The end of the season looms and the promotion and relegation race is heading to an even faster conclusion. The glorious uncertainty of sport is what makes it compelling but Lotto-Soudal need a series of fluke results to remain in the World Tour. Israel-PremierTech require a miracle or failing that, a lawyer.
What’s Changed Since Last Week?
- No change as Alpecin-Deceuninck and Arkéa-Samsic are due for promotion, Lotto-Soudal and Israel-PremierTech face the drop
- Wildcard invites for the grand tours would go to Lotto-Soudal and TotalEnergies
- Jumbo-Visma, Quick-Step and BikeExchange-Jayco were the top three scorers
- Israel, B&B and Bora-hansgrohe scored the least
- Cofidis and Arkéa-Samsic have been losing momentum and are tied on equal 17th place with 15,548 points, but they’re 943 points clear of Lotto-Soudal, a sizeable cushion
All through August and into September the story was how things were getting very tight with Lotto-Soudal closing in and the other teams feeling the heat. This has stopped, Movistar and BikeExchange have landed big results, notably Mas’s Vuelta and Matthew’s Worlds bronze and they’re in the clear and ou can see the line for these two teams bounding out of trouble. Meanwhile EF Education, Cofidis and Arkéa-Samsic have kept scoring here and there to keep cushion topped up.
Looking closer at the two relegation candidates we can see how both teams are falling away from the 18th place team when they need to be closing the gap to have any hope of staying the World Tour with weeks left. While it’s still arithmetically possible to stay up, Lotto-Soudal need 943 points just to close the gap, and winning both Lombardia and Langkawi would only land 500+200 = 700 points. Israel started September 950 points down on 18th place, they’re now 1,918 points adrift.
Israel’s problems are compounded because they’ve slipped further away from TotalEnergies in the one year 2022 rankings meaning they’ve got little chance of the automatic invite for the grand tours next year which is awarded to the best two ProTeams of the year, they’re now 974 points behind the French team after Peter Sagan’s 7th place in Wollongong. They can hope still hope wildcard invites and have a decent argument thanks to their performances this year.
On the margins of the World Championships the AFP news agency reported UCI President David Lappartient said the promotion/relegation system is not going to be altered this year, by implication Sylvan Adams’ call for 20 teams in the World Tour isn’t on the table. Lappartient said they could look at the allocation of points for the next round of 2023-2025 instead. But it’s not so easy, sure everyone can see it’s unusual that a Tour de France stage only has 120 points while last Sunday’s Paris-Chauny offers 125. But the Tour offers 1,000 points to the winner but the winner takes much more via stage wins and placings, the mountains competition (Vingegaard’s haul from the Tour was 1,760 points this year, Pogačar got 1,885 in 2021) so bump up the points for a stage win and you’d only make the Tour and the grand tours even more central, when others want rebalance the spoils. In short we can spot the problem but the solutions are fraught with unintended consequences, it’ll be something to chew over during the winter.
Animated bar chart race
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.