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Cavendish is fourth

Alberto Contador remains top of the UCI World Ranking for professional road cyclists. The Tour de France winner sits in the number one position on 527 points, well ahead of second-placed Andy Schleck (334 points),  with Roman Kreuziger third (310) and Mark Cavendish (304) fourth as his great year continues.

The ranking is compiled by cycling’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) using a points system, with points awarded for performances in a one-day race, tour stage and stage race overall finishing positions for events in the UCI’s World Calendar, with the number of points awarded depending on the ranking of the event.

Contador’s Tour de France win bagged him 264 points, 200 of them for topping the podium in Paris, while Cavendish's six stage wins helped him add 126 points to his tally, including the 100 points he gained earlier this year following his Milan-San Remo victory. Neither is riding in the Vuelta, which began on Saturday, and whose victor will gain 170 points for winning the race plus any points gained for individual stage performances on the way to Madrid.

The Nations ranking, which is a tally of all of the riders points for each country, sees Spain at the top, ahead of Italy in second and Australia in third, with Great Britain ninth, the performance of the likes of Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins keeping the country ahead of traditional cycling powerhouses France and The Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Astana comfortably top the Teams ranking, from second-placed Team Saxo Bank and third-placed Team Columbia-HTC.