UCI WorldTour: Valverde en route for victory as Wellens clinches Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) maintains the number one spot of the UCI WorldTour individual rankings and is within sight of overall victory for 2015 after Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) won a rain soaked duel against Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) to clinch the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday.
As the rain teemed down on the finish and the bunch closed in remorselessly on the two breakaways, Wellens out powered the British rider at the summit of the last, steady 400m ascent to the finish in Montréal. Yates, the winner of the Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián this August, and Wellens, the winner of the Eneco Tour, had gone clear late on the Mont Royal Park’s series of climbs and then had worked together until the last rise towards the finish. After a drawn-out tussle for supremacy, Wellens streaked clear and claimed the victory, his first in a one-day Classic. Third was Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), the winner of the same race in 2011 and second in 2014, leading in a much-depleted group of chasers.
Individual rankings: notable changes
The combined effect of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal and the Vuelta a España on the 2015 UCI WorldTour rankings has been notable, even if Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde remains steadily in command of the individual classification: he now sits on 615 points after taking seventh overall and a stage win in the Spanish Grand Tour. Previously on 532 points, Valverde looks set to win the classification, even prior to the final Monument of the season, Il Lombardia on October 4th. But the changes further down the ranking begin as soon as the second place overall garnered by Joaquim Rodriguez (Team Katusha), second in the Vuelta, who has gained no fewer than five places in the UCI Ranking. Purito now has 474 points, whilst Valverde’s team-mate Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), runner-up in the Tour de France and winner of Tirreno-Adriatico in the spring and now fourth in the Vuelta, moves up into third place from fifth with 457 points.
Whilst Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha), winner of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec on Friday and briefly in second place as a result, falls back to fourth again, just four points down on Quintana with 453 points, the Vuelta a España’s overall winner Fabio Aru has made the biggest gain of all the top names, shooting up the rankings to fifth.
Previously 14th overall but now holding 448 points, Aru’s dramatic advance sees Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky), drop to sixth with 430 points, whilst Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) also loses out and has slid to seventh spot with 407 points. In yet more changes in the top ten overall in the UCI WorldTour individual rankings, thanks to his podium finish in Canada, Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) has gained two places and moves back into ninth position.
Teams and nations rankings: leaders unchanged
In a similar pattern both in the UCI WorldTour teams rankings and nations rankings, the respective leaders remain unchanged, but there are considerable alterations further down the hierarchy.
In the teams ranking, Team Katusha continue to rule the roost with a total which has rocketed from 1,320 points to 1,526. Movistar Team gain a place and are now in second with 1,419 points whilst Team Sky drop down to third. Etixx Quick Step remain in fourth with 988 points but Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana Pro Team both advance a spot, pushing BMC Racing down to eighth. As if that were not enough changes, Team Giant-Alpecin ease their way into the top ten with a new total of 649 points.
The UCI WorldTour nations ranking also has seen Spain’s already unbeatable lead reinforced yet again, with the number one country now totalling 1,833 points. With outright victory in the 2015 season nothing more than a formality for Spain, the hierarchy behind them is far less stable. Colombia are now second overall, albeit with 1,069 points, whilst Great Britain slip to third, with 1,049. The Netherlands are on the rise, jumping from eighth to sixth place with a new total of 848 points. It remains to be seen if Il Lombardia can produce more changes before the curtain finally falls on the 2015 UCI WorldTour.