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2022 Season in Review: Breaking Down the UCI Team Rankings
What the UCI Team point rankings tell us about which outfits over, and under, performed during the 2022 season
With the recent running of Il Lombardia marking the end of the 2022 WorldTour racing calendar, I’ve been taking some time to reflect on the trends we saw emerge in the past season and plan out the BTP off-season content. To kick off this reflection and re-examination, I wanted to step back and take stock of how each team stacked up in terms of the UCI point rankings.
Below are the top 23 teams (18 1st division + 4 PT) in order of the UCI points they gained from their top 10 point-scoring riders throughout the 2022 season (aka the UCI point rankings).
2022 Season Top 23 Team UCI Point Rankings
As we can see, Jumbo-Visma takes the top spot in the UCI rankings for the second time in three seasons, with former powerhouse, QuickStep, falling all the way down to 6th place.
And perhaps even more surprising, Jumbo-Visma also ranks as the top team in wins (tied with UAE), while QuickStep fails to win the season-long ‘win title’ for the first time in over ten years.
2022 Wins, Podiums & Top Tens per WorldTour Teams
And below we can see how my pre-season BTP NET projection model stacked up against the post-season UCI Team Point Rankings.
2022 Team BTP NET Projections Compared to Their Final UCI Point WorldTour Ranking Positions:
1) Team Jumbo-Visma (1)
2)UAE-Team Emirates (2)
3) INEOS Grenadiers (3)
4) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl (6)
5) Bahrain - Victorious (8)
6) BORA - hansgrohe (4)
7) Trek - Segafredo (11)
8) EF Education - Nippo (15)
9) Groupama - FDJ (7)
10) Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (9)
11) Movistar Team (10)
12) AG2R Citroën Team (13)
13) Israel Start-Up Nation (16)
14) Team BikeExchange (14)
15) Intermarché Wanty Gobert (5)
16) Astana - Premier Tech (18)
17) Lotto Soudal (12)
18) Team DSM (17)
I will dive into team performance in further detail when I do my weighted BTP NET Rankings for the coming season, but below are a few quick takeaways from these initial results.
1) Jumbo-Visma is officially cycling’s new superteam
After a multi-year turnaround project, the Dutch team is now home to some of the sport’s best riders (Wout van Aert, Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard) and will exit the 2022 season with a Tour de France overall title along with the most UCI points and wins.
This is one of the most difficult achievements in the sport since the single-minded focus on winning an overall title at the grand tour usually means a team can’t compile enough wins and UCI points to lead the WorldTour.
They will now head into the 2023 season as the undisputed best team in the sport and will have massive expectations on their shoulders at nearly every race where they take the start line.
2) QuickStep fails to take the ‘win title’ for the first time since 2012
Up until 2022, the Belgian team eschewed stage race results in order to rack up wins in one-day races and individual stages.
While 2022 was disappointing in the respect that the team failed to take the win title for the first time since 2012 and produced their worst results in the cobbled classics since the founding of the team in 2003, it was a massive success in they won their first-ever grand tour (Vuelta a Espana) and unearthed the sport’s next big grand tour star in Remco Evenepoel.
Assuming the team can hang onto Evenepoel beyond 2022 (he is being pursued by bigger-budgeted teams like Ineos), it will be interesting to see how the team sets its financial and sporting priorities going forward.
Interestingly, while their 4th place finish in the UCI Points rankings is technically disappointing, it is the first time their pre-season BTP NET rankings have roughly aligned with their actual finish, which reflects that their past results have been more a result of the team’s structure producing an overachieving squad than pure talent.
3) UAE failed to defend its Tour de France, and struggled to look like a cohesive team at times, but produced their best season ever
Tadej Pogačar’s UAE team failed to win the Tour de France for the first time since 2020, but their 2021 off-season spending spree appeared to pay off as they tied for first in the win title and were the only team within 2,000 points of Jumbo-Visma in the UCI points race.
This shows us that while they appeared to struggle to select the right Tour de France lineup to support Pogačar and to race as a cohesive unit in the races where their superstar wasn’t present, they will head into the off-season viewing 2022 as a successful campaign and that they could potentially emerge as the sport’s most dominant team in future years if they can find the right racing formula to unlock the immense amount of individual talent on the team.
4) The French teams had a surprisingly strong year
After years of struggling to maintain pace with their competition in the world of hyper-advanced training, French teams produced a strong 2022, landing five teams in the top 20 and staving off relegation, which allowed them to keep four teams in the 18-team WorldTour.
5) Intermarché-Wanty punched well above its weight
If Alpecin was the underfunded overachiever of the 2021 season, Intermarché, who finished second-to-last in the 2021 WorldTour rankings, is the darling of 2022.
With an extremely thoughtful team-building and in-race strategy, the underdog Belgian team was able to turn an 18th-place finish in 2021 into a shockingly high 5th-place finish in 2022.
Most impressive is the gap between their BTP NET projection of 15th and 5th place finish, which shows that they really maximized the talent in their team.
6) DSM, EF, and Astana are in desperate need of a turnaround in 2023
While Intermarché was flying high, three better-funded WorldTour rivals (DSM, EF, and Astana) suffered through absolutely awful seasons where points, wins, podiums and top tens were extremely hard to come by.
While Astana and DSM struggled mainly due to weak rosters, EF’s extremely large delta between their BTP NET projected finish (8th), and their actual finish (18th), shows that their problems were more execution than talent related. I expect the American team’s off-season will include a significant amount of performance fact-finding to figure out how this could have happened.
Putting just how poor the seasons of this trio were into perspective, while DSM only trailed AG2R by a single win, they finished over 2,000 UCI points behind the French team, which had a fairly disappointing season itself.
Next week I will be breaking down the top 20 in the UCI point rider rankings before getting into the usual BTP off-season content of digging deeper into team results and trends from the 2022 seasons in more depth, restarting the Weekly Transfer Analysis, and attempting to project 2023 performances with my BTP NET series after the rosters are set in January. An important note is that if you want access to all of these posts, you have to be a paying BTP subscriber.