Benjamin Declercq currently rides for Arkea-Samsic but it won’t be the same case for the much longer. The cycling season has come to an end, and the new season will kick off in just two months, but Declercq’s future in professional cycling remains uncertain. The rider has yet to find his new team.
"That promotion-degradation system for teams essentially destroys the race a bit," Declercq told Het Laatste Nieuws. He continues, "I understand that there is a points system to distinguish between WorldTour and ProContinental teams, but it is not objective. To give an example, one-day races are overvalued. The second place in a Tour stage earns only 50 points, a third place in GP d'Isbergues 70 points."
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Arkea Samsic will be promoted to the WorldTour, but this promotion comes at a cost. "Only the points of the ten best-scoring riders from each team were taken into account for the UCI ranking. This year the tactics at our team were adjusted accordingly. Even before the season, it was determined who the ten riders would be who would provide the points," explained Declercq.
Declercq, unfortunately, was not among those selected ten riders, and this cost him potential victories. "The fact that I then had to stop my legs in a promising situation was very demotivating. How can you make yourself attractive to other teams as a rider when your contract is over? You then end up remaining exemplary in your role in the hope that your team appreciates that," said Declercq.
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Due to the lack of accomplishments to show to potential teams, he is finding it hard to negotiate a new contract. "I can only speak for myself, but there will still be riders who recognize my situation. Riders who engaged in the promotion-degradation battle in the interest of the team and now find themselves on the street. I obviously bring understanding for the team and its tactical choices, but because of the excesses of the promotion-degradation system, some riders are now the victims and that is particularly unfortunate,” concluded Declercq.