Ben Swift’s brace of stage wins in the Santos Tour Down Under last week have propelled Great Britain to second place in the new UCI WorldTour rankings, published today, with Australia topping the country standings.
The Team Sky rider followed his victory in Stage 2 of the six-day race last Wednesday by taking the closing stage in Adelaide yesterday, his performance also putting him third in the individual rankings, the same position he occupied in the overall standings, behind race winner Cameron Meyer of Garmin-Cervélo and runner-up Matt Goss of HTC-Highroad.
The 23-year-old from Rotherham was the only British rider to score UCI ranking points during the race, compared to five from the host country.
Team Sky takes fourth spot in the team rankings, perhaps surprisingly topped by Dutch outfit Rabobank, whose Michael Matthews won a stage of last week’s race, with Laurens ten Dam also putting in a strong performance in the overall standings, the pair finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, on the GC.
Okay, so most of the cyclists you’d expect to see near the top of the standings come December may have been absent from the Tour Down Under, either training for the rigours of the season ahead, or like Giro d’Italia champion Ivan Basso racing in the Tour San Luis in Argentina, which isn’t a WorldTour event, but we’re happy to celebrate British success whatever form it takes.
The UCI has said that it will update the rankings on the Monday following WorldTour events throughout the 2011 season.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.