UCI Rankings and Relegation Watch

From the Dolomites… to a spreadsheet. Promotion and relegation isn’t such a big topic this season as the mens’ teams are at the start of a three year period although trends are emerging already. This year womens’ World Tour licences are up for grabs and this is arguably a bigger deal as there’s a wider difference between World Tour insiders and outsiders.

First the Mens’ World Tour rankings. Promotion and relegation is based on the sum total of points earned over 2023, 2024 and 2025 so you can see why there’s less urgency among teams who having panicked and stressed last year seem to be relaxing a bit this year. For a crafty team all the more reason to aim for points now rather than in 2025 when things will get crowded.

This chart includes the Giro results ans the red teams are the UCI ProTeams, the new label for Pro Conti as in second tier. As you can see from the chart recently relegated Lotto-Dstny and Israel-PremierTech are promotion candidates as they rub shoulders with the World Tour squads. Lotto-Dstny in particular is doing very well, and once again Arnaud De Lie leads the charge as their top points scorer although he’s now nursing injuries following a big crash in the 4 Days of Dunkerque. They also seem to have a pipeline of talent on tap so the future looks alright too.

Arkéa-Samsic and Astana are the relegation candidates and of course there are three years to go but each faces structural problems, the French team is going to struggle for wins in the World Tour while Astana’s top points scorer is Mark Cavendish and as you might know, he’s retiring plus as a last minute signing if it wasn’t for him they’d be doing even worse. Yes it’s early as in halfway through the first year but as you can see from the chart they’re well behind, it’s not a matter of a handful of points.

Among the other teams Ag2r Citroën and Jayco-Al Ula are almost tied and need some more results while who’d have thought Groupama-FDJ is the fifth best team in the World Tour? Thibaut Pinot’s delivered a lot of points from the Giro but Küng, Gaudu and Madouas are all bankers too. Soudal-Quickstep are increasingly placing their eggs in the basket marked “Remco” but this means his ups and downs show in the rankings although this is all academic for relegation, they’re fine but just not quite where we’d expect. Talking of which Bora-hansgrohe have a very solid roster but their results are not matching their potential for the moment, Covid plays its part striking Vlasov out the Giro but it’s wider than that.

Now to the Womens World Tour where the top-15 teams based on the total of points from 2022 and 2023 qualify for World Tour licences. This is a bigger deal because as the Zaaf team case highlighted, those squads in the World Tour get more protections and guarantees for their riders and direct UCI regulatory oversight, while those on the outside are the equivalent of men’s Conti teams and overseen by their national federations.

The teams with asterisks are the non-World Tour teams and Ceratizit-WNT and AG-Soudal-Quickstep are the current promotion candidates sitting above 15th place. But things are close, Uno-X has climbed into 15th place of late but several teams are close by. But while these teams are on two thousand and something points, SD Worx are on ten times that so while a team can move up to the World Tour and get all the benefits – and the costs – there are wide gaps and the challenge for a promoted team to get results, media coverage and more is very big, arguably more than in the men’s World Tour.

17 thoughts on “UCI Rankings and Relegation Watch”

  1. Lotto-Dstny does not want to be trapped twice… Apparently Heulot is doing some good job (or is it their good formation paying a little bit late ?). I wonder if Lelangue was very good at his job, or very listened to.
    Arkea and AG2R in troubles for the moment… Well, maybe 4 French WT is too much after all. I heard Arkea wanted to sign Cosnefroy, do they want to weaken AG2R while doing a good transfer ? They should have a lot of money left with the non-signing of Quintana. Do you expect a big signing for them next year ?
    AG2R apparently want to open a Conti after Gregoire left their (very performant ) Junior team to FDJ Conti. I wonder if it’s not too late for 2025, but with the departure of Van Avermaet they will have some money for a good transfer next year too.
    As for Astana… You can never say it’s over with Vino, but I wonder if some people in Kazakhstan will continue to pay for this team which seems more and more like a conglomeration of riders than a real team, and more so if they don’t stay in WT…

  2. A couple of weeks ago i looked at the results for Jayco and noticed they had a high % of points for WT Compared to other comparable teams. At the time they were outside the 18 on points but something like 14th on WT points scored which just highlighted they have a different programme. They really send there riders to the bigger races and have a very light schedule compared to the others. Noticeable during the last week all sort of races going on and they were really only at 1 (giro).

  3. Israel PT did well at the Giro – Gee’s second places seemingly everywhere earned more then was expected. Lotto Dstny seemed to have worked out how to game the system – Ewan’s return to some form will be good news for them.
    Astana do need to get some fresh blood in their ranks or they’ll be in trouble.

  4. Interesting for Groupama-FDJ is that five of the top ten points scorers in 2023 are very young ex-Conti riders (Gregoire, Penhoët, Pithie, Martinez and Watson). Despite the forthcoming retirement of Thibaut Pinot a rosy future seems probable.

    • Same for Israël – Premiertech. And when Froome’s contract ends, that will free a lot of money. If they spend it wisely, they’re future looks bright.

      • Similar for them with their women’s team. Transformed the Roland-Cogeas team which mixed, to put it politely, ‘seasoned’ riders alongside some very young ones – into this years really dynamic, balanced roster. Claire Steels has been a breakout performer and taken weight off Tamara Dronova whose just doubled up wins in the Vuelta Andalucia this week to boost their ranking.

    • They really do have a very strong line-up with yet more to come through. I am not sure that they know how best to handle all the talent!

  5. Olav Kooij and Fabio Jakobsen are rumored to be coming available, that means a lot of points. Might be a huge bidding war.
    I wonder how the new score system with a lot more points available in Giro stages worked out for the likes of Eolo-Kometa, Corratec and Bardiani. A bunch of top 10s in Italy and for E-K even a stage win would give them a big advantage over the likes of Tudor and Q36.5.

    • Yes, but…
      I’m not sure sprinters are as valuable as, say, a decade ago. Semi-classics and GT organisers continue to reduce the number of sprint stages in their races and then also add more complications into the ones that remain to increase the chances if breakaway wins. In addition to that, there are so many other sprinters around these days, so even the best ones take a smaller share of the wins. Then, there is also the WvA and MvdP effect, where those two sneak wins in races that would normally be bunch finishes. I would imagine someone like Jacobsen would be 50% more valuable if race routes looked like they did 20 years ago?

      • It’s obviously not like that and the Giro just showed it, but whatever. The intention to favour the break was carried out at expenses of more complicated finales for easy stages, not preventing bunch sprints. And how many breaks “stole” a pure sprint stage vs. the hilly, tricky or high mountain ones?
        Instead, the six different winners and Cav’s role (or Milan’s) confirmed that the question is a current low level of sprinters. It happens, it works in… cycles.
        The TDF also has its good share of stages prepared for a bunch sprint of sort.
        The Vuelta really never had many.

    • If I recall correctly, Astana has had a few difficult years meeting their financial obligations. I suppose it might be hard to attract quality riders if you are not able to pay as much as other teams, or might flounder with existing commitments.

      • They fired Miguel Angel Lopez, who was supposed to be their GC rider after Nibali’s retirement. Lutsenko is good, but he’s not on the same level as really top GC riders. In addition, their classics squad basically does not exist, so that’s like writing off 1/3 of the UCI points in a season. If they want to survive, they’ll need to reshuffle things in the offseason. As it stands, they’ve dug themselves a pretty deep hole.

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