‘Current WorldTour system is killing all the smaller teams,’ says Reinardt Janse van Rensburg

South African ex-Lotto Soudal rider fears more teams could find themselves in B & B Hotels-KTM situation if the system doesn’t change

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, who rode for Lotto-Soudal at the Tour de France this year, has said that the current WorldTour system in cycling is endangering many smaller teams' futures. 

The South African professional, who was part of Caleb Ewan’s sprint train last season, believes that the current WorldTour system is “preventing growth” in cycling, leaving some teams “fighting against everything” just to survive. 

Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Janse van Rensburg said that without change cycling will see further teams collapse in the same manner as B & B Hotels-KTM did earlier this week. 

“I think the system at the moment and how it’s set up is killing all the smaller teams, all the Pro Continental teams, they just don’t have a chance to shine,” he said. 

“You’ve got the 18 WorldTour teams, and then the two Pro-Continental teams that are guaranteed invites to all the WorldTour races, so race organisers only have like two invites that they can send out.” 

“So then if you’re a French race organiser you’ve got two French Pro-Conti teams lined up, if you’re Italian, you’ve probably then got one or two Italian teams lined up. So if you’re at Pro-Continental level, you’re kind of fighting against everything just to try and get an invite to WorldTour races, which I don’t think is really fair,” he added. “It’s limiting things for teams, and I think the system is actually preventing growth inside cycling.”

In recent days, the management of Norwegian Proteam Uno-X explained that they were watching the situation of the stricken B & B Hotels-KTM team with a close eye. The demise of the French team now means that Uno-X are arguably in a stronger position to receive an invite to the Tour de France next year. 

Janse van Rensburg responded to a tweet from Cyclingnews which contained comments from Uno-X to express his frustration at the system. Something which he clarified was not a direct dig at the Norwegian team but at the wider system in general. 

“To be clear, my comment was not a dig at Uno-X or their position about this. It’s more about the system in the WorldTour, that’s what my comment was about. It’s not about Uno-X, it’s really understandable their position. It’s the system that’s frustrating me,” he explained. 

POINTS SYSTEM IS 'COMPLETELY BROKEN'

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Janse van Rensburg is among those that see problems with state of the WorldTour relegation system and the way in which points are allocated during the season. 

The points given to riders for minor one day races are often offer a better return on investment than wins at bigger stage races like the Tour de France.

In recent weeks prominent figures including Chris Froome have spoken out against the set up, with Froome branding it a “death sentence” for smaller teams. EF Education Easy-Post boss Jonathan Vaughters also slammed the points system saying it led to an “absurd” way of racing

Janse van Rensburg explained that the points system in his mind is “completely broken”. 

“It’s a big factor in all of this. I think the points system is completely broken with how it works, it just doesn’t make sense the way in which points are allocated. First that needs to be fixed and then the relegation system has to be looked at too,” he said. 

“I think it would actually make sense to have even fewer WorldTour teams, say only 10. Then you could have 12 wildcards or Pro-Continental or whatever. Then it could be much more competitive and much more supportive and fair with how teams get to the big races,” he added. 

“Otherwise there are very limited opportunities if you’re not one of the top 20 teams in the system.”

Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When asked if he expected to see further teams fold like B & B Hotels did Janse van Rensburg said: “Oh definitely. With there only being spots on the big races for those 20 teams, the rest is just all fighting. So if you’re not one of those 20 teams then good luck to you. It’s terrible news for B & B. The system is really limiting teams chances and it’s not healthy for the sport.

“I think maybe the Tour de France is becoming too prominent in the calendar. Of course you need that premier event in any sport, but I think cycling is much bigger than that. There’s more events than just the Tour.”

“With that I just think the WorldTour is just killing all the small teams. It’s always the same teams, at all the races. Some teams get all the opportunities and the other ones are just fighting for scraps,” he added.

Janse van Rensburg left Lotto-Soudal at the end of the 2022 season, and explained on social media that he will be stepping back from racing at WorldTour level. Something which he told Cycling Weekly was partly affected by his feelings towards competition at that level and the wider system.

“It definitely played a role in my decision. When you see what I’m involved in next year, I can elaborate more on that.”

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