UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

The regular look at which teams are sailing into the World Tour and which teams are taking on water in the battle to avoid relegation.

What’s Changed Over the Last Two Weeks?

…yes, two weeks as there wasn’t an update last week, the UCI didn’t publish the 16 August rankings until yesterday, by which time it wasn’t worth doing an update so here’s two weeks’ worth:

  • No change to promotion and relegation, as things stand Alpecin-Deceuninck and Arkéa-Samsic are eligible for promotion, Lotto-Soudal and Israel-PremierTech face relegation
  • Lotto-Soudal and TotalEnergies would be eligible for the automatic grand tour invites next year
  • Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert top the tables for points scored over the past two weeks. The team just keep on winning and scoring. Astonishing for 2022, only Jumbo-Visma, Ineos, UAE and Bora-hansgrohe have scored more points, they’re kicking sand in the faces of Belgian rivals Quick-Step
  • Among the low scorers, BikeExchange got 178 points and EF 142. The low scorer was Astana with zero points during the last two weeks
  • A reminder that points from the Vuelta are only added up once the race reaches Madrid

Among the relegation candidates, the more things go on, the more things stay the same: Israel have waves lapping over the deck, Lotto-Soudal seem to score every time Arnaud De Lie races, but can’t close the gap. And it’s getting very tight among the teams above, Movistar, EF, Cofidis and BikeExchange are in choppy waters with 264 points between them, and fearful in case Lotto-Soudal get the wind in their sails should Captain Caleb Ewan finally set them on the right course as the Belgian team is only 625 points behind.

Arkéa-Samsic are about 500 points clear of the relegation scrap. For now Nairo Quintana’s 450 point haul from the Tour de France has not been deducted, pending the appeal following two tests for Tramadol. If he loses then the French team will be in the mix and their promotion at risk. Quintana’s appeal is obviously a big story right now, first because of the scandal and appeal, second because of the points at stake. But let’s step back a minute and ask a more structural question: where are the World Tour recruits for this team? So far there’s only been one signing, Clément Champoussin, a good one but that’s it so far. Whether his appeal succeeds or fails, Nairo Quintana won’t be suspended and is still capable of headline results next year and it could be that signing his contract was the big piece of the puzzle and now the team can make moves in the market. They ought to sign more, Warren Barguil can have his moments – his Tirreno-Adriatico stage win is the team’s only World Tour win this year and… and… the rest of the team doesn’t quite look like World Tour squad yet. Nacer Bouhanni’s on the mend from injury but before that hadn’t won a World Tour race since 2018. Connor Swift’s dependable to the point of being able to win for himself and Kévin Vauquelin’s been impressive, in an under-the-radar style. The team’s done well this year by picking up results outside the World Tour but if they’re promoted it’ll be much harder to score and thrive. Now they can always just carry on as they are, this time knowing they’re guaranteed a Tour start, but look out for news of any signings.

By contrast fellow promotion candidates – and also Canyon backed – Alpecin-Deceuninck look a stronger team to start with – 11 World Tour wins this year – and if they’re losing Tim Merlier to Quick-Step, they’ve signed Søren Kragh Andersen, Quinten Hermans and Kaden Groves who should all bring more results.

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.

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

    • I was already wondering why the update didnt come yet.

      Interesting that Arkea would come into the danger zone.

      But I dont believe Lotto or Israel will be able to close the gap. Lotto has Cras injured and will probably not score much points in the Vuelta GC/stages, although I expect De Gendt to go for mountain jersey. In the parallel races they can score with De Lie, but I’m not sure it will be enough.

      The points seen as a delta:
      Arkea 14.776 – 450 = 14.326 — 974 points above relegation
      Cofidis 14.246 — 894 points above relegation
      BikeExchange 14.169 — 817 points above relegation
      EducationFirst 14.037 — 685 points above relegation
      Movistar 13.977 — 625 points above relegation
      Lotto 13.352 — 369 points on israel
      Israel 12.983 — 994 points behind Movistar

      Its theoretically still possible though, with much races left in the season besides Vuelta:
      – 20 1.1 races
      – 12 1.Pro races
      – 4 1.UWT races
      – 4 2.Pro races
      – 7 2.1 races (some far away)
      – World Cup

      I think season points are getting more and more important in the battle for the invites between Israel, Lotto and Total (and the others?) I expect Israel closed the gap there. If Movistar or EF were to relegate, they probably would also not get the automatic invites as things stand?

      Could that storyline be added with a graph in the next updates?

  1. It would make good business sense to sponsor one of the teams that stays up after all this, because the deal will be made cheaply while the team is under threat of relegation. Look out for a flurry of new sponsors fixing the legs of the lame ducks that didn’t go over the waterfall.
    Arkea will now be wishing its name wasn’t on that team but they might have a get out clause on the amount they pay. Relegation not happening to that team could spell commercial disaster anyhow, in which case – Another team gets WT.

  2. I suspect that the answer’s already come up, but are teams automatically reviewed by the UCI every season? The reason I ask is that Astana are pretty terrible, and not bringing much to races as far as I can tell. And I assume that the financial position is not as good as it was last year, given what happened in January.
    I guess that in the past it was pretty hard to lose a licence, but with promotion and relegation the more solid teams might pay attention.

    • Yes there’s an annual review as well but it’s a check rather than a decision. Astana are having a terrible season but not so bad as to lose their licence. There’s also been a review into missed salary payments and this could impact the admin/financial side of the application though. The question is whether in the next three year cycle they can get going again.

      • Are the “financial health” rules actually enforced, or is it simply a matter of letting the team get to the point of Qhubeka NextHash? By this I mean does the UCI have a strict, defined definition of what “financial health” means? Is two months of missed salaries OK, but three means you lose your license? Sometimes, from the outside looking in, it looks like the UCI makes some very arbitrary decisions. With something as serious as relegation, I imagine that they will really need to dot their “I”s and cross their “T”s. If Astana were denied a license, wouldn’t it have to be based on solid metrics of their current and projected financial stability?

        • I can see the UCI having to be a little flexible, and sometimes a little optimistic. Imagine if they were super strict and had fairly high standards regarding the metrics of projected financial stability. Now imagine what they would have to do when there’s a financial downturn that affects several major sponsors at the beginning of a season. Should the UCI say “that’s it, you don’t meet the metrics, we’re pulling your WT license”?

        • Every team has to present a reasonable budget and sponsorship contracts but there’s no accounting for sponsors that decide not to pay after. But they’ll want to see proof that the wages have been paid in full and some reassurance it shouldn’t happen again.

        • I only remember one team having a decision made against them on the financial criteria – Europcar (now TotalEnergies) was in for 2014 and then removed for 2015 because they couldn’t show they had the funding to make it through the season.

          Somehow the UCI’s reviewing of the financial criteria since then has never picked up on the issues at Cannondale/EF over the years (Jonathan Vaughters has admitted relying on the bank guarantee to pay budgeted salaries in numerous years) or that Qhubeka were screwed even before the NextHash fiasco.

  3. In normal times one might have expected BEX to select eight riders for the Vuelta capable of supporting Yates for GC. Is the choice of sprinter Groves an indication that they need UCI points options rather than going all in for GC? If so that may be wise as IPT’s loss of Woods with few other options shows.

    • Not so sure, there are few sprints anyway, Groves isn’t a big scorer either and points only go down to 5th on a stage, it’s 100, 40, 20, 12, 4 so it’s not easy winning points with a sprinter in the Vuelta, it’s probably why Ewan isn’t riding. Groves is versatile, useful for a hillier finish but if they want points from him, better to send him with some backing to other races, no?

    • It depends a bit on how confident they are that yates is in form whether they want to be all in. Plus they may decide he does not need full support and having groves there gives them a points chance on other stages.
      At this point of the season they may not even have 7 guys fit to dedicate especially as they have some other races to go for points as well.

  4. The ROI for mid level World Tour teams racing a GT without a top GC rider or top tier sprinter is very low considering the overall effort put into a 21 day race. Inring, I know you’ve covered this in previous posts, but when you see the intensity of the daily racing racing during a GT for a too top heavy point haul, the inequalities of the system really hit home. (At least to me)

      • Do they still get points if they get dropped?

        Does the team get all the points even if some of the scoring riders are not in the teams top ten scorers?

        • Looking at the PCS website, it appears that the points are divided evenly, regardless of whether all riders finish together or if one or two get dropped. And it would be inconsistent with the points system if the team gets points from riders not among their top ten scorers.

          • It’s not the team who gets the points – riders are awarded them and the team score is determined by the sum of points of ten best riders. Therefore the team “gets” all of the ttt points – but unless all ttt riders are among the ten best only part of them count.

  5. De Lie with another 125 pts today for Lotto. 250 pts in three days in races I don’t think I’ve heard of before. De Buyst with 70 today too.

    • Today’s Egmont Race is the old GP Stad Zottegem, a long standing kermiskoers.

      De Lie scores again and De Buyst now joins Lotto-Soudal’s top-10 riders. De Buyst is on 171 points, add 70 and that’s 241 points, which puts him ahead of Harm Vanhoucke who is on 228 points, so De Buyst’s third place is a net gain for the team of 13 points.

        • There’s a rush on to find more races. Langkawi is suddenly popular, and it’s not because the weather is nice in October. In the same month the Japan Cup is a 1.Pro race with 200 points for the winner and, it’s not public yet but there will be some more teams taking part than announced or listed on the usual race results/startsheet websites.

          • Ah, this is the kind of insider info we all love. This season there really are no “shitty little races” (to borrow a phrase from a certain sprinter).

        • I’m not sure Movistar has a lot of riders for this sort of races that usually end in a bunch sprint?
          (There is Max Kanter, I suppose, but he started in the Deutschland Tour today.)

      • Ah, without doubt named after Lamoraal, Count of Egmont. One don’t need the Vuelta to find some spanish history links in the Low countries… 🙂

  6. Regarding Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, I continue to be impressed with Kristoff’s capacity to score big year after year. I believe he’s within the top 10 scoring riders again this year, which puts him ahead of any Ineos rider, for example. Given he seems to be past his monument-winning best, he seems a Moneyball-esque pick for guaranteed points – hope he continues to do well at Uno-X.

  7. Not relegation related but Quick Step really do seem to be having a poor year. Maybe its a one off or maybe Remco Evenepoel will bag lots of points in the remaining part of the season but it seems odd for what has been the No 1 team for a number of years to be doing relatively poorly. Perhaps the rise of Jumbo Visma & Intermarche means Patrick Lefevere no longer has first pick of up & coming Belgian and Dutch riders. He has always been careful with his budget and maybe the competition simply has more money to spend. Maybe there are less opportunities for sprint wins than in the past, QS’s sprint roster does seem to be a lot less strong than it was a few years back. Ten years ago you would have expected one of Arnaud De Lie or Olav Kooij to be joining as the “next big thing”, Tim Merlier hardly seems in that category. Maybe there really is a change in bike racing and Quick Step have not kept up?

    • The team’s put a lot of budget into signing Alaphilippe and then even more for Evenepoel, and in Fabio Jakobsen have an obvious sprinter to work for so they’ve become more of a hierarchical team rather than the wolfpack, but this shift is probably relative. They’ve still one a lot of races this year and could finish the season with the most wins yet again, although this time they’ve got competition from Jumbo-Visma and UAE right now.

      • Perhaps not living in Belgium it is difficult to understand just how big a media thing Remco Evenepoel is there. Not sure it is worth sacrificing the “wolfpack” concept, which has been such a success, to support one or two riders no matter how good. Something is up when the long time “top team” is a long way behind Intermarche and Jumbo Visma have scored 75% more points than them. I hope it works out but change is always a difficult thing to pull off.

  8. Caleb Ewan will not be part of the Australian team for the WC in Wollongong. Should this be a decision from the Australian Cycling Federation to help protect BEX? In this case, Ewan can’t score any points (600 max if he would win) and so can’t help Lotto Soudal in this battle, which is advantageous for BEX. BEX is a team with lot of Australian riders and it would be bad for the Australian cycling culture if BEX would relegate.

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