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UCI confirms WorldTour relegation-promotion rules will be enforced

Cycling governing body knocks back suggestions it will backtrack on its plans to award the next round of WorldTour licenses based on team rankings.

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QUEBEC, Canada (VN) — Cycling’s governing body confirmed Friday it will enforce its controversial relegation-promotion system for the next round of WorldTour licenses.

Despite rumors that the UCI was considering widening the WorldTour from 18 to 20 teams for 2023 and thus negate the risk of relegation for some teams, the governing body said Friday it will move forward with its ranking system it introduced in 2018.

“Contrary to recent public reporting, no decision to modify the rules in force has been taken,” a UCI statement read Friday.

“The UCI License Commission is charged with awarding UCI WorldTour licenses on the basis of the rules in force,” the UCI said. “The procedure will take place in November, and the UCI points acquired up until 18 October will be taken into account for the sporting criterion.”

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The blueprint to issue 18 WorldTour licenses is based in part on end-of-season points rankings taken during the past three seasons continues to roil the elite men’s peloton.

Teams on the bubble are refusing to let some of their top riders to attend the upcoming world championships in Australia because they want those riders to chase UCI points in other races.

Some are also warning that teams could shutter if they lose WorldTour status.

Right now, there are about a half dozen teams facing possible relegation. With little more than one month of racing left, teams are scrambling to secure points in order to save their spot in the WorldTour league.

There were also suggestions that teams on the relegation bubble could legally challenge the UCI points system, but the UCI statement reveals the cycling governing body is firmly sticking to its plans.

Here is the full UCI statement:

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) considers it essential that the process for awarding UCI WorldTour licenses remain fair and clear for all teams involved.

The UCI issues a reminder that for this, the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) had decided in Innsbruck in September 2018 to apply a sporting criterion for the allocation of UCI WorldTour licenses based on the number of points accumulated annually in the UCI World Ranking by each candidate team (UCI WorldTeam or UCI ProTeam) over a period of three years.

At the same time, the PCC had decided that 18 UCI WorldTour licenses would be awarded for the 2023-2025 period.

These decisions were taken unanimously by the PCC – which includes representatives of the AIGCP (teams), the CPA (riders) and the AIOCC (organizers) as well as the UCI – following a long and in-depth consultation with the different stakeholders.

The current regulation came into force on 1st January 2020 for a first cycle of three years (until the end of 2022).

Moreover, at its meeting of December 2020, the PCC confirmed that after an evaluation of the number of events organized during the 2020 season impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the points obtained during that season would be counted in the calculation of the sporting criterion for the period 2020-2022 and that 2020 would therefore be considered the first year of the ranking according to the sporting criterion.

Contrary to recent public reporting, no decision to modify the rules in force has been taken.

The UCI Licence Commission is charged with awarding UCI WorldTour licenses on the basis of the rules in force. The procedure will take place in November, and the UCI points acquired up until 18 October will be taken into account for the sporting criterion.