The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has launched a new world ranking for men’s professional road cycling, similar to the ranking already in place in women’s professional road cycling.
The UCI World Ranking, for individuals and nations, will be published in parallel with the UCI World Tour Ranking, which covers individuals, teams and nations.
This change comes hot on the heels of an announcement by the ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) earlier in December that it would withdraw all of its races, including the Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana and Paris-Roubaix, from the UCI WorldTour from 2017, with the ASO saying recent WorldTour reforms constituted a ‘closed sport system’.
Withdrawal of the ASO events from the WorldTour series changes ASO events to Hors Classe (HC), into which no more than 70% of teams can be WorldTour teams. This power play effectively removes previous guarantees that a WorldTour team will be able to enter its events, which could make team sponsorship deals harder to come by.
The new UCI ranking will be published weekly on Mondays, from January 11 2016, but as it takes into accounts results from the previous 52 weeks, in a similar rolling system to the ATP in tennis, it won’t be fully operational for 12 months.
Rather than being calculated on specific series, as with the World Tour Ranking, the new World Ranking will instead be on the entire UCI International Road Calendar, which includes UCI WorldTour, UCI Continental Circuits, UCI World Championships, National and Continental Championships, Olympic Games and Continental Games. This means riders who aren’t in UCI World Teams will be part of the UCI World Ranking.
The UCI says the World Ranking was subject to a thorough consultation process which took into account interests and wishes of riders, teams, organisers and National Federations, as well as the media and fans.
The modifications won’t affect the UCI Continental Rankings, which, the UCI says, will remain as important on the continents. However, these will now be published weekly, also on a rolling basis. Riders from UCI World Teams will now also feature in the Continental Rankings.