Teams, riders and nations are continuing to fight for UCI WorldTour ranking points as they chase qualification places for the road race world championships, ProTeam licences and contracts for 2012.
The latest UCI ranking was issued on Monday following the Tour of Poland. Riders and teams have until the end of the season to score as many points as possible to boost their chances of staying in the WorldTour in 2012. However next week’s ranking will be decisive for deciding the number of riders each national will be allowed to field in the elite men’s road race and time trial.
Under UCI rules, the first 10 countries in the UCI WorldTour nation ranking on August 15, 2011 will be allowed to have nine riders in the race. Other nations have to qualify via their ranking in the Europe Tour, but only the leading six nations in those rankings can have nine riders in the race. Nations ranked from seventh to 16th can field three riders.
Spain currently dominates the nations' ranking with 1306 points. Italy is second with 1041 points and Australia is third with 1022.
Both Great Britain and the USA are in the top 10 thanks to recent success in WorldTour races. Great Britain has risen from ninth to seven in this latest ranking after Pete Kennaugh, Steve Cummings and Adam Blythe scored precious sprints in the Tour of Poland. The USA is ranked ninth, slipping one place from eighth, with 482 points. France is a distant 10th with 377 points and with Taylor Phinney (BMC) performing well at the Eneco Tour, the USA looks assured of a place in the top 10.
Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Denmark, Norway, Slovakia and Ireland are all outside the top 10 and so will only, at best, be able to field six-rider teams.
Great Britain is targeting the rainbow jersey in the elite men’s road race with Mark Cavendish but will only be able to field an eight-rider time trial after only eight different riders scored points. The USA has greater strength in depth, with 10 riders in the individual ranking.
The leading placings in the individual and team UCI WorldTour rankings remain largely unchanged after the Tour of Poland, with only overall winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and second placed Daniel Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) the big movers. Sagan climbed from 87th to 23rd, while Martin went from 44th to 19th.
Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (BMC) is still in first place with a total of 574 points. Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) is second with 482 points and Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) is third with 471 points. Evans has confirmed he will not ride another WorldTour race this season but Gilbert hopes to become the world’s number one ranked rider by the end of the season and is riding the Eneco Tour this week.
Leopard Trek remains top of the team ranking with 949 points, 105 more than second placed BMC that has 844 points. HTC- Highroad is third with 764 points and Omega Pharma-Lotto is fourth with 747 points.