Vanhoucke scored 93 points in Sibiu and 25 points in Wallonia.
            Off course you can’t start your entire top 10 and De Buyst. I think Campenaerts could’ve been a good asset for time trials and Ewan though.

            As for the Tour selection:
            – Gilbert was logical to start as it was his last tour.
            – Van Rensburg could have done more as lead-out. I would have preferred De Buyst
            – Van Moer was a pure bet on breakaways, not a bad decision for a racer that only has 28 points so far this season.
            – Vermeersch was a logical choice
            – Wellens could’ve done something on the punch-etappes. He tried to get into the breakaway a lot
            – Frison is really the one that should’ve been replaced by Campenaerts if they wanted to maximise chances for Ewan.

          • As Wannes latest stats point out, the only “unfair” thing here regarding LS is, that they have the riders to score in those smaller Belgian and French races. IsraelProp BEX or Movi just doesn’t have better riders to compete, which is exactly the reason why they are in trouble in first place.

          • KK, look at the 2022 points totals and compare those teams from Alpecin downwards on IR’s uppermost graph.
            I think it shows that all the top scoring teams are French and Belgian, and this includes Lotto-Soudal.
            What has happened, as the points system has gradually unfurled, is that the French and Belgian teams have used it more to their advantage as the rolling 3 years is drawing to an end.

  8. What impact do the worlds have? Looking at the points table, how keen would Bling be to work for Ewan if a WC win is more than the points difference between Lotto and BEX?
    New subtexts to add to the World Championships?

    • Sorry – just looked it up – 600 points for the win. It seems perfectly conceivable that this could be enough to promote/relegate a team for a race which is theoretically not even raced as a trade team? Smells wrong to me…

      • The idea behind the World Championships (and other results achieved for national teams) counting is that it incentives pro teams to not only release their riders for national team duties but even let them see treat national team races as major objectives.

        • Yes, and a rider is coached by their pro team, riders their pro team bikes etc.

          From what we know about the Wollongong worlds course, people did mention Ewan when the location was picked but now that the route is published, it looks very hard for him.

          • If the tour can be an indication, it seems that Ewan is unlikely to be competitive at the Worlds. I personally like him and hope he gets some good results in the remainder of the season.

  9. The upshot to obscure races being worth lots of points is that big teams go places they wouldn’t otherwise, and get seen by people who wouldn’t otherwise see big teams come to them.

    The Maryland Cycling Classic looks like it’ll have four WT teams – I think the only time men’s WT teams will race in the US. While Trek, and to a lesser extent EF, have other reasons to come, surely Bike Exchange and Israel are just there for points.

    And those of us who go to see it are the winners from the situation.

    • So sad that we’re begging for those kinds of scraps…but if the points help keep those kinds of races viable that is a very good thing.

      • For BikeExchange-Jayco: Jayco is an American sponsor, so it could be that they would have gone regardless of the points.

        For Israel, political visibility given big jewish community in US could also play. And Premier Tech is a Canadian company. Also here co-sponsor aspects could play on top of the ponts.

        • Jayco Australia Ltd is an Australian business owned by the Ryan family who have sponsored cycling in Australia for over 30 years now, including via their ownership of GreenEdge Cycling which currently races under the BikeExchange-Jayco name.

          It is not the same company as Jayco Inc, the former Bontrager family business which is now a part of Thor Industries.

        • If there’s more than points for Israel, I’d think it’d be that the Canadian races will be so important to them (as one could argue they’re more Canadian than Israeli) – so there’s some time zone acclimatization benefit there.

    • Before the tour Lotto seem to have decided to not take a team dedicated to ewan and take a team of poachers to wrap up points from breakaways. Problem being that there were not many break away wins and the breaks were super hard to get in to.
      The sprints were mostly a bit sketchy or uncontrolled and having a team to keep you in position was required unless you are good at obtaining the position on your own (like Sagan). So riders like Ewan and Groenewegen who are not as good currently at the argy bargy mostly found themselves completely out of position almost every time.

      • The way “sprint stages” have been contested the past year or so, it would be tough to put Ewan in a good position to succeed. I’m not sure Lotto could have done it no matter the team selection. I think the EF approach (throw everything at the wall and see what sticks) is more interesting and more likely to succeed.

      • I believe that’s the case indeed. There were no easy sprint stages, it was always a battle. It was great to watch, I just expected both Ewan and Lotto to do better. Of course, being surprised is part of the fun.

  10. Since the update, Lotto did a good job in the Tour de Wallonie, which should be reflected next week:

    – BikeExchange +0 (Did not start)
    – Education First +10
    – Movistar +10
    – Israel +18
    – Cofidis +43
    – Lotto +110

    With Guillaume Martin, Cian Uijtdebroeks, Jesus Herrada dropping in GC some players moved up.

    Lotto gets:
    – 60 points for Van Gils (7th)
    – 25 points for Vanhoucke (12th)
    – 5 points for Campenaerts (16th)
    And De Lie got 20 points for victory in stage 3, leading to a total of 110 points, as they all are currently part of the top 10 scorers.

    – 10 points Aranburu stage 1 (2nd place) – team 2nd scorer
    -20 points Lazkano stage 2 (victory) – not in team top 10, now 85 points
    -10 points Rojas stage 4 (2nd place) – not in team top 10, now 10 points
    – 30 points for GC Lazkano (11th) – not in team top 10, now 85 points
    – 3 points for GC Will Barta (39th) – no tin team top 10, now 19 points
    10th scorer is Oscar Rodrigues with 179 points, so team wins only 10 points.

    Education First:
    – 70 points for GC James Shaw (6th) – now 120 season points
    – 10 points for GC Ben Healy (15th)
    – 5 points for GC Eiking (20th) – now 66 season points
    –> Ben Healy is team 10th scorer with 131+10 points, so they only gain 10 points.

    – 40 points for Goldstein (9th GC) – 118 season points
    – 5 points for GC Van Asbroeck (18th) – now 24 season points.
    – 5 points for GC Vanmarcke (26th) – now 75 season points
    – 3 points for GC Hollenstein (40th) – first 3 points of the season
    Hollenstein, Vanmarcke, Van Asbroeck and Goldstein are all not in the team’s top 10 though. Their lowest scorer is Krists Neilands with 100 points. So basically they are only moving up 18 points.

    – 5 points Herrada stage 2
    – 35 points for GC Martin (10th)
    – 3 points for GC Herrada (34th)
    As both are in the team top 10, they get 43 points.

  11. Simno Yates picked up a nice 125 points for Bike Exchange at Castilla y Leon – same amount as a TdF stge win if I remember correctly.

  12. Lotto (and Cofidis) didn’t start in Castilla y Leon though: a 2.1 race with only 2 stages.
    Only 14/5/3 for stages, so mainly GC points to score: 125/85/70/60/50/40/35/30/25/20/15/10/5/5/5/3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3

    Israel scored:
    – Nizzolo (14 points – victory stage 1)
    – Biermans (30 points GC – 8th) – season total 45 points.
    – Nizzolo (5 points – 15th GC)
    –> Biermans is not one of the team’s top 10 racers. Neilands was lowest with 100, Goldstein became 10th with 118 points in Wallonia. So Israel scores 19 points in Castilla.

    EF scored:
    – Chaves 3 points – 25th GC
    – Carthy 0 points GC (51st GC)
    – Caicedo 40 points GC (4th) – bringing season points to 107.
    Team’s 10th scorer is Ben Healy, with 131+10 points. Caicedo comes close to Healy (34 points) and Merhawi and Uran (39 points). He could enter the team top 10 in the future, but for now only 3 points for EF.

    BikeExchange scored:
    – Dion Smith (5 points – 2nd stage 1) – in top 10 of team
    – Simon Yates (14 points – victory stage 2)
    – Simon Yates (125 points – GC winner)
    – Dion Smith 3 points (16th GC)
    Total gain:

    Movistar scored:
    – Garcia Cortina (3 points – 3rd stage 1)
    – Garcia Cortina (3 points – 17th GC)
    – Serrano (15 points – 11th GC) – now 38 season points
    – Elosegui (5 points – 14th GC) – now 13 season points
    – Mas 0 points – did not finish
    So basically Movistar only scored 6 points in their home country…

    With Wallonia and Castilla y Leon added, we get:
    Cofidis: 13,727 + 43 = 13.770 points
    EF: 13,668 + 10 + 3 = 13.681 points (839 points more than relegation)
    Movistar 13,525 + 10 + 6 = 13.541 (only 8 points more than BikeExchange)
    ​BikeExchange 13,386 + 147 = 13.533 (Lead over relegation = 691 points)
    Lotto Soudal 12,732 + 110 = 12.842 (lead over Israel = 159 points)
    Israel 12,646 + 18 + 19 = 12.683

    The gap for Lotto Soudal is bigger than it was a few weeks ago…

    • And in Classica San Sebastian is bound to take place 4-6: 140, 180 or 220 points.

      With Chaves maybe top 10 and no Lottos to be seen, Movistar might become the team to bypass if Lotto wants to avoid relegation.

      Movistar doesnt start much (yet) and doesnt score well. A lot will hinge on the Vuelta points for them. Although they still have a 700 points lead over Lotto Soudal.

        • Yates 6th (140 points) and Uran 9th (80 points), BikeExchange and EF score well.

          Martin 18th for Cofidis
          Pedrero 19th for Movistar

          Both 24 points for that, as they are in teams top 10.

          Place 20 and onwards not announced yet.

          In Poland no points for the relegation teams in stage 1.

          • Only 60 people arrived at the finish, all of them have points:

            – Harry Sweeny 49th – 8pts, his first of the season

            – Yates 6th – 140 pts
            – Grmay 55th – 4 pts – 12 season points

            Education First:
            – Uran 9th – 80 points – top 10
            – Chaves 20th – 24 points – top 10
            – Caicedo 37th – 8 pts – top 10

            – Hagen 22nd – 16 pts – 157 season – top 10
            – Impey 45th – 8 pts – 102 season – Neilands was 10th with 100, but Goldstein became 10th with 118 so no contribution

            – Pedrero 19th – 24 pts – 230 season
            – Gorka Izagirre 30th – 16 pts – 90 season no top 10

            – Martin 18th – 14pts
            – Vilella 43th – 8pts – 60 season no top 10
            Coquard is team lowest with 278, then Consonni with 467 pts.

            Totals up to today (without fines):
            EF: 13,668 + 10 + 3 + 112 = 13.793
            Moves 1 up

            Cofidis: 13,727 + 43 + DNS + 14= 13.784
            Moves 1 down

            ​BikeEx: 13,386 + DNS + 147 + 140 = 13.673
            Moves 1 up

            Movistar 13,525 + 10 + 6 + 24 = 13.565
            Moves 1 down


            Lotto: 12,732 + 110 + DNS + 0 = 12.842
            Israel 12,646 + 18 + 19 + 16 = 12.699

  13. I still find this “top 10 riders only” thing baffling. What exactly was the logic behind this? Why not total points scored by each team or some sort of weighted average? It seems so arbitrary.

    • It’s a legacy of the old ‘sporting value’ system which attempted to measure the quality of a team’s roster when selecting teams for the ProTour.

      Ideally it would not be the top ten, or the total, or an average, but simply the team’s best result from each stage and race. This would reinforce that road cycling is a team sport by allowing domestiques to go all in for the team’s leader (even if the leader on the day is not in the team’s top ten on the individual points ranking) without needing to save something for a sprint to claim a minor placing.

      • On the subject the origins of the UCI ranking system, here’s a mind-boggling 2011 post from this blog showing how much more insane the system used to be (and making the case for steady, incremental changes to the system to minimize regulatory risk): http://inrng.com/2010/11/is-franz-kafka-still-alive/ Compared to 2011, the current system is a model of transparency and logic.

        I think the idea of “top 10 riders only” scoring is to allow teams with lower budgets and less talent-deep rosters to compete. It also acknowledges that every team needs talented support riders who rarely score much, and especially a team built for GT success may have more non-scoring riders than a team with fewer such aspirations.

        • To be fair to the UCI, the 3 year ranking table is still formally their private property and not to be published. (Regulation 2.10.043) So they are trying to keep the Kafka-esque properties alive.

    • It also allows teams to score with leaders while having workers set them up for the win, you don’t the team’s 30th rider scrabbling for points when they should be fetching a bottle or pulling on the front.

      Perhaps the system’s not perfect but it works alright this way, a secondary effect is that it allows a small team with a big leader to do ok against a big budget team whose 11th rider is still bound to score big, it mitigates the wage bill size effect.

  14. The “intention” of the best 10 riders only is to stop teams from hiring riders just for points. I am not sure it worked. Best 3 riders on events (the same way they do team classification) is definitely the way to go.

    • Why do you say this? No one has hired the leader of the Asian tour like a few years ago. Van Rensburg is really the only questionable hire.

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