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.