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21 teams apply for 18 WorldTour spots, three squads in fight for final Women’s WorldTour place

Alpecin-Deceuninck, Arkéa-Samsic, and Uno-X seek promotion to men's WorldTour as Lotto Soudal and Israel Premier Tech hope to avoid relegation.

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Some 21 men’s teams have applied for a WorldTour license for 2023 with Alpecin-Deceuninck, Arkéa-Samsic, and Uno-X all looking to earn promotion from the second tier, the UCI has confirmed.

Meanwhile, Lotto Soudal and Israel-Premier Tech — two teams that have battled it out all season to avoid regulation — have applied for a licence, but look destined to be ProTeams from next season. A final call on who does and doesn’t get licenses will not be made until mid-December.

There is also a fight on for the final Women’s WorldTeam license for 2023 with three teams applying for a place in the top tier. Plantur-Pura, Ceratizit-WNT, and AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step have all applied for promotion.

The UCI’s new promotion and relegation system for the men combines the team standings over the past three seasons and requires teams to rank in the top 18 to be considered for a WorldTour license. Any ProTeams that can make it in will be offered automatic promotion, while WorldTeams that don’t make the cut risk demotion.

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Both Alpecin-Deceuninck and Arkéa-Samsic have done enough to meet the UCI’s sporting criteria to step up to WorldTour. Arkéa-Samsic scraped in by just under 1,000 points ahead of Lotto-Soudal after it lost its points earned at the Tour de France after Nairo Quintana was disqualified following two positive tests for tramadol.

Quintana has appealed the case and a decision on that is yet to be made, but the outcome will not impact the awarding of licenses for next year given that the Arkéa has done enough to stay in the top 10.

Uno-X is fighting a tough battle to gain promotion as it is 22nd in the standings and would need four teams ahead of it to be rejected by the UCI’s licensing committee before it stood a chance of making it up.

The new promotion and relegation system for the men’s WorldTour has brought plenty of controversy with Israel-Premier Tech boss Sylvan Adams threatening to sue the UCI if his team is demoted. Despite this, UCI president David Lappartient has stayed firm and said that he believes the system will withstand any lawsuits.

Fighting for the last Women’s WorldTeam license

Over in the Women’s WorldTour, the system is seeing its first tussle for places as it enters its fourth year. Currently, just 15 WorldTeam licenses are available, and the UCI had hoped the series would be full by now. However, a shortfall in the second season means it has been racing with 14 for the past season.

Only 13 teams have made their application for a license for next year with Human Powered Health missing from the list of names published by the UCI Wednesday evening. The team was one of the new entries into the WorldTour for 2022.

Contacted by VeloNews, the team said that it had applied for a license for 2023 but a delay in paperwork meant it was not on the list. The team has until the December deadline to get its paperwork in order. The men’s squad has the same issue and was missing from the list of ProTeam applications.

“Human Powered Health is not on the UCI’s initial list of teams for 2023. Fear not, though, we will still be mixing it up in the UCI ProTour and Women’s WorldTour,” a Human Powered Health spokesman told VeloNews. “This is due to an administrative delay with the bank in charge of our team guarantee. We changed banks this year, and it took them a little longer to get off the start line with this than we hoped.

“Human Powered Health’s funding for 2023 is all in place, and we are busy building towards an exciting new season as the guarantee is processed.”

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It’s not uncommon for teams to be missing from the initial list for late paperwork and Human Powered Health has around six weeks to get it in order. Should the team get that ready by December, it has a safe seat in the WorldTour for 2023.

That means there’s just one spot available for Plantur-Pura (which is on the list under Team Ciclismo Mundial), Ceratizit-WNT, and AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step. Should the teams hit the four main criteria of financial, administrative, ethical, and organizational, their position in the overall standings will be the final deciding factor.

Unlike the men’s WorldTour, ranking positions will be taken on points earned during 2022 alone.

Plantur-Pura is the top-ranked of these teams and looks like the one most likely to go up. Ceratizit-WNT is just over 400 points behind and would be the next in line if Plantur-Pura missed any of the other criteria.

AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step is the least likely of the teams to be awarded a license as it is the furthest down the standings. The team has previously told VeloNews that it is hoping for the UCI to make an exception for the team, but that its best shot at the WorldTour will come in 2024.

All 15 spots in the Women’s WorldTour will be available from 2024 with points from this year and the next being added together to create the final rankings.

Men’s teams applying for registration as a UCI WorldTeam (that have submitted the essential documents):

• AG2R CITROEN TEAM
• ALPECIN – DECEUNINCK
• ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM
• BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS
• BORA – HANSGROHE
• COFIDIS
• EF EDUCATION – EASYPOST
• GREENEDGE CYCLING
• GROUPAMA – FDJ
• INEOS GRENADIERS
• TEAM INTERMARCHÉ
• ISRAEL – PREMIERTECH
• JUMBO-VISMA
• LOTTO DSTNY
• MOVISTAR TEAM
• SOUDAL QUICK-STEP
• TEAM ARKEA – SAMSIC
• TEAM DSM
• TREK – SEGAFREDO
• UAE TEAM EMIRATES
• UNO-X PRO CYCLING TEAM.

Women’s teams applying for registration as a UCI Women’s WorldTeam (that have submitted the essential documents):

• CANYON // SRAM RACING
• EF EDUCATION – TIBCO – SVB
• FDJ – SUEZ
• GREENEDGE CYCLING
• ISRAEL PREMIER TECH ROLAND
• LIV RACING XSTRA
• MOVISTAR TEAM WOMEN
• TEAM DSM
• TEAM JUMBO – VISMA
• TEAM SD WORX
• TREK – SEGAFREDO
• UAE TEAM ADQ
• UNO-X PRO CYCLING TEAM.

Women’s teams applying for a UCI Women’s WorldTour licence and registration as a UCI Women’s WorldTeam (that have submitted the essential documents):

• AG INSURANCE – SOUDAL QUICK-STEP TEAM
• CERATIZIT – WNT PRO CYCLING TEAM
• TEAM CICLISMO MUNDIAL.