The inexorable rise of Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) is reflected in the latest update to the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index.
An update to the rolling, 12-month ranking of the world’s top 200 riders has seen the Slovak sprinter, and current holder of the Tour de France green jersey, move from sixth to third.
Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), another sprinter enjoying a highly successful Tour, has moved from 21st place to 14th.
Conversely, the most successful of all the current Tour sprinters in previous years, Mark Cavendish (Team Sky), has slipped down the rankings, with just one stage victory this Tour. The Manx Missile may fall further if, as looks certain, he fails to defend his green jersey victory from last year. A loss of form? Unlikely. Cavendish has been upfront in his desire to win the Olympic road race and to ride in support of Bradley Wiggins at the Tour.
Riders who have won Tour stages in the last week have climbed the Index. Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ-Big Mat) reaches his highest position, 68th, after claiming a career fourth stage victory. Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) was another rider to claim his fourth Tour win and climbed to 56th on the Index. David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) who became the fourth British rider, and fourth member of Team GB, to win a stage at this year’s Tour, rises to 68th on the Index.
France isn’t the only country hosting a UCI WorldTour race this month. The Tour of Poland, ranked as a Tier 2 event on the Index, has also witnessed six stages since the last update. Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) began the race with the opportunity to displace Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) at the top of the Index, but a crash on stage one has left him with a broken rib and a fight to regain fitness for the Olympic road race on Saturday July 28.
Boonen was one of a host of big name riders to select the Tour of Poland as a final form finder for the Olympic road race. BMC Racing teammates, Thor Hushovd and Marcus Burghardt, also chose the seven-stage, week long race to prepare for the Games. All were thwarted in their bid for victory by the young Italian rider, Moreno Moser (Liquigas-Cannondale), who claimed two stage wins on his way to overall victory, and now stands 22nd on the Index, a remarkable achievement for a rider who has completed just 36 days of racing this year.
Ben Swift (Team Sky) continued an excellent season that saw him crowned world scratch race champion, by winning two stages in Poland. The young Brit had a quiet start to his road season, presumably due to his focus on track activities, but returns to the top 200 riders ranked by the Index.
Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is another rider who enjoyed a successful Tour of Poland. Riding on home soil, he scored four top 10 finishes and finished fourth overall. The net result? He becomes the week’s highest new entry to the Index, coming straight in at 96th.
All cycling fans have their opinion on who is the world’s best cyclist. The IG Markets Pro Cycling Index exists to provide a carefully considered, statistical ranking of the top 200 riders. IG have joined forces with Opta, a company specialising in sports data to compile a rolling, 12-month Index to rank the world’s top 200 riders based on results from 120 major international races, selected by an expert panel and placed into four tiers with three categories based on their significance to cyucling fans.
Unlike other ranking systems, the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index does not follow the UCI WorldTour calendar, but awards points based on the prestige of the race and the quality of the field. As a result, a rider victorious in, say, Paris-Nice, would be awarded more points than the winner of the Tour of Beijing. A victory in any race gains more points than placing. Winners of the Classics are awarded bonus points, as are those who triumph on the most prestigious stages of the Tour de France.