With just over a month to the start of the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen, the team allocations have been decided, with Belgium, Spain, Great Britain, Italy and the home nation Norway among the teams who have secured a maximum of nine riders for the men's events. The USA, Ireland and Slovakia, the team of defending champion Peter Sagan, will be able to take six riders to the Worlds.
Other teams that have secured the maximum number of riders in the elite men's competition are Colombia, France, Australia, the Netherlands and Germany. Last season, Germany missed out on the opportunity to take nine riders, but big points hauls from Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb have helped to propel them back into the top 10 of the UCI's nations ranking.
Denmark, Luxembourg and Russia have qualified for six places, while New Zealand, Austria and Canada have three spots in the road race. Dan Martin's 11th place in the individual standings has played a large part in Ireland getting six spots for the Worlds. Alexander Kristoff's European Championships and RideLondon wins helped to hold off a late surge from Poland and Michal Kwiatkowski to ensure the maximum riders in their home event.
In the women's competition, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, the USA and Great Britain have been allocated the maximum number of seven riders. Britain scraped through, sitting fifth in the nations rankings just 45 points ahead of Poland. Belgium and Poland, along with defending champions Denmark, Germany and Canada, will be allowed to take six riders.
Home nation Norway has enjoyed a good season with some strong performances coming from Hitec Products and will be allowed to take five riders, up from the three they had last year, as will France, Spain and South Africa. Sweden, Cuba and Russia are among those that have earned the right to bring five riders to Bergen.
The qualification system
The qualification system is a little more straightforward than in previous seasons. It has been gradually changed over the last two years after there was consternation surrounding some no-shows at the 2015 Worlds in Richmond.
The cut-off for qualification was Tuesday, August 15, with the top 10 nations in the men's world ranking automatically awarded nine slots for the elite men's road race, while the top five nations in the women's world standings can take seven riders to the women's event.
For the men, the nations ranked between 11th and 20th are awarded six spots, 21-30 can take three, and 31-50 are provisionally awarded one slot. This means a minimum of 200 riders should be on the start line, but that can increase, with any nation not in the top 50 but with a rider ranked in the top 200 of the individual standings able to take a rider to the Worlds. The world road race champion, Olympic road race champion, and any continental road race champions that haven't already qualified through the above provisions are also allowed a spot, regardless of their ranking.
Teams must inform the UCI of how much of their quota they will use, and if there will be less than 200 riders on the start line, places can be reallocated.
For the women's event, the teams ranked from sixth to 15th are allocated six slots, and 16th to 20th can bring five riders. The remaining teams are awarded three places.
Under the regulations, each qualified nation gets two entries into the time trial, with the world champion getting a slot in addition to those already given to their nation. Therefore, Germany and the USA can take three riders, provided one of those is the defending world champion.
Continental champions also get the same honour, giving the Netherlands and Belgium an extra place for their wins at the European championships earlier this month. For the men, Eritrea, Australia, Ukraine and Chile can also take an additional rider, while China, Australia, the USA and Mauritius have an extra place should they wish to use it.