Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Uran's Tirreno-Adriatico success propels Colombia up the UCI WorldTour rankings
Nairo Quintana’s victory and Rigoberto Uran’s third spot in the 2015 edition of Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy has propelled their home nation of Colombia up to second place in the UCI WorldTour nation ranking.
On Tuesday, Quintana (Movistar) became the first Colombian to win Tirreno-Adriatico in its 50th edition. Last year, Quintana entered the cycling history books as the first Colombian winner of the Giro d’Italia, with Uran (Etixx-QuickStep) in second. It seems Colombian riders and Italian races are a good combination.
Jarlinson Pantano, who signed for WorldTour outfit IAM Cycling for 2015, has also added some points to Colombia’s tally after placing ninth overall in the Tour Down Under in January.
Only Australia now has more collective WorldTour points than Colombian riders, with traditionally strong cycling nation Spain slipping from second to fourth place. It is worth noting that Australian riders failed to score a single WorldTour point during Tirreno.
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Great Britain sits in 10th spot with points from Geraint Thomas (Sky) – fifth in Paris-Nice – and Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), after the latter’s commendable ninth place overall in Tirreno.
Despite Quintana’s success, Australian Richie Porte (Sky) still tops the individual rider WorldTour ranking after winning two stages and the overall of Paris-Nice and a stage of the Tour Down Under. TdU winner and fellow Aussie Rohan Dennis (BMC) is in second spot, with Quintana in third.
Sky retains its lead in the team ranking, with Movistar moving up to second place.
2015 WorldTour: still a long way to go
It’s perhaps a bit early for Colombia to fully launch into national celebration. As far as the WorldTour season goes, things have only just started to get going.
Only three events in the 27-race calendar have now been completed, with some huge events looming in the coming month, including Milan-San Remo on Sunday (March 22), Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (March 23-29), the Tour of Flanders (April 5) and Paris-Roubaix (April 12).
Historically significant races, such as the Monuments and Grand Tours, carry more points for riders placing highly than relatively recent additions such as the Eneco Tour or Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal.
Within a handful of weeks, it is highly likely that we will see a switch in the rankings to favour riders and nations from northern Europe.
What remains to be seen is the impact Quintana can have on the Tour de France in July, the race that carries the most WorldTour points of all.
UCI WorldTour rankings (as at March 17 after Tirreno-Adriatico)
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky 198 points
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing 114 points
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar 106 points
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx-QuickStep 89 points
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek 84 points
13. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky 54 points
24. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge 10 points
1. Sky 290 points
2. Movistar 206 points
3. BMC Racing 199 points
1. Australia 403 points
2. Colombia 191 points
3. Netherlands 189 points
10. Great Britain 64 points