Relegation Watch: Nairo Quintana's potential lost points could reshape WorldTour battle

CAHORS FRANCE JULY 22 LR Hugo Hofstetter of France Amaury Capiot of Belgium Lukasz Owsian of Poland and Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas of Colombia and Team Arka Samsic wearing the womens team jersey they will wear in the 1st edition of the Tour de France during the team presentation prior to the 109th Tour de France 2022 Stage 19 a 1883km stage from CastelnauMagnoac to Cahors TDF2022 WorldTour on July 22 2022 in Cahors France Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Nairo Quintana's disqualification from the Tour de France has been damaging for Arkéa-Samsic for a number of reasons, but it could well place their future at risk, with the loss of rankings points pushing them back down the WorldTour queue. 

The French team currently operate at second-division level but have long looked near-certain to earn promotion to the WorldTour as one of the top 18 teams on the UCI's three-year rolling ranking. 

However, the potential loss of Quintana's points from the Tour after his tramadol positives could make their situation a little more precarious again. 

The UCI did not issue its normal weekly points update last week as news of Quintana's disqualification was announced, but the latest ranking was published this week and the Colombian's points still stand as of August 23. That is, presumably, pending his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

If he were to lose his appeal, Arkéa-Samsic would lose 455 points for Quintana's sixth place overall finish and other stage placings at the Tour. At present, having earned a couple of hundred points over the past two weeks, they are in 14th place on 14776 points, but without Quintana's points that would be 15th place, within 400 points of the three teams below them, and a gap to 19th of less than 1000 points. 

Quintana also withdrew from the Vuelta a España to fight the tramadol case, removing another source of points for Arkéa-Samsic. Meanwhile, the case could cast a huge cloud over the WorldTour battle should it drag on and remain unresolved by the time licences are handed out towards the end of the year. 

The fright zone

The uncertainty surrounding Arkéa-Samsic is the chief point of interest in the latest rankings, with relatively little change elsewhere. 

The middle of August is a quieter period in the racing calendar, with the Bemer Cyclassics and European Championships among the main point-scoring events along with ProSeries races the Arctic Race of Norway, Circuit Franco-Belge, and the Tour of Denmark, and several .1-ranked one-day races.

As a result, there hasn't been a huge haul of points on offer since the last rankings update on August 9, but there are still some points of interest to take a look at in the latest update.

Lotto Soudal and Israel-Premier Tech continue to lie outside the all-important top 18 teams. Clustered above, with under 300 points separating them, are Cofidis, BikeExchange-Jayco, EF Education-EasyPost, and Movistar – the latter just 625 points clear of Lotto Soudal in 19th.

As expected during a quiet mid-August period, none of these teams scored big points, though Cofidis have been the most successful. The French squad picked up 245 points from the Arctic Race of Norway via Axel Zingle and Victor Lafay, while Guillaume Martin scored 185 at the Tour de l'Ain and La Polynormande. They remain in a precarious position but should remain safe if they continue scoring at the same rate.

BikeExchange-Jayco and Movistar will be looking to the Vuelta a España to secure a major points haul. Simon Yates, Enric Mas, and Alejandro Valverde are favourites to score high GC placings (140-850 for a top 10) and stage wins (100 points) which will help secure their WorldTour statuses.

Movistar will be thankful for Alex Aranburu's 156 points at the Tour de Limousin, while BikeExchange-Jayco grabbed very few points and will instead be hoping Dylan Groenewegen and Michael Matthews can pick up more at upcoming one-day races in France, Belgium, and North America.

EF Education-EasyPost have announced some major signings in the form of Ineos Grenadiers duo Richard Carapaz and Andrey Amador, but the American squad has endured an awful season.

They're the second-worst WorldTour team in 2022 and their top scorer this season is Neilson Powless, who has 664 points via 13th at the Tour de France, fourth at the Tour de Suisse, and eighth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. They'll be leaning heavily on Hugh Carthy, Esteban Chaves, and Rigoberto Uràn to score points at the Vuelta. Otherwise, they look in real trouble.

The bottom two

Lotto Soudal lie 685.32 points behind EF at the moment, but the Belgian outfit are putting up a real fight and lie as the 12th best team in 2022 with 5,417 points. This year they've gained 2,300 on EF and 1,000 on Movistar, with neo-pro sprinter Arnaud De Lie (1,695 points) largely to thank for their points haul.

The 20-year-old has eight wins this year and added to his tally at Schaal Sels at the weekend (another 125 points). He currently lies an amazing eighth in the 2022 rider rankings, up there with names like Evenepoel, Van der Poel, and Martínez. 

On Tuesday, De Lie scored his ninth win of the season at the Egmont Cycling Classic and will have 125 points added to his and Lotto Soudal's total in next week's rankings update.

The team is holding both De Lie and Victor Campenaerts back from the UCI Road World Championships later this year as they seek to claw their way into the top 18 with the 1.1 races Gooikse Pijl, GP Isbergues, and the Omloop van het Houtland (125 points each) all coming during the Worlds. Caleb Ewan will be allowed to represent Australia on home ground, however.

"Many riders can take my World Championships place, but few can win points for Lotto Soudal in my place," Campenaerts, who races Egmont and Druivenkoers-Overijse this week alongside De Lie, told Het Laatste Nieuws. "If we manage to stay in the WorldTour then we'll be at ease for three years. Then we can be part of national selections without any worries."

While the outlook for Lotto Soudal is hopeful, for Israel-Premier Tech it seems a bigger ask to get into the top 18. The team are a further 369.34 points adrift and are struggling despite Hugo Houle's 195-point haul at the Arctic Race. The abandon of their Vuelta a España GC leader, Michael Woods, was a huge blow at the weekend. 

They'll be hopeful that new mid-season signing Dylan Teuns can bring in a big haul in the remaining races of the season – he races Druivenkoers before heading to the Bretagne Classic on Sunday.

Away from the relegation quagmire, Bora-Hansgrohe and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert have continued their impressive seasons with the pair lying fourth and fifth in the 2022 team rankings. Marco Haller led the German squad's points with a win at the Bemer Cyclassics, while Sam Bennett is only adding to the success at the Vuelta – points that will show when the race is over.

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, meanwhile, saw Alexander Kristoff bring in another 338 points with his Eurométropole Tour win leading the way, while Quinten Hermans also grabbed 310 points with a podium at the Bemer Cyclassics and a top 10 at the Arctic Race.

Check below for the full points rankings as of the August 22 update.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
UCI 2020-2022 teams ranking as of August 23
RankingTeam2020 pts2021 pts2022 ptsTotal pts
2Ineos Grenadiers7628.3314998.66992632552.99
4UAE Team Emirates850312355.66937830236.66
6Bahrain Victorious468610429797223087
11Astana Qazaqstan66126469276315844
12AG2R Citroën36287151502215801
13Team DSM7582.713887367415143.71
17EF Education EasyPost5576.995362.33309814037.32
19Lotto Soudal32314704541713352
20Israel-Premier Tech23586704.66392012982.66

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Daniel Ostanek
Senior news writer

Daniel Ostanek is Senior News Writer at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired full-time. Prior to joining the team, he had written for numerous major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.


As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also oversees The Leadout newsletter and How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal.