UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

It’s getting very close at the bottom of the table with Arkéa-Samsic now feeling the stress too as they’re at risk of struggling for promotion.

What’s Changed Since Last Week?

  • As of this week’s numbers, Alpecin-Deceuninck and Arkéa-Samsic are eligible for promotion, while Lotto-Soudal and Israel face relegation
  • Automatic invites to the grand tours for next year would go to Lotto-Soudal and Total Energies
  • Lotto-Soudal were the top scorers of the week on 495 points, ahead of Trek-Segafredo and Jumbo-Visma
  • Both BikeExchange-Jayco and Israel were among the teams only scoring double-digit amounts for the week. Arkéa-Samsic are on -129 points, that’s minus, for the week after Nairo Quintana’s tramadol troubles see all his points from the Tour de France binned, this puts them only about 100 points clear of the four teams struggling for safety and so their chances of promotion are now very dependent on results to come, both on the road but also at the Court of Arbitration for Sport

Relegation Watch

Lotto-Soudal make a leap towards safety, they’re now just 288 points behind Movistar. But that’s during the Vuelta where Enric Mas is riding high on GC and the points for the grand tour are only added up once the race reaches Madrid, BikeExchange will hope Simon Yates can stay in the mix too. There’s only 619 points between Movistar, BikeExchange, EF Education and Cofidis so they’re all under pressure.

Arkéa-Samsic now join these struggling teams and this changes plenty because of instead of rising among the top-18 teams to knock an existing World Tour team down, were they to slip to 19th or lower then no team above is displaced, only Israel would be relegated. Things could get messy if the relegation matter then becomes dependent on Quintana’s appeal case because while the sporting calendar needs the issue settled by December, appeals can’t be rushed and everyone has to have time to build and present their respective cases.

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.

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

  1. It’s a byproduct of the points system, but at last there is a meaningful sanction on pro team management. Quintana being docked his Tour points has really put Arkea’s management in a place where they can’t just brush off a positive test as some rogue rider to be put on the naughty step while they get on with business as usual.

    • It cuts both ways though. It may give an incentive to reintroduce misbehaving riders (dopers in particular, but generally riders who have been caught in anti-sporting behavior) faster than they otherwise would, simply because they need their best riders in the points hunt.

    • On the other hand, punishing a whole team because of one rider’s “indiscreation” seems tough, if Quintana acted on his own, or with his personal doctor. Certainly adds extra spice though to the remaining races this year and then await the CAS decison too!

      • I suppose one could view it as a failure of the team management to prevent such indiscretion. In a team with a healthy culture and a sound anti-doping policy a rider would think twice and then twice again before doing something like taking Tramadol or whatever his personal doctor hands him from his medicine bag.

        • Didn’t Arkéa and Quintana have a warning in late 2020 when he together with his personal doctor, soigneur and several riders brought in to support Nairo were placd under inquiry. No formal action was taken though it was suggested that a structure apparently semi-detached from the team posed a risk. Did the team reinforce controls, and will Quintana come back for the late season hilly Italian classics (Emilia, Tre Valli, Lombardy…) with so many points – and maybe a WT place for 2023 – available?

  2. Lotto’s strategy really looks to be paying dividends. They will likely stay up and deserve it too.

    Wouldn’t shed a tear for EF going down after what they’ve done this season (nothing) and Vaughters’ continued obnoxiousness.

    • Kind of agree on EF, especially Vaughters. So many bad decisions. Chaves, Rolland?! Keeping non-contributors on roster like Morton and Howes. Ignoring South American riders for so long even though they should have had the geographical advantage in scouting and signing. Zero sprint options. EF better off investing heavily in the women’s team.
      I thought they’d be safe but with the team laying a bunch of eggs at the Vuelta, they look in jeopardy.

      • Lotto’s strategy is embarrassing for the WT.

        It shows what’s wrong with the current system, not only the point system but also the lack of revenue share from the ASO and thus the huge disparity in salaries per team. It is cheaper to skip GC riders and just focus on one day 1.1 , 1.pro races. For Beligium or French team’s the point system provides an advantage.

        There is a fair chance that EF gets eliminated from the WT, but not from at least trying to compete in GC.

        The constant hating on Vaughters hiding behind is childish likely where the intellect lies.

        If you want to debate, I would happily set up a Clubhouse room debate verbally.

        • I can’t make sense of much of what you wrote, but everyone knew what the relegation criteria were over three years ago so every team had same chance to plan for it.

        • “It is cheaper to skip GC riders and just focus on one day 1.1 , 1.pro races.”

          That gets no complaints from me. I’ve enjoyed following Arnaud De Lie’s phenomenal season. By no means has he just sat in and waited for the sprint either. He showed he was well prepared to mix it in the style of the Classics at Volta Limburg back in March. Lotto’s whole style of riding these races has been refreshing this season, including Campanaerts and De Buyst this month, especially in Circuit Franco-Belge.

          I’d rather cheer that than somebody diesel anonymously around Spain, France or Italy for three weeks while being nowhere near good enough to challenge for the win or the podium or bothering to target a stage win but all the while content in the knowledge that they’ll get a lot of UCI points and an unfeasibly high salary for being so unwatchably, unadventurously boring.

        • If Caleb Ewan had been in a better form they would have had more wins in higher ranked races too, but various things went wrong with that. Lucky for them De Lie has been doing even better than expected in the smaller races, many of which he was always supposed to race, and then they added some more to minimize the damage.

          And you can’t expect Lotto to send a 19yo rookie like De Lie with zero experience to the big sprint races & (grand) tours instead. Even just the race distances would be a huge difference from his junior year before, and where he did start in longer races you could see it was an issue still.

          • Before the season, on paper, it seemed quite plausible that Ewan would get a bunch of grand tour stage wins and placements with a big points tally.
            It was surprising and disappointing to see him out of form, but it’s great that Lotto had a plan B as well. I have no specific sympathy towards the team, but if they stay up, I wouldn’t say it’s undeserved in any sense.
            I personally want to see Ewan do better (for some reason).

  3. It seems a lot may depend on Mas at the Vuelta. Imagine him contracting covid or crashing out of the race… Movistar is probably ill-equiped for raiding a big haul of points during what remains of the season.

    • One bad day and dropping from his current 3rd place out of the top 5 would also be pretty bad for their points. They start so much less than the other teams so Vuelta is super important.

  4. Interesting piece on Pro cycling stats about riders accruing points outside of normal racing, ie at worlds, regional and national championships. This has favoured ef due to the multi national composition of their squads. Take these races out of the equation and ef are in the relegation zone.

    • Perhaps equalize the races so you can only count a certain number in your home country (to be fair for non-Belgian, non-French teams and riders) and Arkea Samsic, Lotto, Codifidis and Total Energies are at different point levels.

      Bike Exchange already pointed out that they were disadvantaged because of the Covid cancellations of Australian races. There is a fair chance there will be lawsuits to settle the situation, depending upon who the unlucky loser is. (per other websites)

      Let’s be serious no matter what Uno-x does – with a team of nordic riders, there is little chance for them to get the points needed to become WT over the next three years unless someone withdraws, or the rules change on points.

      “The Schaal Sels Merksem, Class 1, disputed last Sunday and won by Arnaud De Lie (Lotto-Soudal) symbolizes the problem of the distribution of points. “A race of 114 kilometers for 125 points? There are more points than kilometers. It’s shameful”, protests Alain Deloeuil of Cofidis relayed by Yvon Caër. “While whoever finishes 6th at the top of Alpe d’Huez in the Tour doesn’t have a point, it’s not a balanced system.”” (DV)

      • There’s no doubt that points were gotten quite cheaply at Schaal Sels. But after he’d made his cheap rhetorical jibe did anyone ask Alain Deloeuil if he wants to see World Championship time trials of 400km?

      • Obviously when Uno-X wants to become a WT team they will have to internationalize the team. No (successful) big team artificially limits its riders to a small (in population) region.

        And with Kristoff on the team for the next couple of years they should already be able to start in even more races than before…

        About Schaal Sels: I’m not sure why it’s so short nowadays. It used to be around 170-180km until 2018.

      • “ There is a fair chance there will be lawsuits to settle the situation, depending upon who the unlucky loser is. (per other websites)”

        If I the results are close, the UCI will just cave in and avoid the legal fight by granting extra WT licences to teams and extra wildcard positions to race organisers. They set the precedent for extra teams in 2013 and confirmed it in 2020, and 23 teams have been permitted at grand tours a number of times.

        • That would likely just change who they will get sued by…

          Adding more teams adds more costs & more security issues for the race organizers, and I doubt UCI are prepared to cover those extra expenses (not to mention some would likely just decide to drop out—especially those in countries where they want to expand).

          • This points system just feels like a recipe for disaster, it’s attempting to be all things to all teams and ‘you can’t please all of the people all of the time’.
            How so many non-WT races affects the points totals is bizarre to begin with.
            Can see it all blowing up at the season’s end.

          • The UCI regulations already take into account the possibility of extra WT teams when it comes to the issue of mandatory invites, in regulation 2.1.007b

            Each extra WT team results in a reduction of the mandatory ProTeam invites, so the total number of mandatory invites remains at 20.

            Allowing races to select an additional wildcard would be optional, not something imposed on the race organisers.

  5. With Covid, getting points from GC at multi-stage races is much more risky than concentrating on single day races. BTW, does a rider get to keep any points from a single stage win or placing if they don’t complete the whole race. I would assume they do.

      • It turns out really bad for BikeExchange with the COVID of Yates. Stage victory of Groves gave them 100 points though.

        Gap is now 456, virtually BikeExchange are in the spot just above Lotto if Mas can keep his good GC.

  6. If things follow their current trajectory, Lotto will stay up and EF will drop. That would mean the automatic invites would go to Israel and Total, correct?

    • It looks like IPT is certainly going to drop out.

      It is way too close to call among the others. Even before the Quintana points were removed Arkea were having a flat period that would bring them closer to the others.

      • Even if Israel drops out, they still need as much points they can get to improve their one-year-ranking to be ahead of Total (or EF, BikeExchange, Movistar,… if it is one of them relegating)

        Can we add that one-year ranking next week for the seven relegation teams? Its just the number from the UCI website I assume?

  7. I said this was stupid when it was introduced and have paid little attention to it until I read: “Whispers within the peloton suggest that the Israeli squad have now taken the drastic measure of encouraging riders not to race to win but to get as many riders placing in the points as possible. When contacted by CyclingTips, Israel – Premier Tech told us that the team’s goal is to win and that will remain the main objective in every race. Rather than a rumour to beat a struggling WorldTour squad over the head with, the fact that this tactic could even make sense within a sporting context speaks to the folly that has been built into the relegation and points-scoring system.” https://cyclingtips.com/2022/08/signs-of-desperation-appearing-in-relegation-dogfight/
    This entire WT scheme continues IMHO to seem like an answer to a question nobody asked.

  8. A worrying day for BEX with Simon Yates Covid withdrawal from the Vuelta. A possible 400 – 600 UCI points evaporated just like that. Stage racing feels a little like Russian roulette these days.

  9. I’m pretty frustrated by the current covid rules.

    If Bike Exchange are relegated because of the Simon Yates positive at today’s Vuelta that seems really unfair to me? I understand they are done over three years and getting covid is the same as a crash or general illness in terms of luck…


    At the same time, even if two years ago it was *very* Trumpian and daft to compare covid to the flu or a cold given those who had sadly died and would be vulnerable to infection, times have clearly changed and surely riders cannot now be ejected for what is a fairly common and minor infection for most top level athletes? Especially as avoiding covid’s spread is now an impossible ideal, so it’s unrealistic to talk of one rider being a super spreader and putting others at risk when the virus is endemic.

    I feel like it’s a real gutter when a top contender crashes out of a race and deprives us of a spectacle, and so even if I understand that some see a covid positive as if it were a crash – I feel we should be aiming to have a few avenues of contenders being removed from a race as possible, and covid just doesn’t seem a valid reason any longer? Removing Yates from this Vuelta is not only a shame for us though, it’s a real shame for Bike Exchange who I assume were relying on a high result from him?

    It also may eventually undermine Grand Tour participation because it is a reasonable decision for a team to be wary of losing three weeks worth of points because of covid positive and target smaller races, along with all the other reasons that that might now be a better way to stay in the World Tour…
    Which overall feels very problematic as you want the best riders at the biggest races.

    Don’t we need to do everything possible to retain and improve the spectacle of the sport? Ejecting people for covid positives now is starting to feel self defeating. Yates was one of the few riders who might have spiced up this Vuelta in WK3 as he regularly has great climbing days that put others under pressure (Giro ’21 a good example).

    I cannot see almost any other rider in the Vuelta top10 who might pressure Remco in this way – Roglic generally waits to the end of a climb, the young Spainard’s would be well advised to follow wheels are just hold out for a strong result. Almeida and Mas despite being great riders have rarely shown that kind of gung-ho climbing swagger in recent years, Joao generally being a TT diesel. Hindley has faded.

    I feel like Ineos combining with Jumbo for a Formigal is our best hope of Vuelta action outside of a Remco off day now.

    • Yates would have likely been dropped and not spiced things up with Covid though. Fever and body aches doesn’t sound like a recipe for GC contention. Not sure of Sivialov’s symptoms.

      Don’t they only test once a week now if you’re asymptomatic? So it’s not like all that many are being excluded because they feel well. I think it’s not the issue you think it is and if I was another racer I’d want Covid positives out of the race before they snot rocketed in my face.

      • I guess I’m saying this knowing it’s only a matter of time before we lose an asymptomatic overall leader of a race ruining a grand tour…?

        If Yates were asymptomatic there’s still a chance he’d have spiced things up. I appreciate what you mean re snotrockets but that’s the same with a cold or anything else, and if they stop testing asymptomatic carriers wouldn’t even know when to snot and when not!

        • Understand the asymptomatic point. At the TdF wasn’t the testing more precise which measured the amount of viral load? I assumed if you were asymptomatic you would probably be under the viral load threshold which would mostly eliminate that issue. But I’m not sure of this.

    • “Don’t we need to do everything possible to retain and improve the spectacle of the sport?” No. No, we don’t. Dunno if you’ve had Covid-19 but it’s called a PANDEMIC for a reason. Let the authorities do their work unless you want to tell us with certainty there are no long-term effects from racing at a high level with Covid-19, even if you show no symptoms.

      • Larry your posts always make me laugh, I know you’re a Gios fan like I am and I enjoy reading your website updates by clicking on your picture icon so hope you’re happy and having a great day, it wouldn’t be the same here without you.

        Bit confused why you wouldn’t be up for improving the sport, but hey ho, I’m sure you read and misunderstood what I meant which is fine and expected. By improving I simply mean working and thinking about ways to reach more fans, in this case by cycling’s biggest events being well-competed for with biggest talents – but can also be via modern media, better tv coverage (with live more sophisticated live stats etc) etc etc. Not all things will be right but any sport lives and breaths by its fans and I want there to be more fans so I want the powers that be to focus on improving the sport for those fans as long as the riders are safe.

        You’re obviously old like me but I think we differ slightly on what is or isn’t progress.
        From your previous posts I’ve had the impression your a fan the status quo or even harking back to the good old days – which I agree there’s a time and a place for but that shouldn’t stop the search for new young fans.

        On Covid – I noticed Tao G-H expressed similar opinions to mine above and got shouted down quickly online so maybe I should expect a lesser version here. I obviously know what a pandemic is and have existed with the same news cycle and information as you for the past three years now. I agree we should let the authorities do their work and my opinion means very little on a niche cycling website, but clearly we’re still allowed to think about this and talk on it.

        You’re right there won’t be certainties on long term effects – likely for years, as there aren’t on a whole host of things we’re forced to take a pragmatic decision on with the information available. If we’re paranoid about long term effects though we might as well stop racing all together? As it stands unproven fear is not the greatest decision making tool, and from the last two years of racing it doesn’t seem like authorities, doctors or riders are overly worried about long term effects to make this a central decision making argument?

        • Sagan would seem to be a pretty clear case study of the adverse effects of Covid. He does not seem to have recovered completely from his first bout of it (much less the second). There are many other riders who have struggled to get back in form after contracting Covid, so it definitely is not some to be trifled with.

        • Plenty of argument here, especially when it comes to “for improving the sport” which too often means merely increasing the money in it. I should probably do my own blog post on this subject so guys who care could read it while avoiding INNER RING’s fine blog being clogged up with my old-school desires.
          You mentioned GIOS…I enjoy talking with Aldo when I’m up there…another old-school guy. but one who was there during a golden age…and shares my disdain for so much that goes on in modern pro cycling.

        • Racing while ill is a significant health risk sometimes with long term consequences, even when you take covid out of the equation. See what happened to Sonny Colbrelli. Still, I’m not sure it’s reasonable to differentiate between covid and the flu in cycling. If someone is ill with something contagious, they should not be among the peloton spreading it.

          Still, riders with no symptoms and lower virus load could be allowed to ride and one could argue that’s reasonable enough. Some athletes are struggling after covid, many go through it without any symptoms and seem to be back in form quickly after their covid breaks. Not everyone’s body handles it the same. Both sides matter, and both sides suffer in different ways in the current situation.

          As far as the authorities go, believing that the authorities can always handle everything in the best or even in a good way is naive to put it mildly. The authorities and the experts are often different bodies, organizations and people.

          I guess cycling needs to experiment a bit and monitor the results very carefully along with other sports. The closeness of the spectators is an additional risk in cycling currently.

          Personally, as I seem to be from the people that handle covid like a very mild flu, I’d rather be back to normal with the virus having become practically unavoidable anyway. However, that might be my personal bias based on my personal experience and luck.

          • A commentator on Belgian TV proposed that the organization, media, local governments, riders, teams, etc. would all call for the fans along the road to wear face masks voluntarily while the riders pass (they can leave them off before & after the riders pass).

          • It is curious how often the mountain stages where riders move at a runner’s pace between lines of spectators and sometimes inches away from a fan’s shouting face are portrayed as the situation where the riders are most likely to catch the virus.
            According to what I’ve read, the risk is minimal compared to what it is during the rest of the day, i.e. when the riders are not racing, but staying at a hotal or travelling – and the riders are a million times more likely to catch the virus from a team member than a roadside fan.

            But I agree face masks would be a good idea: it would show respect towards the riders.

          • The risk would certainly be bigger to get it indoors, or when standing in a crowd for a longer time.

            But e.g. some riders have complained that at the start/finish untested & unmasked spectators are often allowed to get closer to them than tested & masked journalists are, which is not logical…

          • I enjoyed reading your post MTB guy and agreed with your thoughtful and well reasoned arguments.

            It does feel like there is a raft of issues in the one topic with various sides now getting a raw deal – riders health and safety always needs to be paramount, but there comes a point where some sort of pragmatism needs to come into play especially when a virus is near unavoidable and in general not lethal any longer.

            I agree riders shouldn’t ride with flu or colds etc out of respect for their competitors in one sense – but that is entirely unfeasible when people have trained all year of three specific weeks… and covid is moving into a similar space… also riders not pushing themselves while ill is makes sense but it is likewise a stretch as the riders themselves will always try and ride through pain and illness to achieve goals – we often applaud them for it – and it should be noted that many times on this blog INRNG has said winning a Grand Tour is as much about how you deal with illness as your cycling skill.

            I’m always against unenforceable or unfeasible rules – which is why spectators wearing masks I also think is simply not going to happen so why bother even having that conversation? The lack of masks on the spectators is actually a good barometer of where we are with covid now IMO, as people do not feel at threat in general and I have a feeling neither do cyclists, so chucking them out of races in the coming years feels out of kilter with real/perceived threat level.

            Auyso’s case seems to be a very good example where viral load measures have saved his race and our enjoyment of watching him, and if it’s true that UAE only have access to a viral count machine (which I heard on the cycling podcast), then that needs to be rectified so everyone can access and we might have lost less riders to asymptomatic covid positives. It seems like the best temporary solution to appease both sides of the argument.

            Although really I just think it should be up to the riders, teams and doctors individually now.

            Finally – not sure Sagan is a great example as his powers seemed to be waning far before covid, which unfortunately for him coincided with the rise of WVA, MVDP and Alaphillippe so with or without Covid his golden days are likely over.

            There are riders who’ve talked about the hit of covid this year but it feels now that the hit of covid, or the hit of a broken collarbone, dental problems, iliac artery, flu or similar are just part and parcel of being a cyclist in 2022.

  10. Not sure of what the rules might say. Does there become a point where a race has to be abandoned if the number of withdrawals becomes too high? In football there must be a minimum of 9 players per side otherwise the game has to be abandoned.

    Given that the remaining races are quite possibly going to be seriously affected by “virus” issues and also the uncertainty with Nairo Quintana it is not inconceivable that the whole relegation thing could be heading for the courts. On one side those teams who might think they have been unfairly “relegated” or also a team who is denied “promotion” due to a decision to suspend the points system.

      • I thought the minimum number in professional football is 9, maybe I am wrong, but the questions stands re cycling, what is the minimum number of riders for the result to be valid?

        • (Sure, but the correct number is 7 so I took the liberty to correct you. 😉 4 red cards are ok, it’s the fifth which ends the match. And fielding 7 players is enough for the match to take place.)

          In cycling, the minimal number of (riders?) finishers for a result to be valid is presumably one. (Or am I mistaken?) The difference is… in football you have two teams and if one is not able to field a squad or plays in a way that leads to too many expulsions, there is no point in resuming the game. Cycling race is not a game, it’s a race. In case you abandon a football game, the culprit is usualy punished and the other team often proclaimed a 3-0 winner or so. The point is – a football game is a contest between two sides. A cycling race is a contest among one or more, usualy many riders and whoever finishes first wins. (With the caveat of different rules like bonus seconds, points etc.)

          Perhaps there is a rule determining the least number of participants for ghe race to take place or be taken seriously, but there is surely no rule stating a minimsl amount of riders actualy finishing the race.

          • There are rules about the minimum number of riders a team has to start a race with, but (as far as I know) no rules about how many have to finish (except when there is a TTT, I suppose).

        • In doesn’t answer the question re UCI races, but in British domestic racing the points awarded are reduced for smaller fields – for example, in regional races where points are normally awarded to the top 10 riders, this is reduced to points being awarded to just the top 3 riders when the number of starters is below 10. That does mean that if there are 10 starters that everyone gets some points!

    • Orica-GreenEDGE once battled on through injuries and illness to finish the Giro with 2 riders.

      If it looks like going to the courts, you can bet on the UCI choosing to avoid the fight and simply award 1-2 extra WT licences to the team/teams which have narrowly missed out. The precedent is there from previous 19th WT licences being awarded in 2013 and 2020.

    • As long as the UCI doesn’t change the rules mid-season again, a team that is relegated by the application of those rules will struggle to build an actual case against them.

      “It’s not fair” isn’t the same thing as “I’m unhappy about losing”, and it’s not the same thing as a breach of contract either.

      • Yes, I can see why some teams are now very stressed by it all.

        But there weren’t any public objections from the teams when there were talks over the new system several years ago. Nor when Covid-19 arrived and messed up the 2020 season. Nor during 2021. So raising objections to the system late in 2022, having spent much of the season saying “we’re not chasing points, we just want to win” can look like a team facing relegation is opposing the system only because they stand to lose out, there’s some delicate messaging needed here.

        But just because they could lose doesn’t mean they have to be quiet about it, there’s a lot at stake. Movistar’s Unzue has complained but said that next time around the system needs revising… …although this is creating a rod for the back of any demoted teams, if World Tour teams don’t like all those points to be found outside of World Tour races then if they’re relegated they’ll struggle to win points to haul themselves back up into the World Tour.

        Things are so close now you can imagine a range of scenarios where one team is relegated because a rider was Covid-positive, or because someone dropped litter, punctured etc.

        • “Things are so close now you can imagine a range of scenarios where one team is relegated because a rider was Covid-positive, or because someone dropped litter, punctured etc.”
          As if we needed yet another example of how stupid the whole thing is.

          • Should it really come to that the difference in points between two teams could be seen as the result of a penalty given for a rider emptying his bladder in an inappropriate place, it would indeed be either patently absurd or exquitesitely funny – but would it really be that much more stupid than being relegated because a rider who no doubt would have finished in Top Ten has to abandon the race in the thrid week of a Grand Tour because someone touched wheels in front of him and caused a pile up?
            Or do you mean the whole thing that is so stupid is the idea of promoting and relegating teams every three years?
            Oh sorry, I just remembered that you deeply abhor the whole idea of WorldTeams and that in your opinion race organizers should be free to invite the teams they want to see.

          • “[…] one team is relegated because a rider was Covid-positive, or because someone dropped litter, punctured etc.”
            As if we needed yet another example of how stupid the whole thing is.”

            This is the case not because the rules are stupid but because of the simple and unavoidable fact that close relegation battles are decided by minuscule margins and thus the small things can be the decisive factor.

            But this is the case only for the teams who are close to the drop zone. All the punctures, littering, sticky bottles and positive covid tests in the world could not prevent Alpecin from grabbing their WT license now. That’s because they did their job to earn their security. If you allow yourself to be close to relegation, you become vulnerable to relegation because of all kinds of small factors and no rule change could avoid that. That’s the nature of the beast. Small margins are always going to be vulnerable to small things.

            Could you suggest any rule change where teams in the relegation zone would not be vulnerable to bad luck?

        • Unzue/Movistar should look at their own decisions too, of course, with the team apparently starting in up to 40 races less (= 33% less) than some other teams (same applies to BikeExchange).

          Bigger teams like Quick Step also limit the races they start in, but even they found out that that means you can lose a lot of “expected” points when lead riders for a race have to drop out. And they were never at risk of relegation, so they can “gamble” a bit more.

    • I’d put money on Froomey winning a second Vuelta by default.
      Seriously, the UCI have boxed themselves into a corner with the current system. If Covid had not happened, the UCI could say, rightfully, that it’s been over 3 years so everyone has had time to act. But, Covid has caused races to be cancelled and riders forced to abandon even though they might not feel ill. Throw on top the Quintana case, and the only way I can see the UCI not being involved in court cases is to say, if you pass all the other requirments for a WT license then the team’s acceptable. If covid continues to cause cancellations and riders thrown out of races next year, then the whole circus will start all over again.

      • Why should covid make a difference? No one gets points for cancelled races, so no one should complain there. Unless the rules state a minimal number of races taking place or something in that vein, there is no reason to scrap the system because of cancelled races.

      • Which part of Covid abandons, either races or riders affects all teams, remains unclear?
        If riders of a GT team crash out of the race, is there points compensation too? No.
        The system is okay as it is, just because my fav team/rider faces relegation it’s not unfair by design.

        • Simon Yates, “I don’t think it’s necessarily been fair over these three years.” TGHart (Ineos not a team threatened with relegation) “Sport is not fair, granted. But this just doesn’t seem right, not now and not like this.”

          • it’s obvious that Covid-19 has directly or indirectly hit some teams harder than others, but isn’t it unfair only in the sense that we’d prefer it to have been otherwise?
            It was rather silly of Anonymous, though, to suggest that only those whose favorite team is now facing relegation (because its riders hava fallen ill or tested positive or because the races where it would have done well were cancelled) could feel that something’s not fair.

          • I don’t know the full context – was TGH complaining about the relegation system, or about Sivakov having to abandon due to testing positive (when he could simply carry on while ill if he had, say, bronchitis or a cold)?

  11. There is a lot of racing still left !

    Especially when it is in your backyard and not a long drive and the extra expenses (there is no home cooking – pun intended)

    DSM has 7 races left out of a full schedule of 68 races this year
    Quikstep has 15 races left out of a full schedule of 76 races this year
    Most of the teams have about 15 races left this year (subject to change)

    Cofidis’s full schedule of races this year 109, Lotto 97, Alpecin 90, Intermarche 119
    Arekea Samsic 111, Total 90, FDJ 81
    Movistar 76, Bike Exchange 73, EF 75, Israel Premier Tech 105

    The data is from PCS, and is unlikely to be precise. It also doesn’t reflect stage races versus one-day races.

    Grand tour – stages score big for 1st & 2nd

    • Getting 9th in Lombardia is the same as a Vuelta stage, as is fifth in Gran Piemonte. It’s just really odd the way UCI decided to allocate points. In any case, you’re right, there’s still everything left to play for (except for Israel, who need a miracle).

    • I did some work to make an overview last time in the comments: http://inrng.com/2022/08/uci-world-tour-22-august/

      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

      Off course the races since last week have to be deducted from the numbers above
      – Bretagne 1.UWT
      – Deutschland Tour 2.Pro
      – Poitou-Charentes 2.1

      • Until next week’s update there are three races besides Vuelta:
        – 4/9 Maryland 1.UWT
        – 4/9 Doubs 1.Pro
        – 4/9 Britain 2.Pro

        Maryland could be very important, with only EducationFirst, BikeExchange and Israel starting, and besides Trek no real competition. If they place multiple riders in the top 20 they can score big-time. Racers that would not impact relegation put between “()”

        (Trek – Segafredo
        1 SIMMONS Quinn
        2 GALLOPIN Tony
        3 GHEBREIGZABHIER Amanuel
        4 MOSCA Jacopo
        5 EGHOLM Jakob
        6 SKUJIŅŠ Toms
        7 VERGAERDE Otto)

        11 MATTHEWS Michael
        12 GROENEWEGEN Dylan
        (13 HOWSON Damien)
        14 SCHULTZ Nick
        (15 MAAS Jan)
        (16 BALMER Alexandre)
        17 COLLEONI Kevin
        –> 111 is lowest score of BikeExchange so Howson, Maas and Balmer could come into top 10 of their team.

        . Israel – Premier Tech
        21 NIZZOLO Giacomo
        (22 VANMARCKE Sep)
        23 BOIVIN Guillaume
        (24 JONES Taj)
        (25 NEILANDS Krists)
        26 BIERMANS Jenthe
        (27 RAISBERG Nadav)
        –> 136 lowest score so results of the others could matter. Vanmarcke 83 season points so far, Neilands with 133 only three points below lowest.

        4. EF Education-EasyPost
        31 POWLESS Neilson
        (32 CARR Simon)
        (33 NAKANE Hideto)
        (34 ARROYAVE Daniel)
        (35 QUINN Sean)
        (36 VAN DEN BERG Marijn)
        –> Only powless would fully contribute. Team’s lowest is 146 points so the rest could enter top 10. Car has 87, Quin 94, Van Den Berg 137 and the other two 0 points.

        • In Doubs, we see only these teams participating for the points:
          – Lotto
          – Arkea
          – Cofidis
          – Total

          Groupama, B&B, AG2R, Bingoal Topsport Vlaanderen and Intermarché are also starting, so much more competition than in the US (and also much less points, although it’s 1.Pro and not 1.1)
          – With the race set to be hills followed by a sprint, I see Girmay as the favourite to win.
          – AG2R also comes strong with a strong selection of Venturini, Godon and Cosnefroy

          Of the “relegation teams”:
          – Lotto can score with both Ewan and De Buyst (and top 25 of Campenaerts).
          – Lafay and Martin seem to be the best chances for Cofidis
          – Arkea and Total have rather weak selections

          Points system:
          – 125/85/70/60/50/40/35/30/25/20 for top 10
          – 10-15 still interesting with 15/10/5/5/5
          – 3 points for 16-25th

          • Tour of Britain is not as interesting as the other two races in parallel for the relegation teams from a “points-per-time-invested” point of view:
            8 stages for only 200/150/125/100/85/70/60/50/40/35/30/25/20/15/10 for the top 15 in GC and 20/10/5 per stage. (5 points for places 11-30 and 3 points for 31-40)

            Ineos is the clear favourite for GC, with Bora and DSM also starting.

            Israel and Movistar are participating from the relegation teams: https://www.procyclingstats.com/race/tour-of-britain/2022/gc/startlist

            Israel could score quite some points with Teuns, Biermans and Woods, although Teuns is not yet in the top 10 of the team.

            Movistar has a weaker selection with only 5 racers and Matteo Jorgensen and Oscar Rodriguez out of their top 10. Points for Lazkano could contribute in the end, but with 85 he is still far away from the 190 points needed to bypass Rodriguez into the top 10.

        • Doubs was no game-changer:
          – 85 points for Total with Burgaudeau (will probably enter top 10 now. Must have had some fines)
          – 70 for Arkea with Louvel
          – 55 for Cofidis with Thomas and Martin
          – 33 for Lotto with Gilbert and Campenaerts

          Maryland was much more interesting for relegation teams:
          – 40 points bikeexchange (30+5+5) – 40 points Balmer dont count

          Israel + 212
          – 200 points Vanmarcke – now 283 season so + 147 (minus fines)
          – 60 points Biermans – top 10
          – 15 points Neilands – jumps over Boivin but no top 10
          – 5 for Boivin dont count as Vanmarcke replaces him in top 10
          – 5 for Nizzolo

          EducationFirst also adds much points: 202
          – powless 125
          – piccolo 85 – only joined 1st of august, with 153 enters top 10 and adds 7 points
          – cort 70
          (- keukeleire 5)
          (- Carr 5)
          (- Stehli 3)
          And Piccolo might score more this season so very valuable points to replace Merhawi in team top 10.

          In Britain the 20 points for stage win Corbyn dont count for Israel

          Movistar can be lucky that Mas is doing well and took points there.

          • Quick Vuelta count:

            Stage / Team / Points
            1 / BEX / 3 (Yates & Groves)
            3 / Arkea / 20 (McLay)
            3/ Cofidis / 12 (Coquard)
            4 / Movistar / 20 (Mas)
            5 / Israel / 40 / Impey
            6 / Movistar / 20 / Mas
            7 / Cofidis / 100 / herrada
            11 / BEX / 100 / Groves
            13 / Cofidis / 40 / Coquard
            14 / Movistar / 40 / Mas

            Add the virtual 575 GC points for Mas, GC points for Valverde (16th), uran (12th), Carthy (24th) and it looks it will be a bad update for Lotto after the Vuelta…

            They still have Quebec and Montreal to potentially win/lose a lot of points. When the Vuelta ends things could look completely different again…

  12. I’m still not clear why Total Energies will get the Grand Tour invitations over Israel at the moment, since Israel is ahead of Total Energies. Can someone explain that one?

  13. To That MTB guy: No, I can’t suggest anything to “fix” this. The entire silly idea should simply be scrapped along with the rest of “Heinie’s Folly” Bury it next to him in the cemetery IMHO. I still don’t understand what was so wrong with cycling that the WT and rest of it were needed in the first place unless you count raising the costs of fielding a decent team a feature rather than bug.

    • Don’t you think tthat he times would have changed anyway – and that the costs of fielding a decent team would have skyrocketed even without the WorldTeam system?
      I can grant you that there is a small number of teams that are happy to go on at a lower level and to get a wild card invitation to their “own” Grand Tour more often than not, if not every year – but there is a much bigger number of teams that are eminently happy with being or becoming a WorldTeam with the Grand Tour guarantees that come with it and the sponsorship deals that don’t come without it!
      Besides, the top ProTeams don’t do a significantly smaller amount of races than the WordTeams that are obliged to participate. The costs of running the show isn’t that much lower, they all have to keep two teams with service on the road.

      Anyway, I would imagine that there could be a few unhappy teams and a few displeased sponsors in the times when Grand Tour and classics organizers could freely pick the ones they fancied.
      The only difference that I can see that back in the day the Giro and especially the Vuelta could be relatively uninteresting for many non-Italian or non-Spanish teams, but although the Tour hasn’t lost an inch of its ultimate top ladder position, the “minor” GTs are now much more attractive for everyone – riders, teams, sponsors, international spectators.
      And I’m willing to argue that this was a process that would have started anyway and I don’t think we should put the blame solely on what you call “Heinie’s Folly”.
      Last but not least, I cannot come up with a better system. Meaning a system which would give teams and sponsors a reasonablyas foreseeable future for a number of years and which would allow new players to enter the field.

      • Perhaps you weren’t around “back-in-the-day?” My interest began in the early 1980’s with Greg LeMond so I’ve seen the pendulum swing back and forth. Rather than go more into it here I’ll start working on an essay on the subject. Once it’s been published I’ll post a link.

        • Alas, I’ m old enough to have been around, but back in the day I didn’t follow pro cycling. Eddy Merckx was a name I came to recognize before he had retired and I remember reading about those eight seconds in 1989, but the first Tour I followed in any sense of the word was the one Pantani won.
          Since then I’ve read a bit, but while there are endless books about riders and races, I haven’t come across a good description or analysis of the team system or the structure of pro cycling back in the day.
          I look forward to reading your view of how it was back in the day (and in which respect it was better than the current system)!

        • The 1980s weren’t exactly exemplary when it came to how to run professional cycling…

          You should look up the story about the ADR team that LeMond used to race for & its bankruptcy when the sponsor didn’t pay the money he promised, for example. All the current budget vetting, 3 months of salaries in escrow, and other protections for riders & staff didn’t exist back then. Not to mention a lot of team got their sponsor money paid in cash (that also was so with ADR), so it was probably crime/fraud-related money that was being laundered.

          • Some of the “Wild West” stories I am familiar with.
            But we could imagine a system with practically all of the benefits we have now: all pro teams would have to meet the ethical, financial and administrative criteria, all pro teams would have to deposit a bank guarantee to meet riders’ wages etc – but there would be no first and second tier pro teams, just pro teams.
            No team would have to do races it is not interested in and no race organizer would have to invite teams that no one would notice or be interested to see in the race.
            If this kind of system would no drive away big sponsors, there would surely be no reason to consider it a worse alternative to the WorldTeam/ProTeam -system?

            On the other hand, I cannot see how it would bring down the cost of hiring top riders and running the team if you want to be successful (and not just be there year to year and hope for the occasional breakaway win or the lucky signing of a young rider somehow overlooked by bigger teams)…

          • I was there. Of course one can pick out bad examples from any era, my overarching question is/was what did the WT improve? What was “broken” that “Heinie’s Folly” repaired? I hear all the time about pro cycling’s current “broken business model” so it’s hard to see what the WT has done other than put the UCI in a more powerful and financially advantageous situation while making teams larger and more expensive to operate, leaving sponsors far too often autocratic regimes, resource-extraction operations. gambling interests and the bike biz with a few rich “chamois-sniffers” (same as it ever was) making up the rest. None of that seems like improvement/progress to me. But if you didn’t pay much attention prior to 2005 when WT was shoved down pro cycling’s throat, perhaps you don’t understand my view.

          • Readers are probably fed up with my repeating this over and over again, but:

            Why are you so sure that it was the WT system that made teams larger and more expensive to operate amd that it was this that in turn brought in the big unsavoury sponsors when all those nice small companies no longer could afford to sponsor a cycling team?
            Was it really so that before the WT top teams could get away with just one team on the road at any time? Did they race less often so that they didn’t need so many riders?
            And last but least, do you really think that the wages of top riders (and the riders that became more sought after by teams that couldn’t quite afford those absolute top riders) wouldn’t have gone up anyway?
            I know you hate comparisons to other sports – and I agree that they can be a bit pointless when the growth of and the disparity in the size of TV revenues is not taken into consideration – but name one big international – if only in Europe – sport that hasn’t seen a similar development even though the system or the structure hasn’t changed at all.

          • I think one reason why WT & PT both exist is that minimum wages, staff requirements, etc. are all different between WT & PT. For some PT teams the WT requirements would be too high to meet (especially in some areas of the world where meeting the PT requirements is already a high bar) and then they would have to drop down to the Continental level instead. And I’m not sure lowering the bar for the top teams is a good idea either.

    • Oh, my bad, my apologies. I though the issue you had didn’t cut so deep. Then I’m genuinely interested where you see the problem and how would professional cycling look like if you could design it from the ground up as it should be.

      As someone who discovered the sport quite recently, the world tour system with all the branded teams seemed very strange at first.

  14. As to whether UCI might get sued by a dropped team, any guesses (by IR or anyone) as to what the lost value might be in not making the WT for the next 3 year period?

    The amount of lost revenue to one or more dropped teams might come into court play if it is, realistically not exaggeratedly, large enough to fuel a lawsuit.

    • Most of the budget of the teams comes from the sponsors, so it really depends on what the contracts with the sponsors are like, and that will be quite different between teams. A team that drops out of WT will probably also have somewhat lower costs (some riders might leave which lowers salary cost, you need less budget for traveling etc.).

      And I don’t see much possibilities to actually sue the UCI for damages as long as the UCI follows the rules that were agreed on by the UCI, the teams, and all others involved 3 years ago.

      • The only real basis I could see for legal relief is the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting disruptions and cancellations. There is a real case to be made on the part of both BEX and EF that they were disproportionately affected by the cancellations. Whether such legal action would succeed (and which court would adjudicate it) I couldn’t say.

        • Previous form says the UCI will do what they have to do to avoid it getting into a courtroom, including issuing extra WT licences as in 2013 and 2020.

          Practically, it would be the Court of Arbitration for Sport first, then a Swiss civil court after that.

        • Good luck backing up with facts this climed “disproportionately affected by the cancellations” by BEX and EF.
          They are used to give not any percent of f*s to a fans gut feeling. Is Lotto proportionally more positively affected only cause they have a better 1 day riders than EF, IPT or BEX?

        • BEX and EF might be able to make the case that the pandemic disproportionately affected them. They might not.

          But even if they did, they would also have to make the case that (i) the WT qualification rules required the UCI to do something about this, (ii) the UCI failed to do so, AND (iii) it was this failure that caused those teams to be relegated.

  15. “Why are you so sure that it was the WT system that made teams larger and more expensive to operate amd that it was this that in turn brought in the big unsavoury sponsors when all those nice small companies no longer could afford to sponsor a cycling team?”
    I’ll admit there’s a cause-and-effect issue here, but at the same time one can’t deny what happened and then claim “Heinie’s Folly” had nothing to do with it. I’ll post a link to my extended thoughts on this when they are published, but leave you with this quote about the WT. You can figure out who said it. “I’m more than fed up with all the arguing. ASO and UCI don’t know how much damage they are doing to the sport. What am I supposed to tell my sponsors? This conflict has been going on for three years and is escalating all the time. Can the teams be certain that they will be able to take part in the Tour de France later in the year?” The relegation scheme seems to be causing the same thoughts in some places even today.

    • As if freedom for GT organizers to invite the teams they want and the right to exclude teams they don’t want wouldn’t cause similar uncertainty and similar thoughts!
      Now we at least have great stability and predictability for three years for eighteen teams (and a reasonable amount of predictaability for one or two teams that have a more than decent change of getting an automatic invite).
      We can ask whether 18 is the best possible number of WorldTeams. 16 teams would leave more places for invites – but would that really result in anything more than at best one Italian/French/Spanish wild card team more?
      The sponsors might not like even that small uncertainty and we wold end up with two teams losing major sponsors – without any new sponsors turning up for those wild card team?
      What I’m arriving at that I don’t think things are seldom as simple as they seem.

  16. “What I’m arriving at that I don’t think things are seldom as simple as they seem.” OK, but how is it not simplistic to assume “Heinie’s Folly” was a great idea that improved things from what they were before vs just change/moneygrab disguised as improvement? I think there are some (me included) who think his F1-inspired WT idea wasn’t so great…some of those might say Bernie Ecclestone’s F1 ideas weren’t so wonderful either …unless your ideas of success lean more towards commerce than sport. Stay tuned, my first draft is complete and waiting for some editing advice before publishing.

    • Larry, Larry. Larry…I don’t think anyone here has said that the WT idea was a great idea that improved things from what they were before!
      At most, it has been said that it isn’t as bad as some of its opponents paint it to be, that it isn’t solely responsible for the increased cost of running a ompetitive team or for wage inflation and that it can be seen to have brought a little bit of the kind of predictability that sponsors like into the sport.

      One can, of course, argue that it was precisely the big sponsors that were attracted by the new WT system that were the cause of everything that is wrong with pro cycling today, but I think we’ll better wait until we’ve read your piee before we continue…

      • “…I don’t think anyone here has said that the WT idea was a great idea that improved things from what they were before!” Then why so much argument against abolishing the stupid thing? Ol’ Heinie certainly claimed it was a huge improvement when he was shoving it down the team’s and organizers throats.
        But I don’t see those huge improvements while plenty of people out there continue to complain that “cycling’s business model is broken.” so why continue with something that hasn’t worked, doesn’t seem to be workable in the future and was a dumb idea from the start?

        • Because we cannot return to the golden era or to the good old days. Not in life or in pro cycling.
          Because we have not been presented with a better idea than a reminiscence of how much better everthing was back in the day.
          Because we have not seen any attempt at an analysis of what negative effects the abolition of the current system would have.
          Because it isn’t easy to see how the transition could be carried out without jeopardizing the future of a number of teams. Would UCI simply make a decision and declare that once the next three-year period is over, there will be no guaranteed places or automatic invites for anyone and every organizer, from GTs to humble 1.1 races, would ave freedom to invite the teams it likes?

  17. What is becoming increasingly obvious as the season draws to a close is that the present system is in danger of distorting the calander. The system requires a major re-think involving all the partners – UCI, teams, sponsors and event organizers, if it is to survive in any form.

    • The calendar was set at the beginning of the year. How does the relegation battle distort that? And is the survival of the entire sport really at stake over what is really a minor relegation battle? Let’s face it, the teams on the bubble have been underperforming for years. Meanwhile a couple of non-WT teams have been overperforming for years.

      I do understand the general sentiment that this is a wacky sport where it’s easy to pick any one part of it and suggest that part is suboptimal or even dysfunctional, but given the long and complex history of the sport (which is a fundamental part of its appeal), those incongruities and inconsistencies are largely baked in.

      To put a finer point on it, a lot of ink is being spilled over why it’s unfair for this team or that team to get relegated. If some of the rules changes happened (and I see very few people actually proposing specific reforms), wouldn’t there still be two teams being relegated, and wouldn’t those two teams always have some grounds for complaints? Or is the proposal to accept 20 WT teams, and force the race organizers to accept that they lose some wild card invites? Or kill the WT concept, and let the organizers decide which teams live or die?

      • “Or kill the WT concept, and let the organizers decide which teams live or die?” Now you’re talking, though “live or die” is rather hyperbolic. IMHO WT basically lets teams buy their way into Le Beeg Shew with a few exceptions. How is that better than letting ASO decide who gets in? ASO’s interests are having a good race with as much interest as possible, same as RCS, Flanders Classics, etc. I keep trying to remember when these bad old daze were when otherwise deserving teams were left out pre-WT because of evil race organizers. Did I sleep through them? 🙂

        • How did those teams that were invited become attractive to ASO? I would imagine by signing top riders or up-and-coming riders other teams would like to sign and I don’t see how that is different from a team buying one’s way into Le Beeg Show.
          If it didn’t as large a budget as it does now, the reason might this time be quite simple: there was less money arounf in most sports and road cycling wasn’t any different.

          How many teams were there back in the day? I mean good enough to think they should be riding the Tour. I’d say now that the 18 + 2 are all good enough, whereas I’m not quite sure the “national” wild card teams have always been deserving.
          Which of the 20 would you have left out in this year’s three GTs to make room for one more wild card team?
          The answer I’ve seen has usually been a team not built around a GC rider or a sprinter that has failed to win in a breakaway. Usually the answer is given with perfect hindsight 🙂

          • You are determined to have the last word here whether it addresses what I wrote or not so it’s all yours. I’ll stop with this, only adding the link to my essay on the subject when/if it’s published. I won’t hold my breath on changing your mind nor stop wondering why people think Verbruggen’s legacy is positive rather than negative. The WT idea could/should be scrapped, there was IMHO really nothing wrong with pro cycling that was fixed by its introduction.

          • I’m not only disappointed but sorry that is your impression of what I’ve been trying to achieve with my perhaps all too numerous comments here.
            For one, I’ve been trying to add to our understanding of the actual pros and cons. But perhaps I should have not been so impatient. I could indeed have waited until we could read your piece elsewhere.
            For second, you wrote things that in my opinion begged a follow-up question. Simple as that.
            And for third, you have a habit of expressing yourself in a way and of presenting other commentator’s views in such a distorted version that it is difficult not to stop oneself from hitting the keyboard and writing a reply. But at least I think I’ve managed to stay polite. And I haven’t veeered off the subject.
            But OK, I apologize and I blame my misbehaviour on the fact that up here north the summer is definitely over and even if having to put on arm and leg warmers and wind vests wouldn’t completely kill the joy of riding, the fact that I’m chained to a work desk for a few days doesn’t exactly make me the happiest of MAMILs.

      • Your point about the teams on the bubble underperforming for years prompted me to look at the points graphic in a new way:

        Which teams could be relegated because of one bad year in three?
        Israel, Movistar and Cofidis, it looks at quick glance.

        Which teams would be safe if it was the best year in three that counted?
        Israel, Movistar and Cofidis, it seems to me.

        Note that this isn’t obviously so,

        This is just an amusing observation, not an argument against the three-year points tally. But also a small demonstration, I suppose, that teams that in fact were not underperforming in *all* three years may find themselves relegated.

        • To compare good vs. bad years you should check how they performed compared to the other teams, not just the absolute score.

          E.g. (using the UCI Team ranking as shown on PCS):
          * Israel were 22nd (2020), 10th (2021) and are now 18th
          * Movistar 18th (2020), 11th (2021) and now 16th
          * Lotto 17th (2020), 19th (2021) and now 12th
          * Cofidis 19th (2020), 14th (2021) and now 10th
          * Mitchelton-Scott/BikeExchange 11th (2020), 18th (2021) and now 17th
          * EF 10th (2020), 16th (2021) and now 20th

          I would say that all these teams have an average year and 2 bad ones (compared to the other WT teams)?

          • Alas, that’s exactly what I tried to do, i.e. not look at the absolute score, but my method admittedly left something to be desired.
            There were less points to be won in 2020 due to the many cancelled (and not merely postponed) races and we’d have to resort to calculation of the teams’ share of total points each year to figure out whether, for instance, EF’s 10th in 2020 was better than Movistar’s 11th in 2021 or whether EF’s 20th this year will be worse than Movistar’s 18th in 2020.
            I have to agree that none of the teams have had a really good year. And since we have five teams that have finished (or conceivably will finish) 10th or 11th, we have only one team (Lotto Soudal) we can easily relegate 🙂

            PS I quite like my idea of using the best two years. I think it is better to reward for a good year than to punish for a bad years. I’ll try and remember to do the math when the season is over so that we’ll see whether the teams that were relegated would have been diffferent!

          • I think this is the correct take, since the rankings are all relative and not absolute. It’s noteworthy that for every team facing relegation their best year of the last three was never in the top nine among the various teams – that is, at their best, they were slightly below average. Cofidis had the best “second best” year of the last three, and that was a lame 14th. If any of those teams actually had a good (points scoring) year, they would be free and clear of danger right now.

          • @Eskerrik – I can imagine that in a system where teams only have to have two good years out of three, it would incentivize some weak teams to write off one year with virtually no attempt to do well in WT races because they’ve hired a bunch of promising youngsters who aren’t ready to deliver, and to use that write-off year to develop them for the next season. They could also use the money saved by jettisoning veterans in year two to hire a star or two who could score big in the third year. The result might be a points-heavy third year that makes the team safe from relegation, but then in the year before you’d have the spectacle of a WT team that’s not at all competitive through an entire season.

            The COVID wracked season with cancelled races and reduced scoring all around also argues against your best-two-out-of-three ranking. A team that has their best year of the three in such a year will be at a huge disadvantage to teams that had that best year during a normal, full racing program.

          • It is unfortunately true that if the system is such that teams can game it to their advantage, there will be teams that will game it.
            On the other hand, most teams would continue to aim high every year – or at least as high as natural developments or, say, a transition from a one-day race team to a stage race team would allow.

            The teams that did well in 2020 are to a certain extent punished now: we can at least argue that they would have won more points than the other teams in the races that were cancelled altogether. Therefore in my “just for fun” calculation 5% of the total points in 2020 will be equal to 5% of the total points in 2021 or 2022 🙂

    • “The system requires a major re-think…if it is to survive in any form.”
      Sorry but I can’t see why. Do you mean the points/relegation bit, or the whole WT concept?
      Nor is it distorting the calendar, except insofar as some lower-level races are getting better attendances, which is a plus, surely?
      While I agree with Larry that the WT was a bad idea, it seems to have been accepted by all the interested parties, so I guess we’re stuck with it; all that can be done is try to improve it, which the present points system does (compared to the older version where points went with the rider).

  18. Flip all this talk of points and losing them all when a rider pulls out part way through a GT;-
    Suppose riders were allowed to keep points for the team’s WT standings and not complete the event: This would be gamed. Riders would go out of a tour in flames with stupid attacks just because points, and not because they need to start again next morning.

    Back to my original thought that finally there is a meaningful sanction on dopers. It saves all that delay on awaiting a final WADA ruling and CAS appeals. The loss of points is instant and could only be reinstated on later successful appeal.
    It’s rough justice, maybe, but since you can’t be a little bit positive at doping control the sanction works.

    • Do you mean Wannes wasn’t right in that a rider who abandons or drops out does keep the UCI points he has won?
      Let’s not get confused by the points for the green jersey or the mountain competition that are lost if the rider doesn’t make it to the finish line in Madrid.

      A case in point: it was rumoured that Bryan Coquard would leave in order to win more points for Cofidis than he could conceivably win in the remaining stages. He would have kept the 40 + 12 UCI points (for finishing second and fourth) and have a better than decent chance of winning 125-85-70-60-50 points in a 1.1 race on Sunday).

      • Make that 200-150-125-100-85 points, because GP de Fourmies is a 1.Pro race. You can see why such a voluntary DNS can seem like a sensible option.
        Providing of course that the Vuelta organizers agree and give it their blessing, According to the rumour, ASO wouldn’t have stopped Coquard from starting on Sunday.

      • No. I mean points that are lost because riders doped, which people above gave fed into their bundle of evidence in stating their case to ‘prove’ the UCI points system is useless.
        Taking away points retrospectively from riders who’ve doped in a tour is the only way to go.
        The sanction is immediate and now, thanks only to the 3 year points tally it has meaning because teams really do face the drop.

        • That was your second paragraph, wasn’t it?
          I responded to the first paragraph where you wrote: “Suppose riders were allowed to keep points for the team’s WT standings and not complete the event: This would be gamed.” which I understood as I did.
          My bad.

  19. It’s not often that I agree with Larry, BUT on the question of organizers having the right to select which teams take part in their events. This surely is a sensible policy. Event organizers have to gather finance, local authority support, deal with the dreaded health and safety issues… Without the support of event organizers/committee’s there would be no racing at all. These are the good guys on the ground who in most cases give their time and effort for free, simply for their love of the sport.

    • Event organisers do have the choice over who races.

      If they want to be guaranteed to have the full set of WorldTeams, they can choose to work up towards having their race ranked in the WT category.

      If they want to have a mix of teams of their choosing from Continental up to WorldTeam, then they can have their races classified as 1.1/2.1 or 1.Pro/2.Pro.

      • Indeed, ASO threatened a few years ago, during some of the previous arguments around the World Tour structure under Brian Cookson’s reign, to register the Tour de France as a lower category race to allow them more control over the invitees…

      • I’m still chained to my work desk but I’m not working all the time and I can chime in that yes, this is how it is.
        In short, GTs and WorldTour races have a limit on how many wild cards can be given and small races have a limit on how many WorldTeams they can invite.
        PS When was the last time a WT or a 1.Pro level race folded?

  20. Folks let’s be clear this whole thing is about the advantage the French and Belgium teams have and the current system allows them to flex it and the disadvantage of ‘international’ teams. The international teams didn’t realize how the insiders stacked the rules in their favor until Covid made it clear.

    Risk your riders getting Covid at smaller races, or save them for the WT races. Put a sincere effort in to GC, but risk one bad day messing up the success.

    Traveling from Italy or Spain, for a one day race in Belgium or France also has more Covid risk, more logistics, time on both ends, and costs more.

    (The WT realistically needs the international teams, and so does the ASO to sell more broadcasting ( which should be shared)).

      • 2022 Calendar – One day races (2.1 and above)

        Belgium – 36 (8 upcoming)
        France – 28 (7 upcoming)
        Italy – 19 (12 upcoming)
        Spain – 12 (o upcoming)
        Germany – 4
        Netherlands – 4
        Canada – 2
        Switzerland , US, Japan – 1 ea
        Australia, Norway, Denmark, UK – 0

        I didn’t compile stage races yet – but I am sure that France is the only one with double digits

    • The 1-day races and small tours in Belgium, France, Spain & Italy (and maybe to a lesser degree those in e.g. North America & Scandinavia) tend to be grouped, so in between those races the teams would just keep their squad in the same area for several weeks.

      Not to mention that most of the top teams/riders from Belgium fly back & forth to Spain, France or Italy 10 times a year (or so) to train at elevation there, so the COVID-from-flying risk wouldn’t be any different from the other teams.

    • “Folks let’s be clear this whole thing is about the advantage the French and Belgium teams have and the current system allows them to flex it and the disadvantage of ‘international’ teams.”
      Sorry, but it’s not clear to me, can you offer any examples/proof of this claim?

      • see races by a country above (to be fair – Italy does have a decent amount of races coming up -that didn’t show up in the points yet)

        Races by team for 2022

        Belgium – Lotto 103, Alpecin 92, Intermarche 119, Quickstep 76
        France – Cofidis – 112, Arkea Samsic – 110, AG2R – 95, Total – 90, FDJ 81

        Movistar 76, Bike Exchange 73, EF 75, Israel Premier Tech 106
        DSM 64, Jumbo 56, Ineos 54

        (Data from PCS – it keeps changing – includes all races including stage races – GT stages 1/2(3) have decent points – there rest less so)

        • So obviously the number of races they ride has more to do with what type of races they focus on or whether a team (thinks it) is good enough that they can score big in the big races (or have other policy reasons not to start in many races?).

          And just look at IPT: they have (virtually?) zero home races, but still race a lot, without being Belgian or French.

        • One minor tweak which might help could be to take teams’ results from their best 50/60/however many races in a season, rather than from all of them. This would help to limit the home race factor, and the rules already limit their total to the top 10 scorers, so there is precedent for being selective.

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