The Cofidis and Wanty-Groupe Gobert teams are locked in a close fight for the 2017 UCI Europe Tour title, with Tuesday’s Nationale Sluitingprijs Putte Kapellen in Belgium – the final race of the European season – set to decide who tops the season-long ranking.
Wanty-Groupe Gobert topped the 2016 UCI Europe Tour ranking and finished second in 2015. Winning the ranking is a matter of pride and prestige amongst the many European Professional Continental teams and helps secure wild card entries to major races. With new UCI president David Lappartient in favour of eventual promotion and relegation to and from the UCI WorldTour, success in the UCI Europe Tour could eventually lead to promotion to the sport’s highest division.
The Cofidis team has lead the 2017 ranking for much of the season thanks largely to the success of Nacer Bouhanni in the sprints. However, the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team has enjoyed a successful end of season with Guillaume Martin winning the Giro della Toscana and Andrea Pasqualon taking the Coppa Sabatini and a series of important placings.
Xandro Meurisse helped Wanty-Groupe Gobert move past Cofidis in the team ranking thanks to taking sixth place in Wednesday’s Famenne Ardenne Classic. Cofidis did not ride the Belgian race but have Stephane Rossetto in action at the Chrono des Nations. He finished fourth in 2016 and so could score vital ranking points.
Both teams are in action at the Tacx Cycling Classic in the Netherlands on Saturday, while Wanty-Groupe Gobert could score the decisive points in the absence of their rivals the Nationale Sluitingprijs Putte Kapellen.
The UCI rankings are updated every Monday and currently show Cofidis leading with 3,164 points. Wanty-Groupe Gobert is second with 3,154 points. Androni Giocattoli is expected to finish third with a total of 2,951 points.