Rodriguez closes the gap on Contador in UCI rankings

Astana extends lead in team ranking, Spain dominates nations ranking

Tour de France winner Alberto Contador (Astana) still leads the UCI World Rankings that were issued today but fellow Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) has closed the gap to 54 points after finishing fifth in Saturday's Clasica San Sebastian.

Contador scored 220 points at the Tour de France and jumped to the top of the ranking with a total of 482 points. However he is unlikely to ride other major race this season and so is not expected to score more points. Rodriguez scored 30 points for his fifth place at the Clasica San Sebastian and now has 428 points, making him the biggest favourite to top the rankings at the end of the season. Rodriguez has won stage five of the Vuelta a Pais Vasco and stage 12 of the Tour de France. He is likely to score more points in the second half of the season and at the Vuelta Espana.

Cadel Evans (BMC) is third in the individual ranking with 390 point, Clasica San Sebastian winner Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) moved up from fifth to fourth and now has a total of 363 points, with Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) fifth with 304 points.

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) was the only big mover in the individual ranking, moving up from tenth to sixth with 283 points thanks to this second place behind Sanchez.

Team rankings vital for 2011 race invitations

Vinokourov's Astana team continues to dominate the team ranking and now has a total of 944 point. Saxo Bank is second with 790 points and Katusha is third with 739 points.

With the 2010 team rankings important for securing invitations to the three Grand Tours and major one-day classics on the Historic calendar in 2011, points scored in the final races of the season could be vital.

Under a new agreement between the UCI and the big-three race organisers ASO, RCS Sport and Unipublic, 17 teams will automatically be invited to races next year. Team Sky is currently in 17th place but with the future of several other teams is in doubt, their place in the top echelon of the sport seems secure. Below them, Ag2r-La Mondiale, Cofidis, BBox Bouygues Telecom, Vacansoleil and Francaise des Jeux are fighting for the final places.

Thanks to the success of Contador, Rodriguez and Sanchez, Spain still leads the UCI World Ranking for nations.

Spain has a total of 1644 points, almost double the total of Italy in second, that has 856 points. Belgium is third with 849 points, Australia is fourth with 725 points and the USA is fifth 568 points.

The next update of the World Ranking will be published after this week's Tour of Poland.

Elite Men UCI World Rankings
1Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana482pts
2Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha428 
3Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team390 
4Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne363 
5Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto304 
6Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana283 
7Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank258 
8Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank250 
9Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi239 
10Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank239 
11Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Transitions217 
12Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack216 
13Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step216 
14Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank213 
15Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo206 
16Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli203 
17Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo188 
18Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team Radioshack174 
19Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto169 
20Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini163 
Teams
1Astana944pts
2Team Saxo Bank790 
3Team Katusha739 
4Liquigas-Doimo634 
5Omega Pharma-Lotto621 
6Rabobank619 
7HTC - Columbia595 
8Caisse d'Epargne586 
9Team RadioShack562 
10Bmc Racing Team553 
11Cervelo Test Team464 
12Euskaltel - Euskadi425 
13Lampre-Farnese Vini420 
14Garmin - Transitions415 
15Quick Step309 
16Androni Giocattoli243 
17Team Sky231 
18Ag2R La Mondiale192 
19Cofidis148 
20Bbox Bouygues Telecom147 
21Acqua & Sapone134 
22Colnago - Csf Inox119 
23Vacansoleil115 
24Team Milram106 
25Française Des Jeux88 
Nations
1Spain1644pts
2Italy856 
3Belgium849 
4Australia725 
5United States568 
6Russia423 
7Kazakhstan400 
8Luxembourg398 
9Switzerland355 
10Germany343 
11Netherlands317 
12France311 
13Slovenia294 
14Great Britain255 
15Canada217 
16Czech Republic188 
17Norway178 
18New Zealand139 
19Estonia111 
20Denmark102 
21Ireland87 
22Austria83 
23Portugal74 
24Colombia53 
25Slovakia43 

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