How Nations Qualify for Road World Championships

By : Mr Mamil
Updated :

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2021 UCI Road World Championships

The Road World Championships is an annual professional bike race organized by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body for cycling.

The Road World Championships are different from the usual professional races. The cyclists compete based on national teams instead of their trade teams.

Each country may be allocated up to eight rider spots based on UCI’s qualification system, which is decided four weeks before the race.

In this article, we’ll dissect UCI’s Qualification System in an easy-to-understand format. We look into how UCI allocates each nation with its rider quotas.

Men’s Elite Race

The top 50 nations (4 weeks before the race) based on UCI World Ranking by nations are allocated based on the table below.

RankingMax. ridersTotal riders
1 to 10880
11 to 20660
21 to 30440
31 to 50220
Riders allocation for Men’s Elite Race

In addition to the table above, these rules also apply;

  • Any rider ranked in the top 200 but not among the top 50 nations is eligible.
  • The reigning Olympic and Continental Champions are eligible, even if their nation has already met its maximum quota.
  • The reigning Road World Champion is eligible, even if his country has its maximum quota. This explains why France has nine riders, as Julian Alaphilippe was the winner in 2021.
  • The host nation can enter a minimum of six riders, regardless of their ranking.

Men’s Under 23 Race

The qualification criteria for Men’s U23 is based on the UCI Continental Men U23 nations ranking four weeks before the race.

UCI TourRankingMax. riders
Africa15
Africa24
Africa3 to 53
America1 to 35
America4 to 6 4
America7 to 103
Asia1 to 25
Asia3 to 44
Asia5 to 73
Europe1 to 155
Europe16 to 204
Europe21 to 273
Oceania15
Oceania23
Riders allocation for Men’s U23 Race

In addition to the table above, these rules also apply;

  • African nations ranked outside of the top 5, but have an Under 23 rider in the top 60 of the UCI Africa Tour’s Men Elite individual ranking can enter 1 rider.
  • American nations ranked outside of the top 5, but have an Under 23 rider in the top 200 of the UCI America Tour’s Men Elite individual ranking can enter 1 rider.
  • Asian nations ranked outside of the top 7, but have an Under 23 rider in the top 150 of the UCI Asia Tour’s Men Elite individual ranking can enter 1 rider.
  • European nations ranked outside of the top 27, but have an Under 23 rider in the top 400 of the UCI Europe Tour’s Men Elite individual ranking can enter 1 rider.
  • Oceania nations ranked outside of the top 2, but have an Under 23 rider in the top 150 of the UCI Oceania Tour’s Men Elite individual ranking can enter 1 rider.
  • The first 5 nations of the UCI Nations’ Cup U23 ranking, 3 weeks before the race, can enter 1 additional rider in addition to their allocated quotas.
  • The reigning U23 World and Continental Champions are eligible, even if their nation has already met its maximum quota. This spot cannot be swapped for another rider.
  • The host nation can enter a minimum of four riders, regardless of their ranking.
  • The UCI invites three non-qualified nations to enter one rider each. Nations would need to send an official request for invitation.

Women’s Elite Race

The top 20 nations (4 weeks before the race) based on UCI World Ranking by nations are allocated based on the table below.

RankingMax. riders
1 to 57
6 to 156
16 to 205
21 onwards3
Riders allocation for Women’s Elite Race

In addition to the table above, these rules also apply;

  • The reigning Women Elite, Women U23, Women Elite Continental, Women U23 Continental and Women Olympic Road Race Champions are eligible, even if their nation has already met its maximum quota.