Bradley Wiggins’ performance in winning the Criterium du Dauphiné yesterday has seen him climb from 31st to 12th in the latest UCI world rankings published today, and has helped Team Sky rise to eighth in the team rankings. In good news for Great Britain’s hopes of being able to field a full complement of riders for this September’s World Championships and next year’s Olympics, his overall win in the French stage race has also helped the country rise to seventh place in the national rankings.
Winning the Dauphiné plus his third place finish earlier this year in Paris-Nice has helped take Wiggins to 181 points in the individual rankings, which are still topped by Philippe Gilbert with a whopping 356 points, 7 ahead of Alberto Contador in 7th place. HTC-Highroad meanwhile remains on top of the team standings.
With the points scale heavily weighted towards the Tour de France – fifth place there would secure 100 points, the same as Wiggins got for his overall victory in last week’s race, while the Tour winner gets 200 – a strong showing in cycling’s biggest race next month would be a boost for Great Britain ahead of the World Championships and Olympics.
Under the qualification rules for the former, the top ten countries in the World Rankings at the cut-off date in mid-August are able to select nine riders from an initial squad of 14. For the Olympics, meanwhile, top ten-ranked countries as at 1 November will be able to put five men into next year’s road race.
At last year’s World Championships in Geelong, Mark Cavendish had just David Millar and Jeremy Hunt to support him. While the course in Australia didn’t suit the Manxman, this year’s in Copenhagen does, making it vital that the country has the strongest team possible, and giving Cavendish added incentive, if any were needed, to perform in the Tour de France.
As with points for the overall classification, those on offer for stage placings in the Tour de France are also higher than in other races – so while two wins and a second place in last month’s Giro d’Italia gave Cavendish 40 points, a similar performance would be worth 50 in the Tour, where of course there are also more sprinter-friendly stages and last year, he bagged 110 points in the race.
The national rankings are topped by Spain with a nice round 1,000 points, 140 ahead of second-placed Italy. Those nations are followed by Belgium, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands, which lies 46 points ahead of Great Britain, which has leapfrogged France, Switzerland and the United States which round out the top ten.
The national rankings are calculated from the aggregate scores of the five leading riders from the country concerned. In Great Britain’s case, besides Wiggins, those comprise his Team Sky colleagues Ben Swift with 89 points and Geraint Thomas with 5, Cavendish with 40 points, and Garmin-Cervelo rider David Millar on 29.
The full rankings can be found on the UCI website.
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.