MANX born or resident cyclists
fill three of the top-four places occupied by British riders in the latest World Tour rankings announced last week by cycling’s governing body, the Union Cycliste International (UCI).
The rankings take on extra significance at this time of year as they determine the number of places a nation qualifies for the World Championship Road Race, the 2011 edition taking place in Denmark at the end of next month.
Each nation in the top-10 qualifies nine places for the championships, meaning Great Britain’s rise from ninth to seventh gives them a cushion with this week’s ENECO Tour the final counting event.
The improved strength in depth of British riders means that GB is likely to be permitted as many as eight riders for the worlds in Copenhagen on September 25, as opposed to three last year. The more the merrier as far as Cav is concerned as he will hopely receive additional support if it comes down to the predicted bunch finish.
Each nation must have nine qualifying riders in order to get all nine spots. If they have any less they qualify the number of places equal to the number of qualifying riders.
Onchan’s Peter Kennaugh is largely responsible for hoisting GB past The United States and the Netherlands in the overall standings following a strong showing by him and Sky Procycling team-mate Stephen Cummings in the recent Tour of Poland.
An excellent final three days earned Kennaugh fifth place overall in what was a tough seven-day event, with Cummins the next best Brit in ninth.
Adam Blythe also scored points, meaning GB should now qualify eight riders for the worlds road race, which has long been a focus of British Cycling as the relatively flat course in Copenhagen suits Cavendish.
Before the Tour of Poland, Great Britain had just five scoring riders, Wiggins, Cavendish, Swift, David Millar and Geraint Thomas, but Kennaugh has leap-frogged his way up the rankings along with Cummings and Blythe.
Six of the eight ride for Sky Procycling, the team Cavendish now looks certain to join after the news last week that his current HTC-Columbia set-up is to disband at the end of the season.
Spain maintains it’s position at the top of the UCI World Team rankings, while Australian Cadel Evans is still the leader of the individual rankings after his Tour de France win.
Despite a strong performance in the Giro d’Italia in May, and the excellent performance in Poland, Peter Kennaugh will not now ride the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) as Team Sky management believe that two Grand Tours in one season are too much for the young star, who recently turned 22.