Leader of new UCI one-day classification Greg Van Avermaet: ‘I didn’t know the ranking existed’

The governing body has introduced new season-round competition, but not everyone got the memo

Greg Van Avermaet leads the UCI's new one-day classification (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The leader of the UCI’s new one-day ranking Greg Van Avermaet has revealed he didn’t know the new classification existed.

Classics specialist Van Avermaet tops the season-long competition by one point ahead of Michael Matthews (Sunweb).

The competition has been introduced by the UCI in an attempt to develop a narrative around one-day races.

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But in an interview with Belgian newspaper Het Laastste Nieuws, CCC Team’s Van Avermaet revealed he had no idea the new ranking existed.

When told he was leading the classification, the 34-year-old said: “What exactly are you talking about?

“I do not know the ranking. Is something attached to it?”

The new ranking, introduced at the start of the 2019 season, is a 52-week rolling leaderboard that will be drawn up once a week.

Riders score points based on their performances in one-day races from the last year.

The system is similar to the UCI World Ranking, which is currently lead by Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde.

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Van Avermaet added: “If I did not know, many people will not know it.

“That is the problem of all these classifications.

“Quite complicated, isn’t it? Maybe it can work but they have to make it clearer first.”

The Belgian suggested introducing a specific jersey for the leader of the classifications, to help fans identify the strongest rider.

He drew comparisons with cyclocross, where the leader of the World Cup series is given a jersey.

Van Avermaet leads the classification despite not having won a one-day race in 2018.

But podium finishes in the Montréal and Québec Grand Prix races, as well as strong performances in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix put him at the top of the leaderboard on 1,915 points.

Australian Matthews is just behind on 1,914, followed by Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Oliver Naesen (Ag2r La Mondiale).

Winner of the 2018 Paris-Roubaix, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) currently sits fifth.