UCI World Tour Points Race

The 2023 season is done and the team rankings have been published. You can see which teams scored big and it’s also the first season of a three-year promotion-relegation contest.

Here’s the chart of the top-25 team rankings for 2023 with WorldTeams in blue and second-tier ProTeams in red. You can see UAE topped the table, outsprinting Jumbo-Visma after they broke away from the rest. But we’re here today to look at the promotion and relegation story and the red line shows the top-18 teams.

A quick reminder of the rules. Team rankings are based on the total of the UCI points scored in the 2023 season by each team’s 20 best riders. Promotion and relegation is decided by the total of points of each team across the 2023, 2024 and 2025 seasons with the top-18 teams meeting the sporting criteria for a World Tour licence for the following three seasons. Assuming the rules don’t change.

Promotion race

Lotto-Dstny are off to a roaring start, finishing the team rankings in ninth place with over 14,000 points. Arnaud De Lie is their big points scorer with 2,891 points and Florian Vermeersch, Maxim Van Gils and Andreas Kron (pictured) each scoring over 1,000 points. This trio had one win between them: they scored big but didn’t win much which can help explain how the team managed to do so well on the rankings. De Lie got 10 wins this year including his first World Tour in the GP de Québec and continues his progress, he’s likely to race more World Tour races which could mean fewer points for the team next year, quality instead of quantity.

Israel-PremierTech had a decent season with 10,000 points thanks to Michael Woods, Corbin Strong and Derek Gee all scoring well over 1,000 points each, helping the team finish above four World Tour squads. Woods hit the quality jackpot for the team with a Tour de France stage win on the Puy-de-Dôme but like Lotto-Dstny their hustling for points by placing on smaller races. They’re already strong on sprinters and have made significant signings in Ethan Vernon, Hugo Hoffstetter and Pascal Ackermann who can all score big.

Uno-X lead the other candidates with 6,500 points with Tobias Halland Johannessen as their lead scorer. They go into 2024 with stronger squad having hired Magnus Cort and Andreas Leknessund and could hope to overtake Arkéa here but going beyond this to overhaul the 18th team is harder going.

Uno-X can plug on hoping others crack. We almost saw the World Tour down to 17 teams and so if any existing teams don’t make it to 2026 the Norwegians can get promotion. Here there are already questions over Soudal-Quickstep given we know the main shareholder was willing to drop the team, its lead sponsor too. If star rider Remco Evenepoel leaves after 2024 the sponsorship proposal isn’t worth as much either. Let’s not get too far ahead of matters but it’s an example of how existing teams are brittle and in more ordinary situations you can see some teams and sense their sponsorship deals are up and that renewal for 2026 and beyond is tough (NB today’s the day when we hear which teams have submitted enough paperwork to get a licence for 2024).

Indeed just existing as a team should be sufficient as more than ever we have an 18 + 4 system where a handful of teams outside the World Tour act as quasi World Tour teams with automatic invites to the Tour de France and a de facto equivalent. Here we’re likely to see Tudor and Q36.5 take on Total Energies.

Relegation race

Arkéa-Samsic and Astana are firm relegation candidates already given a 2,000 point shortfall on the rest. Astana have set about trying to remedy this by recruiting the likes of Anton Charmig, Davide Ballerini, Henok Mulubrhan, Ide Schelling and Lorenzo Fortunato who probably won’t win big or often can place well throughout the season and score, much as Simone Velasco has done for them. They need Alexey Lutsenko back at his best. Mark Cavendish has been their third best scorer this year and can contribute too, Tour win or not.

Arkéa have B&B Hotels as a co-sponsor for next yearbut haven’t hurried into the rider market and this could be risky, Arnaud Démare as a mid-season signing helps but they’ve lost their top scorer Warren Barguil. Luca Mozzato can score and one salvation could be Kévin Vauquelin who can climb well and time trial and so place on GC in smaller stage races but we’re into “stars aligning” scenarios here as a low score in 2023 and no game-changing signings means 2024 makes things harder, although Florian Sénéchal and Vincenzo Albanese could be useful. There will be times to decide between sending their best riders to the World Tour calendar reserving them to snipe results in smaller races. But to make the point again, they can keep plugging away in the hope other teams don’t make it to 2026.

29 thoughts on “UCI World Tour Points Race”

  1. Thank you, I have been hoping for this update. As for Arkéa, I would have thought that Démare will very easily compensate for the loss of Barguil in terms of points. Has Démare not always been a big points scorer, with good results in both GT stages and French one-day races within reach for him? I would assume that Arkéa will try to capitalise on this when targeting races.

    • Démare has been a big scorer in the past but alternating between good and bad years. He’s had a relatively bad one this time, in part because he was dropped from the Tour and switched teams so he and the team will hope for a good year in 2024. But easier said than done, he’s 32 now and Cavendish aside, not many sprinters keep going long into their 30s. It’ll be interesting to see his race programme, as the team’s big rider does he want the World Tour races or is he going to take wins in the Coupe de France and some the 1.1 level races.

      But for Arkéa I think the problem is more one of arithmetic, even with a golden year for Démare the team is still behind from this season and they’ve lost Barguil who got them 750 points so they’ve got a challenge ahead.

      • OK, I see your point, thanks. I wouldn’t assume that Mozzato and Vauquelin are at the end of their very positive development, but without new and established recruits, it seems hard for them to bridge such a gap.

    • They had a bad season in their own words. But still got a 2,000 point cushion and the likes of O’Connor, Cosnefroy should do better. Also they’ve not announced any signings but they have been shopping, Sam Bennett should be a useful addition if he can feel at home.

  2. Jayco finished up a little better than I was expecting given a lacklustre year. Hope they can climb a couple of spots next year with the extra sprinter and Plapp.

  3. “Here we’re likely to see Tudor and Q36.5 take on Total Energies.”
    Feel to me like Tudor has the upper hand here, having signed Dainese, Trentin and Storer. Total Energies must have a lot of budget freed up with Sagan retiring, but they haven’t used it to sign any big names.

    • Yes, the Total boss – the oil major – said the other day that if Alaphilippe became available in the wake of Quick Step vanishing he’d be willing to hire him so there’s money for the right signing but he wants a star, someone for the public to cheer in July, and not some points rustler. But some of Sagan budget came from Specialized who stop supplying the team.

      • I wonder if TE can’t make a deal with Soudal about Alaphilippe similar to the Roglic or Démare deal. Lefevre has made it clear he isn’t too happy about Alaphilippe’s performance and TE probably still are willing to pay at least close to his Soudal salary.

        • It could suit all sides although it’d be amusing after Lefevere has been waving Evenepoel’s contract at him, “a contract’s a contract Remco”… then agreeing to tear up Alaphilippe’s deal in order to save money and release a rider who might feel happier elsewhere.

  4. DSM must hope the youngsters and Jakobsen start getting some big results next year.
    Lotto D’s success (sandwiched between Alpecin & Bora) is remarkable for a Pro-team. I can understand De Lie wanting to do a GT and with Ewan’s departure it seems likely but it seems he’s more a classics rider then an outright pure speed sprinter.
    Visma’s points tally next year will probably take a hit with Roglic’s departure, and despite all the merger/dissolution talk QS still beat Ineos who seem destined to be a second tier team for the forseeable future unless Sir Jim buys a big star or two.

    • Ineos look down but they’ve been lower in the rankings, eg 6th in 2019. The surprise for them is that Ganna is their top scorer helped by him having a go in the sprints, then Pidcock. Thomas and Rodriguez come next.

    • You are going to look 2nd tier if you don’t have a Pogacar or Vingegarrd on your roster. Some of their young signings needs a bit more time to mature as well. Not everyone came out of the box ready like Remco (and even him struggled to find a footing in GT last year). Rodriguez may progress further next year.

      They also arguably have the next best thing to WVA in Pidcock who was hampered quite a bit by injury this year. Though I think going for GT GC is a bit of a silly endeavour for him. Should have emulated WVA hunting stages and being a super dom (and maybe go for the Green).

  5. I’m surprised to read Cavendish is Astana’s third best point scorer, given he’s only had one win all season & can’t have scored a single point since the beginning of July. It doesn’t say much for the rest of the team’s results that only two others (Lutsenko presumably being one) have managed to outscore him.

    • Lutsenko is their best scorer with Velasco next. Cavendish got 850 points, the Giro win but also with more top-10s in the Giro, Tour and Scheldeprijs etc, it’s helpful and obviously the big story is really the Rome triumph and the Tour sprints, the points angle was oblique. Bol comes next on 450 or so. They’re shaking things up a bit for next year but the big budget days are over, even Vinokourov was saying that flashing the cash is not the Kazakh way as in there’s even a cultural change.

      • Thanks. I tried looking up various possible riders on PCS but couldn’t find anyone with a decent amount of points. I didn’t think of Velasco as a possibility. He must have earned a lot of points from placings rather than wins as the only thing I remember seeing him win this year was the national championship.

  6. Israel-PT have, as IR suggests, made some decent signings and should continue to progress assuming that Woods signs for 2024 and Vernon prospers in a new environment – and what has gone wrong with 2019 star sprinter Ackermann who should be at the peak of his powers?

    For this reader it’s sad to see Froome adrift at the bottom of their points ranking. Is he still enjoying his supposed £5m contract?

  7. I see some extra results coming in from Hong Kong and the pan America games. PCS seems to have a reasonable number of UCI points attached to them.
    Are they counting for this year or next.

    • Next year… otherwise this piece would have been delayed a week to wait for the end of the season ;-).

      As a rule (2.1.001) any race after the final World Tour event of the season marks the start of the next season. It’s a bit unusual as we have the Japan Cup, Guanxi, Vendée etc one weekend and then the 2024 season starts the next weekend, only for nothing to happen until well into January.

      • This is kind of wild.
        Is there a specific reason for not just using a Jan-Feb year, like any normal person would expect? It’s not like HongKong or Pan America are out of this world and wouldn’t celebrate the new year at 31.12./1.1.
        Makes no sense to me at all.

      • If they are going to stick to that rule, wouldn’t it then make sense to have an official ‘off-season’, so that for instance no UCI races take place for a month after the last WT race? create a bit of separation

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