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Drop in world rankings leads to cut in size of Team GB for world champs

As expected the UCI has reduced the number of riders that Great Britain can field at the Road World Championship in Melbourne from 9 to 3 thus adding a fair degree of difficulty to Mark Cavendish's attempt to win this year's race.

Great Britain fell to 14th place on the latest UCI rankings, up from 15 on the previous rankings, but well down on the Top 10 world ranking it enjoyed in the qualifying for last year's worlds. Spain top the latest rankings with a whopping 1644 points almost double the total of Italy in second place. The first nine countries in the World ranking will get to field teams of nine riders, Kazakhstan in 10th will field a team of six there is a full list of qualifying nations and their team numbers here.

Team GB qualify vis the UCI Europe Tour in which they are also in 14th place and entitled to 3 starters at the worlds. With a full team supporting him Cavendish would undoubtedly be one of the big favourites to win the world title on what looks to be a sprinter friendly Melbourne course. Without those extra bodies he will have to rely on his ability to jump from his opponents wheel to wheel to get the best position - something he's proven he can do and should a break get away rely on other sprinter's teams to chase it down, or be able to make deals in the peloton to get them back.

You can find out more about how the UCI selection works here.

Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.