Eighth in last year's Milan-San Remo, 12 months on Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) has triumphed in the first Monument of 2014, out-sprinting a group of 27 riders in what is easily his biggest win to date. As a result, Kristoff jumps to fourth overall on the latest UCI WorldTour standings.
A bronze medallist in the 2012 Olympics, former national champion and already a winner of a stage of the Tour of Oman in 2014, Kristoff timed his final charge for the line in the rain-soaked streets of San Remo to perfection. Shooting past Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), second for a third time, and Team Sky's Ben Swift - who placed third - Kristoff said his victory represented a new high point in his career.
"[Teammate] Luca Paolini helped me enormously in the finale, but I really didn't think more than a top ten finish was possible," Kristoff said. "Even if a sprint after 300 kilometres is very different to a normal sprint, I couldn't believe I'd won until I crossed the line. It's absolutely fantastic."
While the top three riders in the UCI WorldTour - Carlos Alberto Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) with 114, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) with 114 and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) with 112 - remain with unchanged placings and unchanged points totals, Kristoff has gained no fewer than 59 spots and is now fourth with 101 points.
He is not the only Classics rider or sprinter to make significant progress towards the highest placings thanks to Milan-San Remo: Cancellara now lies in seventh with 84 points, Swift takes his first UCI WorldTour points to move into 12th, and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick Step), who was fifth in the race, moves up from 33rd to 17th.
In the nations classification, Australia remains in the lead with 336 points, but Spain has closed the gap and moved up from third to second overall with 266 points. Colombia dropped from second to third with 248 points.
Unsurprising, Norway is the biggest mover in the WorldTour nations ranking, up from 22nd to eighth, while Great Britain, gaining five places to go up to the sixth place overall, has also made considerable progress.
A familiar name is back in the top spot of the teams classification. Movistar, the 2013 WorldTour team classification winner, takes over the lead from AG2R La Mondiale with 218 points. The French squad is now second at 216 points, while Lampre-Merida remains in third with 191 points. Trek Factory Racing and Team Sky, meanwhile, both profit from Milan-San Remo to leapfrog past the opposition - Trek Factory Racing into fifth with 168 points and Team Sky, also with 168, in sixth.
The impact of the Classics on the UCI WorldTour has already been considerable, even though the bulk of one-day racing this spring is yet to come. And in five days time, at the E3 Harelbeke in Belgium, the Classics racers will have their next big opportunity to gain both points and places in the UCI WorldTour.
|1||Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale||114||pts|
|2||Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||114|
|3||Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo||112|
|4||Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha||101|
|5||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team||88|
|6||Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida||88|
|7||Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing||84|
|8||Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team||84|
|9||Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida||83|
|10||Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr||78|
|11||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo||71|
|12||Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky||70|
|13||Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team||68|
|14||Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky||67|
|15||Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||61|
|16||Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar Team||60|
|17||Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||56|
|18||Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin Sharp||55|
|19||Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team||52|
|20||Julián David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory Racing||50|
|21||Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team||42|
|22||Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar||42|
|23||Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale||40|
|24||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||33|
|25||Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge||32|
|26||Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing||30|
|27||Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky||25|
|28||Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha||22|
|29||Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida||20|
|30||Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha||20|
|31||André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol||18|
|32||John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano||14|
|33||Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale||13|
|34||Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol||12|
|35||Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin Sharp||12|
|36||Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing Team||10|
|37||Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team||10|
|38||Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr||8|
|39||Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar Team||6|
|40||Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team||6|
|41||Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr||5|
|42||Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol||4|
|43||Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky||4|
|44||Egor Silin (Rus) Team Katusha||4|
|45||Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol||4|
|46||Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano||4|
|47||Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing||4|
|48||Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||4|
|49||Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||4|
|50||Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||4|
|51||Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||4|
|52||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team||3|
|53||Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||2|
|54||Benjamin King (USA) Garmin Sharp||2|
|55||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky||2|
|56||Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin Sharp||2|
|57||Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||2|
|57||Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||2|
|59||Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale||2|
|60||Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||2|
|61||Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team||1|
|62||Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team||1|
|63||Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team||1|
|64||Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||1|
|65||Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano||1|
|66||Tony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar||1|
|67||Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale||1|
|68||Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team||1|
|69||Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar||1|
|70||Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||1|
|71||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano||1|
|72||Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||1|
|73||Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp||1|
|2||AG2R La Mondiale||216|
|5||Trek Factory Racing||168|
|9||Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||101|
|10||BMC Racing Team||100|
|13||Astana Pro Team||64|
|14||Belkin-Pro Cycling Team||51|
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