UCI WorldTour 2014: comprehensive rankings round-up

Alejandro Valverde claims world number one spot

Behind the numbers, then, what can the final WorldTour rankings actually show us? Are they a true reflection of the season? Should they be more celebrated?

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) certainly thinks so, but then as the new world number one he has a vested interest.

Joaquim Rodriguez ensured his custom-painted Canyon celebrated his triumph of the last two years. Does being ranked number one deserve more recognition?

His predecessor Joaquim Rodriguez did not hold back from celebrating his achievement though, with a custom-painted steed to tell the world of his status.

Whether Valverde follows suit remains to be seen, but to finish top of the pile at the end of the season does show a great deal of merit.

True, fans are much more likely to remember the Grand Tour and Monument winners – and Valverde did not win any of them.

But his consistency does deserve recognition, albeit mixed with a touch of fortune too as almost all of his major rivals suffered illness and injury throughout the season.

Valverde was not just strong at the Grand Tours – finishing fourth at the Tour de France and third at the Vuelta a Espana – he also proved his class on the one-day scene.

Wins at La Fleche Wallonne and the Clasica San Sebastian were complemented by podium places at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Giro di Lombardia.

His doping ban in 2010 means he will always have his detractors, but Valverde’s stunning season should not be understated.

As for next year, if Oleg Tinkov gets his wish and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) go head-to-head at all three Grand Tours, they will have a great chance of some heavy point scoring.

Daniel Martin stormed into the top ten with a fine end to the season. Is the number one spot in reach for the Irishman in future? (pic: Sirotti)

Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp), despite injuries disrupting his campaign, showed what he can achieve meanwhile as he surged into the top ten in the final two months of the season.

Great Britain’s wait for a rider to be crowned world number one goes on, but the Birmingham-born Irishman is not too far away for the Emerald Isle.

Had he not crashed on the final corner at Liege-Bastogne-Liege he would have another 100 points to his name – enough to have finished fifth.

Meanwhile, it will never be known how he would have fared at this year’s Giro d’Italia but his crash there was another opportunity for points which he was denied.

Whether the triumph will be better celebrated in future remains to be seen, but be it Valverde, one of the major GC men or a dark horse like Martin, the list of potential winners certainly points to another exciting season to come.

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