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Leon Sanchez leads latest world rankings

Spanish armada: Luis Leon Sanchez (2nd overall, Caisse d'Epargne), Alberto Contador (1st, Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (3rd, Caisse d'Epargne)

Spanish armada: Luis Leon Sanchez (2nd overall, Caisse d'Epargne), Alberto Contador (1st, Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (3rd, Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Sirotti)

Luis Leon Sanchez may have missed out on a second Paris-Nice title, but the Caisse d'Epargne rider's third place finish has seen him move to the top of the International Cycling Union's (UCI) individual rider rankings, released on Monday.

Sanchez has traded places with André Greipel (HTC-Columbia) at the top of the rankings, which are based on the two World Calendar events so far contested – the Tour Down Under and Paris-Nice. The man that finished at the top of the Paris-Nice podium, Alberto Contador (Astana), is the highest new entry to the list, in third.

Contador finished the 2009 rankings as UCI's world number one.

Sanchez's Caisse d'Epargne teammate Alejandro Valverde moved from 11th to fourth after finishing in second at Paris-Nice.

While results at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo will soon alter the rankings, Sanchez indicated on Monday that he will look to retain top spot with a strong performance at the Tour of Cataluña later this month.

"I am happy because it means that I've been doing a great job in the early part of the season and it is also a reward for all the effort to prepare for this year in the best possible way," Sanchez said.

"It's only the beginning of the year and that ranking will change with the next races. It means that I'll have to fight hard to remain in the lead. I'll try to recover very well and present myself in good shape for the Tour of Cataluña so that I can keep on leading [the World Rankings]."

Sanchez and Valverde's participation at the Tour Down Under and podium success at Paris-Nice has also their squad jump to the top of the team standings where they replace HTC-Columbia. The US squad has moved back to third behind Katusha, who retained second position.

The Spanish stranglehold on the Paris-Nice podium has seen the European country replace Australia at the top of the national rankings. Spain has more than double the points of Australia, with Germany in third.

UCI Individual World Rankings
1Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne158pts
2André Greipel (Ger) Team HTC-Columbia119
3Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana107
4Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne99
5Greg Henderson (NZl) Sky Professional Cycling Team85
6Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha67
7Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo60
8Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram54
9Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi53
10Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank46
11Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team43
12Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha36
13Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha30
14Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto22
15Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, le Credit En Ligne21
16Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo21
17Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Transitions11
18Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto10
19Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Por) Footon-Servetto7
20Xavier Tondo Volpini (Spa) Cervelo TestTeam6
21Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit En Ligne6
22Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling Team6
23William Bonnet (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom6
23Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank6
25Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom5
26Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini5
27Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank5
28Gert Steegmans (Bel) Team Radioshack5
29Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun4
30Markus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram4
31Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini4
32Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R La Mondiale3
33Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack2
34Jérémie Galland (Fra) Saur-Sojasun2
35Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team Katusha1
36Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française Des Jeux1
37Mauro Finetto (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo1
38Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team1
39Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank1
40Tony Martin (Ger) Team HTC-Columbia1

UCI Team World Rankings
1Caisse d'Epargne257pts
2Team Katusha134
3Team HTC-Columbia120
5Sky Professional Cycling Team91
7Team Milram58
9Team Saxo Bank47
10BMC Racing Team44
11Omega Pharma-Lotto32
12Cofidis, le Credit En Ligne27
14Bbox Bouygues Telecom11
16Lampre-Farnese Vini9
18Team Radioshack7
19Cervelo Test Team6
21Ag2R La Mondiale3
22Française Des Jeux1

UCI Nation Rankings
4New Zealand85
5Czech Republic60
11South Africa11
17United States2


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