The UCI has revealed that 23 teams have confirmed their interest in applying for WorldTour status for 2020-2022, with Arkea-Samsic, Vital Concept, Cofidis, Direct Energie and Israel Cycling Academy joining the current 18 WorldTour teams in the list of names intending to compete in the sport's highest division.
Under new rules for the next three-year phase of the men’s WorldTour, up to 20 teams can secure places after a recent rule change by the UCI.
The list includes Team Ineos, which will replace Team Sky on May 1 if the practicalities of the transfer of ownership are completed and approved by the UCI.
The current 18 WorldTour teams will be assured a place if they finish the 2019 season in the top 20 places in the retrospective three-year world ranking for UCI men's teams covering points scored in 2017, 2018 and 2019 by each teams’ 10 best riders.
If any of the five Professional Continental teams who have confirmed their interest are ranked in the top 18 of the world ranking for UCI men's teams, then they will also be deemed to have satisfied the sporting criteria. If two teams finish in the top 18 of the ranking, then the WorldTour for 2020-2022 will be expanded to 20 teams rather then the usual 18.
This is a new rule introduced just for the 2020-2022 period, with Cyclingnews understanding it was done to avoid the risk of a potential legal challenge from a current team due to the late introduction of the three-year retrospective points system.
To secure WorldTour status, teams have to satisfy sporting, ethical, financial, organisational and administrative rules when they apply for WorldTour places in the autumn.
The 23 teams are: AG2R La Mondiale, Arkea-Samsic, Astana Pro Team, B&B Hotels Vital Concept, Bahrain Merida, Bora-hansgrohe, CCC Team, Cofidis, Deceuninck-QuickStep, Direct Energie, EF Education First, Groupama-FDJ, Israel Cycling Academy, Lotto Soudal, Movistar Team, Mitchelton-Scott, Team Jumbo-Visma, Team Katusha-Alpecin, Team Ineos (Team Sky), Team Sunweb, Dimension Data, Trek-Segafredo, UAE Team Emirates.