UCI WorldTour settings
Sky ProCyclingâ€™s second victory in as many years in Paris-Nice this Sunday thanks to Australian Richie Porte sees the British team return to the number one spot in the UCI WorldTour teams, and Porte crowned the new leader of the individual ranking.
Australiaâ€™s first ever victory in the "Course au Soleil" - the Race to the Sun - came after Porte seized the overall lead on the raceâ€™s one mountain summit finish at the Montagne de Lure on Friday. He then followed Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins wheeltracks by taking both the final time trial of Paris-Nice, reinforcing his now definitive advantage in the overall classification.
After the climb Porte said: â€œI just never thought or believed that I could win Paris-Nice. For me personally Iâ€™ve never had a nice experience at this race so itâ€™s a massive monkey off the back to come here and win it".
â€œI canâ€™t believe it. The first Aussie to win such a big race and it's just an honour to have my name up there with Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin and all the big champions."
Porteâ€™s win and two stage victories enables him to become the new UCI WorldTour leader, albeit by a margin of just two points over the previous number one, Santos Tour Down Under champion Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco Pro Cycling Team). Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), second in the final time trial at Paris-Nice and second overall after Porte ousted him from the lead on Friday, is third in the UCI WorldTourâ€™s classification.
Although the 19 point gap separating Talansky from the top two classified riders is fairly significant, the WorldTour individual rankings will surely suffer another major change at the end of Tirreno-Adriatico, which concludes on Tuesday. Only then will a clear series of early frontrunners emerge.
One team that seems to be continuing exactly where it left off in 2012 is Sky ProCycling. Classified number one in the world at the end of last season, the British team is back in theÂ top spot after just two races.
That they have already amassed 192 points, more than a tenth of their complete 2012 total, so early in the year is an indication that Sky ProCycing have hit the ground running. And they are already 35 points clear of closest pursuers and former leaders, Blanco Pro Cycling Team.
A familiar name - Spain - is once again at the top of the nations classification, just as it was for most of 2012. However, the margin between Spain and second placed Netherlands of just seven points by no means a secure distance. Talanksyâ€™s runner-up spot and Jean-Christophe PÃ©raud (AG2R La Mondiale) permit the United StatesÂ and France to shoot up the rankings as well, with the USA gaining nine places to move into third overall, whilst the French are up from tenth to fourth.
After Tirreno-Adriatico provides the next big shift in the classification on Tuesday, the UCI WorldTourâ€™s first one-day race of 2013, Milan-Sanremo, sees the sprinters and Classics specialists move to the fore ahead of the stage race specialists like Porte and Talansky. Victory for Marcel Kittel (Team Argos-Shimano) in one of the early sprints of Paris-Nice bodes well for the German if Italyâ€™s top Classic comes down to a bunch gallop. Meanwhile Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)â€™s win on the Promenade des Anglais on the closing weekend of Paris-Nice could be a good omen for the veteran Frenchman when he reaches the Via Roma in Sanremo - just a few kilometres further east up the coastline - next Sunday.