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Relegation watch - Movistar drop to 18th in UCI WorldTour team rankings

Israel-Premier Tech
Israel-Premier Tech are up against the WorldTour relegation system (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

In the week since the end of the Tour de France, there have been four races that have had an impact on the UCI World Rankings for 2020-2022, the all-important number that will determine which 18 teams will be eligible for the WorldTour in 2023. With some key results from BikeExchange-Jayco and EF Education-EasyPost, it's Movistar who find themselves dipping to the bottom of the 'safe' zone.

This week's movement is thanks largely to the idiosyncrasies of the rules where only the top 10 scoring riders of the year count toward the team rankings. Read more about how the UCI WorldTour points system works.

Lotto Soudal and Israel-Premier Tech remain in the relegation zone, although the Belgian team took advantage of the Tour de Wallonie on home soil to continue to claw their way out of the danger zone, earning 110 points thanks to Arnaud De Lie's stage win and Maxim Van Gils' seventh place and Harm Vanhoucke's 12th in the overall.

Israel-Premier Tech, in comparison, gained only 64 points in the same period mainly because the riders who scored the most weren't in their top 10. Giacomo Nizzolo's results, a stage win at the 2.1-ranked Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and 15th on GC, and Carl Frederik Hagen's minor placings counted, but Jenthe Bierman's 30 points for eighth on GC did not. Omer Goldstein's ninth place moved him onto the team's top 10 and earned 40 points - dropping Krists Neiland's points out of their total.

Lotto Soudal and Israel-Premier Tech are separated by a thin margin of just 157 points but they have over 4,000 on TotalEnergies, whose hopes of moving into the WorldTour are fading fast. The next rung up - 18th place - is 763 points away and now held by the Movistar Team.

15th-18th

The rest of the WorldTour teams can't let their guard down but they should be breathing a little easier now that the gap to 19th is growing. EF Education-EasyPost, Cofidis, BikeExchange-Jayco and Movistar are separated by just 180 points but that gap will yawn out during the Vuelta a España unless Lotto Soudal or Israel can pull off a major GC result.

Movistar dipped below both BikeExchange-Jayco and EF Education-EasyPost into 18th because only four of their top 10 riders scored points. With some major home races coming up, like the Vuelta a Burgos and the Vuelta a España, they will more than likely build on their tally and not drop that far in the rankings.

After struggling during the Tour de France, the team were mid-pack this week thanks to Alex Aranburu's 50 points between Circuito de Getxo (40 for sixth) and his second in stage 1 of Tour de Wallonie, worth 10. Alejandro Valverde picked up 25 in Getxo for ninth, and Anthony Pedrero gained 24 for 19th in San Sebastian.

BikeExchange-Jayco, meanwhile, had a strong week with Simon Yates winning the overall Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and a stage and a sixth place in the Clasica San Sebastian that together earned 279 of the team's 287 points this week. They lead Movistar by an estimated 68 points.

EF Education-EasyPost built upon their Tour de France momentum by climbing over Cofidis into 15th, although it's by a miniscule 6 points. Georg Steinhauser's 25th place at Circuito de Getxo (3 pt), James Shaw's 70 for sixth in Tour de Wallonie and Jonathan Caicedo's 60 from Castilla y Leon didn't count since they're not in the team's top 10.

Rigoberto Urán's 80 points for ninth place in San Sebastian, Esteban Chavez's 27 points between Castilla y Leon (3 for 25th on GC) and Ben Healy's 10 points for 15th on GC in Wallonie made up their point haul this week.

The real battle will be fought for which two ProTeams will be the top two ranked at the end of 2022 and get the honour of automatic invitations to the major races like the Tour de France. It's been Arkéa-Samsic and Alpecin-Deceuninck for the past two years but those two teams soared up the 2020-2023 rankings and will more than likely be in the WorldTour.

Whoever is relegated, assuming they will continue as a ProTeam, as Lotto Soudal have indicated they would, will be up against the wall for results through October - and not only results in general, but results from their top 10 riders.

Lotto Soudal are in a comfortable position this year, currently 12th in the 2022 rankings and an 852-point lead over the next-ranked current ProTeam, TotalEnergies. Israel-Premier Tech have 433 points to make up to get over the French team. The Vuelta a España will be extremely important for the team's future.

Movistar, BikeExchange-Jayco, EF Education-EasyPost, Team DSM and Astana are all behind TotalEnergies so far this year - all the more motivation to keep an eye on the points and not dip behind Lotto Soudal in the three-year stats.

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Laura Weislo

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.