Leon Sanchez leads latest world rankings

Caisse d'Epargne top team, Spain strongest nation

Luis Leon Sanchez may have missed out on a second Paris-Nice title, but the Caisse d'Epargne rider's third place finish has seen him move to the top of the International Cycling Union's (UCI) individual rider rankings, released on Monday.

Sanchez has traded places with André Greipel (HTC-Columbia) at the top of the rankings, which are based on the two World Calendar events so far contested – the Tour Down Under and Paris-Nice. The man that finished at the top of the Paris-Nice podium, Alberto Contador (Astana), is the highest new entry to the list, in third.

Contador finished the 2009 rankings as UCI's world number one.

Sanchez's Caisse d'Epargne teammate Alejandro Valverde moved from 11th to fourth after finishing in second at Paris-Nice.

While results at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo will soon alter the rankings, Sanchez indicated on Monday that he will look to retain top spot with a strong performance at the Tour of Cataluña later this month.

"I am happy because it means that I've been doing a great job in the early part of the season and it is also a reward for all the effort to prepare for this year in the best possible way," Sanchez said.

"It's only the beginning of the year and that ranking will change with the next races. It means that I'll have to fight hard to remain in the lead. I'll try to recover very well and present myself in good shape for the Tour of Cataluña so that I can keep on leading [the World Rankings]."

Sanchez and Valverde's participation at the Tour Down Under and podium success at Paris-Nice has also their squad jump to the top of the team standings where they replace HTC-Columbia. The US squad has moved back to third behind Katusha, who retained second position.

The Spanish stranglehold on the Paris-Nice podium has seen the European country replace Australia at the top of the national rankings. Spain has more than double the points of Australia, with Germany in third.

UCI Individual World Rankings
1Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne158pts
2André Greipel (Ger) Team HTC-Columbia119 
3Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana107 
4Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne99 
5Greg Henderson (NZl) Sky Professional Cycling Team85 
6Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha67 
7Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo60 
8Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram54 
9Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi53 
10Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank46 
11Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team43 
12Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha36 
13Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha30 
14Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto22 
15Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, le Credit En Ligne21 
16Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo21 
17Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Transitions11 
18Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto10 
19Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Por) Footon-Servetto7 
20Xavier Tondo Volpini (Spa) Cervelo TestTeam6 
21Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit En Ligne6 
22Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling Team6 
23William Bonnet (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom6 
23Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank6 
25Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom5 
26Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini5 
27Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank5 
28Gert Steegmans (Bel) Team Radioshack5 
29Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun4 
30Markus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram4 
31Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini4 
32Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R La Mondiale3 
33Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack2 
34Jérémie Galland (Fra) Saur-Sojasun2 
35Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team Katusha1 
36Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française Des Jeux1 
37Mauro Finetto (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo1 
38Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team1 
39Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank1 
40Tony Martin (Ger) Team HTC-Columbia1 
UCI Team World Rankings
1Caisse d'Epargne257pts
2Team Katusha134 
3Team HTC-Columbia120 
5Sky Professional Cycling Team91 
7Team Milram58 
9Team Saxo Bank47 
10BMC Racing Team44 
11Omega Pharma-Lotto32 
12Cofidis, le Credit En Ligne27 
14Bbox Bouygues Telecom11 
16Lampre-Farnese Vini9 
18Team Radioshack7 
19Cervelo Test Team6 
21Ag2R La Mondiale3 
22Française Des Jeux1 
UCI Nation Rankings
4New Zealand85 
5Czech Republic60 
11South Africa11 
17United States2 


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