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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
Spaniard closes the gap after Lombardy win
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) added another impressive achievement to his stellar year last weekend in Italy to retake second place in the IG Pro Cycling Index behind Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky).
The Spanish rider attacked of the final climb of the Tier 1 classic the Tour of Lombardy to solo to an impressive victory. In previous years success in one day races has been a common occurrence for Rodriguez but in 2012 he has managed to couple this with impressive results in grand tours. His second place at the Giro d’Italia and third place at the Vuelta a España have confirmed his as one of the most consistent grand tour riders this year.
Despite all this success Rodriguez has been unable to move past Wiggins in the IG Pro Cycling Index. His win at Il Lombardia made his points total 4697 which is still over 250 points behind Bradley Wiggins in top spot. In other rankings systems Rodriguez is top. The reason behind this difference is that the points structure and categorisation of races in the IG Pro Cycling Index. The IG Pro Cycling Index counts races outside the World Tour while the UCI’s ranking does not. These races are then categorized into different tiers but not based on UCI categories. For example, the Tour Down Under and Tour of Poland are in a lower category than Paris-Nice where in the CQ system they are in the same one.
As well as Il Lombardia there where two other one day races taking place in Italy last week; Milano- Torino (Tier 3) and Gran Piemonte (Tier 3). These three races brought big changes in the rankings. The most consistent performer across the three races was Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky). The Colombian won Gran Piemonte and then went onto finish third in Lombardy for the second time in his career. These results lifted him from 37th to 21st in the IG Pro Cycling Index and meant that Team Sky now has six riders in the top 25.
There were two new Spanish entries in the top 20 this week. Firstly Alberto Contador has finally made his return to the top 20 after his doping suspension. He had a successful week winning Milano-Torino and then finishing ninth at Il Lombardia. Two places higher up is Samuel Sanchez who came second behind Rodriguez at Lombardy. Spain now has the most riders in the top 20 with four in total.
Two riders who fell down the rankings this week are Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team). Moreno won Gran Piemonte last year and finished 17th at Il Lombardia. After a long season he failed to replicate those performances and came 14th in Milano – Torino and 49th in Il Lombardia. He now slips down to 22nd having been in the top 20 all season. Van Avermaet has also been a constant presence in the top 20 of the IG Pro Cycling Index all year. This is no longer the case as he has slipped to 36th place after failing to replicate his second place at Gran Piemonte in 2011.
Further down the standings Diego Ulissi climbed 64 places to 79th in the Index after his second place to Alberto Contador in Milano-Torino. This week’s highest new entry into the top 200 was Mauro Santambrgoio of BMC Racing Team. The Italian has a busy week coming 6th in Gran Piemonte and 4th in Il Lombardia. Gorka Verdugo has also made his debut in the top 200, in 160th place, after his third place in Gran Piemonte.
Statistic of the week: Bradley Wiggins is the only rider in the top 12 who has raced under 10,000km this year.
About the IG Markets Index
The IG Pro Cycling Index is a 12-month rolling ranking system designed to nswer the question “Who is the best cyclist in the world?” IG teamed up with sports data experts Opta to create a comprehensive cycling ranking system that was based on an entirely new formula. It 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.