UCI World Tour Promotion and Relegation Weekly

With the Tour of Langkawi done, for the sake of completion here’s the last of the weekly updates. We can now process all the rankings and now comes the admin part for the UCI. There are several parts here.

What’s Changed Since Last Week?

  • EF Education-Easypost scored 623 points, ahead of UAE Emirates on 335, Movistar on 268 and Lotto-Soudal on 175
  • Low scorers were Ineos on -75, B&B Hotels on -15 and then several teams did not race so they’re on zero including promotion pretenders Arkéa-Samsic and relegation-ready Israel-PremierTech
  • Alpecin-Deceuninck finish eighth on the three year rankings and Arkéa-Samsic 18th on 15,864 points.
  • Lotto-Soudal finish 19th, 995 points down on 18th place and Israel-PremierTech 20th, some 1,995 down and so both face relegation
  • On the one year rankings for 2022, Lotto-Soudal finish 14th on 6,394 points and TotalEnergies 17th so these two teams are in line for the obligatory invitation to the grand tours. Israel miss out by 1,261 points

A last look at the relegation battle. As the chart shows things were close. For a three year contest, a lot came down to the final two months. However just as closing the final metres in a chase during a race can be hardest part, Israel and Lotto could see their rivals up the road but couldn’t close the gap.

So far, so certain…
First let’s address the validity of the three year promotion and relegation system. It’s not about whether you like it or not, just whether it’s going to be implemented in full. Everything points this, on the margins of the Wollongong Worlds UCI President David Lappartient said the points scale could be addressed in the future but otherwise the system stays. So the promotion-relegation concept is upheld, and so is the design with 18 teams in the World Tour, there’s nothing in public, nor the rumour mill, to suggest the system could instead fit 20 teams. Israel team owner Sylvan Adams has talked about lawsuits but he was probably letting off steam. It’s unclear on what grounds he’d have a case.

The other moving part is whether all the eligible 18 World Tour teams are awarded licences. Normally yes but there are admin and financial reviews and it’s possible a team has problems convincing the UCI that its funding for 2023 is secure. If one team fails here then this has a knock-on effect, for example if there are 17 World Teams next season then instead of the best two, it’s the best three other teams that get the automatic invite to the grand tours, a lifeline for the Israel team. All this is being decided now and in yesterday’s press release from the UCI we saw Lotto-DSTNY, Israel-PremierTech and Uno-X apply for a World Tour licence. This is presumably in case one of the other teams fails.

This is the final weekly update but the subject’s not finished…

  • We’ll take a look back the struggles faced by Lotto-Soudal and Israel-PremierTech and how close other teams came to relegation
  • A new three year cycle begins so what’s at stake for the existing teams, especially as several teams have their eye on promotion
  • Also it should be helpful to explore the congestion in the ProTeam ranks because if 18 teams enjoy WorldTeam status, the others in the level just below are all competing for the remaining scraps

Animated bar chart race

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

  1. Thank you for covering this all through the season when the three years all came to the end. You made the topic your own and deserve more credit for this than many commentators offered.
    It has been interesting to see point-scoring come alive in some minor races. I really hope the teams don’t take it easy for two years, making the races closed and predictable affairs once again.

  2. I haven’t checked my facts but I have it in mind that Nelson Piquet once won the F1 driver’s championship without winning a race … lots of 2nds. That’s why I favour wins over points.
    There is a problem with wins in stage races but that would be overcome if claiming and retaining the leader’s jersey also counted as a win.
    I can hear the laughter already but I needed to get that out of my system at season’s end.

    • I think rewarding not just the wins, but the placements as well makes a lot of sense. It’s not a championship or a cup, it’s a fight against relegation, so I think rewarding 17th place in a big race with a few points serves that purpose well. I don’t think JV, QS, Ineos or UAE care much where exactly they place at the top. They indeed care about the races, stages and jerseys they manage to win and the points to them are pointless (if you’d pardon the pun).
      But I really like the idea of getting a decent amount of points for wearing and defending a jersey.

      • ” But I really like the idea of getting a decent amount of points for wearing and defending a jersey.”

        I could be wrong, but… some points are awarded to jersey wearers in stage races, aren’t they?

        As for the rest, you properly pointed out the key point (ugh!): this is about having to sacrifice those teams which have been offering a relatively smaller contribution to the whole system of cycling races, hence focussing excessively (or solely) on “victories” to mirror the above would be a mistake of perspective and would probably lead – at the end of the day and on the bottom of the classification table – to actually rewarding the less deserving (sheer quantity in victories, among the lower ranks, too often comes from saving energies and avoiding risks).

        Victory count, although not as relevant as victory quality, is already valued by sponsors – imagine that a whole category of cyclists and races, i.e. sprinters and sprint stages/flattish races, do only exist for the sake of that, and riders even become stars out of that “specialty”. In terms of high quality wins most great pure sprinters, at least in modern age, are lacking to say the least, yet it doesn’t prevent them to be hugely recognised.
        Note the difference against, say, point rankings like PCS (or UCI’s), where pure sprinters rarely get to the very top, and rightly so, I’d say, given that those systems also try to mirror quality besides quantity, although quantity ends up being often more relevant than intended.
        However, as I was saying above, sponsors and decision-makers still care little, or do think a bit more about the “cycling uneducated” general public, so bunch sprinting is still a huge part of road cycling from recruitment to course design. That’s a direct proof of the high value which gross “victory counting” has attained and still maintains in cycling, no need to foster it much more. It’s obviously to be seen if things will go on like this as cycling, even in its core country, becomes a niche sport, maybe with more hardcore fans than before, but less casual ones.

      • Agree with MTB that it shouldnt be only wins that count.

        However, difference between first place, 2nd place and 8th place should be big enough.

        Multiply all points by 10, keep the points for the first places, with for example 2nd place at max 66 percent, 3rd at max. 50, 4th at 33 percent, 5th at 20 percent,…

        And 60th should never ever ever give points. I would say maximum the top 25 gets points and at least the top 10 should get points, also in stage races, even if it is only 1 point versus 140 or 1000 for a win.

    • 1980̈́’s F1 brings back memories: Nelson Piquet won the championship in 1981, 1983 and 1987. He won three races in each of those seasons. Alain Prost had four in 1983 and Nigel Mansell six in 1987 but they were out of points so often they came second.
      (I don’t think there has been a driver who won the championship without a single victory. Keke Rosberg won the title with one win, but that was a season when no driver had more than two wins.)

      Gabriele was of course right about jersey wearers being rewarded with UCI points. 25 – 20 – 10 from TdF to Pa-Ni. A stage victory in those races is roughly worth five days in yellow.

  3. May I ask how Ineos and B&B Hotels managed to score minus points in the last week? I know teams can get points deducted in races for breaking rules but neither team was in the Tour of Langkawi or either Veneto race, which seem to have been the only major races in the last week. Do points deductions sometimes get applied some time after an event?

    • Yes, this is the most likely answer. While the UCI has updated results each week, sometimes results and points from a race might only be attributed the following week or even later, or partially with some results from a race going through within days, the rest later. This was rare but happened in the season, presumably the bulletins from commissaires can take even longer to get fed into the system (and worth watching to see if anything is revised).

      • We know about the Quintana/Tramadol case, but what if there’s more out there? The Froome/salbutamol case went on for 3 months before it was “leaked” to the press.

        • Would it be enough to relegate a team though? You’d have to have a case with a big points score who was caught for something in the past and then banned from that date onwards, disqualifying all their points. It’s theoretically possible but given nobody is even provisionally suspended, hard to see.

          • Hypothetically, if there was to be some major results management next year which resulted in Team XYZ losing enough points from this rankings cycle that they should have been relegated, the precedent from 2013 would point towards the team retaining their place.

            In that instance, the Licence Commission denied Katusha a licence but got it wrong, resulting in the Court of Arbitration for Sport ordering the UCI to grant Katusha a licence. Rather than relegating the team which had been granted the 18th licence in the original licensing process, the UCI opted to just go with 19 teams.

      • Thanks for your reply. Late emendations would certainly make it awkward if teams 18 & 19 had only been a few points apart but as it is I suppose a small number of belated points deductions here & there won’t have any meaningful impact.

  4. I’ll also add my many thanks for covering the relegation battle, and doing it much earlier and better than others.
    Somewhat off topic, I just looked at UAE’s roster for next year and they have 8 riders who have been top-10 at a Grand Tour, and McNulty who looks like he could as well. The budget there must be massive now. Throw in Ulissi, Wellens, and Hirschi and it can’t be cheap.

    • Thanks.

      As for UAE, it must have a big budget and maybe closing in on Ineos. But it looks a bit like a “rich man’s team”, as they’ve paid big to bring in a lot marquee/trophy riders rather than build something that really fits together but with time they’re improving, this year’s Tour squad was better than 2021. They’ll have a stronger Tour team next year of course but it won’t be as menacing as Jumbo-Visma. Lots to see next year

      • UAE had bike/mechanical problems this year too, (a lot of bike changes at the Tour I remember, then to cap it all Majka’s broken chain causing him to retire from the race) and I see that UAE “will switch from Campagnolo to Shimano groupsets in 2023.”

        • Should we draw a similar conclusion from Jumbo Visma switching from Shimano to SRAM?

          It’s too early to make a final list but it looks like 2023 will be pretty much the same as it ever was: Campagnolo 3, SRAM 3 and Shimano 12 teams. (I wonder how far back we’d have to look to find a more even distribution?)

          The problems – real, rumoured or hypothesized – that were caused by team mechanics having to mix and match Shimano 11- and 12-speed are well known, but did Campagnolo teams, too, suffer from similar difficulties due to supply problems?

          • One thing determines what components teams use – MONEY. If nobody is paying it seems they choose Shimano – almost ubiquitous, plenty of small parts makers design their stuff to work with it, generally works OK (though just like the rest, failures do occur) though when you see teams using everything with their name on it and nothing without – you might conclude they get paid to do so. For example, if money wasn’t the determining factor why would any team use SRAM? Back-in-the-day Campagnolo was the default choice with Shimano having to pay. Same s–t, different era.
            Same (these daze even more so?) with the brand-name on the bike’s downtube since Mr. INRNG pointed out bike companies are so often either co-title sponsors or one notch below when it comes to – MONEY.

          • Component moves are largely a commercial issue, for Jumbo-Visma SRAM likely outbid Shimano. It’s a success breeds success story where the strongest teams can get the most money from suppliers, giving them more budget to hire more riders, fund more training camps etc.

            All three groupsets are very good, we can pour over the differences but they all work so well. One mechanic shared some thoughts that 12 speed chains don’t get jammed because they’re narrow, it’s not like they’re so thin they fall into a gap and get jammed, but they have a bit less lateral rigidity so are prone to whipping around a bit more and jumping.

          • Is there really a WorldTeam or a ProTeam that actually pays for the components?

            I would have assumed that all Continental teams have Campagonolo, Shimano or SRAM as one of their sponsors. Maybe they can only dream of receiving hard cash on top of the components and maybe they have to do with last year’s stuff rather than next year’s, but they won’t have to pay for them.

            PS What I hear from users is that since they went electric SRAM has been on a par with the grand old two. It’s the old mechanical SRAM from a quite few years back that everyone was unhappy with…

          • Yes, some teams don’t have direct sponsorship deals so they buy parts. For years Slipstream did this, they had some parts from Rotor, wheels from Mavic but bought their Shimano derailleurs, brakes etc. Obviously though they don’t walk into a shop and pay the recommended retail price like an ordinary customer, they can get the parts cheap from the wholesaler. Other teams have deals via their frame supplier and so on.

    • On the other end of the table, Arkea, having just achieved promotion, seem to be losing riders. Doesn’t look like Barguil has resigned and who’s still available who can score points for them? Maybe ex-IPT or Lotto? Cav, if the B&B rumors are false?

      • They risk looking weaker in the World Tour than they were this year. Barguil stays but no Quintana, no Swift who was both a points scorer and a workhorse who set up others whether Quintana or sprinters to score. Champoussin is a decent signing, Dekker too and Cristian Rodriguez useful but they’re not going to set the World Tour on fire. They’ll probably have to reinforce for 2024.

  5. A bit of Trivia that I stumbled on recently is that there are only three riders who have won TdF stages of each type … sprint, climbing and time trial.
    That puts Wout van Aert in very select company.

    • Intersting! Who are the other three? … Besides Merckx, whom I didn’t check but I suppose he made it, as pretty much everything else in cycling (a couple of well-known exceptions, of course).
      And… is it about making it in a same edition or throughout one’s career? The latter is already quite difficult, but making it during one single edition as Wout did is even more shocking.
      It’s been amazing and he really was giving the impression he’s a class apart when compared to the rest, like a pro amidst amateurs. Reminiscent of Freddy Maertens.
      OTOH, as Maertens’ case suggests, and like so many stats about “stage winning”, it can be a little random, as in that many riders who actually might have made it with (very relative!) ease because of their proven qualities, eventually didn’t, by pure chance or even lack of interest (i.e. other priorities), Maertens being precisely the prime example, but I am also thinking about Jalabert or Gimondi, whereas some actual achievers (in the career-long format) like Vinokourov or Pollentier were of course great athletes and very versatile, but not really as much as the above named.
      Much must also depend on the definition of winning a bunch sprint and a mountain stage (even ITT which look obvious might be a problem once they aren’t flat, plus what about prologues and so on). How many riders do make a bunch sprint? Winning a mass sprint with a finisseur action is valid? Same for climbing, sometimes it’s self-evident but then you have the Eros Poli effect, surely he’s not the same to really win a climbing stage outclimbing the best or making the selection in a break; or high mountain stages without an uphill finish which allow a big group to the line and so on.
      Good material for the after season 🙂

      • Hushovd is another career-long achiever, so I guess the above only refers to winning the three kind of stages in the same edition, which would bring us down to … Merckx and Hinault, which (at least for now, but I suspect it’s definitive also) makes Van Aert the Roche in the stat ^___^

  6. Other two … Mercks and Hinault. Fairly sure it was not in the one race.
    It just appeared in front of me on the TdF Web site. I was doing a bit of digging to try and find out what the roads were like in the early days of the tours (without success).

    • “Fairly sure it was not in the one race.”

      Hi, as I commented at the very same time above, I guess it’s in a single edition, otherwise other names even relatively unexpected do pop up once you start digging. I’d look only after WWII because before racing was too different, not just the state of roads.

      “Rik I” came superclose in 1949, only Coppi and Kubler beat him in the Rochelle ITT with which he’d make the three. I see Wout hugely similar to him, and partly physically, too…


      That would be WVA’s perfect career, indeed.

        • My fault! I had read a report which included the Luchon-Toulouse stage as Pyrenaic (although obviously with an easier finish) as if it had some difficulties earlier on, but then prompted by your comment I looked deeper into the subject and found this on La Dépêche: “Le parcours est court (134 km) sans difficultés et il faut attendre Muret pour voir une échappée prendre forme”.

    • Besides the obvious ones (Merckx and Hinault), a quick trawl through the archives comes up with Louison Bobet (though the sprint was from a small group) and Ferdi Kubler. I was sure Coppi or Bartali would come up, but I didn’t see Coppi winning any sprints in the Tour or Bartali any TTs (which, to be fair, only started to be included in the couple of years pre-WWII. Also, I didn’t look that closely.)

  7. Once the 2020 points fall away it appears that Astana and DSM have their backs against the wall as they start 2023 with very low totals.
    Does anyone know where to find the source data or the points tally by year?

    • Those points dont matter anymore. It is a new cycle starting. Only in thee years there will be another relegation of World Tour teams.

      For Protour teams, the one year ranking will matter each year, as the guaranteed start in Tour de France depends on it (automatic wildcards).

      • That’s it, the promotion relegation cycle was based on 2020 + 2021 + 2022 points. The next one will be 2023 + 2024 + 2025 points.

        You can find the UCI rankings at their website, see road > rankings and then the team rankings.

  8. I fear for Lotto next year. They have moved heaven and earth to get this many points. Ewan is slowly being overtaken by more and more sprinters. De Lie has won many points in small Belgian races, but they won’t be able to keep him satisfied this way so he will have to compete with the big guns next year. There isn’t any other big scorer incoming. Except maybe Teuns when they make Verbrugghe their new DS. But he’s a whole other can of worms your bringing into your house.
    Next year they are competing with Total, who have quite easily gotten about the same amount of points, Israel who want revenge, Kristoff and Cavendish who will be riding for Pro-conti teams… Not much has to happen to lose those free wildcards.

    • Lotto were about 900 clear of Total this season, and 2100 ahead of Israel. The next ProTeam was Uno-X, 4,000 behind Lotto. Ewan, despite his troubles, got about the same score as Cavendish (700), although Kristoff was way clear. So they should be favourites to keep the wildcards, although they could easily lose them.

Comments are closed.