Right before Christmas the UCI announced a new points system which will be in effect from 2023. It will change how many teams target races, especially Grand Tours, where points for individual stages have been increased by multiple factors. Whilst we explained last week how the new points are distributed, in this article we will analyse which riders might gain the most from this adjusted system.
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.
The exciting 2022 season has officially ended, although we have known for a few weeks that Lotto Soudal and Israel - Premier Tech would be the two relegated teams. Therefore, in this final article we are going to focus on analysing the keys of the relegation battle, thanks to a series of graphs that will help us understand how each team has faced this challenge.
The WorldTour calendar has concluded and we can already safely say that Lotto Soudal and Israel-Premier Tech will be the two relegated teams if the UCI implements its regulations*. Unfortunately, the relegation battle did not make it to the Tour de Langkawi alive, after a disastrous management by Lotto Soudal in the last few weeks. Although they were unlucky, it seems that the Belgians gave up too soon, not fielding Caleb Ewan in the last month of competition and even announcing the dismissal of CEO John Lelangue when the team still had a chance of salvation.
Israel – Premier Tech is Virtually Relegated whilst the World Championships Save EF & BikeExchange | Relegation Battle
The last two weeks of classics and the World Championships have clarified the situation in the relegation battle. Movistar, BikeExchange and EF have practically secured their WorldTour status, so now Cofidis and Arkéa, tied on points, seem to be the only teams within Lotto's reach, although it will be a very difficult mission for the Belgians. On the other hand, Israel - Premier Tech has not found a miracle and will not be a WorldTour team in 2023 if the UCI does implement the relegation system.
Teams Lobby the UCI, Mas Liberates Movistar & Israel – Premier Tech Struggle Again | Relegation Battle
The Vuelta and the alternative calendar of the last three weeks have been decisive for the teams involved in the relegation battle. Movistar has finally seen the light in La Vuelta, while Lotto or Arkéa have made good use of the alternative calendar. On the other hand, Israel - Premier Tech's chances of salvation are minimal, with 15% of the 2022 points remaining to be distributed and a deficit of 1375 points to Cofidis.
Nairo Quintana's disqualification from the Tour de France 2022 has further twisted the course of the already exciting relegation battle. After taking it for granted that Arkéa would be promoted to the WorldTour, the French team has been dragged back into contention. With 26% of the 2022 points still to be distributed, we have six teams within a 1000 point margin, although Lotto and Israel are respectively 600 and 1000 points away from safety.
The relegation battle continues to be exciting, although the range of teams with a high chance of relegation is narrowing. After Arensman's podium finish at the Tour de Pologne, DSM is no longer considered a team at risk, while BikeExchange is in an increasingly comfortable situation after an incredible summer. Israel Premier-tech remain in a delicate position in sporting terms, but have pulled off a coup in the offices with the mid-season transfer of Dylan Teuns.
This brilliant Tour de France has left a very tight ranking in terms of the relegation battle, with 6 teams within 1000 point margin, including Israel, Lotto, BikeExchange, Movistar, Cofidis and EF. Now we face the last third of the season with everything to decide and a multitude of continental races in which the teams involved will have to race strategically to keep their WorldTour licence.
We arrive at the Tour de France with the most equal ranking of the whole season, 8 teams separated by less than 1800 points and only 21 points between Lotto Soudal and BikeExchange, on either side of the relegation zone. Up until the National Championships, we estimate that 59% of the total points for the 2022 season have been distributed, so there are still many opportunities for the teams in the relegation zone to save themselves or ample time for those in a precarious position to fall late.