UAE Pull Clear as Arkéa and Astana Fall Deep into relegation zone | UCI August Ranking Analysis

Oliva – Spain – cycling – Juan Ayuso (ESP – UAE Team Emirates) pictured during Vuelta Espana 2023 – 78th edition – stage 7 – Utiel : Oliva (200.8km) – Photo: Rafa Gomez/SCA/Cor Vos © 2023

With only a month and a half to go until the end of the season, we can see clear trends in the rankings. UAE Emirates is destined to win the annual ranking thanks to its great competitiveness in almost every race on the calendar. In addition, there is a clear divide between the top 18 teams and the rest, which puts Arkéa and Astana in a delicate situation in just the first year of the triennium.

2023 Ranking

As you can see, UAE has extended its lead over Jumbo-Visma to more than 2,000 points, in part due to Tim Wellens’ overall victory in the Renewi Tour. Matxin, UAE’s general manager, wants to win the UCI ranking for the first time in the team’s history and has brilliantly organised the goals of almost all UAE riders. For example, in this Vuelta a España we can see how the team is fighting the general classification with Ayuso, Almeida and Soler, but they have also lined up Molano for the sprints, who has earned more than 200 UCI points in the first week.

Even though Jumbo can cut some of that deficit in the final two weeks of La Vuelta, UAE will have a full calendar of Italian classics at the end of the season, where they will surely finish off their victory in the UCI rankings. Anyway, there is an even bigger gap between Jumbo, UAE and the rest of the teams. In the following graph, we can see how the sum of UCI points of UAE, Jumbo and Ineos has evolved. Jumbo finished the classics season in the lead, but UAE has been gaining ground ever since. Ineos was only at their level in the first two months of the season and during the Giro.

Regarding the other end of the table, DSM (18th team in the ranking) has had a great month of August, with the victory in the Vuelta TTT, Lorenzo Milesi’s U23 ITT World Championship and Matthew Dinham’s 7th place in the World Championships, among other outstanding results. This has caused Arkéa and Astana’s gap to the top18 to grow considerably. For the remainder of the 2023 season and the next two seasons, Arkéa will have to recover a disadvantage of almost 2,300 UCI points, while Astana will have to recover almost 3,000 UCI points.

To the benefit of Astana and Arkéa, they not only have the option of overtaking DSM, but Israel, Ag2r, Jayco, Intermarché, Movistar and Cofidis are also within a relatively manageable distance. Moreover, with so many teams involved, it’s likely that some of them will drop down a level in the coming seasons through either bad luck or bad management. Movistar in particular will miss Carlos Rodriguez, after Ineos paid the buyout fee to keep him. Perhaps we will see one of these teams rescue Nairo Quintana, as the Colombian was still very competitive in one-week stage races and was instrumental in Arkéa’s promotion to WorldTour in the previous triennium.

Both Arkéa and Astana are moving in the transfer market to improve their situation. Especially Arkéa, who added Arnaud Démare already in August and good points chasers like Vincenzo Albanese, Clément Venturini and Raúl García Pierna will arrive in 2024. However, Warren Barguil and Hugo Hofstetter will leave for two rival teams (DSM and Israel respectively). Astana is also signing logically, bringing in Lorenzo Fortunato, Max Kanter, Henok Mulubrhan, Ide Schelling and Anthon Charmig, all of whom can perform well on the ProSeries and continental calendar.

On the positive side, Lotto Dstny also stood out in August and is on track for a return to the WorldTour in 2026, already being more than 5,300 points clear of the relegation zone. Kron won in Barcelona in La Vuelta, while De Lie, Campenaerts and De Buyst have won 1.1 classics in Belgium and France. In addition, Florian Vermeersch took a strong second place in the GC of the Renewi Tour. The Belgian team has renewed De Lie until 2026, while it is still unknown if Ewan will continue next season, despite having a contract until 2024. If Ewan finally decides to stay for his final year, the team will need to try and repair the relationship so they can get the most out of the Australian sprinter before he leaves Lotto.

In the interactive chart below, you can see the points of all the riders of the 22 teams aiming for WorldTour licenses.

2024 Wildcards

With only a month and a half to go before the end of the season, it is already clear that Lotto and Israel will have wildcards to the entire 2024 WorldTour, including the Grand Tours. Israel will likely race all three Grand Tours, while Lotto will perhaps again forgo the Giro d’Italia to focus on a more suitable alternative calendar. Depending on whether or not Lotto gives up the Giro, there will be two or three wildcards available for the three Italian ProTeams (Bardiani, Eolo and Corratec) plus Tudor and Q36.5, which have signed valuable cyclists in the transfer market and have several Italian riders.

The remaining wildcard for the one-day races, including Monuments, is still up for grabs between Uno-X and TotalEnergies, although Uno-X maintains a lead of over 600 points. This would mean the debut of Uno-X in races such as Milano-Sanremo or Il Lombardia. As you can see in the graph below, Uno-X had a more discreet start to the season, but since June has made a leap in performance, which places them as the third ProTeam now. TotalEnergies is making a comeback, with Geoffrey Soupe’s victory in La Vuelta and the 2nd place of Mathieu Burgaudeau in Plouay, but Uno-X will also score UCI points in Belgian semi-classics in the coming weeks.

Olympic Rankings

The Olympic ranking, which determines the number of cyclists eligible for Paris 2024 per country, takes into account the points in the 2023 season of the top eight men and top five women per nation. This is especially important because there will only be 90 participants in both races and only the top five countries will be allowed to bring the maximum of four riders.

In the men’s ranking, Belgium, Denmark and Slovenia are virtually assured of participation with four riders, while Great Britain should secure it if the Yates brothers perform well in the Canadian classics. The most exciting fight is between France and Spain, the latter of whom is making a comeback in the Vuelta a España, with Ayuso, Mas, Soler and Landa in the top10 of the general classification. In addition, the United States has settled in tenth place in the rankings and will be able to take three riders, while Colombia will only be able to participate with two riders.

As for the women’s ranking, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium will participate with four cyclists in Paris 2024. However, there is still a very close fight between Switzerland, Australia, Great Britain and France to enter the top5. Also, Denmark and the United States are separated by only 50 points for the tenth position.

  1. Muy útil resulta tu trabajo, gracias.
    Tienes alguna información adicional sobre la posible unificación o compra de Soudal por parte de Ineos. Tengo la impresión que la repesca de Rodríguez daría a entender que ese tema ya no va.

  2. How much would it improve U.S. rankings in the Olympic qualifications if Sepp Kuss happened to hold on and win the Vuelta?

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