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UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

Another week, another update and with only a month of racing left, the story is the same with Lotto-Soudal and Israel-PremierTech facing relegation. Let’s take a closer look to see if their World Tour ambitions are done for.

What’s Changed Since Last Week?

  • Alpecin-Deceuninck and Arkéa-Samsic are due for promotion, Lotto-Soudal and Israel PremierTech face relegation
  • Automatic invites to the grand tours would go to Lotto-Soudal and Total Energies, with Total’s lead on Israel widening to 768 points
  • Groupama-FDJ topped the week on 755 points with Cofidis fourth best on 481 and Movistar on 467, decent hauls to help keep the wolf from the door, EF Education took 325 points, Lotto-Soudal 320
  • Bahrain scored zero points, DSM 13 and Israel 79 points, the gap to safety for them gets wider and wider

Is Israel-PremierTech doomed to relegation?
Well there’s maths, sport and admin. We can’t talk about certain, arithmetic relegation for Israel yet because there’s still a long way to go. The Tour of Langkawi is the final race of the season and in this race alone there are 1,070 points up for grabs. Now it’s unlikely, ludicrous even to imagine Israel can take much of this. But for now it’s a matter of judgement rather than arithmetic if the team is done for.

So we’re left to make a sporting judgement. The chart above shows the gap between the Israel team relative to 18th place in the rankings, they started the season with a cushion that peaked at 855 points in February, but come March they slipped below the red line into the relegation ranks, and today they’re further from 18th place than ever, some 1597 points down. It’s this that makes things look very hard, since July the trend has seen the gap widen as they struggle to score, while rival teams above them have really focussed on the points hustle since August.

Finally there’s the admin side. Things can depends what happens with other teams during the autumnal licence reviews, plus all the talk of lawsuits and so on but the team’s fate relies on the rules being torn up, a rival team vanishing or even a successful legal/regulatory appeal. To compound the squad’s woes they’re not in line to get the parachute reward of an automatic invite to the grand tours next year because TotalEnergies beat them in the points earned this season.

And Lotto-Soudal?
The chart shows the gap between Lotto-Soudal to 18th place. At times this season they’re reached safety but only just and have not stayed there. One chronic problem is performance in grand tours, they’ve taken just 87 points across all three major races. It’s also looking very difficult for them to escape relegation now, they lost a couple of chances to score big with Arnaud De Lie last weekend, he was in the break in the Primus Classic but Movistar and EF visibly worked hard to pull that back; then he was taken out by the late crash in the Gooikse Pijl when he could have scored too. But remember he’s been a revelation this season and if it wasn’t for him and his astonishing 2,095 points haul (almost three times as much as their next rider) then it’s very likely we’d all be confidently declaring Lotto-Soudal face relegation.

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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • El Flexo Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 11:22 am

    I don´t think anyone minds Alpecin coming to the WT instead of the senior cycling squad that is IPT.
    As far as Lotto goes, they might be the team that is able to handle relegation the best.
    With the automatic invites all but secured, they will still be present at all the races they thrive in, while they could pull an arkea and opt out of one of the seconadary grand tours, where the return of investment simply isn´t there for them, as mentioned above, given that they are a team with smaller budget to begin with.

    • CA Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 2:22 pm

      Completely agree, relegation might help Lotto retool and save some budget from riding all grand tours. They could focus their efforts on the main Belgian-French-Dutch races and instead of attending all WT squads they can do multiple secondary/tertiary races closer to their fanbase.

      In short, Lotto could benefit from this.

      And then there is Israel… absolutely read the tea leaves wrong… overspent on a handful of aging/recovering “stars” is never a strong strategy in any sport. Clearly a top businessman, but the meritocracy of sport is pushing them to adapt. The question is, will they?

      • That MTB guy Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 3:10 pm

        It would be a real surprise if IPT find a way to thrive and retool below the WT. They have a glaring management issues in the sporting department and it will only get more difficult for them to recruit after relegation. It would not be surprising if Lotto pull an Alpecin.

        • Wannes Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 1:29 am

          I also dont see Israel doing well as a Protour team.

          Recruitment for Israel might still work if they pay well enough. They wont attract any of the top racers, but besides Nizzolo and Fuglsang that was already the case.

          They still have the automatic invites to the UCI one day races that would appeal to the ones not interested in the Tour.

          It’s also still possible they get the 1 non-French wildcard to the Tour de France, with mainly Euskaltel as an outsider due to the start in Bask Country?

          Longer term contracts might be difficult though, as many racers might want to leave if they don’t secure one of the top 3 spots of protour teams next season. But that can be fixed with a contractual clausenor fixed buy out fee.

          If they don’t make top 3 next season (and i think Lotto, Total, B&B and Uno-X also can make that top 3), then the decline will really start, as they dont have much racers under contract for 2024.

  • West Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 11:43 am

    Lotto Soudal really need a complete overhaul of the team. They get away with it for next year with the free invites but if De Lie gets knocked off during the spring classics or Mr Adams from Israel gets mad and invests another bunch then Lotto are screwed for 2024…
    The ranking already shows that their way of doing things; basically riding with a national selection that prioritizes riders from a certain country above riders who are intrinsically better, is not working.
    Not just for them but all the WT teams outside the top 10 are either national selections (Astana, Bikeexchange, Movistar, Ag2R, Cofidis) or they have an other goals than winning races (EF and Vaughters’ vision, DSM who are basically preparing youth riders for other teams and again Lotto as well, who were more concerned with riders riding lots of GT’s, world hour records and bikepacking home after a GT than winning races).

    • Jacek Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 2:59 pm

      Their main sponsor is Belgian state lottery, who I think have supporting Belgian sport as its statutory duty. It might be that the sponsorship contract says that the team must have a majority of riders from Belgium.

      • West Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 4:48 pm

        I understand why the sponsor would want that. What I’m saying is that in the current professional climate it is no longer a viable model to base a highest-tier team on.

        • Wannes Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 1:37 am

          Without the focus on Belgian racers, they would probably lose their main sponsor.

          Having many nationalities is also good for gathering UCI points from national championships, certainly if it is a country with not so much professionals.

          Stefan De Bod would as such be a good addition to Lotto for example.

        • gabriele Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 11:56 am

          Your general point above is interesting, and I’d agree with it broadly enough, although it’s probably slightly biased towards self-confirmation: Jumbo-Visma has always add and still has a strong national component. In fact, at first sight I’d say they’ve roughly the same percentage of Dutch riders as the Belgian in Lotto. And it’s not like Lotto didn’t bet strong on an international superstar, namely Caleb Ewan – only, he botched great time. Whereas it’s the young local guy who nearly made it possible for them to stay WT.
          Astana, as well, is clearly a national project, but not only are they less focussed on local riders than Jumbo (or Lotto), they’re also as “international” (all with a clear national focus) as Ineos or Quickstep. That is, they try to grow local national talent, but they recruit internationally and their points actually come from both perspectives (Nibali, López and Lutsenko all brought it serious points in the GTs where they went for GC). It’s a peculiar season because of Alaphilippe’s woes, but Evenepoel, the local boy, is more of a factor at Quickstep than anyone else at the team. Of course, we know that Lefevere will just go for the victories no matter who brings them home, but at the same we also know that there’s a clear “Belgian privilege” on that team – which looks rather obvious.
          Equally, Cofidis, Ag2R and FDJ all went through a similar process of internationalisation, perhaps less strong in Ag2R yet still notable. What’s curious is that precisely the team which is having more success is the one relying the most for its point collection on national riders: FDJ “heavy” points come mainly from national rider, while Cofidis has gathered a good quantity with Spaniards (also sponsor related, of cours), while Ag2R counted on O’Connor, Jungels and an although aging GVA.
          So, if Cofidis was thriving you could probably say that it was thanks to their capacity to go international, just as if Bora was failing you could point out that it’s because of their strong national focus (Germany and Austria… as many riders as the French at Cofidis). Same goes for BEX, if it was up the ranking you could applaude their ability to score through the Yates (no, they aren’t Aussies), Chaves, Sobrero, Nieve, Impey while at the same time developing local scoring talent in Haig or Matthews. Same for Quickstep or Jumbo with their mix of local preference and international stars. Only, since BEX is low you can dismiss it as national while Jumbo and Quickstep being high they get labelled as modern and international. If van der Poel’s star wasn’t so bright we might even notice that Alpecin Fenix has a strong Belgian core, not that different from what’s being happening at BEX or Cofidis.
          If a really international project as Trek was failing, we’d readily find excuses as it happens above for DSM or EF.

    • gabriele Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 1:57 pm

      By the way, the bikepacking thing was great marketing, great for sponsor and the sport as a whole, plus if I recall it right it was in 2018 after Lombardia, that season those two guys had raced well enough, De Gendt won the general KOM jersey at Pa-Ni, Romandie and the Vuelta, besides a couple of stages, while Wellens got a Giro stage and the Brabantse Pijl, besides winning the GC (!) in a couple of HC stage races, top 5 in GC at WT races like Pa-Ni and Eneco Tour, top 5 at Il Lombardia, top 10 Amstel and Flèche, well, he could sort of save the whole team alone had he raced like this in the last three seasons.
      So, sorry but you’re just plain wrong on this, just as Campenaerts didn’t have a bad season at all when he got the Hour, even less so from the “points” perspective.

      All in all, as it became apparent when I did some number crunching, these ideas look convincing at first sight, but it’s not cycling’s case, really, or not yet at least. Maybe in a further decade or so. It’s more about what one (I must included myself, since I thought it was all quite logical) fancies to believe, or is told by the media, rather than the *current* way things work in pro cycling. Probably different factors are combining and balancing each other. I still believe that it’s a valid trend (Arkea becomes “more” international and scores “more” points, Jumbo chooses more international leaders instead of just Krujiswijk or Gesink and scores more points…), and nonetheless, for now, the correlation between the national focus of the roster and race winning (or, better said, scoring points) looks rather weak, not to say barely existent.

      • Nick Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 4:29 pm

        It was 2018, and Wellens was Lotto’s top scorer that year with 2311 points. If he had performed at that level in any of the seasons covered by the promotion/relegation rankings, then Lotto would be in about 13th place. They’d still be in the relegation conversations, but they’d be a lot more comfortable.

  • Anonymous Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 11:50 am

    I wonder where Lotto would be if Caleb Ewan had not consistently sat up having realised he wasn’t going to win stages at the Giro and Tour.

    Didn’t they tell him?

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 1:01 pm

      Not very different, a Tour stage is 120 points for the win then 50, 25, 15 and 5 points down to 5th place.

      • That MTB guy Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 1:30 pm

        However, if Ewan was in a real good form and had managed to get a few stage wins, the race for the last spot would currently be a nail-biter. 4 GT stage wins + a few placings from him would have put Lotto near or above Cofidis (depending on the placings). If you asked me how many GT stage wins would Ewan grab this year in the beginning of the season, I would have bet on 5 which is 600 points alone and would have closed the gap almost completely without the placings. I expect that was what Lotto was hoping for from him.
        Ewan’s form is a big factor in Lotto being where they are. However, if De Lie hadn’t had such a great season, Ewan scoring stage wins would have not been enough anyway. Form gives, form takes away.

        • Ken Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 1:55 pm

          There is an opportunity cost here also – putting all their eggs in the Caleb Ewan basket was done at the expense of giving other riders opportunities

  • Dawnstar Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 9:24 pm

    May I ask if points gained by stagiaires count towards teams’ totals? For instance, would Leo Hayter’s points for coming 3rd in the Worlds U23 Time Trial count for Ineos as he’s riding as a stagiaire for them prior to joining properly next season?

    • Gelato4bahamontes Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 10:02 pm

      I wouldn’t have thought a stagiare would accumulate enough points to qualify as a scorer for a team (ie amongst their top ten riders on points)

      • Jacek Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 10:37 pm

        Leo got 70 points for his 3rd place in Worlds U23 ITT. If he gets at least 50 more in the RR (so top 8), he will have more points from Worlds than 10th best rider in BEX (Lucas Hamilton who has 112). If he gets into top 15, he will get 10, have 80 total, which is better than 10th best rider in DSM! (that rider is Nico Denz with 76 points, 60 of which coming from his Tour de Suisse stage win from the breakaway).

      • Anonymous Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 10:49 pm

        Agreed, and what would it say about the team’s season if he did? Even as good a rider as Dylan Teuns has not broken into as bad a team as Israel’s Top 10 after his transfer from Bahrain which happened at the same time as stagiaires were able to ride for teams.

      • Dawnstar Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 11:30 pm

        I was forgetting about the top 10 only rule, which is one that rather baffles me.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 10:52 pm

      It’s a good question and the answer is the points stay with Hayter’s existing team, Hagens Bermans Axeon. Same for riders on a development team, eg Archie Ryan at Jumbo-Visma, who win while promoted for a race to the World Tour team. It’s rule 2.10.004 bis in case anyone needs the reference.

      • Dawnstar Tuesday, 20 September 2022, 11:29 pm

        Thank you.

  • brent sword Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 9:48 am

    BEX seemed to get a pile of points today and the only place i can see them coming from is the mixed TT. I actually don’t mind the point system even the fact it encourages big teams to go to small races making it easier for those races to get sponsorship. But crikey the mixed TT has a lot of points on offer.
    100 points for each member in the winning team. 79.17 for 2nd and 66.67 for 3rd and so forth down the order of finishing.
    So BEX got 79.17 for Sobrero in 2nd and 66.67 each for Mathews and Dubridge for 3rd.
    As we say down under. Crikey mate.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 10:33 am

      EF also get a boost thanks to Bissegger being part of the Swiss team. The UCI obviously wants to give this event some importance and here it is expressed via the points system.

      • cd Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 3:04 pm

        And Magnus Cort. Points do seem a bit high for that event, but to your point IR, the UCI is trying to promote it.
        Relegation seems set now. I don’t see how LS can bridge a 800-1000 point gap while hoping other teams never score again.

      • WillC Thursday, 22 September 2022, 1:17 pm

        It would be interesting if one of the national mixed TT teams had a rider from trade teams on opposite side of the relegation divide, e.g. BikeExchange and Lotto. Would the BikeExchange rider purposefully underperform to deprive Lotto of the points? I guess in this instance the points difference would be maintained, win or lose, but there must be a situation where there could be some conflict of interest

  • 150 Watts Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 10:20 am


  • gabriele Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 1:13 pm

    Following up on West’s ideas above, I (provisionally) think that it’s more about money and circumstances rather than the model and nationalites. It looked a good POV at first sight, but the more I look into it, the more I suspect it’s maybe a long term trend which isn’ really established. Cause and consequences also get confused, for example discussing EF – it’s pretty obvious that JV (whom I don’t appreciate that much) is going for diversity in recruiting and type of racing or “racing” as a marketing stunt to make for their lacking results which on turn depend on poor funding. And it’s not a bad idea at all, if they make it and do survive.
    DSM is an example of modernity and international approach, and it was triumphing not long ago… just as Movistar which is an example of tradition and national focus – until both started to struggle (Movistar one season before, actually, but it also survived better the subsequent crisis).
    When you lack money – or you’ve got troubles with the system of riders’ agents, let’s not forget this detail which happened to be key for Movistar – as a *consequence* you might try and rely more on local riders towards whom you may have a competitive advantage of sort in recruiting.


    Extremely strong national profile (>50% riders from a single country):

    Ag2R 21 (Fra)
    Arkea 20 (Fra)
    Lotto 17 (Bel)
    Movistar 17 (Spa)
    Jumbo 16 (Ned)

    Roster with a marked national identity (>40%, 30%, <40%)

    Quickstep 12 (Bel)
    Intermarché 12 (Bel)
    Astana 12(*) Ita + 11 QZQ
    Ineos 10 (UK)

    International teams (<30% of roster from a single country):

    DSM 8 (Ger, + Ned 7)
    Trek 7 (Ita, + Den 6)
    …From now on, it's even less than 20%:
    Israel 5 (Bel, Can, + Isr 4)
    UAE 5 (Ita, + Col, Por 4)
    Bahrain 4 (Ita, Slo)
    EF 4 (Col, UK)

    • gabriele Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 1:18 pm

      Extremely strong national profile (>50% riders from a single country):

      Ag2R 21 (Fra)
      Arkea 20 (Fra)
      Lotto 17 (Bel)
      Movistar 17 (Spa)
      Jumbo 16 (Ned)

      Roster with a marked national identity (>40%, 30%, <40%)

      Quickstep 12 (Bel)
      Intermarché 12 (Bel)
      Astana 12(*) Ita + 11 QZQ
      Ineos 10 (UK)

      International teams (<30% of roster from a single country):

      DSM 8 (Ger, + Ned 7)
      Trek 7 (Ita, + Den 6)
      …From now on, it's even less than 20%:
      Israel 5 (Bel, Can, + Isr 4)
      UAE 5 (Ita, + Col, Por 4)
      Bahrain 4 (Ita, Slo)
      EF 4 (Col, UK)

  • gabriele Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 1:21 pm

    Extremely strong national profile (>50% riders from a single country):

    Ag2R 21 (Fra)
    Arkea 20 (Fra)
    Lotto 17 (Bel)
    Movistar 17 (Spa)
    Jumbo 16 (Ned)

    Roster with a marked national identity (between 40% and 50%):

    Cofidis 15 (Fra)
    BEX 15(*) (11 Aus + 4 NZ)
    Alpecin 14 (Bel)
    Bora 14(*) (9 Ger + 5 Ost)
    Groupama 12 (Fra)

    International teams around a clear national core (between 30% and 40%)

    Quickstep 12 (Bel)
    Intermarché 12 (Bel)
    Astana 12(*) Ita + 11 QZQ
    Ineos 10 (UK)

    International teams (<30% of roster from a single country):

    DSM 8 (Ger, + Ned 7)
    Trek 7 (Ita, + Den 6)
    …From now on, it's even less than 20%:
    Israel 5 (Bel, Can, + Isr 4)
    UAE 5 (Ita, + Col, Por 4)
    Bahrain 4 (Ita, Slo)
    EF 4 (Col, UK)

  • gabriele Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 1:22 pm

    Sorry inrng, for some reason a part of my post with the list of teams gets cancelled for some format reasons, I guess. I’ll try to edit and see if it appears as it should.

  • Rob MD Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 5:08 pm

    Very interesting interview with CEO of British bike brand Factor, Rob Gitelis out today. Factor sponsor Israel PT but the points made about the current system are worth are illuminating, “We look at it as ‘okay, you’re not in the WorldTour, but you’ve gotten one of those two spots, which means you can ride all over the world for races’. To me, that’s business as usual,”

    “However, if you get relegated and you’re in that third spot, which is the one where you get all the one-day WorldTour invites, but you’re not invited to the Grand Tours, then all bets are off because the value of the sponsorship then changes quite a bit.” And ,”In almost all of the studies that are done, the value of the Tour de France is almost 50% of the whole year’s value.”

    In other words, if Israel PT go down they’ll be looking at a reduction of about €750,000 in sponsorship money.

    On the sporting side, the team had 2 stage wins at TdF and Froome’s 3rd place on the Alpe d’Huez stage but did not have the depth needed for WT, in my opinion. I see now that Guy Niv, who’s 28, has decided to call it a day too, so the team need to look seriously at their troop. Hopefully they’ll keep the Academy and the Rwanda project going.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 5:30 pm

      It does give an illustration of the importance for sponsors, although like Adams last week it’d also be interesting to hear about what he thinks of the team he’s been sponsoring, rather than just bemoaning the system.

      Also if Factor did drop Israel, it might not be the first time. It used to sponsor the Ag2r team but this seemed to end abruptly, L’Equipe reported the manufacturer “couldn’t meet its financial commitments” to the team and the team’s accounts, as chronicled here, showed the team banked €700,000 on 31 December 2018 but the promised sum was €2.5 million, leaving €1.8 million outstanding and the team booked a charge €1.35 million as a bad debt.

      Also worth noting how Canyon has several men’s World Tour teams now in Movistar, Alpecin-Deceuninck and Arkéa-Samsic. How many do they want/need, does this open up room for others or is it also a means to keep them out?

      • JanC Friday, 23 September 2022, 6:42 am

        Alpecin & Arkéa are still ProTeams, of course, and Canyon signed those contracts with them as ProTeams. How long do these contracts last?

        And is Canyon willing to improve their investments in all 3 of those teams? E.g. a WT team probably needs more bikes with sometimes parallel races on up to 3 continents at a time?

  • plurien Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 9:45 pm

    On one hand it’s odd that Lotto, being a Belgian team, couldn’t make the points.

    On the other, and because they are a Belgian team, they still get to go to all the races they want.
    – This must be where they aimed to end up so the question now is; will they perpetually seek to be the ‘best of the rest’ and does NOT being WT actually help them achieve this objective?

    As for IPT, well they are hardly likely to get any home races in UCI 2.x let alone 1 any time soon and their spiral of doom gets worse when all the races that count each have their own local teams to invite.
    There ought to be an aside on the international politics here, because those who’ve been to Israel must always get a second passport if they then want to go to most other countries in the region, and V-V. How much will this affect IPTs chance of an invite?

    • JanC Friday, 23 September 2022, 7:07 am

      IPT’s operational base is not in Israel, but in Girona (Spain), so I assume it’s rare for most of their riders to go to Israel (maybe some sponsor event once a year?).

      And invites largely depend on what riders you have, not so much where your team is registered. E.g. Wanty-Gobert got invites to the TdF & Giro before they were WT because they had popular/promising French/Italian riders.

  • Rob MD Friday, 23 September 2022, 4:36 am

    Smart of Ineos to concentrate on classics and one day races as the current points system favours them over GTs. The days of the train seem to be over (hope that the news from UK about fracking does not lead to more protests next year).

    • That MTB guy Friday, 23 September 2022, 9:28 am

      Ineos are too far away from the relegation battle to care about points. They have switched thier focus for other reasons, mainly the riders they have available and the competition I believe.

      • Rob MD Friday, 23 September 2022, 5:08 pm

        I was thinking about the next three years as, if the current system continues, it’ll be more rewarding to focus on non-GT races. Of course they’ll send a team, but apart from Bernal their hopes for a GT win in the near future do not seem too good.

        • Cd Friday, 23 September 2022, 7:41 pm

          UCI points are the last thing they’re worrying about, even for the next three years. They focus on classics because there is no GT winner they can buy just yet.

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