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Di Luca first king of ProTour

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi):

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi): (Image credit: Sirotti)

Liquigas-Bianchi's Danilo Di Luca has crowned himself first king of the UCI ProTour on Sunday in Zürich, Switzerland. By coming into the finish in fourth position behind winner Paolo Bettini in the Züri Metzgete, "the Killer" scored enough points to win the new season-long ranking classification succeeding the World Cup.

Di Luca is out of reach of the last of his remaining theoretical opponents, even though the calendar will only be sealed after the Giro di Lombardia on October 15. With many riders of the Top 10 ranking having ended their racing schedule for this year - or retired - the 29 year-old will keep the white jersey he's been wearing for most of the season.

The Italian rider was first awarded the trophy after his impressive double Amstel Gold race and Flèche Wallonne in April, having already won the Vuelta a Pais Vasco. Only four riders topped the ProTour rankings before him: Bobby Julich after Paris-Nice, Oscar Freire after Tirreno Adriatico, Alessandro Petacchi after Milano-San Remo and Tom Boonen after his Paris-Roubaix victory.

As for the teams and nations rankings, nothing is certain yet with CSC still closely followed by Rabobank in the teams, and Italy being chased by the U.S. in the countries. The next ProTour race, Paris-Tours, will add to the standings on Sunday, October 9, before the last event in 2005, the Giro di Lombardia on October 15, will seal the classification.

Rankings as of October 2, 2005

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