Since the IG Pro Cycling Index started last June, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) has topped the rankings. This has in large part been due to his excellent results in early 2011, which saw him win all the Ardennes Classics, Strade Bianche, the Tour of Belgium, Ster ZLM Tour and stages at both the Volta ao Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico. The Belgian’s lead continued to grow throughout the year as he continued to win races and by the end of the season he had amassed a huge 2828 points.
In 2012 his lead has gradually been cut back as he has failed to match his dominant performances from 2011. Despite this he has still held onto the top spot, mainly for two reasons - his performances in the second half of 2011 and his 3rd place in this year’s Fleche Wallone. After last week’s update the gap between Gilbert at the top and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) is just 119 points, while Tom Boonen is just 165 points behind his countryman Gilbert in third position.
Rodriguez is currently riding and leading the Giro d’Italia after his stage win on stage 10. This result will likely propel him even closer to the number one spot. As the index is a rolling 12-month ranking system the key is to better your results from the previous year.
Last year, Rodriguez finished 4th overall and finished in the top ten on eight stages. This year, he has already won a stage and had two other top five finishes. If he wins another stage before Monday or comes in the top three in two stages then he will move to the number one spot overall on the Index. He will also help his chances to take the top spot if he stays in the pink jersey for as long as possible as that will bring him 12 points for every day he does.
Gilbert is not currently racing and won’t be turning out until next Tuesday when the Tour of Belgium (Tier 3) starts. Last year he won the race and a stage and therefore has to defend 439 points. He is currently down on the provisional start list for this race and he will be under pressure to repeat his 2011 exploits to regain or hold onto the top spot.
Tom Boonen is unlikely to trouble the top two as he has been thwarted by current number seven Peter Sagan at the Tour of California (Tier 2). Sagan’s triple victory at California will likely see him close the gap on Mark Cavendish on the Index. There is still of a lot of racing this week so it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top in their trans-continental battle.
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.