Promotion/Relegation Watch

A look at the promotion and relegation standings for the World Tour. It’s early for the three year system but still matters as we see teams recruiting to remedy things and there’s the pressing issue of automatic invitations for the major races next year.

The chart shows the teams ranked by UCI points scored so far this season, based on this morning’s weekly update from the UCI. The top-18 teams above the red line are set for World Tour licences but this is a three year contest over 2023, 2024 and 2025 and we’re not done with the first year yet. One big lesson from the last promotion/relegation cycle is that a surprise bonanza in the first year is very comforting for teams who might otherwise be stressing.

We can see it’s UAE and Jumbo-Visma vs. the rest and UAE are even pulling clear of their Dutch rivals.

Ineos are third and note their top points scorer is Filippo Ganna on 2146 points, followed by Tom Pidcock, the days of the team scoring big from the overall in the grand tours, well they’re not today even if Geraint Thomas helped in the Giro. Rivals UAE and Jumbo both have three riders each with significantly over 2,000 points each this season. Lidl-Trek ride high thanks to Mads Pedersen, with Mathias Skjelmose also in the 2,000 points club. Groupama-FDJ are perhaps surprising at 10th and it’s a parting gift from Thibaut Pinot, another 2,000 point rider.

Promotion race
Lotto-Dstny and Israel-PremierTech got relegated but are on course to rejoin the World Tour. Arnaud de Lie is still stampeding to victories and points in non-World Tour races and while he and the team will want to aim higher his success is very good for them. Israel are shopping and look to be rejuvenating the team with new hires which bodes well for more points however they’re in a race with other teams, DSM Firmenich have a budget boost and Fabio Jakobsen should score plenty next year while Ag2r Citroën have spent Citroën’s cash on older hires but they and the car maker are on the way out and the mooted move of Sam Bennett could be crucial as if the Irishman can feel settled he’ll give them sprint wins.

It’s all a contest with moving parts and Uno-X one to watch as they’re hiring Magnus Cort and Andreas Leknessund and building a team that could pick up pace for promotion too.

Relegation watch
With all the caveats about a long way to go we can Arkéa-Samsic and Astana below the red relegation line. Astana look in a more worrying position but they’ve been active in the transfer market as they need some results and points. The French team has been quieter and if they’ve hired Arnaud Démare, out goes Warren Barguil and there’s nobody yet to fill Nairo Quintana’s shoes. In other words if 2023 isn’t a roaring success for either team, Astana look to be taking remedial action while so far Arkéa aren’t.

The more immediate race is for automatic invitations to the top races. The best two teams ProTeams can count on automatic invitations to the grand tours and the rest of the World Tour calendar, again invitations so they can opt out of the Giro or Vuelta if these prove too resource-intensive. There’s an extra automatic invite to the one day races like all the Monuments and more and here Uno-X are well ahead, they might as well start recon rides for the Poggio.

Meanwhile despite the oil major sponsor Total Energies are drifting into trouble. Even if Peter Sagan proved a flop in terms of results his status could help them get invitations to races but he’s stopping of course and the team don’t have a star rider to please organisers, they may get the nod for the final spot at the Tour but risk being caught in a vicious cycle where the risk of not being invited deters sponsors and signings, which heights the risk of not being invited.

22 thoughts on “Promotion/Relegation Watch”

  1. IR notes that INEOS are not scoring highly from GTs. Their one and only pure sprinter, Viviani is doing little too – and probably being well paid for it. His contract even extends to 2024. The team seems happy to have Pidcock diversifying into cross and MTB but that must surely impact on his availability and points on the road.

  2. @DJW. I am surprised there has been so little comment about the dire INEOS situation. They are offloading many of their younger riders, and so far have announced no new signings. One assumes that something is in the making. There are plenty of rumours but nothing definitive.

        • I don’t understand people who say that merger makes sense? It might make some sense from the INEOS side, but not really from the Soudal-QS side?

          • Gives QS an out. Otherwise they’ll lose Remco. PL should retire and I don’t see how ZB cares about the team now that Stybar is gone. They’ll never be able to fully support or pay Remco.

          • As far as I am aware, the team does not want an “out” at all.

            Zdeněk Bakala has always been a cycling & sports fan, not only a Stybar fan, and the team has 3 other Czech & Slovak riders now (Čzerný, Hirt & Svrček). He has also invested in other sports-related organisations like the Bakala Academy.

            Remco can’t really leave before his contract is up (so end of 2026, or 3 more years). Remember he signed that contract back when it was unknown if he would ever come back to his previous form, so it was quite generous from the team back then (he could have been the next “Froome”…).

            Maybe Patrick wants to retire *after* he won the TdF with the team (almost the last thing missing on its palmares)? I don’t see him retire before if his health allows…

            And that’s only some of the more obvious issues.

  3. Yes. If they had really been ambitious for 2024 and beyond they would have retained Tulett, Sivakov and Geoghegen Hart, and, above all, bid for a decent young sprinter (Vernon?), a decent classics rider and a GC contender capable of targetting a GT podium (either Yates would be an improvement).

    They seem to have – or have had – the means but without the will. Strange indeed.

    • Well from sivakovs recent comments apart from remuneration they don’t appear to treat the riders well. We are just numbers I think he said.

      • I have a feeling that was sour grapes. Having trained for weeks in Andorra and then not getting selected probably didn’t go down at all well. The relationships in the rest of the group seem strong. In overall terms I think that Rod Ellingworth really isn’t up to the job of being top man and, hence, the return of Brailsford to a more hands-on role. He’s now got to sort out the mess he”s been left with. I’m even more surprised that, not only have they lost a lot of their top riders but also they have also not recruited well amongst the youngsters. Hayter junior and Leonard aren’t doing much and they have missed out on riders like Pattinson and Brennan who have gone to JV although they may pick up some from FDJ.

  4. Buying riders at the end of their career can be a good move if you get them at the correct price. Experience, a good helper in key racers and the odd good result.

    Buying them at well over there real value can be a team ending experience. Not that Froome is the sol reason the team lost its world tour license. They possibly have a number of over paid and under delivered riders. But the Froome budget could have been way more profitably spent elsewhere. If that team was not privately bankrolled instead of sponsor financed, it would have likely folded when it lost the license and sponsors pulled out.

  5. I’ve been wondering if Jim Ratcliffes potential buying of Man Utd football club has anything to do with the availability of finances at Ineos? I know he’s loaded but buying a second football team is surely going to absorb a lot of cash, even for him.

  6. It looks as though INEOS have salvaged Carlos Rodriquez from a pre contract with Movistar and offered an ageing Thomas yet another extension. Maybe a sign that the Evenepoel saga has been resolved in favour of Quick Step. Whatever the truth of the matter, it has been very poorly managed by those responsible

    • From what I understand, there never was any plan for Remco to leave. He seems to have a list of things that need to improve at Soudal-QS (which is no surprise, considering their lack of grand tour GC experience, and their limited budget), but from what I can tell he will honour his contract and allow the team to grow & gain experience along with him, and then the progress on that will certainly influence whether or not he will extend his contract at the end of the current one.

Comments are closed.