The Alpecin-Fenix squad are once again set to receive invites to all WorldTour races – including the three Grand Tours – in 2022, after ending the 2021 season as the best ProTeam on the UCI World Rankings.
The Belgian team, which is led by multi-discipline star Mathieu van der Poel, was sixth in the UCI's team's ranking, which combines all teams from the WorldTour, ProTeam, and Continental ranks.
Their 8,251-point haul saw them rank below WorldTour powerhouses Deceuninck-QuickStep, Ineos Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma, UAE Team Emirates, and Bahrain Victorious, and far ahead of the next-best ProTeam, Arkéa-Samsic, who were 17th with 5,000 points.
UCI regulations (2.1.007 bis) ensure that Alpecin-Fenix will now be automatically invited to the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España, as well as WorldTour one-day races like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, and stage races such as Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, and the Critérium du Dauphiné, in addition to the 19 WorldTour teams.
Arkéa-Samsic earned automatic invitations to all of the one-day races under the rules, and could still receive automatic invites to the Grand Tours and WorldTour stage races should Qhubeka NextHash (who missed the UCI's initial WorldTour filing deadline) dissolve or lose its WorldTeam status.
Peter Sagan's new TotalEnergies team, in 22nd on 3,192 points, were the next best ProTeam in the World Rankings, followed by Uno-X (2,848.17 points), and B&B Hotels p/b KTM (2,726 points).
Should the number of WorldTeams drop to 18 next year, Sagan's team would earn automatic invitations to all WorldTour one-day events but would have to be selected as a wildcard for the Grand Tours.
Unsurprisingly, Van der Poel was Alpecin-Fenix's top scoring rider, bringing in 2,461 points and finishing seventh in the world ranking for individual elite men. His points came via his podium places at the Tour of Flanders (400 points) and Paris-Roubaix (325 points), his Strade Bianche win (300 points), and his stage victory and time in yellow at the Tour de France (290 points).
Jasper Philipsen contributed 1,777 points via his wins at Eschborn-Frankfurt (300 points), at the GP Denain and Scheldeprijs (200 points each), and two stages at the Vuelta (200 points). Fellow sprinter Tim Merlier contributed 1,703 points, racking up 220 points with stage wins at the Tour and Giro, 500 via wins in 1.1-ranked races, and another 215 for taking third at Dwars door Vlaanderen.
Gianni Vermeersch, Kristian Sbaragli, Jonas Rickaert, Oscar Riesebeek, Ben Tulett, Xandro Meurisse, and Philipp Walsleben also contributed points ranging from 739 to 218 points towards the team's total.
The squad, managed by the Roodhooft brothers and already deep in the cyclo-cross season with Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, David van der Poel, and Puck Pieterse, is strengthening for the 2022 season, having already confirmed several incoming transfers.
Stefano Oldani (Lotto Soudal), Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Michael Gogl (Qhubeka NextHash), Fabio Van den Bossche (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Maurice Ballerstedt (Jumbo-Visma Development), and Samuel Gaze (Alpecin-Fenix Development) join the team for next season, while Ben Tulett (Ineos Grenadiers), Otto Vergaerde (Trek-Segafredo), Petr Vakoc, and Philipp Walsleben (both retiring) are leaving.
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Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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