The New WorldTour Points System Explained

Wollongong – Australia – cycling – UCI President David Lappartient pictured during 89th World Championships The UCI Congress 2022 in Wollongong – Photo: Simon Wilkinson/SWPix/Cor Vos © 2022

Following complaints from numerous teams about the WorldTour’s promotion and relegation system, the UCI has published new regulations with significant changes. The rule amendment has been published less than a month before the start of the new 2023-2025 triennium, whose cumulative ranking will determine which 18 teams will be part of the WorldTour in 2026-2028.

In summary, there have been three important changes, which will be discussed in more detail below:

  1. The UCI points scale gives much more importance to Grand Tours and Monuments, as well as to stages in WorldTour stage races.
  2. The UCI World Ranking for teams, both annually and across the triennium, will take into account the 20 best riders of each team, instead of 10 as at present.
  3. Teams relegated by the sporting criterion will have automatic invitations in 2023 for the entire UCI WorldTour, except for the Grand Tours. In practice, this allows Israel – Premier Tech to receive automatic invitations to all one week WorldTour stage races, even though they did not qualify for them under the rules in force during the 2020-22 triennium.

UCI Points Allocation

The UCI has revolutionised the scoring system for the next three years (2023-2025), with the objective of incentivising the best riders to participate in the most important races. To this end, they have multiplied by a factor of 1.6x the points allocated to the Monuments and the Road Race of the World Championships and Olympic Games. The points in the general classification of the Grand Tours and the ITT of the World Championships and Olympic Games have also been multiplied by a factor of 1.3x.

However, the most impactful change is the value of stages in Grand Tours and the rest of the WorldTour stage races. Whereas before only the top 5 in a Grand Tour stage and the top 3 in the rest of the WorldTour stages were awarded points, in 2023 the top 15 in a Grand Tour stage and the top 10 in the rest of the WorldTour stages will be awarded points. In addition, a much higher value will be given on places of honour in the stages. For example, in 2022 an individual stage in the Tour distributed a total of 240 UCI points, whereas in 2023 it will distribute 935 UCI points, a 290% increase.

In the following image, you can see the new scoring system, with the new Monuments category, differentiated from the rest of the classics. We recommend you to download it in high resolution from here.

Based on the calendar contested in 2022, this change in the scoring system means that there are 28% more UCI points at stake (308,903 vs. 241,027). But as the scoring of the continental circuit races has virtually remained the same (except for a slight increase in points for the ProSeries stages), this smaller calendar will see its importance reduced. Whereas under the previous scoring system the continental calendar shared half of the available UCI points, in 2023 it will share 40%.

As we can see in the graph, the most important races (Grand Tour, Monuments and Worlds) will now have a much higher weight (36% vs 23%). This was a demand from many WorldTeams and even fans, although it will hurt teams that do not have automatic access to those races, like Uno-X. The new scoring system will also benefit ProTeams that have wildcards for WorldTour races in 2023 (such as Lotto, Total and Israel) over those that do not (Uno-X and the rest), as they will be more likely to keep the invitations season after season with immediate access to the most profitable races.

Also the weight of the classics (except for the Monuments) is reduced in favour of stages in stage races. In 2022, all teams at risk of relegation added a large number of minor classics to their calendar, but from 2023 they will have to look for more places of honour in WorldTour stages. The forgotten riders of the previous points system, breakaway stage hunting specialists and consistent stage race sprinters, are suddenly much more valuable under the new scoring system. For example, Hugh Carthy targeted breakaway stages in the second-half of the Giro d’Italia 2022, placing fourth on the stages to Cogne and Lavarone, earning him a paltry 24 UCI points.

Hugh Carthy (GBR / Team EF Education – Nippo) pictured during 105th Giro dÕItalia 2022 – (2.UWT) – stage 15 from Rivarolo Canavese to Cogne (177KM) – Photo: Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2022

Under the new system, Carthy would have scored 160 points across both stages, a 567% increase. In the bunch sprints, Alberto Dainese scored 108 points across the three weeks of Il Giro 2022, but in 2023 he would have scored 370 points for his victory and five top 10 placements.

While most of the changes are logical, the UCI has left the door open to some schedule ‘optimisation’. For example, Continental Championships outside Europe still award 250 points to the winner of the road race (more than a stage of the Tour) and National Championships (some with a very low sporting level) still award 100 points to the winner of the road race.

20 Riders Count per Team

From 2023, the UCI World Team Ranking, used for the relegation battle ranking and to hand out automatic wildcards annually, will take into account the top 20 riders per team instead of the top 10. According to the UCI, this “will help to reduce the pressure currently imposed on only a limited number of riders, which can lead to a number of negative consequences (risks of injury, excessive number of race days, temptation to doping, etc.)”.

To better understand the impact of the new measure, the following graph shows how the 2020-2022 ranking would have changed if the top 20 riders had been taken into account. Lotto Soudal and Israel – Premier Tech would have been relegated anyway, although Israel would have been much closer to salvation.

The teams most dependent on their leaders (Jumbo, Alpecin, Movistar or BikeExchange) would have added the least percentage of points. ProTeams with shorter squads or without 20 riders capable to score points, such as Uno-X, Bingoal or Q36.5, will also be disadvantaged in 2023. Teams such as Quickstep or UAE Team Emirates, with large race programs and a deep pool of riders capable of scoring points, should be advantaged by this change.

The Israel Rule

The latest and perhaps most unexpected change is the UCI’s decision to “gift” Israel with invitations to all one week WorldTour stage races in 2023. It is worth remembering that Israel Premier Tech finished third in the ranking that awarded the 2023 wildcards and had therefore only won the wildcards to the one day WorldTour races on sporting merit. The UCI has clarified that the measure is temporary only for 2023, “coming as it does after three years of significant upheaval due to the global pandemic.”

This emergency measure by the UCI has surely calmed down Israel – Premier Tech owner Sylvan Adams after the millionaire threatened to sue the UCI for the implementation of the relegation system. Israel are also a favourite for the Giro and Tour discretionary organiser wildcards, so they will not feel the effects of the relegation as much, with the Vuelta being the only major race they will likely be absent from in 2023. The extra invitation for Israel takes a wildcard away from the organisers of one week WorldTour races and hurts again modest teams like Uno-X, Q36.5 or Kern Pharma.

The only constant about the UCI points and relegation system is that it is always changing, this time at very short notice. In imperfect systems there will always be winners and losers from structural changes such as these, with teams like UNO-X surely aggrieved by new regulations that make their path to WorldTour promotion more difficult. However if the changes function as intended, there may be some positives for the fans, with teams like Lotto-DSTNY now incentivised to send superstar Arnaud de Lie to more major stage races rather than entirely focussing on a local calendar.

  1. Always a must-read! 👏🏻
    In your personal opinion will the “Sylvan Adams” rule actually help his team score more points? their squad seems weaker than it was last year so i don’t see them scoring many points in the 2.UWT races, even if they send their best riders, what would hurt their ability to score points at smaller races that occur at the same time.

    Also it seems like a bad decision from the UCI to publish the rules change a week before 2023 and not much earlier when teams could’ve had times to perhaps sign other riders or tweak the training program, well unless the teams were told about these future changes in advance.

    1. Good article indeed.

      And announcement is too late indeed.

      The fact they have starting right (not obligation) is obviously a plus for Israel. Also the increased points are obviously an advantage I think. They have more GC guys than Total and Lotto. Lotto also only has 26 riders under contract.

      Short term only those two teams and Uno-X matter. If they do a lot more races than some of the WorlTour teams, they will promote again. But being in the top 2 of the ProTour teams is crucial for that promotion.

      Lotto should now hire extra racers and also fully use the advantages of its development team (Total does not have a development team).

  2. Overall I like the changes, and think they are all going in the right direction. I wonder if they have overshot the mark on some of them though.

    The increase in points for stage wins is great. A stage win at the TdF worth more than a ProSeries win makes sense. I’m just not sure placings down to 15 needed points though. Maybe points just to the top 10 would have been enough.

    Counting the top 20 riders seems an overshoot as well. I agree that the top 10 was too few. Was the “reasoning” to make sure domestiques didn’t feel pressure ? Maybe just the top 15 would be better.

    Maybe next year, or in three years, we will see refinements and adjustments again, perhaps backing down a bit on these changes.

    1. Agree that top 15 would have been better.

      Top 20 is really bad for the protour teams with only 20 racers (although their chance to end up in the top 2 or promotion spots is low).

      Also Lotto is kind of forced to hire 4 extra racers to score I think. There are still some options, but they are limited. They could also promote racers out of the development team whose points then probably count when they race with the development team in .1 and .pro races? It might remove their opportunity to do .2 races?

      As for the top 15 spots that count in the Tour de France I like it for Tour de France as those positions still count for the Green Jersey. And for other stage races it is logical only the top 10 counts.

      For the one day races, up the top 60 counts. I think that should be changed. For 1.1 races, you could count top 20, for top 30, for 1.UWT top 40 and for monuments top 50.

      Or even less points: top 10 for 1.1., top 15 for, top 20 for worst UWT, top 25 for best UWT and top 30 for monuments. I am suprised they didnt change points in the one day races.

  3. The reasoning is that under the old system we reached a point near the end of the year where riders outside the top 10 on good form had to domestique for riders in the top 10 because otherwise they wouldn’t score any points.

  4. Silly question, if you will: are all WT teams safe now until the next triennium in ‘26, or do we go again next year, for the final year of the past three?
    PS, I refresh this page most days for the next instalment, keep up the great work.

    1. Everyone keeps their WT license for the next 3 years based on the promotion / relegation system. Of course some teams may fold or lose their license for financial or other reasons, but promotion / relegation is only on a 3 year cycle.

      The wildcards for the Proteams like Lotto, Israel and TotalEnergies is determined annually though

  5. En principio me pareció que aumentar la puntuación en carreras WT era necesario y merecido, en cuanto eso me parece correcto, sin embargo el análisis conlleva al problema de la factibilidad de que los actuales equipos WT de desempeño medio bajo y Pro con invitación a las pruebas WT se mantengan ahí sin afanes y muy cómodos, y que equipos ProTour (especialmente los de licencias distintas a la española, francesa, italiana y belga) se vean tan damnificados en aspirar a ascender de categoría que tal vez varios prefieran migrar próximamente a continental. Creo que con esto se crea un veto.

    1. Los cambios favorecen la estabilidad de los equipos WT y dificultan los cambios y los ascensos. De todos modos, está bien que se mantenga el sistema de ascensos y descensos después de tantas presiones. Si los equipos de segunda división hacen bien su trabajo seguirán teniendo sus opciones de ascender, aunque sea un poco más difícil.

  6. Muchas gracias Raúl. Tremendo trabajo. Este post es de lectura obligatoria para cualquier persona que siga el ciclismo profesional.

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