By Tomas Nilsson
The United States of America may not start next month's UCI World Championship in Varese, Italy, with more than six riders. Usually the 10 top nations on the ProTour rankings get nine spots each but the International Cycling Union (UCI) has decided to use another "international" ranking combining the ProTour ranking and the races on its so-called Historical Calendar.
This comprises some, but not all, of the races organised by the three Grand Tour organisers. The Giro d'Italia is included, but not the Tour de France. Other races missing include Paris-Nice and Flèche Wallone, while Liège-Bastogne-Liège is on - all three are organised by Tour organiser ASO. Tirreno-Adriatico is also missing, although it has the same organiser as the Giro d'Italia.
In any case, USA is out of the top 10 whether you count the extra races or not. USA earns its spots in the world's road race by its position on the American Tour. In the latest ranking on July 25, USA topped the American list with Venezuela as second.
It is not likely to change before August 15, which is the day the Continental rankings for the World Championships qualifications are made. The calendar for the first part of August is not likely to make any major changes in the rankings.
The 10 nations qualified from the "international ranking" for nine riders are, according to Cyclingnew's unofficial calculations, are: Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Luxembourg, France, Netherlands, Switzerland and Russia.
From the American Tour USA and Venezuela will field six riders, while Argentina, Colombia and Canada may start three riders. One rider each from Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay and Bolivia may also start since these nations have riders in the individual top 20 ranking on the American Tour. Brazil, however, is missing out completely.
The 16 top ranked nations in Europe, next to those qualified via the ProTour, are also qualified. Slovenia, Poland, Ukraine, Portugal, Great Britain and Denmark will field six riders while Austria, Croatia, Ireland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Estonia, Slovakia, Latvia, Serbia and Lithuania may start three riders each. The Czech Republic, Belarus, Finland and Kazakhstan are also qualified for three riders, since these nations have riders in the top 100 in the individual ProTour ranking. A lone Hungarian has also qualified by being in the top 200 in the individual Europe tour ranking.
From Africa the South Africans can field six riders as the top ranked nation while Tunisia may start with three. Morocco gets an extra spot by having one rider in the top five on the individual African ranking.
The biggest Asian team will be Iran with six riders while Japan and Uzbekistan can field three riders each.
And finally, since Australia is qualified by the international ranking, New Zealand takes the Oceanian spot for a three riders team.