Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team) who ended the 2012 season ranked number one in the world, has called for a major shake-up of the UCI WorldTour points system to try to ensure that domestiques, as well as the leaders, get more recognition for the work they do.
The current WorldTour ranking awards points to the top 20 riders the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta Espana and the top ten finishers in the Classics and the other stage races on the WorldTour calendar. A few points are awarded to the top five finishers on the stages and race leaders but riders who sacrifice themselves for their leaders and their teams, rarely score points.
“It’s very unbalanced because the points system does not give anything to those who finish further down the classification. They should set it up so it provides a much broader range of points,” the Katusha rider told Cyclingnews.
“The winner shouldn’t finish the season with 600 points, he should finish with 15,000. That way a team worker who gets 300 or 400 will have something to offer, in terms of points, to a squad.”
Rodríguez cited the case of Joost Posthuma, the Dutch rider retired at the end of this season partly because he did not have any points to offer a WorldTour team.
Posthuma was part of the 2011 Leopard Trek line-up for the Tour de France team which put both Andy and Fränk Schleck on the final podium behind Cadel Evans. However, his important role as a domestique was of little value in a system which puts UCI points as one of the most critical factors in any team's bid for the WorldTour.
“Posthuma didn’t get a team because he didn’t have any points, it’s a total disgrace,” Rodriguez said. “They should triple or quadruple the points value and increase the number of riders that get points up to the guy who finishes thirtieth. Or if somebody wins, then his team-mates should automatically get some points as well.”
A finisher on the podium both of the Giro and the Vuelta, as well as the winner of the Tour of Lombardy and Fleche Wallone, Rodríguez topped the UCI WorldTour individual ranking with 692 points, 91 more than the runner-up, Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky).
Rodriguez also gained points in the Tour of the Basque Country, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Clásica San Sebastian, whilst Wiggins took points in Paris-Nice, Romandie and the Criterium du Dauphiné.
Rodriguez hopes that the UCI will change the points scoring system during next spring’s series of summit meetings called after the long series of doping scandals and Lance Armstrong's suspension and loss of his seven Tour de France victories.
“Given they want to sort out all kinds of things there, this should be on the list of their priorities as well,” Rodriguez said.