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Ben Swift single-handedly takes Britain to second place in new UCI WorldTour rankings

Okay, it's only based on the Tour Down Under, but let's hear it for Team Sky's young Yorkshireman...

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.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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