Rodriguez and Spain top world rankings, Saxo Bank surges to take team classification
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Rodriguez and Spain top world rankings, Saxo Bank surges to take team classification

by Conal Andrews at 9:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Contador second for now, but position subject to review

Joaquim RodriguezSpain has been confirmed as taking a double success in cycling’s world rankings, with Joaquim Rodriguez (Team Katusha) beating Alberto Contador (Astana) to the top of the individual standings, and the country dominating the nations’ table.

Rodriguez’ fine season saw him clock up a total of 551 points, 69 more than his compatriot. Contador hasn’t done a qualifying race since the Tour de France, and runs the risk of dropping down the standings if his positive doping case is upheld.

The 27 year old tested positive for Clenbuterol and, under current WADA rules, looks likely to be stripped of his Tour de France title even if he can prove that he didn’t knowingly ingest the substance. He has claimed the test result is as a result of food contamination.

Tour of Lombardy winner Philippe Gilbert is the only change to top three. He jumped from seventh to third on the basis of his storming win in Saturday’s Classic, with his performance bumping Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne) down to fourth.

2009 world champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) drops one place to finish fifth in the final standings, while Vuelta a España winner Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) completes the top six.

Given that the top ten features no less than four Spanish riders, it is not surprising that the country is the clear leader in the nations ranking. The final points tally was a considerable 1,908, which was over 50% higher than the 1,201 points achieved by Italy. Belgium (982), Australia (850) and the United States (763) were next.

Bjarne Riis’ Saxo Bank team narrowly beat runner-up Liquigas-Doimo for the team award, with just nine points separating the two. The close-fought competition saw Astana also in the hunt until the end; the Kazakh team led going into the final race, but was passed by the other two and dropped to third, 19 points off the winning total. Rabobank, Team Katusha and Team HTC-Columbia were fourth, fifth and sixth.

Giovanni ViscontiMeanwhile Italian road race champion Giovanni Visconti (ISD Neri) was crowned as winner of the European Tour standings, adjudged on riders who are not with ProTour teams. He was over 100 points clear of the Dutchman Stefan Van Dijk, while Riccardo Ricco was 323 points adrift in third place.

*Note – the UCI’s decision to leave Contador in the overall standings contrasts with past examples, when riders with a positive doping control case were excluded from the table. Because of the ongoing investigation, it may be weeks or even months before the final top three in the world ranking can be confirmed.

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