By Laura Weislo
Sven Nys resumed his regular position at the top of the UCI rankings this week, thanks to a big win in the Tabor World Cup. His victory pushed him up and over the previous leader, Zdenek Stybar, winner of the Kalmthout World Cup. Klass Vantornout moved from 8th in the rankings up to third thanks to his second place in Tabor, while Lars Boom was one of the biggest movers, rocketing up to 9th from 40th with his third place.
American Jonathan Page (Sunweb-ProJob), who makes his residence in Belgium, maintained his tenth place in the rankings which he achieved through a strong showing in Kalmthout (11th) and a 23rd in Tabor, which earned more points than his third place this week in the Swiss Radquer Steimaur.
The biggest losers in the rankings came mainly from the USA, where riders like Barry Wicks and Ryan Trebon (Kona-YourKey) fell from the top 20. Wicks and Trebon fell from 9th to 20th and 16th to 24th, respectively, as their European counterparts had higher ranked races applied to their standings, while the Americans chose to take on the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross in Kentucky (C2).
Failure to participate in the World Cup also hurt Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld), who took his third win in three starts in Kentucky, and Tim Johnson (Leer/Cannondale) who took his second win of the year. Powers fell from 13th to 26th, while Johnson dropped from 14th to 21st.
The 'yanks' should have an opportunity to pull themselves back into the top 20 with this weekend's C1 Boulder Cup in Colorado, which will yield points equal to the C1 Koppenberg 'cross in Belgium - 60 points for the win, compared with 30 points for a C2 win. However, with only one more C1 race in the USA left after this weekend (December's USGP in Portland), any North Americans who wish to improve their rankings, and therefore their starting position at the World Championships in Treviso will have to head overseas to the World Cups which yield a whopping 300 points for a win. A win in a C1 race is equivalent to a 17th at a World Cup, and a win in a C2 race is the same as 30th place.
Belgium dominated the men's nation rankings, as expected, with a commanding 1707 points over the Czech Republic at 1027. The dearth of American men at the World Cups was most apparent in the slip of that country in the nations rank from third to sixth.
Rankings as of October 29, 2007
Compton stays on top
The women's ranking continues to be the domain of the American stand-out, Katie Compton, who took silver in last year's World Championship. Compton stormed through the early US races, opening her season with a second place to Canadian Lyne Bessette in the 'Cross Vegas (C2) opener, then dominating every domestic race she entered. Compton took victories in bothraces in Southampton (C1 and C2) and both races in Ohio (C2) before heading to Belgium for the Kalmthout World Cup, where she finished a close second to Dutch woman Daphny Van Den Brandt.
The European women have been at a distinct disadvantage to the North Americans when it comes to races where they can earn UCI points. Many European races do not have women's fields, including the Tabor World Cup. This has helped Bessette, who held onto a top ten ranking despite having a relatively poor showing in Kentucky due to illness. However, the rest of the World Cups will have women's fields except for the round in Igorre, Spain on December 2, and these races will be critical for UCI points toward the all important starting position in Treviso.
The record number of UCI sanctioned races in the USA has helped lift the American women to a second place in the nations ranking overall, shy of the Netherlands 630 points at 553.