UCI World Championships selection criteria

The number of riders that each country are allowed to select to take part in the World Championships is most certainly not straightforward. So the following is an attempt to shed some light on how many riders Ireland can expect to bring to the World Championship road race in Copenhagen towards the end of September.

The criteria include UCI WorldTour rankings, each of the separate UCI Continental rankings, the number of riders contributing to a country’s points tally as well as a number of other odd exceptions and stipulations. I’ll ignore the criteria that don’t apply to Ireland and just stick to the ones that do.

OK, so firstly to the rankings from which the quota of riders is determined. There are two separate UCI rankings which can contribute to Ireland’s quota of riders. The WorldTour Rankings and the Europe Tour Rankings. Irish riders like David McCann have scored points on the Asia Tour this year which contributes to his individual ranking on that Tour. But Ireland, as a nation, can only rack up points on their home tour, which is the Europe Tour.

The WorldTour, as you would expect is made up of the world’s biggest races. If you think of a race that you would consider prestigious, it’s probably in there. So this includes the three Grand Tours, the five monument classics as well as other races like Paris-Nice, Tour de Suisse and Fléche Wallonne. In total, there are 27 events on the WorldTour calendar.

The top teams in world cycling are known as ProTeams and there are 18 of them, all the usuals, Garmin-Cervelo, HTC-HighRoad, Team Sky, Liquigas etc. All of these teams take part in each of the 27 WorldTour events.

But in each of the events there are also a number of wildcard places allocated to non-WorldTour teams.

So even though there are 18 ProTeams, there have actually been 40 teams in total that have taken part in one or more WorldTour events this year. But one of the odd conditions here is that only riders on one of the 18 ProTeams can score WorldTour ranking points.

For instance, Thomas Voeckler riders for the non-WorldTour Team Europcar. This team were invited to the Tour de France as a wildcard, consequently Voeckler’s performance in the Tour counted for nothing towards France’s World Championship rider quota because he cannot accrue points in the WorldTour, of which the Tour de France is a part.

Conversely, some ProTeams often get invited to non-WorldTour events. If the race is in Europe and not part of the WorldTour then it is usually part of the Europe Tour. Riders on ProTeams cannot score points towards the Europe Tour ranking.

So again, by way of example, Frank Schleck won the Criterium International race back in March, but because he was part of the ProTeam Leopard-Trek, he was ineligible to score Europe Tour points and therefore his performance there did not contribute toward Luxembourg’s chances of getting a higher quota of riders at the World Championsips.

So each Irish rider on a ProTeam can contribute to Ireland’s points tally in the WorldTour ranking by scoring points in WorldTour races. And each Irish rider on a non-ProTeam can contribute to Ireland’s points tally in the Europe Tour ranking by scoring points in Europe Tour races.

The deadline date for a rider to contribute points to his country’s cause is 15th August, which means that the Tour of Poland is the last WorldTour event which will count towards Ireland’s WorldTour ranking. However there are also a number of minor races to come, such as La Mi-Août en Bretagne and the London Olympics test event, which can still count towards Ireland’s ranking on the Europe Tour.

With me so far? It’s mightily confusing to say the least.

OK, so the actual criteria for selection then…

The top 10 countries in the WorldTour ranking can start nine riders in the World Championship road race. Unfortunately, Ireland are currently in 14th place with 163 points. Dan Martin is responsible for 162 of those points due to his results in the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of Poland. Nicolas Roche is responsible for the other point.

There are not enough points on offer between now and the deadline for Ireland to even have a chance of breaking into the top 10, therefore no riders can be selected on this criteria.

The next criteria concerns the Europe Tour which is more complicated. The top six ranked nations on the Europe Tour can enter six riders and the nations ranked 7th-16th can enter three. However, this ‘top 16’ excludes the ten countries which are allowed to take nine riders via the WorldTour.

Ireland are currently ranked 30th on the Europe Tour, but if the top ten countries in the WorldTour rankings are removed from the Europe Tour rankings, Ireland move up to 23rd (they only move up seven and not 10 because USA and Australia are two of those 10 teams and are not part of the Europe Tour ranking, and Luxembourg who are ranked in the top 10 in the WorldTour are actually ranked below Ireland in the Europe Tour).

Again, Ireland do not qualify for any riders via this criteria and moving up suffciently in the rankings between now and the 15th August is impossible.

So far it’s not looking good is it? But there’s a stipulation which comes to Ireland’s rescue.

If a nation has a rider amongst the top 100 in the individual WorldTour classification, then this nation may start three riders in the road race. Currently, Dan Martin is in 19th place in this individual classification and cannot fall out of the top 100 before the deadline of the 15th August.

There was a story released on cyclingnews.com earlier today which said:

Under UCI rules, the first 10 countries in the UCI WorldTour nation ranking on August 15, 2011 will be allowed to have nine riders in the race…Ireland are outside the top 10 and so will only, at best, be able to field a six-rider team.

The only way Ireland could field a six-rider team is if they move from 30th to approximately 12th (depending on the results of other countries) in the Europe Tour, which is impossible.

So, Ireland will be allowed to start three riders at the 2011 UCI World Championship road race. This will not change between now and then and with four Irish riders on WorldTour teams, there will most certainly be competition for those three places.

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  1. de - August 16, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

    Do riders in the world championships where there team jersay’s or the National team jersay? For example, will Danial MArtin wear the Garmin uniform or the Iriah National colors. Also, what does the the Irish National champion wear?


  2. Irish Peloton - August 16, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

    In the World Championships, riders wear the national team jersey. For instance, here’s Nicolas Roche in last year’s road race in Australia:


    As for the Irish national champion, it depends on the team that he’s on. The design of the national champion’s jersey is at the discretion of whatever team the champion rides for. For instance, the current champion Matt Brammeier wears this:


    And Nicolas Roche wore something similar when he was champion:


    But when Dan Martin was champion, he wore a different jersey, more in keeping with the style of his team’s design:


  3. John O - August 24, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

    I’ve been doinga bit of digging about the Olympic qualificiation. I think Ireland can qualify 4 riders for the Road Race.

    If we’re ranked 15th (as were are now) on November 1st, Ireland will get 4 places in the 2012 Olympic road race

    Before the Vuelta we’re on 163.
    Slovakia 152 (Sagan, Velits x 2 – Sagan and Martin Velits in Vuelta)
    Slovenia 139 (Brajkovic, Bole, Bozic – Brajkovic in Vuelta)
    Czech Republic 136 (Kreuziger – not in Vuelta)

    So the 5 points already earned in the Vuelta are a big help.

    Races left –
    GP Ouest (Brammeier for us, Bozic & Bole for Slovenia)
    GP Quebec
    GP Montreal (Sagan 2nd last year)
    Tour of Beijing
    Giro Lombardia (Martin loves this race, Brajkovic was 2nd a couple of years ago)

    A top 10 by Martin and maybe a stage win by one of the lads in the Vuelta would be a huge help

  4. Irish Peloton - August 24, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

    Great stuff John. Is the cut-off date for racking up points the end of 2011 then? Do none of the earlier races in 2012 count?

  5. John O - August 24, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

    Cut off point is November 1st 2011. Countries ranked 1-10 get 5, those 11-15 get 4. After that it’s based on European Tour ranks

  6. John O - August 25, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

    By way of reference, here’s the selection criteria


  7. Stephen Salmon - August 28, 2011 @ 10:07 am

    I feel a rant coming on, haha! Don’t agree with the selection criteria in the slightest.

    Every country should be allowed a 6 man team, end of. UCI bangs on about leveling the playing field. Well how does allocating slots in a race do that? The strong countries get stronger with a great chance of winning and the weaker countries just make up the numbers.

    There should be one criteria only – that countries should have at least 5 points or something to qualify. Something similar to that anyway. That will ensure there is at least some decent experience and a level high enough in every country whether it be 1, some or all of the team to compete with stronger riders from the stronger countries. Ask Stephen Roche was Kimmage or Earley any use in 87. I know what the answer will be. And he’ll probably tell you if we had a couple more like some of the other countries we could have taken a 1, 2 too. But this business of awarding countries slots based on rankings and points is a joke.

    Tell me the best of the Irish boys aren’t better or as good as most the American’s, British, Spanish and Italian? Dam straight they are! But with bigger teams the others have a better chance of winning than our lads.

    Imagine Ireland had a 6 man team in the Worlds last year. Matty Brammeier attacks from the off. Out for over 200k’s. The other 5 get in the way and disrupt the chase just enough so instead of nearly lapping the peloton he does. He then goes on to secure a medal. Who’s to say that couldn’t have happened?

    Who’s to say Dan Martin took one look at how many teammates he had last year, a look at the course, and as John O says loves Lombardy and thought about that. Here’s his thinking … ‘Mmmm no chance at worlds, although a couple of stinging ramps could suit me, nah sure its a waste of time I need more riders in the team for support. I think I’ll concentrate on Lombardy where I’ll have 5 Garmin boys to help if the opportunity arises’.

    Just my thoughts on it. I just don’t think everyone gets a fair crack at the whip the way it is.


  8. John O - August 29, 2011 @ 11:26 am

    So UCI country ranks after GP Ouest (but nothing from Vuelta yet)

    13 Kazakhstan 234
    14 Slovenia 219
    15 Denmark 217
    16 Ireland 163
    17 Slovakia 152
    18 Czech Republic 136

    From the Vuelta we’ve got 21 points, and Slovakia have got 24. Probably need Martin to finish in top 6 to get into Top 15 nations now

  9. John O - September 12, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    Just to follow up on this. With only the Giro di Lombardia and the Tour of Beijing left, Ireland are now in 15th place in the national rankings.

    Those within reach are
    13 Denamrk 285
    14 Kazakhstan 234
    15 Ireland 219
    16 Slovenia 219
    17 Slovakia 208
    18 Colombia 175
    19 Portugal 163

    Not sure why Ireland is placed above Slovenia but we are. Impossible to call, but will be very tight for Ireland unless Martin or Roche can dig a result out of Lombardia

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