The UCI have been under fire for months from several teams, managers, riders and fans of the sport due to the promotion/relegation system that's currently set, but UCI President assures that the system will be used as agreed this winter, with two teams likely to relegate to Pro Team level, whilst two others promote to World Tour.
"That's sport. That's not nice when you are relegated, but if you're in football, if you're last in the Premier League, you'll go down to the second league," Lappartient told reporters today, as the UCI announced countless venues for upcoming World Championships, including the 2026 and 2027 Road World Championships, set to take place in Montréal, Canada; and Haute-Savoie, France respectively.
"That's part of sport, you must accept the results. That's difficult, because we know all the efforts of all the teams, but we must also leave the door open for new applicants, for new teams to enter the system." This consists of a three-year ranking in which teams bringing in the points from the respective races in the calendar, with their ten best riders' points counting towards the total. Albeit extremely controversial in 2022 specifically, this was a system agree by all teams taking part years back.
"Can [they] challenge? Of course, but we are confident that our system can be confirmed. This system has been approved four years ago, at the UCI management committee of September 2018 after long discussions - years of discussions - to reach this kind of new system," he stated. "When I was elected in 2017, I said 'we will fix this' and in one year we have been able to reach an agreement by consensus, and it has been approved by unanimity, this system."
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Consequently, Israel - Premier Tech owner Sylvan Adams has talked about the likelihood of taking the UCI to court over their relegation. Lotto Soudal also currently sit in a difficult position and it is unlikely that the Belgian team will be able to maintain themselves at World Tour level, whilst Alpecin-Deceuninck and Arkéa Samsic are set for promotion after three years at the top level.
"We took a three-year ranking in order to avoid relegation based only on one year. That was the request of the teams. We went in this way," Lappartient confirmed. "The other point was to give the opportunity for other teams to qualify, and to enter the system, and for it not to be a closed system. For this, the organisers wanted automatic promotion-relegation, the teams wanted stay like they were. And we fixed this with the top 18 teams being WorldTour, whether they're existing WorldTour teams or potentially new applicants."