IG Pro Cycling Index: Wiggins and Sagan leapfrog Evans

Peter Sagan is the rider who has won the most stages so far in the Tour de France. In his debut in the race he has won three out of the nine stages so far. His consistent finishing has also seen him take the green jersey. In the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index he a climbed one spot to fifth place and is just 15 points adrift of Bradley Wiggins in 4th spot.

Wiggins is in the yellow jersey at the first rest day after claiming his maiden Tour de France stage victory in the stage nine time trial. His results so far have not only seen him take the yellow jersey but also move up in the Index. Both Sagan and Wiggins have moved up the Index at the expense of Cadel Evans. Evans has so far ridden strongly in the race but has failed to match his performance from 2011 where he had already one a stage at this point in the race. This time last year he was only two seconds off the yellow jersey. This year he is one minute and 53 seconds behind Wiggins.

Andre Greipel and Fabian Cancellara have both had an excellent Tour de France so far. Greipel powered to sprints wins on stages four and five. He has jumped up to 13th in the Index from 21st place. The German has won an impressive 15 races so far in 2012. Cancellara powered to the win on the opening prologue in Liege. This was the fourth time he has won the prologue at the Tour de France and it was his eighth Tour de France stage win. He has returned to the top ten for the first time since the end of April this year.

Looking down the top 200 of the Index you can tell which riders have had a strong start to the Tour de France by comparing their current rank against their previous rank. Rising from 45th to 28th in the Index since the Tour started is Team Sky’s Chris Froome. The British rider won stage 7 after riding in support of his team leader Wiggins and then attacking Evans in the last kilometre. He is currently third overall at the Tour de France and will be looking to repeat his performance at the 2011 Vuelta a España where he finished on the podium.

Further down the Index there are some other notable risers. Tom Veelers from Argos-Shimano has had to step us as him team’s main sprinter in the first week. Marcel Kittel (46th) was meant to fill that role but had to pull out of the race due to stomach trouble. Veelers has surprised many with his strong sprints that have seen him get three top ten finishes so far.

Two new entries of note this week are Haimar Zubeldia in 177th and Michael Mørkøv in 180th place. These two riders have stood out for different reasons. Zubeldia has emerged as Radioshack-Nissan’s main contender in the overall classification. This is very impressive as he suffered a bad injury early in the season and only returned to racing in late May at Bayern-Rundfahrt. He is currently 6th overall, three minutes 19 seconds down on Wiggins. One rider who could have been one of the team’s stronger performers at the Tour is Jakob Fuglsang. He was not taken to the Tour de France but was instead sent to the Tour de Austria, which he duly won - moving him up 20 spots in the Index to 52nd overall.

Mørkøv got in the day’s break on the first three stages and won the majority of king of the mountains points. As a result he was in the polka-dot jersey from the end of stage 1 all the way through to stage 7.

While some riders are moving up, others are going in the opposite direction. Thor Hushovd is not riding the Tour de France this year. So far he has dropped from 31st to 60th in the Index. Instead the Norwegian is racing the Tour of Poland, a tier two stage race in the Index, in order to fine-tune his form ahead of the Olympic road race. Also riding the Tour of Poland is second placed Tom Boonen who could potentially become the new number one in the Index as he is only 89 points below top spot.

Stat of the week: This is first time ever that three different British riders have won a Tour de France stage in a single year.

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.

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