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UCI World Ranking: Great Britain set to be a man short for Copenhagen World Championships

Country almost certain of top ten placing, but only eight riders have ranking points so will miss out on ninth rider

Great Britain has risen from ninth to seventh position in the latest UCI WorldTour ranking, published today. With just the Eneco Tour, which starts today, to be completed before the qualification process for next month’s UCI Road World Championships is complete, in theory the country should be able to put a full team of nine riders on the road in Copenhagen. However, the minutiae of the qualification process means that Mark Cavendish will start the race with one team mate less than many of his rivals.

According to the UCI qualification rules for the men’s road race in Copenhagen, the ten leading countries in the next UCI WorldTour ranking, to be published next Monday after the Eneco Tour finishes, can enter 14 riders, with nine to start.

“However,” the rules continue, “a nation with fewer than nine riders classified in the individual UCI WorldTour ranking on 15 August 2011 shall start the number of riders that are classified.”

Prior to last week’s Tour of Poland, won yesterday by Liquigas-Cannondale’s Peter Sagan, who overhauled defending champion Dan Martin of Garmin-Cervelo on the final day, Great Britain only had six riders who had picked up ranking points this season – Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins, Ben Swift, Geraint Thomas and Steve Cummings, plus Garmin-Cervelo’s David Millar and Cavendish himself.

During the Tour of Poland, Omega Pharma-Lottos’s Adam Blythe and Team Sky’s Peter Kennaugh picked up their first ranking points of the season, while another Sky rider, Ian Stannard, narrowly missed out during yesterday’s closing stage, finish eighth, when fifth place would have seen him pick up a ranking point.

Kennaugh finished the race fifth overall, helping boost Great Britain’s points total in the national standings, which are based on the aggregate points total of a country’s top five riders in the individual ranking.

With Millar, Swift and Thomas the only British riders racing in the Benelux multi-stage race this week, no-one else has an opportunity to pick up ranking points, leaving the country with eight riders for Copehagen, assuming it keeps its top ten ranking.

That, at least, seems assured. The Netherlands, currently just 3 points behind Great Britain on 501 points, should move up the rankings in this week’s race, with four of the seven stages held on Dutch roads, and the United States is just 19 points further back, but there’s a big gap then to the tenth-placed team.

The country occupying that spot is France, which has 377 points compared to Great Britain’s 504, while 11th placed Switzerland is on 360 points. With a maximum of 100 points on offer to the Eneco Tour overall winner, and 6 points for stage winners, Great Britain’s top ten place appears secure.

Spain continues to lead the national standings on 1,306 points, followed by Italy on 1,041, just 19 points ahead of Australia in third place, with the only change in the top ten being Britain jumping above the Netherlands and United States.

Leopard Trek stay at the top of the team ranking, with BMC Racing second and the soon-to-be-disbanded HTC Highroad third. Despite the points picked up by Kennaugh and Steve Cummings, ninth overall, in Poland, Team Sky slip from eight to tenth.

Tour de France champion Cadel Evans still tops the individual standings, but should Philippe Gilbert win the Eneco Tour, which he starts as second favourite behind Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen, the Belgian will be back on top of the ranking next week, with Evans currently back in his native Australia to celebrate winning the maillot jaune.

The full UCI WorldTour ranking can be found on the UCI website.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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