Rankling In The Rankings

Tête de la COURSE

UCI tally trouble

Winning isn't everything, or at least not according to the UCI's pro team ranking system...

Above This season's top podium placers HTC-Columbia come only fourth in UCI rankings

We're almost halfway through the season and a vague hierarchy is starting to establish itself among the professional teams of cycling. By now, we should be able to work out who's winning a lot, who's not winning much, and which teams are providing a good return on their sponsors' investment.

Or should we? What constitutes success and failure is still not certain in cycling. We've taken the latest UCI team rankings, and compared them with the basic currency of cycling results — cold, hard wins and placings.

Rank calculations

The UCI lost an entire day of their lives going back and recalculating their world rankings after the rather odd backdating of Alejandro Valverde's ban. Once they'd painstakingly subtracted his results from history, the result was that Katusha now led the team rankings.

Really? They've had some good results, but nobody could argue that they are the dominant team in cycling. Equally, BMC, or rather Cadel Evans, is having a decent season, and Omega Pharma-Lotto have had a couple of good results from Philippe Gilbert, but for these two teams to be listed fifth and sixth by the UCI, just behind HTC-Columbia and ahead of Saxo Bank, makes us wonder if there isn't still some work to do on the rankings, which are based on the points totals of the top five riders in a team.

HTC have won 26 races this year, more than any other team, and Mark Cavendish isn't even up and running yet. Cofidis have won an impressive 14, the fourth highest total of any team, but are languishing in 18th place in the official rankings. Meanwhile, Katusha, the top-ranked team according to the UCI, have actually been having trouble converting strong riding into wins — they've had 23 podium places, but only eight wins this year.

Keep tweaking, UCI — your points system still needs work. But at least you finally got permission to ban Valverde.

Above This season's top podium placers HTC-Columbia come only fourth in UCI rankings

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