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Luis Leon Sanchez tops the new World Ranking compiled by the Union Cycliste Internationale - a table based on performances in the top professional road races.
The Spanish Caisse d'Epargne rider sits at the top of the ranking, published by the UCI on Monday, thanks to his third place at Paris-Nice and second overall at the Tour Down Under - the only two counting events so far this season.
HTC-Columbia sprinter Andre Greipel topped the first edition of the UCI's World Ranking as a result of his overall victory at the Tour Down Under, but has now slipped to second behind Sanchez. Last year's World Ranking winner Alberto Contador is third, thanks to his Paris-Nice win.
Team Sky's Greg Henderson is fourth - the New Zealander scored a stage win at Paris-Nice and finished the Tour Down Under third overall.
The ranking is compiled using a points system, with points awarded for one-day race, tour stage and stage race overall finishing positions for events in the UCI's World Calendar.
The amount of points awarded depends on the ranking of the event. For example, winning the Tour de France overall gives a rider twice as many points as winning the Eneco Tour overall.
No British rider has scored any UCI World Ranking point so far in the season. Last year, Mark Cavendish finished fourth.
It's no surprise that Spain tops the points rankings by nation, with three riders in the top five of the individual table. Caisse d'Epargne are the top team so far.
The next edition of the World Rankings will be produced next Monday (March 22), and will include points awarded from Tirreno-Adriatico (March 10-16) and Milan-San Remo (March 20).
UCI World Ranking: March 15
1. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 158 points
2. Andre Greipel (Ger) HTC-Columbia 119
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 107
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 99
5. Greg Henderson (NZl) Team Sky 85
6. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha 67
7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 60
8. Luke Roberts (Aus) Milram 54
9. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 53
10. Jens Voigt (Ger) Saxo Bank 46
2010 UCI World Calendar: ProTour and Historic races
Paris-Nice: Contador stands firm overall
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Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, an exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.
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