Traditional top cycling nations like France and Netherlands risk being represented by only six riders each at this year’s UCI Road World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The size of the squads are decided from the world and continental rankings as of August 15 and with the deadline fast approaching, some of the sport’s biggest nations could be faced with reduced numbers at next month’s race.
The top 10 nations on the world rankings are allowed nine riders in the men’s elite race. After the Clasica San Sebastian - and with only Tour de Pologne to be decided before August 15 - those nations are Spain, Italy, Australia, Germany, Russia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Great Britain, USA and Norway.
Norway, in 10th position, has 332 points while the Czech Republic - thanks to Roman Kreuziger’s second place in San Sebastian - now has 321. Since there are no Czechs in the Tour de Pologne there will be no more points for the republic, meaning it will have to make do with only three riders since it is too far behind on the European ranking to get six riders.
France’s gap to Norway is 31 points and for the Netherlands the gap is 49 points. The situation gets even more complicated for France and Norway, since only the five best riders of each nation in the individual ranking count in the nations ranking.
This means that France needs at least an unlikely second place in Poland while the Netherlands could cover the gap with a fifth place or better. None of the French or Dutch riders in the Polish tour have taken any points in the world ranking so far though.
The alternative way of qualifying for the nations outside the world’s top 10 is the various continental rankings. France and the Netherlands are in second and third position in the Europe Tour ranking and will be allowed six riders as a result.
The news isn’t as good for the Czech Republic in 23rd place in the Europe Tour ranking. The Czech Republic wouldn’t qualify for the Worlds at all on its nations standings in the world and European rankings, however there is a safety net for nations in this position. Nations with riders on the individual world ranking are allowed to start one rider in the world championships and if the nation, as is the case with the Czech Republic, has a rider in the top 100 of the world ranking it is allowed three riders.
Ireland will also benefit from this rule, with the nation able to field three riders thanks to Daniel Martin’s 46th place on the world ranking.