UCI rankings determine road World Championships starting spots

By Tomas Nilsson

The UCI has issued rankings for August 15 which will decide how many riders each nation can start in the elite World road championships in Stuttgart, Germany, on September 30. Cyclingnews took an unofficial look at the rankings and came up with the composition of the field.

For the elite men's road race, the top ten nations of the ProTour may start nine riders. These nations are Italy, Spain, Australia, Luxembourg, Germany, Russia, Belgium, USA, Netherlands, and France. Luxembourg is, of course, the sensation. The question is whether the Grand Duchy can field a full team. Their choices are rather thin after the Schleck brothers, Kim Kirchen, and Benôit Joachim. In contrast to the ProTour, Luxembourg is ranked only 29th on the Europe Tour. After recent positive doping tests of its riders Andrej Kashechkin and Alexander Vinokourov, Kazakhstan dropped to eleventh.

From the Europe Tour, the sixteen best nations, excepting those already qualified from the ProTour, will be on the starting line. Six riders each will represent Poland, Slovenia, Portugal, Ukraine, Slovakia, and Croatia, while Denmark, Norway, Austria, Belarus, Estonia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Latvia, Serbia, and Lithuania will field three riders.

But nations can also qualify from individual rankings. Great Britain and Sweden have riders in the top 100 in the ProTour, so they can also field three riders while Hungary and Ireland, with only one rider each with ProTour points, may start with one rider each.

Finally, Bulgaria has the right to start one rider since there are Bulgarians among the top 200 in the individual Europe Tour ranking.

Kazakhstan can field three riders thanks to its third place in the Asian rankings. Top Asian nation Iran may start with six riders and Japan with three. There may also be one Chinese rider since Li Fuyu has picked up points in the ProTour.

From the America Tour, top nations Colombia and Argentina may start six riders while Brazil, Canada, and Venezuela may start three. Also Costa Rica, Cuba, and Chile may start one rider each since they have riders in the top 20 of the individual classification.

South Africa may send six riders as the top-ranked African nation. Tunisia, in second place, may start three. There remains one spot for Libya, which has Mohamed Ali Ahmed in the top five in the individual ranking. However, Ali Ahmed is an U23 rider, and may profit by opting to compete in that division instead.

From Oceania, New Zealand will field three riders given that Australia qualified from the ProTour.

All in all, 215 riders from 48 nations are allowed to start the elite road race in Stuttgart.

The qualification process for the U23 and women's races are less complicated.

The U23 nations rankings from the continental tours allows 26 European, 12 American, six Asian, four African and two Oceania nations to start the race. Teams are awarded five, four or three rider positions depending on their ranking. The five top nations in the nations cup are entitled to an extra rider. Other nations that haven't qualified by the rankings as above may start one rider if they are included in the nations cup final ranking after the Tour de l'Avenir that finishes September 15.

The qualified nations so far are Russia, Netherlands, Italy, France, Slovenia, Germany, Norway, Belgium, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Estonia, Hungary, Moldova, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Serbia, Ukraine, Spain, Finland, Albania, Ireland, Romania, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Venezuela, US, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Iran, Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, South Africa, Libya, Egypt, Australia, and New Zealand.

China, Algeria, Kenya and Austria are qualified so far from the nations cup while Great Britain and Sweden are notable absentees.

The women's road race qualification is simpler still and stands in marked contrast to the men's qualification: Any nation may start six riders.

Finally, for all categories in the time trial, every nation may start two racers.

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