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 wit 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.
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.
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.