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Team Arkéa-Samsic has started the 2022 campaign with a real sense of purpose and the motivation behind that is its quest to join the WorldTour next season.
The team has already won 10 races this calendar year, just two shy of their entire return last season, and according to the all-important UCI team rankings the French squad is second only to UAE Team Emirates.
Arkéa-Samsic is one of several teams, including TotalEnergies, Alpecin-Fenix, and Uno-X that are chasing one of the coveted 18 WorldTour spots for next season, and on Sunday the French team posted three riders in the top seven in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
The result more than maintained the French team’s push for promotion, and according to Connor Swift the French outfit is entirely focused on joining the top league within men’s cycling.
“100 percent we’re chasing WorldTour,” he recently told VeloNews.
“In every race, we’re going after UCI points to make sure that the team can step up to WorldTour in 2023. That’s 100 percent the objective for the season.”
The points system that will determine the WorldTour places for 2023 is based on the overall tally teams have built up over the last three years.
Heading into the year, Arkéa-Samsic sat in 18th place, ahead of Cofidis, Lotto-Soudal, and the now-defunct Team Qhubeka-NextHash.
Arkéa-Samsic turned down an invitation to the Giro d’Italia this year in order to chase points at smaller races, but Swift believes that the strategy will pay off and that in 2023 the squad will be able to fight for victories in all three of cycling’s grand tours.
“Obviously it goes off the cumulative points for the past three years, so obviously we’re up there. As long as the season carries on like this, and we’ve started the year really well, then that should be achieved.”
“We’re going to every race trying to win and if you’re going for the top results then the points will follow. If we can’t win then it’s about getting as many points as possible. It would be a massive objective in terms of achievement. It would be massive for the sponsors, and the team can then ride all three grand tours. It also opens up a number of new possibilities and then some of the riders on the team can then go into stage races and aim for stage wins. Before we’ve not had the chance to be in some of the high stature races, so that would be totally different.”
Swift is out of contract at the end of this year, but the 26-year-old is determined to be part of the squad’s primary plans for this season, having raced the Tour de France for the last two years. Like his team, the former British road champion is hoping to also step up into the WorldTour.
“I want to be WorldTour next year and for me, it’s nice to follow that path and then try and step up to that sort of level. I want to be there,” offered Swift.