National Championships Review
Eight out of the ten national road race championships in the IG Pro Cycling Index took place over a busy weekend of cycling. With all the results from Europe now in, there have been some interesting movements in the Index.
The most prominent mover was a rider who did not even race at the weekend. Australian Cadel Evans climbed two spots to 4th spot despite not adding any points to his total. His rise was due to Bradley Wiggins deciding not to defend his British title and Philippe Gilbert failing in his attempt to defend his Belgian title.
Gilbert lost his title to Tom Boonen, who is the Belgium champion for the second time in his career. Boonen’s win closed the gap at the top of Index between him and Joaquin Rodriguez. The gap is now at just 64 points. However, a change at the top may not come around until the Tour of Poland as both riders are not on the start line for the Tour de France.
Three national road race winners from the weekend moved into the top 100. Francisco Ventoso edged out Koldo Fernandez in a sprint finish to win the Spanish title. He rose from 147th to 67th. One place below now is Fabian Wegmann, who won the German national road race for the third time in his career. Wegmann narrowly beat Linus Gerdemann to win the race. Gerdemann is this week’s highest new entry in 116th place due to his 2nd place.
In Britain, Ian Stannard led home a Team Sky 1-2 with Alex Dowsett in second place. Stannard is up to a career-high 83rd place, as is Dowsett, who is in 165th. The new French champion is Nacer Bouhanni. He enters the top 200 for the first time in 189th place. Sadly for Bouhanni he was not included in FDJ-BigMat’s Tour de France team so the French national champion’s jersey will be missing from the biggest race in France.
In Italy the controversial Franco Pellizotti returned from his two-year ban for irregular biological passport values with a bang by winning the road race with a solo attack. Pellizotti re-enters the top 200 at 198th place. Last year’s winner Giovanni Visconti failed to finish the tough race that saw only 15 finishers. Sadly for him a large chunk of his points total is now gone and he drops outside the top 200.
Team and Nation rankings
Every couple of months we release the Pro Cycling Index’s national and team rankings. The latest rankings make interesting reading ahead of the Tour de France.
Team Score (top 15 riders)
SKY PROCYCLING: 20472
BMC RACING TEAM: 15986
OMEGA PHARMA-QUICKSTEP: 15610
KATUSHA TEAM: 13824
MOVISTAR TEAM: 12222
RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM: 10996
VACANSOLEIL-DCM PRO CYCLING: 10479
ORICA GREENEDGE: 9545
PRO TEAM ASTANA: 9340
AG2R-LA MONDIALE: 7764
FDJ-BIG MAT: 7215
TEAM EUROPCAR: 6925
TEAM ARGOS-SHIMANO: 6602
TEAM SAXO-BANK-TINKOFF BANK: 6082
COFIDIS-LE CREDIT EN LIGNE: 5009
FARNESE VINI-SELLE ITALIA: 4134
COLNAGO-CSF INOX: 3415
TEAM NETAPP: 3221
The team rankings are calculated by adding the top 15 points scorers from each team together. Coming out on top by a huge margin is Team Sky. This is hardly surprising as they currently have 16 riders in the top 200 and three in the top 10. The only other team who is close to this total is Radioshack-Nissan, who have 14 riders in the top 200.
Team Saxo Bank–Tinkoff Bank are currently bottom of the UCI WorldTour rankings and are in danger of losing their place in the WorldTour. Their position in the Pro Cycling Index rankings also spells trouble. They are currently below two UCI ProContinental teams in the rankings - Team Europcar and Team Argos-Shimano. Both these teams are at a disadvantage to Saxo Bank as they race in less top end races. The fact that they are both above them at this point in the season shows how Saxo Bank are under pressure to put in some points winning performances in before the end of the season.
The national rankings in the Pro Cycling Index are calculated by adding together a nation's top nine riders' scores in the Pro Cycling Index.
Country Score (top 9 riders)
GREAT BRITAIN: 12299
CZECH REPUBLIC: 2584
NEW ZEALAND: 1941
Leading the way at the top are Spain, who, as well as having the Index leader, have two other riders in the top 20 - Samuel Sanchez and Daniel Moreno. Belgium and Italy complete the top three as you would expect from those traditionally dominant cycling nations. It is Great Britain in fourth, Australia in fifth and USA in ninth that highlight the increasing numbers and quality of English speaking riders in the professional peloton.
As well as these nations having their own teams (Team Sky, Orica-GreenEdge and Garmin-Sharp etc), on the WorldTour they also have plenty of riders competing at the top level outside of these teams. Cadel Evans at BMC, Levi Leipheimer at Omega Pharma-Quickstep and David Millar at Garmin being the most high profile. How long will it be before we see an English speaking nation top the rankings? The Tour de France could see this happen.
About the IG Markets Index
The IG Pro Cycling Index is a 12 month rolling ranking system designed to answer the question “Who is the best cyclist in the world?” We teamed up with sports data experts Opta to create a comprehensive cycling ranking system that was based on an entirely new formula. We source results from the 120 top international road races throughout the season. Races are ranked by our expert panel, based on their prestige and their importance to cycling fans and put into four tiers in three different categories.
The IG Pro Cycling Index has a number of features that make it unique: Races are tiered depending on history, importance and calibre of field rather than UCI Class. So winning the Tour of Beijing will not give you the same points as winning Paris-Nice or the Dauphiné. Wins carry much greater weight and are rewarded more than placings. Bonus points are awarded for multiple victories in the top races, winning the most prestigious stages at the Grand Tours or winning multiple classics.