Are teams riding more races because of the relegation ranking?
12 September 2022, by Bert Lip
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The relegation ranking is driving a series of teams to make different choices than in any regular season. To what extent are teams in the danger zone riding more races?

Figure 1. Number of races this season per team compared to last season.

#Team#Races this season#Races last season+/- races
1 Lotto Soudal10666▲40
2 Israel - Premier Tech10879▲29
3 Team BikeExchange - Jayco7550▲25
4 EF Education-EasyPost7550▲25
5 BORA - hansgrohe8869▲19
6 Cofidis11698▲18
7 Trek - Segafredo8972▲17
8 Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux119102▲17
9 UAE Team Emirates9780▲17
10 Movistar Team7663▲13
11 AG2R Citroën Team9586▲9
12 Jumbo-Visma5748▲9
13 Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team7670▲6
14 Astana Qazaqstan Team6965▲4
15 Team DSM6463▲1
16 INEOS Grenadiers5757-
17 Groupama - FDJ7979-
18 Bahrain - Victorious4647▼1
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From this statistic it's directly clear that the teams at risk for their WorldTour license are riding significant more races than the previous season. The first 4 teams are on the relegation ranking between 16th and 20th. Note that there is also a COVID-19 effect, as this year there are more races than last year. However, compared to the teams not at risk, the effect is still very present.

As the number of riders within teams are more or less the same due to regulatory rules, one would expect that riders on these teams have more racedays to their name. Let's find out.

Figure 2. The average number of racedays per rider by team.

Riders on team Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux have on average 57.8 days of racing to their name this season. This team also has the most races on their program (119) this season. But interestingly Lotto Soudal is ranked only 9th and Israel - Premier Tech 7th. From these teams we would have expected that their riders would do more racedays than for example UAE Emirates. Also interesting is that Jumbo-Visma is almost at the bottom of the table (17th). Their riders have done on average 44.7 days of racing this season, yet they are 2nd in the PCS team ranking, just behind INEOS Grenadiers.