Jumbo-Visma may have won all three Grand Tours but UAE Team Emirates can claim to be the best team in the world in 2023 after topping the UCI team ranking for the first time.
Thanks to Tadej Pogčar again topping the individual points rankings and the other leading riders all scoring a haul of points, UAE Team Emirates were ranked best team with a total of 30,958 points according to a table published by directeur sportif Joxean Matxin.
Jumbo-Visma were second with 29,651 points, Soudal-QuickStep a distant third at 18,697 and Ineos Grenadiers fourth with 17,807 points.
UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma were locked in a battle all season, fighting for the biggest victories and the UCI team ranking.
They announced their team selections late for key races to try to land a tactical advantage over their rivals and sought out points wherever they could, even in minor races outside the WorldTour.
Jumbo-Visma won 69 races and took 127 podium spots, while UAE Team Emirates won 57 races and took 139 podium spots, their broader set of results giving them the number-one ranking.
For UAE Team Emirates team manager Mauro Gianetti, leading the team ranking was a matter of pride and satisfaction after an intense 23023 season.
“Winning the UCI team classifications confirms that we’re the best team in the world. That’s special for us and for our sponsors. It also means that the United Arab Emirates has the number one team in professional cycling,” he told Cyclingnews.
“It was one of our biggest goals for 2023 alongside the Tour de France. We didn’t win the Tour but we finished second and third. We won with 18 different riders, we won the best young rider white jersey in all three Grand Tours. That shows the future looks good too. We’ve invested in young talent and it’s paying off.”
Pogacar was on superb form in the spring Classics before his crash at Liege-Bastogne-Liege disrupted his preparation for the Tour de France. He cracked in the Alps but fought to finish second behind Jonas Vingegaard, with Adam Yates joining on the final podium in Paris after finishing third overall. Pogacar also won Il Lombardia to secure UAE Team Emirates and his own number-one spot in the rankings.
João Almeida was third at the Giro d’Italia and took a series of other good results, while Juan Ayuso was fourth at the Vuelta a Espana and second at the Tour de Suisse despite an early season injury. Marc Hirschi also scored a haul of points in 2023, especially in the…