Russiaâ€™s Boris Shiplevsky is the first leader of the 2008 UCI Europe Tour standings. He will therefore wear the special white UCI Europe Tour leaderâ€™s jersey for the GP Costa degli Etruschi race in Italy on February 9.
Shiplevsky rides for the Preti Mangimi continental team created by former world champion Marino Basso and is a multi-talented rider who even competes in cyclo-cross races during the winter. The 26 year-old from Moscow leads the UCI Europe Tour because he won the Firenze-Pistoia time trial at the end of 2007. He scored 80 points for his victory and so leads the Ukraineâ€™s Oleksandr Kvachuk by
64 points and Finlandâ€™s Matti Helminen by 68 points.
Thanks to Shiplevsky the Preti Mangimi are the current leaderâ€™s of the team standing of the UCI Europe Tour, ahead of Perutnina Ptuj and LPR brakes. Russia leads the nations rankings with 344 points, ahead of France with 224 points and Poland with 172 points.
The UCI Europe Tour kicks off the year with a series of early season races in February. Some of the big contenders for overall victory will be in the South of France on February 3 for the GP Cycliste La Marseillaise. Many will also ride the Etoile des Besseges stage race that begins on February 6. The Italian season begins with the GP Costa degli Etruschi race in Italy on February 9, while racing gets underway in Spain on February 10 with the Trofeo Mallorca, the first of five one-day races.
The UCI Europe Tour is growing continually and a new early race is the three-day Giro della Provincia di Grosseto in Tuscany starting on February 15. Other prestigious races this month include the Vuelta a Andalucia in Spain, from 17 â€“ 21 February, the Trofeo Laigueglia in Italy on February 23, and the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal from 20 â€“ 24 February. The Belgian races in the UCI Europe tour kick of in style on March 1 with the traditional Het Volk race.
Favourites for overall victory in the UCI Europe Tour in 2008 include the top three from last season: Alessandro Bertolini of the Diquigiovanni team, Luca Mazzanti of Italy who has joined the Tinkoff Credit Systems team, and Martyn Maaskant of Holland. They will face competition from hundreds of other riders throughout the season-long competition and at the same time, the teams and nations will also battle it out for the prestigious titles. May the best one win.