UCI WorldTour: Contador, Spain and AG2R into top spots in UCI WorldTour classifications

Posted: March 31, 2014 by kirisyko in Bike, Road cycling
Tags: ,

The Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in Spain and the Ghent-Wevelgem Classic in Belgium have produced some major changes in the UCI WorldTour classifications, with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) now heading the individual rankings, Spain the new top nation and AG2R La Mondiale back as the number one-ranked team.


Contador’s number one ranking comes after he placed second in the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya behind Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). Rodriguez was victorious in his home race for the second time in his career by a narrow four second margin over his Tinkoff-Saxo rival, whilst Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing Racing) was third.


“This was a lot harder than in when I won in 2010” Rodríguez, who won the UCI WorldTour classification last year, reflected. “This time, with so many rivals so close to me overall, it all stayed undecided right the way through to the last metre of the last stage. The smallest piece of bad luck could have changed everything.”


Meanwhile in Ghent-Wevelgem, Giant-Shimano’s John Degenkolb scored an impressive bunch sprint win after a three-man breakaway including Belgian National Champion Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing) was caught close to the finish line. Second was France’s Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr), with E3 Harelbeke winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale) in third.


Crashes affecting sprinters Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) and André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) reduced the number of Degenkolb’s rivals, but his timing of his final acceleration in the last metres of the 233 kilometre Classic was what perhaps made the biggest difference.


“[Team-mate] Koen De Kort positioned me perfectly, driving me onto Sagan’s wheel and I had the right position and could come through at the right time so it was a fantastic sprint,” Degenkolb said afterwards.


“My shape is good and this is a good sign for the next big races. Last weekend at Milano -Sanremo was probably one of the most disappointing moments of my career, and today everything went 100% better than last week so I can forget about that disappointment now.”


Overall in the UCI WorldTour rankings, Contador has now moved into first place overall with 198 points, whilst Sagan moves up from fifth to second with 143 points. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) also makes an important advance, rising from ninth to third with 137 points. Former leaders Carlos Alberto Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) now drop to fourth and fifth respectively, whilst Degenkolb gains no less than 30 places thanks to his Ghent-Wevelgem win and is now eighth overall.


In the nations classification, long-standing leaders Australia were forced to drop a place, as Spain romped ahead of them with a new total of 455 points. Australia, now in second, remain with their previous total of 336, whilst France advance to third with 310 points.


The teams classification has also seen a change of leader, with AG2R La Mondiale now back in the number one spot they occupied briefly earlier this year after Paris-Nice. This time their advantage of 309 points over Movistar, with 271, looks much more solid than earlier in the year. Tinkoff-Saxo, meanwhile, have also made an important advance, jumping three places to third overall with 269 points.

Photo: The German John Degenkolb wins bunch sprint in Ghent-Wevelghem

see more:http://www.uci.ch/Modules/ENews/ENewsDetails2011.asp?id=OTg3OA&MenuId=MTYzMDQ&LangId=1&BackLink=%2FTemplates%2FUCI%2FUCI8%2Flayout%2Easp%3FMenuID%3DMTYzMDQ%26LangId%3D1

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