Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) may have not have managed to hold onto the Pink Jersey at the Giro d’Italia but he has held onto top spot in the IG Pro Cycling Index.
His second place at the Giro bettered his fourth from the previous year and was his best Grand Tour finish in his career. In total his two stage wins and podium finish netting him 1449 points. Rodriguez is now top in the rankings by over 700 points to second place Tom Boonen. Why? He was one of the top performers this spring coming second at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco and winning Fleche Wallone. Not forgetting his strong second half of last season that saw him win the Vuelta de Burgos and two stages in the Vuelta a Espana. Rodriguez is one of the most consistent performers in the peloton. Since 2010 he has won five races each year as a minimum.
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin- Barracuda) surprised many to win the Giro d’Italia on Sunday. His back and forth battle with Rodriguez in the Italian mountains was captivating to watch. He has shot up the Index to a career high 18th place and is the top ranked rider in the Americas. He is not threatening the top 10 yet as his performances in the last 12 months have failed to match his stellar year in 2010 when he finished 6th in the Tour de France and 2nd in Amstel Gold. It will be interesting to see the races Hesjedal will target later in the season. Perhaps his home town one day races GP de Montreal and Quebec.
Rounding off the Giro d’Italia podium was Thomas de Gendt. The Belgium rider is a fan’s favourite for his propensity to go on the attack. For the last two years he has won a stage each year at Paris-Nice from breakaways. Last year he surprised many at the Tour de France by finishing the race strongly coming in the top five in the last mountain and time trial stages. This seems to have given him the belief to try his hand at riding for the general classification at the grand tour.
World Champion, Mark Cavendish, was the most successful rider in the Giro in terms of number of stage wins. He could have had more than three stage wins had it not been for a bit of bad luck with crashes around him. This was in fact the first Giro d’Italia Cavendish has finished since 2008. His second place overall in the points classification may have come as a disappointment to him but it did give him enough points to move up to 4th in the Index. This is one spot above country man and teammate Bradley Wiggins. The top five riders in the world come from just three countries; Spain, Belgium and Great Britain.
The Giro also saw many young riders come to the fore. Rigoberto Uran won the young riders jersey and came 7th overall which raised him to 37th. His teammate Sergio Henao impressed many in his first grand tour ride. He finished in 9th place overall and is the highest new entry this week to the top 200.
Last week’s other races
There were two big stage races also taking place in Europe last week which you may have missed due to all the attention being on the Giro. The Tour of Belgium and Bayern-Rundfahrt are both tier three stage races and therefore carry 60% of points of tier one stage races like Criterium du Dauphine and Tour of Switzerland.
Michael Rogers won Bayern-Rundfahrt in emphatic fashion. On stage two he got in the day’s break and narrowly won the sprint for the stage win. On stage four he reinforced his lead by winning the time trial. He won the race by 25 seconds to Jerome Coppel. Rogers now sits in 51st which is a big jump from his 120th place in the rankings last week. Coppel moved up forty places to 62nd and his is continuing to build ahead of his main aim this season; the Tour de France.
The Tour of Belgium was this year decided on the stage four 20km time trail. World Time Trial champion Tony Martin signalled a strong return to form from his training injury in April by winning the stage by 46 seconds. He creeps back up the top 20 into 11th place.
This week’s racing
As ever there is still some important races taking place all over the world. The week kicks off with the US National Championships on Monday were Matthew Busche will be looking to defend his title. Wednesday sees the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg (Tier 3) start. The five day stage race was won by Linus Gerdemann(80th) last year. Then Sunday see the start of the key Tour de France preparation race the Criterium du Dauphine.
About the IG Markets Index
The IG Pro Cycling Index is a 12 month rolling ranking system designed 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.