Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) has reclaimed second spot on the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index after winning the Criterium International stage race.
The Australian winner of the 2011 Tour de France has ridden the least kilometres of any rider in the top 20, but thanks to results and the quality of races he has competed in, remains at the sharp end of the Index.
A top-35 place in this year’s 2012 Tirenno-Adriatico, a race he won last year, saw him drop places, but victory in the Criterium International, another prestigious early-season stage race, has pushed him back into the top two.
Evans’ teammate, Philippe Gilbert, remains at the top of the Index despite a low-key start to the season. Failure to defend points accrued from the supremely impressive collection of titles won last year, including a hat-trick of victories in the Ardennes Classics, would see him slip down the rankings.
Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) climbs six places to a comparatively lowly 13th for a man celebrating back-to-back victories at E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem – wins that broke and equaled records for multiple victories in the respective events.
But due to the method used to calculate the Index, Boonen’s victory at Wevelgem, a race he won last year, is counted only as a defence of his title. And despite their inclusion on the UCI’s elite WorldTour calendar, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem are classified only as Tier Two events on the Index.
Only a select group of one-day races is afforded Tier One status by IG: the five Monuments of professional cycling (Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and the Tour of Lombardy), the world road race championship, and the Olympic road race.
Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek) drops a place after failing to defend his 2011 E3 Harelbeke victory. Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) moves to fifth place as a result, making him one of two British riders in the top five, a place behind his teammate, Mark Cavendish.
With April only days away, and a month of the toughest one-day races ahead, Cancellara could soon gain places. He will have 265 points to defend at Sunday’s Tour of Flanders after finishing third last year. 2011 winner, Nick Nuyens, 75th on the Index, will defend 615 points, while Sylvain Chavanel, second last year and 31st on the Index, will defend 365 points.
Victory for GreenEDGE rider, Michael Albasini, in last week’s Volta a Catalunya lifts him from 126th to 34th on the Index. Niki Terpstra’s victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen, classified as a Tier Three race, lifts him to 59th place, while Pierreck Fedrigo’s win on stage three of the Critérium International, a victory that carried him to second overall, moved him 74 places up the Index to 93rd.