This June we have had the races before the Tour de France with almost all the stars of the peloton racing that were not injured or recovering after the Giro d’Italia. UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma have continued to share most of the victories at WorldTour level and the fight to win the team ranking is still very tight. Below them, Uno-X have managed to overtake TotalEnergies and could get the automatic wildcards to the WorldTour classics next season for the first time in their history.
Ahead of the national championships week, the gap between UAE and Jumbo-Visma is less than 400 points. Even though Pogačar has not raced since his crash in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, UAE has excelled in the Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse with second places for Adam Yates and Ayuso, as well as the surprise stage win contribution from Bjerg. This has kept them ahead of Jumbo, who dominated the Dauphiné with Vingegaard and Laporte. It looks like the fight to win the ranking will be tight until October between the two super-teams.
Whilst both teams are improving their numbers from last season, UAE is benefiting more from the 20 riders scoring rule change instead of the 10 that applied last year. UAE has participated in 54 races so far (20 more than Jumbo) and therefore can spread opportunities to almost every rider in the team. As you can see in the graph below, UAE has more riders scoring a fair amount of points, while Jumbo has more defined leaders.
On another note, Astana has finally managed to reduce the gap to the relegation zone thanks to the 660 UCI points gained at the Asian Championships, where they won the road race, the ITT and the mixed relay. All the continental championships distribute the same amount of points, even though the European championships are by far the most competitive ones. Astana is now about 2,000 points behind Jayco Alula, which marks the salvation zone, and about 1,000 points behind Arkéa – Samsic, the other WorldTour team currently at risk of relegation.
Speaking of the Breton team, Arkéa has announced the arrival of B&B Hotels as a co-sponsor from next year, which will allow them to undertake quality signings (Arnaud Démare is rumored) that will increase the team’s chances of staying in the WorldTour in the long term. It is important that both Astana and Arkéa (the two WorldTeams in the relegation zone) do not finish the season too far behind, otherwise a comeback in the last two years of the triennium will be difficult.
In the graph above we can see the points obtained so far in June. Ineos has been the worst WorldTeam in the preparatory races for the Tour de France, when a few years ago they were favorites in every race in which they competed. The British team will arrive at the Tour led by Egan Bernal and Carlos Rodriguez, the latter of whom’s preparation was affected by a broken collarbone in the Strade Bianche and a training accident in April, where he damaged his knee.
Movistar is also losing the positive momentum they had in the first months of the season, although the Tour and Vuelta, the team’s two main goals, are still to come. On the positive side, Ag2r stands out. Despite not typically shining in most WorldTour races, the French team achieved another podium in the Dauphiné with O’Connor and a stage win in Switzerland with the surprising Felix Gall.
In the previous article we compared the UCI points earned in the Giro with those that would have been distributed with the old scoring system. At this point in the year, it is also representative to compare the total points for the season with both scoring systems, as you can see in the following graph.
The teams that score the most points in the continental and ProSeries calendar are the ones that suffer the most from the new system. Uno-X only increased its points by 23%, Lotto Dstny by 27% and Cofidis by 28%. On the other hand, Ineos has 59% more points than they would have under the old system, with Israel and Bora at 57% and 54% more respectively. In short, the teams that perform best in the WorldTour races and with a deep roster benefit. Under the old system, Uno-X would be “only” 800 UCI points below Jayco, while in reality this year they are at a 2,000 UCI points margin, with little chance of moving up to the WorldTour at the end of the three-year period.
After the large number of points taken by the breakaways in the Giro, perhaps this new scoring system means that in the Tour de France some teams will be looking more for breakaways than defending places in the top 15 of the general classification. In the interactive chart below, you can see the points of the riders of the 22 teams participating in the Tour de France.
In the battle for the 2024 WorldTour wildcards, Lotto Dstny and Israel – Premier Tech hold a comfortable and stable lead. However, Uno-X has overtaken TotalEnergies as the third ProTeam and would now have guaranteed wildcards for the 2024 WorldTour Classics and Monuments. The Norwegians have won the Dwars door het Hageland (1.Pro) with Rasmus Tiller and the ITT of the Baloise Belgium Tour (2.Pro) with Søren Wærenskjold and will participate in their first Tour de France this July.
While Uno-X’s goal is to move up to the WorldTour, obtaining these automatic wildcards would be a first small step. For example, so far they have never received invitations to classics organized by RCS, such as Milano-Sanremo, Strade Bianche or Il Lombardia.
The 2023 nation rankings (up to the Tour of Guangxi) will be considered to allocate places for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. In the men’s rankings, the fight for a maximum of 4 riders is still very close, although Denmark has climbed to second position. Both the Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse have been won by Danish riders Vingegaard and Skjelmose. In addition, less than 200 points separate the United States and Colombia for the tenth position, which allows 3 riders to take part in the road race. The termination of the Quintana and Lopez contracts at the end of 2022 has certainly made it more difficult for Colombia to finish in the top10.
As for the women’s ranking, the Netherlands and Italy have a great advantage to take 4 cyclists to Paris 2024, but behind them no nation is guaranteed to take the maximum number of cyclists. It should be remembered that only the points of the 5 best cyclists per nation are added to calculate the women’s national ranking, while in the men’s ranking the points of the 8 best cyclists per nation are taken into account.