UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

The die is cast, there are only five races left to go and not enough points left for Lotto-Soudal or Israel-PremierTech to perform a miracle. They’re relegated arithmetically, now things are in the hands of the UCI and its Licence Commission.

What’s Changed Since Last Week?

  • Movistar top the table for the second week running with 849 points, in part thanks to Enric Mas’s excellent late season form and a parting gift from Alejandro Valverde, ahead of UAE and Bora-Hansgrohe
  • Low scorers are BikeExchange-Jayco on 55 points, Israel on 3 and Astana on -2
  • Alpecin-Fenix sit eighth and Arkéa-Samsic 18th and so qualify for promotion
  • Lotto-Soudal are 1,170 points adrift of 18th place, Israel 1,995 points and face relegation
  • Lotto-Soudal and TotalEnergies are due the automatic invitation to the major races in 2023

In early September Movistar looked to be in trouble and you could begin to sketch their World Tour obituary looking at recruitment decisions, internal policies about race programs and Enric Mas’s stagnation. Harsh but nothing compared to the roasting the team was getting on social media at the time. Now they’re up to 13th place in the three year rankings and well clear of the next group of teams. With talk of a new co-sponsor – which will be more keen on signing given the security – things are looking brighter for the long term too.

There’s still racing to go so we’ll hold off the full retrospective but as the chart above shows, there’s no contest with Lotto-Soudal over a thousand points adrift and Israel almost two thousand points. The next stage is the UCI Licence Commission.

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.

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

  1. Thanks for these over the course of the season Mr Ring.

    I just wondered (and apologies if this is easy to find!) – what are the rankings for 2022 alone? By eye, looks like QuickStep would slip down the rankings quite a bit, so would Astana, while Total Energies would jump a lot. Any other interesting things to note based on this year alone?

    • It’s easy to find, UCI.org website > road > rankings and then the team rankings.

      Using my spreadsheet we can quickly compare the three year rankings to this year. The big changes are Intermarché 5th this year but 10th overall for three years, they’ve had a great season. Cofidis 10th this year, 14th overall. Arkéa 13th vs 18th, Lotto 15th vs 19th.

      In the other direction, Astana fare worst, 21st this season, 13th overall which is the biggest movement in any direction. DSM 20th vs 15th and Quick-Step 6th vs 2nd.

        • unless…
          astana have issues on the financial, ethical and sporting criteria the licence commission use. it could be that they are denied a licence and lotto are saved. wold be controversial but not unreasonable

        • I think Lotto will be OK. De Lei is signing to extend his contract and Ewan will probably stay at least 1 more season. They have one of the wild cards for 2023 so all they need to do is be in the top 18 for the next 3 seasons. This shouldn’t be so hard because of all the 1 day races in Belgium that are often bunch sprints. They also have the best nation to recruit new talent from. They might even be happy to occasionslly miss one of the Grand Tours, which only gives significant points if you have GC riders in contention.

    • Cofidis’s tenth-placed rider (Simon Geschke) has 550 points. Only INEOS has a tenth-placer with more (Sivakov with 679). Most teams’ tenth-placed rider scored 200-300. So Cofidis run very deep with riders picking up points throughout the season. I was surprised, for example, to see they have eight riders who scored better than Coquard over the season.

  2. But wait! MBA/Genius JV’s got it all sorted out for us! Make the race-organizers pay! Needless to say he doesn’t seem to have a clue where THEY would find the money but as long as HE (the guy who runs the team just barely above BikeExchange in the rankings) doesn’t have to cough it up and might get his hands on some if his team was to be relegated, he’s all for it. CHA-CHING! as they used to say.
    Makes me wonder if he went to the same business school as “Art of the Deal” wizard Donald Trump?
    Off-topic but am I the only one wondering if the terrible TV crew from the recent World Championships in Australia also produced the pathetic coverage of the Gravel World Championships?

    • Have to agree with you on the JV criticism. He brings this on himself as he did nothing but pump himself for getting that MBA years ago, like it suddenly made him the only one in the sport to be able to make a solid business decision. Also he bemoaned the lack of stability in WT licenses for years as an issue and when given the chance to secure a 3-year license he admitted he did nothing about it. He makes it difficult to take seriously, like a different less successful side of the same coin as Lefevere.

        • Fair enough as far as your criticisms go, but I think he does have a point as far as his criticism of Arkea being able to skip the Giro to go points hunting. I don’t know what the solution is, but I don’t think it’s Vaughters’ ideas, and it definitely isn’t the status quo. I do think it’s interesting that he says the teams never got a say in the relegation system. It’s been said repeatedly (on this blog and many other places) that the teams all agreed to this system three years ago. Does JV mean that the relegation system was drafted unilaterally by the UCI? That’s the only way way I can make sense of what he said.

          • Hmm, I’ve never said the teams designed, agreed or even wanted the system, just that it was put in place and there were no howls or protests at the time, they just went along with it, it’d been something in the works for a while. The ideal time to have complained about promotion/relegation, whether a concept or the workings, was before it was implemented… rather than with 3 months to go before the end of the third season when you run a team that’s scrambling for points, otherwise it risks looking opportunist.

            Arkéa-Samsic didn’t ride the Giro because they only had an invite but didn’t score much in May either, it didn’t alter the relegation race if you look at the arithmetic. But teams have close to 30 riders, they can do a grand tour and race on another front or two elsewhere at the same time, they could still have sent a weak squad to the Giro and score zilch, while placing in the Tro Bro Leon etc. I worry that Arkéa will now have to ride the Giro and won’t score much either because they’re not growing much as a team, arguably they’ll be weaker next year unless they make some late signings.

          • I agree with “Wannabee Lefevere” that the UCI points system is a joke. I’ve said that from the day they shoved it down pro cycling’s throat. I remember some insanity where a stage in the TDU was equal points to winning a monument or something similarly outrageous and asking “WTF”?
            I can kinda/sorta understand the idea of helping smaller races but when you have a big team not showing up at a big race in order to cherry-pick at a small one, who benefits? Where’s the sporting value in that?

          • Before this gets out of hand let me correct this little item: winning a stage in the TDU has never been worth more than winning a monument.
            Winning the TDU is worth as much as winning a monument and we can discuss whether this should be so.

            PS When we talk about big teams that do not show up at a big race in order to cherry pick easy points at a small race, we should mention the teams and the races, don’t you think?
            The instances you have in mind may not be so readily apparent to everyone. And I,for one, don’t think that for instance Arkea Samsic choosing not to ride the Giro is a case in point.

          • The problem is that all the teams involved in the relegation battle, plus maybe a few more, also have completely no business to ride three grand tours plus the whole WT calendar, but pretend to do so because they want to ride TdF and reliably doing this without being WT is impossible. World Tour is too big, but teams try to stay there because when they are too big for Continental, there is no place for them as Pro Team level has nothing interesting to offer.

          • “Winning the TDU is worth as much as winning a monument and we can discuss whether this should be so.”
            Sorry, I was too lazy to look up the exact details, but giving the same points for winning the TDU as one of cycling’s 5 monuments is outrageous enough!

          • You could draw comparison to other sporting leagues here: looking at the English premier league, the same points are awarded whether you beat bottom placed Nottingham Forest 1-0 in front of a home crowd or thrash Man City 8-0 in their own back yard

          • The UCI points system is not intended to be a simple categorisation of the prestige of a win.

            It is also intended (I think with explicit reasoning by the UCI at some point – If I remember INRNGs reporting right) to ensure that teams contest races across the calendar and across the world. The intent is to make sure the second tier of races in the calendar still get proper commitment from the teams, and so are something worthwhile for fans to engage with and go watch.

            I.e., the aim is to help the growth /broader/ base of races across the season and grow the /broader/ sport – rather than just have the focus on a smaller sets of prestigious races. Ultimately, this should be better for the sport, and better for fans and teams in the long run, no?

          • “a big team not showing up at a big race”

            Who exactly is that big team? I don’t think any team that was involved in the relegation battle can be considered big, such teams win enough points in big races to not even have to think about keeping their WT status.

      • Lefevere is a lowly accountant; he doesn’t have an MBA. 😉

        And in recent years he managed to be one of the top teams with a budget of about €20M, which is significantly less than many of his direct competitors. In fact, IPT managed to be relegated with a budget close to Lefevere’s…

  3. Thanks for spending the time and energy on keeping us up to date and informed on the UCI points contest. The racing part is almost over and soon it’ll be time, probably, for the lawyers.

  4. Thank you very much for the coverage all season long! Great work and great forum also to discuss

    I am almost sad that this 3y period is over, it kept us very entertained. Curious to see what will happen next year, if teams will go points hunting since the beginning or they will return to more “conventional” strategies…

    While relegation could be dramatic for Israel, for Lotto should not be a big issue. On the contrary, they might even benefit from this as now they are not forced to run giro or vuelta which they were not very interested anyway and have still all their chances in local races which fits them very well…

    • You’d think teams would keep an eye on the points next year but it’s human nature to act when there’s a danger so it’s more likely 2023 is calmer, teams don’t race as much… then we see teams in 2025 racing on all fronts. But a reverse strategy should pay off, assuming the points system stays the same, it’ll be easier to win points in, say, the Tour de Langkawi next year when several teams feeling relaxed don’t go compared to 2025 when more teams might feel compelled to try and the level of competition is harder.

      • Mostly what this 3-year cycle should have taught managers is that it’s important to keep scoring well every year. If you have one bad season and one mediocre season, it can be really hard to fix that in the 3rd season. Better get a really good season in ASAP.

      • It might be true that the world tour teams take a wait-and-see approach. They might not do much more races than pre-covid, but when they race, we should see more racers/teams not giving up and also going for points outside of the top-ten.

        I expect the Protour teams Total, Lotto B&B, Uno-X and Israel to go to a lot of races, to compete for the wild cards. This could give them an edge on other teams that have a weak first points season.

    • “On the contrary, they might even benefit from this as now they are not forced to run giro or vuelta which they were not very interested anyway and have still all their chances in local races which fits them very well…”
      You’ve pointed out the folly of “Heinie’s Folly” very well. Thanks!

  5. I strikes me as a bit odd that there is no kudos (or interest) in the team finishing on top. As it happens Jumbo have done the double for both the 3 years and single … this year. Together with that UAE have jumped up to #2 for this year.

    • It’s devil-take-the-hindmost, but I get your point, this is like accountancy and not a league where there is a winner.

      Was there ever any serious thought given to making this an annual occurrence?
      Yes, teams need the certainty to offer sponsors but could there be an evening-out where survival costs less and sometimes small sponsors ride on the coat-tails of a successful season up into the WT?

      Vaughters – ‘I’m better than average, so what I say must be important’. Has he ever organised a race?

    • That’s the thing with rankings in cycling, they’re not so meaningful on their own. Now winning them is great and a team can use “number one team” in marketing materials, sponsors will be proud and so on. But fans measure success by wins in races, results etc more than counting points. It’s only this year that people have clocked how the rankings system works, eg Arnaud De Lie is 6th on the rankings after Pogačar, Van Aert, Evenepoel, Vingegaard and Vlasov… now he’s good and with plenty of promise but he’s not the 6th best racer in the world.

      • I think this is more reflective of a problem with the UCI points system than the concept. The PCS rankings tell a different story … De Lie 12th (if I have remembered correctly). In the sprinters rankings De Lie is only a whisker ahead of Kooij.
        I haven’t paid much attention to this thus far but plan to going forward.

        • It is interesting (to me) to look at the wins ranking because BEX jump up to 9th which adds to their respectability. That does suggest that the points ranking is somewhat out of synch with what matters

          • Ignoring the fact that there has been no TdU for the past two years, there is probably no winning argument one way or the other. Nevertheless any points system is always going to be a judgement call whereas there are no arguments about first, second and third other than sprinting incidents.

    • Quite the opposite!

      Movistar used to make a big deal of ending the season on top of the pile, because it was a handy consolation prize when their idiot sporting directors couldn’t keep their riders from throwing away the big wins they could have had by racing against each other.

  6. It’s been a very interesting watch this season.

    Overall, I think promotion/relegation is a good thing – ‘closed shops’ aren’t good for trying to encourage growth, development and ambition elsewhere. It really does seem that a fair few team management groups really took their eye off the ball. A three year cycle seems to me a fair length of time to judge things and the annual ranking for GT wildcards next year is also a good shorter-term incentive/reward (plus a potential ‘parachute’ at the end of the 3 year cycle).

    I do think they need to look at the points and points eligibility. I won’t be the first to have suggested this, but the playing field of point scoring opportunity is not level – especially for Pro Teams wanting to chase promotion. Teams that secure wildcards to WT races (often due to nationality) have an advantage over others that don’t (or receive less). Really, the rankings for promotion/relegation should be separated into WT and PT (two ‘divisions’). Therefore the ranking of PT teams (top 2 going up) is decided on non-WT points, i.e. removing a potential advantage that e.g. Total Energies has in being (pretty much) guaranteed a TdeF spot, versus e.g. Uno-X or other. WT rankings (bottom 2 relegated) could be decided on only WT race points – although I’m less sold on that – would want to encourage teams to race non-WT races (beyond ‘just’ exposure).

    As much as possible the (varying) accessibility to races and it’s influence on points-scoring potential needs to be minimized (see situation this year when race organizers in Belgium deliberately didn’t invite EF so as to try and help Lotto-Soudal [and ‘bragged’ about it]). I appreciate this will never be perfect.

    I also do think the points awarded needs tweaking. I don’t have a problem with a 1.1 win being worth ~100 points as has been a common ‘complaint’ I’ve seen (many of these are tough races to win and should be rewarded). What I think should be rewarded more highly are stage wins (and places) in 2.1 and 2.pro races.

    Anyway, that’s my tuppence worth.

  7. The points system does need a revision – the problems being, giving more points to say a GT means even more focus on them and lesser incentive to send riders to 1 day & minor stage races. For teams without a GT hopeful, the current system is fine and dandy, but if like Sky used to do, you have almost your entire season built around GT’s then it’s unbalanced. If the UCI really wants to promote pro-cycling as a whole then it needs to promote “minor” races and monuments so the TdF does not become the be all and end all of pro-cycling.

    • Oops forgot to write that, I think the UCI has been caught out by the current influx of money and sponsors into the sport. An embarassment of riches almost, with talk of lots of money being thrown at a sprinter who’ll be 38 next year to go to TdF and getting a whole new sprint team to boot.

        • Well, Repsol is rumoured to join Movistar and this would double the team’s budget.
          If Carrefour comes in as a sponsor for B&B Hotel, as rumoured, it would put the team in the upper half of WorldTeams budgetwise.
          Lotto Soudal will become Lotto Dstny and the budget will, again according to the rumours, not shrink despite the relegation.
          The big teams will continue to be big and the middle teams will continue to be, well, middle.

          The WT teams that are still looking for a name sponsor or that have to make do with a smaller budget than in the past 2-3 years are surprisingly few. It would indeed seem that there has been larger influx – healthy or unhealthy that is anyone’s guess – of money and sponsors than in most year in recen past.

          Which, of course, doesn’t mean that there aren’t teams that are in difficulty.

          • Wednesday – RUMOURS do not = money and until they actually come true can hardly be considered a “current influx” so I think you’re getting ahead of yourself there.
            As to Jacek’s “What big teams”? question one could use Arkea (with a former winner of the race) skipping the Giro d’Italia as an example though I haven’t paid enough attention to this relegation soap-opera to cite any others.

          • Arkea? A big team? Really? You must be setting this bar very low.

            Quintana has been a big name, but that was long ago. His last GT podium was Giro 2017. And he was rather irrelevant for Giro, a Colombian rider on a French team, it was obvious that his priority will be Tour then Vuelta. Bouhanni and Barguil, who are the other two big names there, have together won at World Tour level once during last four seasons. To be a big team, they’d need more big names, and names that are big due to their current abilities, not past achievements.

            Arkea is a solid team, who earned their WT spot by good understanding of promotion rules, reasonable strategy, probably good team spirit allowing their riders to score above their level. The fact that this was enough to sneak through clearly shows that 18 WT spots is at least a few too many.

          • Arkea had a former winner of the Giro and is will now be in the WT. ..so “big team” fits. But a “reward” for not taking a defending champ to La Corsa Rosa is not a good look IMHO. No fault to them, they played by the (stupid) rules they were dealt but all this just reinforces the stupidity of the entire WT idea as Wannes described above. I’ll stop now.

          • Egan Bernal was the defending champ of La Corsa Rosa. He was injured and didn’t plan to defend his title anyway.

            Quintana has won Giro in 2014, 8 years ago. Even setting aside all controversies around that win, a lot of time has passed and he is nowhere near that level. Hiring a former big rider who is in decline now due to aging does not make your team big, otherwise Work Service Vitalcare Vega is a big team because Davide Rebellin won the Ardennes Triple in 2004 and a few other classics around that time.

            The main stupidity of the WT system is blowing it up to 20 teams, making it nearly impossible to compete in the biggest races unless you commit to the whole season. Which gives us teams like Arkea, Bike Exchange, EF, Astana etc., which clearly have no budget and ability to compete across the whole season, but pretend they do because being a Pro Team is completely unsustainable now. WT should be really big teams, and realistically there is no budget currently for more than 10-12 such teams.

          • The Lotto budget has been about the same for a decade (€~14M IIRC), so they are going to have a relatively big budget for a PT team, but as a WT team their budget was fairly small (especially as they have to run 3 teams from that: men’s PT, men’s U23/CT, women’s CT).

            And in recent years the Movistar budget had become quite small for a WT team also, I think, so with a doubled budget they might finally be back where they used to be as one of the bigger teams (or at least one of the higher budgets in the middle).

        • Well only Astana, as far as we know has “financial issues” and the 2 teams due to exit WT have both sound finances (again as far as we know). Then there’s the Shell deal with BC, the South African Ivan Glasenberg with Q36.5, and the supposed B&B Hotels deal with Carrefour. In my opinion, that there’s some extra cash since the decision of only 18 WT teams ( in 2016 there was only 17).

    • Said it before here, and it’s the difficult part with the points scale. Lots of people ask “why is some 1.1 race worth as much as a Tour stage?” but bump up the value of a Tour stage and you make the grand tours and big races even more central when as you say many want more balance. Especially as the winner of a grand tour often collects stage wins and places on the way to the overall win so a Pogačar or Vingegaard and their team would be even further ahead.

      It’s easy to see problems with the rankings but hard to find answers that don’t bring unintended consequences… but this isn’t an argument to do nothing. The system probably should be revised but it requires a lot of thought… and the next 2023-2025 cycle is weeks away, teams have already made recruitment decisions for next season and beyond etc.

        • In what kind of race it is more?

          1.1 is 125 for a win, 35+30+25=90 for 7th, 8th and 9th.
          1.Pro is 200 for a win, 60+50+40=150 for 7th, 8th and 9th.
          TdF is 1000 for a win, 325+275+225=825 for 7th, 8th and 9th.
          Worlds RR is 600 for a win, 175+150+125 = 400 for 7th, 8th or 9th.

          • Ok, maybe should have been a different combination.

            But I basicaly think you should have bigger differences between a win and second, and so on.

            So maybe start by multiplying points for all races by 10 and then doing degressivity like this for 1.1:
            – 1st = 1250 points
            – 2nd =850
            – 3rd = 500
            – 4th = 350
            – 5th= 200
            – 6th= 120
            – 7th = 100
            – 8th = 80
            – 9th= 60
            – 10th = 40
            And then 30,25,20,15,10,5,4,3,2,1

            And never give points for any finish outside of the top 25.

            And at least give points for the top 10, also in stage races and Tour de France.

          • It is a nice idea to value wins more, but, on the other hand, this will force teams facing relegation to focus on 1.1 races even more, because this is where their chances to actually win something is a lot bigger. Most WT wins are taken by teams which don’t have to worry about points at all.

      • My main problem with the allocation of UCI points over the various races is how some one day races with no tradition at all and which are merely glorified “kermiskoersen” like Hamburg, Quebec or Montreal are severely overvalued with regards to points compared to races who exist for almost 100 years or more. Is it logical that races like the Omloop (1945), E3 Prijs (1958) are worth less than Quebec (2010) or Montreal (2010)? Where’s the logic to give those Canadian races equal points tot a cycling monument but surplus points with regards to true classics. The same argument can be made when comparing other races.
        Or the way some races like Paris-Tours (1896!), which originally was part of the World Cup and nowadays isn’t even WT, are being treated.
        Partly this is explained by money and the UCI’s wish to globalize the sport but it comes at a cost of tradition and stability and it intentionally discards the status and history of such races. But it looks like some newer races are purposely founded with that goal and are intentionally directly overvalued by the UCI.

          • Not that I fully share Frederik’s opinion above, to start with because precisely the Canadian races are pretty much a decent reality in cycling, and not less valuable, for different reasons, than Omloop. Yet, Strade Bianche (final “e”) is the way to go – it fast gained its status before the Uci ended up acknowledging it. If a new race rises and very soon works damn well with top riders longing to race it with a serious intention to win, and the race itself by the way displays huge technical content, well, awarding the points just mirrors the above. To be fair, you should notice that Frederik named races whose technical value is high, and in the case of Paris-Tour the race (how long will it last?) still keeps a decent standard despite its decline, which actually *followed* Uci ranking policies. Your answer might have made more sense if Frederik was complaining about Paris-Bruxelles or Giro dell’Appennini…

          • No, I clearly mentioned four criteria which in my view should rule when attributing points: tradition, stability, status and history.

            I have absolutely no problem with Strade Bianchi, where UCI ranking policies followed a fait accomplit with regards to the race’s worth, as it should be. The Strade grew on its own merits. But I have a big problem with regards with those cases where UCI directly starts meddling and artificially starts making and breaking races. Paris-Tours is the prime example for the breaking. Originally one of the true classics and owned by one of the powerhouses in the sport (ASO), it was part of the World Cup. But then UCI dropped it and demoted it, and the race’s slide downward spiral started from which it even today has not fully recovered.
            I gave as a counterpoint for the making of races the Canadian races because, regardsless of today’s status and value, they were by the UCI added to the World Tour already in their inaugural races in 2010: when they didn’t have any status, tradition nor history on their own, nor did the local organizers have any real experience organizing the race. Adding a race before it’s even run a first time, is a bit much. The same with Hamburg which the UCI promoted and supported during the 1990 over the only true German classic, which was the Rund um den Henninger Turm.

        • The Canadian races are more than a “kermiskoers” obviously, with lots of riders liking them, as well as plenty of fans watching them (important!), and they aren’t easy to win. And they obviously have the money to pay WT level prize money (yes that’s important too).

          And the reason why Paris-Tours has devalued should be sought with ASO probably, not the UCI. It’s not the only race with a big tradition that slipped down the rankings or even disappeared entirely, for various reasons. Tradition isn’t everything…

          • RE: Paris-Tours 2022. Did anyone here watch it? I just got around to it the other day via Eurosport (in French even!) and enjoyed it quite a bit. A professional show all the way it seemed: Excellent TV coverage, great scenery, some interesting racing, a Paris-Roubaix feel with the unpaved sectors and a winner who seems to act like each win is his first. Some marketing-mavens should dress Demare up like Christopher Reeve’s “Superman” character, with cape waving in the breeze. Chapeau!

        • In addition to the excellent points several others have made in response to this, I think there continues to be confusion about what the UCI points are supposed to indicate. They aren’t meant to be measures of tradition, or how beloved a race is to fans, or how demanding or beautiful a race is, or how valued a race to the riders, or how much prestige a race brings to sponsors and team. The PCS points are an attempt to get closer to some of those factors, esp. the prestige element, but earning either the UCI points or the PCS points isn’t what the sport is about. In most sports the ‘numbers’ (number of wins, number of points scored in a match, etc.) are ultimately all that matter. At the end of the season there is a champion, and a second place finisher, and third, and so on. Many sports, like baseball, are even obsessive about the statistics themselves. But in cycling, we could all argue endlessly (as we often do) about who is the best rider in a season, or the best team.

          Further, in other sports the parameters stay largely the same from year to year. In cycling, the “same” race can change from year to year, can go from a three-day race to a five-day race to a two-day race. There might be minimal climbing one year and a mountain added the next year. The distance ridden my increase or decrease massively.

          As our host has pointed out, the points system is designed to serve a specific function, and while following the UCI points race this year has been entertaining for a lot of us, it’s not the reason for the sport or even trying to measure what the sport is really about.

      • Perhaps you’ve covered this before, but the three year period just makes the points situation hard to focus on. I mean it’s hard enough to pinpoint races which you think you’ll do well on, but thinking about three years and then picking out where you’ll pull the points from is a fruitless exercise. So why not make it one year?
        The benefit will be that the end of the season will see teams focusing resources and should mean that winners and losers from promotion/demotion are clearer to see.
        I also think this makes the ‘loss’ of one year a little easier because you and your sponsors are not thrown to the wilderness of pro conti for 3 years (although with the wild card system this is less likely).
        The UCI should probably think of a system that rewards participation and competition in some way too. What I mean by that is riders are awarded points for animating races even if they don’t win them and/or sending riders teams to events (so 150 points for being the most combative rider), these appearance points could be subsidised for ‘unfavourable races’ (e.g. 1 point for riders appearing at a race/stage, but 5 points at some new race – nothing which outweighs winning and jersey bagging – but a coefficient to help strategise).
        The system should be aware of the frailty of teams reliant on sponsors so condemning a team for three years to grace and favour doesn’t seem to cut it.

        • Making it 1 year instead of 3 years would make it really hard for many teams to sign contracts for more than 1 year (both with riders & sponsors), so the 3 years was chosen as a compromise between stability and being able to replace those teams that aren’t up to the WT level…

          • You say that, but trying to entice a sponsor to remain on board for three years in the hope of promotion seems a harder draw. Same with attracting riders. So you’re effectively locking those teams and riders out. Promotion obviously occurs (as does demotion), but like with football there would be the sweetener of being able to come right back up. Riders you signed on a three year deal would help with that and see the benefit of it.

          • Salaries are always going to be cheaper for A PT team than for a WT team, and they need to pay less riders too, so any WT team that wants to avoid the relegation battle will need a significantly higher budget than what even a top PT team needs.

            If you look at all those teams involved in the promotion/relegation battle, most had somewhat similar budgets, I think (with at least one exception, but we know what went wrong there).

  8. Know it’s hard on the teams but this system made me watch much more racing and look out for all kinds of results I’d ignore. Kinda wish it was happening next year.

    • Same here, makes you look at results and starting lists. And while before you would be interested in the podium and top 10 now you also check the top-25.

    • It’s still going to be important for the PT teams that want “guaranteed wildcards”.

      And the smaller WT teams better take it into account also. Imagine being relegated 3 years from now because one of your riders “let go” because they can’t win, and drop from 5th to 25th place in the last 100 metres of a race next year.

      • I wonder if we’ll start to see more teams adopt the Arkea model where half the team contest sprints… And because a lot of guys sit up if they are out of position or it gets too risky (and there is 1 of ~3 guys likely to win anyway), they sprint it all the way in and pick up multiple top 10 places.

        I think they had 3 in the top 10 at Paris-Tours and 4 in the top 10 at Tro Bro Leon – But they have also had a couple of guys in the top 10 in 1.1 races too.

        Is it savvy racing (racing to maximise your finishing position), or, is it stat padding (not animating races or attempting to win just to maximise points).

        Look at Hugo Hofstetter for example: 1232UCI points this year alone. Raced 79 days and has 31 top 10’s… 5 of them at TdF too. Actually a fantastic season for himself and Arkea, but even in the 5 top 10 TdF stages, you never see him in the race, you just see him on the results sheet.

        • If you look closer at Hofstetter, you will see that points are earned mostly when he is visible in a race. Out of his 31 top 10s, there were 6 occasions when he made his way to the podium ceremony (by finishing top 3 of a one day race). Those 6 days gave 700 of his points, more than the other 25 days in total, and I’m quite sure those were the days when he was visible (I think it’s likely that he was visible also in his 3 4th place finishes at 1.1 races, which account for further 180 points, but top 3 is the most natural cutoff point).

          You can earn something by just “being there”, but significant points are earned when you finish near the top. Maybe one could argue that his 100 points from Hamburg (8th place in 1.UWT) have been earned “cheaply” by just being there, but if you look closer at the result, it was actually a 3rd place behind Philipsen and Bauhaus in a sprint of a very competitive peloton arriving behind a group of 5, he had to beat people like Kristoff, EBH or Trentin for those points.

          • With the current system, it does not matter if the team comes 1st or 18th just as long as the team stays WT. It’s not easy getting top 10 in any race when there’s 20 odd teams involved and just because they don’t get the TV coverage they still have to fight to be there at the finish. It makes sense that if Arkea don’t have a stand-out sprinter, to have a couple of guys who might win on a good day give it a go instead. One of them might get lucky and at the worst 2 guys get in the top 10.

  9. @150 Watts @KevinK
    I *love* PCS ^__^ but the way their ranking still struggles to grasp the global feel of a season is a good demonstration of how hard it is to mirror in stable quantitative terms the subtle question of value in cycling, for some of the reasons which KevinK pointed out, among other things.

    (Not to speak of the historical “all time” ranking which still works awfully and I suspect they’re also aware of it, but it’s just too hard a task. And I’m not speaking of Kelly or De Vlaeminck or Van Looy placing impressively high, which can be just about tilting things slightly too much towards one-day racing, it’s more about Moser, Saronni, Jalabert, Valverde or Zabel whose placings just say “the ranking isn’t fine enough, yet”. Other attempts were more successful with different approaches).

    However, let’s just stick to this season as an example. Did we all really feel that the most successful cyclist this year was by far Pogacar, like some +20% against the closest competitors, Van Aert and Evenepoel? Yeah, I know where all that comes from (or just click on the figures to get the breakdown!), and, of course, Strade Bianche, Tirreno, Lombardia, plus a lot of little extras (as many victories as a sprinter in a fine season!) like Tre Valli or Montréal, plus, and even more so, a bitter 4th place whose value is close to a victory’s in the Ronde (on quite a lesser scale, that’s true for Sanremo, too). Yet. Most points comes from that TDF’s 2nd place which – in this case – is nothing but a harsh defeat in terms of “meaning for sport history”. And I love that Emilia awards lots of point, but, look, losing that to Mas brings in nearly as many points as winning one of those TDF stages… not to speak of the utterly meaningless (in sporting terms) victories at UAE or Slovenia Tour, which are no good or bad news, just *basic homework*, yet more than 10% of Pogacar’s total season points do come from there (funnily enough, more than the TDF’s 2nd place…).

    Same goes for Van Aert, in a sense, as Merckx cruelly pointed out. Impressive TDF, impressive all around sensations, so often no doubt he looked the strongest man on the road. But, hey, not even that many victories for a fast man, that is, one who doesn’t even contest GCs. Several of them pretty much of minimal meaning, stages at Dauphiné, that Pa-Ni ITT… Oh well, gregario of the year no doubt. But his season in terms of results wasn’t special at all. Besides the Tour show, a couple of prep cobble races and a minor Classic.
    By the way, apparently this season is the one which contributes the most points to his standing in the all time historical ranking. Again, not exactly what one would say.

    Then, there’s Remco, to me the athlete of this season. But he should be up there playing that out against Pogacar, if anything.

    The rest might look at first sight more or less fine, as in: Vingegaard must sit up there as he won the TDF, then the rest is more or less worth the same because victories were split among much supporting cast and nobody could build a serious winning streak.
    Barring the above three names, those who won big too often just didn’t grab much else.

    Who might be partial exceptions, candidates to that fifth spot below Vingegaard? To me, Roglic or van der Poel. The former’s got two of the only relevant short stage races of the season, was paramount to Vinge’s victory and looked the only man who could turn around the Vuelta result. The latter’s got a Monument and in a *very* serious way, plus a decent Sanremo podium, and a good Giro.
    For some absurd reason they both sit quite down in the ranking, well below, say, Kristoff, who won… nothing significant at all (Scheldeprijs his big one o__O)? Not that he came close to anything big, either. Same for 8th placed Pello Bilbao. No relevant victory at all, most of his high scoring placings are 5th places (the Giro, Itzulia, Strade Bianche).
    Please note that I focussed on two riders whom I like, to avoid being biased, but frankly, among the best 10 this year? And much better than van der Poel or Roglic, or, FWIW, Hindley? Yeah yeah, I didn’t do much outside the Giro, and some could argue that he didn’t too much at the Giro, either (in this case, yes I’m slightly biased… against him, if anything), but, ouch, at least he got that, unlike good ol’ Pello. Winning is winning, coming in a lot after a handful of other guys is *losing*.

    I’m fond of figure crunching, but in cycling too often it doesn’t work well, unless you adjust it hugely (for example, introducing the concept of performance against a personal benchmark of expectations based on previous results, plus some measure about how you win a race and so on). I acknowledge that the PCS guys are preparing the terrain to go in that direction, sooner or later, but we’re still very far.
    Perhaps currently the best option would be something along the lines of artificial intelligence, that is training a machine to evaluate as human normally do. But there’s not enough material to make sense of it. Humans are more than enough to quarrel happily on the subject once the season is over…

    • One of the problems with the “all-time” ranking is of course that the further you go back in time the less complete their database is also.

  10. Once again I think you should be looking at the PCS wins table. Relying on my memory Pogacar gets it with 16,5,4 versus 15,5,2 for Evenopoel. That works for me.
    PS Kooij, who hardly ever seems to rate a mention, come in at #4 which is very impressive.

    • Nice try, Marceli (or whatever member of the Boguslawski family and friends you happen to be)! 😉

      Suuuuree, now Jakobsen and Pedersen had a better season than Van Aert, just as Simon Yates (and Vermeltfoort, why not) do trump Vingegaard, Caleb Ewan’s got a more decent season than Roglic and so on..

      Points struggle to get the point, but win table are much worse! They barely make any sense for teams, let alone individual riders (and as Nick pointed out above, that’s in fact a point system, only much poorer).

      For example, in the victory table Pogacar gets positively rewarded by second places which are actually defeats, while they’re worth the same as 2nd places by Remco which actually were shockingly winning performances, say on Pico Jano.

      If you want a serious win table, it would be more or less like this: Tadej = Strade Bianche, Tirreno, Tre Valli, Lombardia, Montreal, and yeah that’s 5, one more than Remco’s 4, but since those four are the Worlds, Vuelta, Liège and San Sebastián, well, Remco would get the upper hand. If it wasn’t for Pogi’s performance at the Ronde, it wouldn’t even be worth debating, but, hey, that *defeat* pushes high. OTOH, such a huge feat as winning 3 TDF stages makes it clearer than ever, if possible, that Pogi is a great cyclist, but it doesn’t make his season better given, that at the end of the day he went on to lose what he was striving for in that race.

      Even in a year like this, Pogacar is still a “stronger” cyclist (and a couple of seasons older, BTW), but Evenepoel just performed better. For now, I tend to root for the former, anyway, for no rational specific reason, although Remco also has been definitely a pleasure to watch racing.

      • The Boguslawski thing can be solved by going to the .1+ table. Nevertheless, I have learnt something as it appears that he is going to BEX next year … I will be watching his progress!

        • Methinks gabriele meant Alan Banazsek or his cousins Adrian and Norbert who also rode for HRE Mazowsze Serce Polsk (and whom we could see in PostNord Danmark Rundt together with Marcel Boguslawski).

    • They’ll be meeting now but the meetings can go to December if one team has missing paperwork. Normally there’s announcement towards the end of the month or early November on the teams who have got their folders in, then later in November or early December is the confirmation announcement.

      Here’s the copy-paste from the UCI website on the Licence Commission:

      Mr Pierre ZAPPELLI (SUI) a former Swiss Court Supreme Judge.

      Lamia ALLOULI (MAR) an independent certified accountant and auditor
      André HURTER (SUI) former Director of Services Industriels Genevois, a Swiss public company providing local services
      Me Benoît PASQUIER, LL.M. (SUI) Attorney-at-law / CAS Arbitrator
      Paolo FRANZ (SUI) a senior executive with IBM, a multinational information technology company.

      • Thanks for the info! I dug around the UCI website and found every commission, committee and water cooler gathering but not what I was looking for. Zappelli, Hurter and Franz seem to have been there since at least 2009 and Allouli is the token PC non-Swiss, non-male member. So independent they don’t even meet at UCI headquarters! (according to our esteemed Mr Ring who naturally has written many a fine blog post on the subject – merci!)
        We shall hear then in December, hopefully, bar court cases the lucky 18.

        • I’ve read somewhere that the women’s WTs will be announced on December 12th this year, and usually that happens together with the men’s…

          It’s possible there will be an incomplete list announced earlier, with those teams that don’t have any issues that need clarifying.

  11. Matteo Trentin (Pogacar’s teammate at UAE) said recently, “Because now with the points system you need 10 guys scoring points, not just one. I remember in the past at Quick-Step, in my first years we had Tom Boonen and we raced for Tom. Period.”
    “Cycling is changing to ‘yes, we want to win, but winning is not enough anymore if you want to be the top team.’”
    So the points system is leading to teams with money buying up riders to fill those precious 10 riders to score points. Understandable reaction as it only takes a bad crash to ruin the plans for a season and with Covid still floating around, a whole team can be sent home in the middle of a GT. The pressure on teams without big sponsors though will only increase.

    • I think Trentin’s recollection about QS being totally oriented to Boonen for a period was less about the general attitude at the time and more about Boonen being a Belgian superstar on a Belgian team. As soon as QS became a team without a dominating superstar, they shifted to the Wolf Pack approach. That wasn’t to harvest UCI points but to win as many races as possible (and deny wins to rivals).

      It also seems irrefutable that most of the big money teams have been buying GT threats as well as super domestiques. Here again, the obvious goal is TdF and GT wins, points be damned. You could argue that IPT took that approach, but just made very poor (and unlucky) choices for their GT threats and domestiques. If IPT had instead used their big money to garner a team with at least 10-12 solid points-scoring candidates, they probably wouldn’t have been relegated.

      I also think the risk to a team’s existence from a bad crash by a star rider is the same as ever. I think we can look back and see many teams that were built around a star, with that team failing as soon as that star either was injured, stopped winning, or got a doping sanction. Yes, COVID was definitely disruptive, but is there any indication that it had a meaningful impact on which two teams were relegated? If hiring riders for their ability to get points outside of podium finishes really a strategy when entire teams are getting booted for COVID positives?

      I think a lot of the post-hoc analysis that’s going on right now suffers greatly from confirmation bias. One of the most striking things to me is how, at the end of the day, the relegation points were really decided on the road. IPT and LS simply didn’t race well enough compared to the teams that stayed in WT and the teams that will replace them.

  12. I think the interesting point made by Trentin that 10 riders are needed that will score points, will I guess, lead to 2 “A teams” instead of an A & B team. Think of Trentin himself who was due to start the Tour but had to be replaced by a seemingly not 100% fit Hirschi at the last moment.
    As for Israel PT & LottoS, they performed poorly at races, but we await Mr Adams’ reaction and possible legal actions (interesting the discussion about Covid effecting older riders more when one thinks of Israel PT’s “Golden Oldies”).

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