Great Britain slips to ninth in latest UCI world rankings ahead of Tour de France
Switzerland and US move up, but watch out for the Schlecks in next month's race
Great Britain has slipped to ninth place in the latest UCI world rankings as Levi Leipheimer’s last-gasp win in the Tour de Suisse yesterday plus Fabian Cancellara’s victories in the opening and closing time trial stages saw the United States and Switzerland jump ahead in the standings.
With the points scale weighted heavily towards performance in the next race in which ranking points are awarded, the Tour de France, a strong performance from riders such as Bradley Wiggins in the overall and Mark Cavendish in individual stages will be vital if Great Britain is to be certain of fielding a full complement of riders in this September’s UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen and next year’s Olympic Games in London.
Countries in the top ten of the standings come the cut-off date in mid-August will be able to select a squad of 14 riders for Copenhagen, with nine competing, while a top-ten placing come 1 November will allow countries to field five riders at the London 2012 road race.
There’s no change at the top of the individual standings, with Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Philippe Gilbert occupying first position, followed by Giro d’Italia winner Alberto Contador of Saxo Bank SunGard. You’d expect that to change after the Tour de France, although the Court of Arbitration for Sport will of course have the final word in August when it hears appeals by the UCI and WADA in the Contador case.
While HTC-Highroad retain the top spot in the team standings, there’s been a shuffling in the order behind them – aided by Cancellara’s stage win points in Switzerland plus getting three riders into the top ten, Leopard Trek move to second place, with RadioShack third, and Damiano Cunego’s efforts see Lampre-ISD jump to fourth.
Spain tops the national standings by some distance over Italy, while Great Britain in ninth place on 346 points lie 12 points behind Switzerland and 21 ahead of France. It’s a long way back to 11th place Kazakhstan, but the country most likely to present a threat to those currently in the top ten is Luxembourg, currently on 202 points but set for a bonanza should both Schleck brothers perform in France next month.
The full rankings can be found on the UCI website.