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IG Markets launches a new cycling ranking, competing with the official UCI rankings?

Added: friday 15 April 2011 at 1:14:00
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    IG Markets launches a new cycling ranking, competing with the official UCI rankings?Do you know who's currently leading the UCI WorldTour ranking and which victories allowed him to get to the first spot in this ranking? No? You might have guessed it's Fabian Cancellara (Team Leopard-Trek) but you probably couldn't gues which races the Swiss rider won. Indeed, Spartacus hasn't won any race of this classification yet this year ...

    That's why IG Markets wants to set up a new worldwide ranking.

    The IG Markets Pro Cycling Index

    They day before Paris-Roubaix 2011, IG Markets, a partner of Team Sky but also of the Tour Down Under and the Tour of Britain, gathered cycling journalists to announce the launch of its IG Markets Pro Cycling Index.

    This ranking, which will cover a rolling 12-month period, aims to identify the best cyclists of the world, based on a certain number of criteria. It will be based on a points system and according to IG Markets, the number of points is mainly determined by the prestige of a race and of its importance to cycling fans. IG Markets seems to try to set up a ranking system which will not run into the current situation with Spartacus leading the UCI WorldTour without having won any race of this classification this year. Indeed, compared to the UCI rankings, the difference between the number of points awarded to the winner of the race and the number of points awarded to the other riders of the top 5 for example will be much bigger as to better recognize wins instead of top 5 rankings.

    Another criterium like consistency awarding bonus points for repeat victories also seems quite easy to mesure. To do so, IG Markets has teamed up with Opta, a provider of sports statistics and thus a competitor of Infostrada Sports, which the UCI uses for its rankings.

    Other criteria are not really measurable though. Indeed, IG Markets also plans to award bonus points for winning with panache. To do so, an expert panel with former pro riders and cycling journalists will come together to award these points. The names of the experts who will be part of the panel have not been announced yet, but we already know that Raymond Kerckhoffs (of the Dutch De Telegraaf newspaper) will be one of them. This journalist was already part of the panel which elected the most combative rider after each stage of the Tour de France in 2010 who receives an award from Brandt. Laurent Jalabert's presence at the event IG Markets organised for the launch of this ranking could point towards the former French rider also being one of the experts on the panel for the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index.

    This expert panel part thus remains a bit unclear for now and today we only know that IG Markets is planning to launch this ranking before the Tour de France 2011 and that it will be updated regularly from there: daily during the Grands Tours (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España) and the major stage races and one-day races, while also providing weekly and monthly summaries.

    The IG Markets Pro Cycling Index will be available at www.igmarkets.com/procyclingindex.

    As I said, the ranking will be done on a 12-month rolling basis. However, my question concerning a possible award ceremony for the best rider was answered positively: IG Markets plans to announce the best rider of the year (of the season) 2011 (and following) at the end of the year.

    Comments from the UCI on this ranking

    IG Markets seems to have quite high ambitions since the company indicates that it would like the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index to become the definitive world ranking system and reference point for the cycling community. According to Olly Stevens, Head of Marketing with IG Markets, this ranking will give cycling fans a new way to understand who is the best cyclist in the world. He continued by saying that at IG Markets we pride ourselves in understanding how markets and indices work so it is a natural extension of our exciting sponsorship of Team Sky.

    Answering the question whether he discussed this ranking with the International Cycling Union (UCI), Stevens said laconically that following UCI practice on how to communicate with stakeholders, this topic has not been discussed with them.

    Since I thought it would be difficult to present this new ranking without knowing what the UCI thinks of it, I contacted the UCI press officer, Enrico Carpani. He first of all insisted on the fact that this initiative of which the UCI takes note is not something new: Several times in the past similar systems have been set up. Carpani especially mentions the Eurosport ranking which apparently no longer exists one year after it was introduced. Indeed, after 2009 this ranking disappeared without being substituted by something else while this ranking's goal also was to obtain a more representative image of what the peloton looks like today and can thus easily be compared with what IG Markets is looking to set up.

    Still according to the UCI, the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index is not as useful for cycling fans as IG Markets wants us to think because of course, the UCI can only come to the conclusion that those "alternative" rankings only create confusion among fans who could no longer understand what's true between the only official ranking (the one of the UCI WorldTour indeed) and any other way to calculate points awarded to each of the riders. That's why the UCI certainly doesn't support any of these initiatives.

    After having insisted on the fact that all newspapers and websites gave much importance to Fabian Cancellara taking over the lead in the UCI WorldTour ranking (not really surprisingly since many websites simply perform copy/paste actions from press releases [and other sources ...] and that the UCI now systematically sends out a press release when a new WorldTour ranking is published), Carpani reminded the importance of the official UCI ranking for ... the needs of the UCI: concerning this system, each ranking can be discussed (...) ours has been established based on the needs of an International Federation (qualification system for the World Championships for example).
    As a conclusion, with the respect we pay to each initiative related to cycling, the UCI doesn't recognise anything else than the official rankings (UCI WorldTour, Continental Circuits) which its own services manage

    A competitor for Cycling Quotient as well?

    The teams, which could also be surprised by the fact that a sponsor of one of the UCI ProTeams is at the origin of such an initiative, I didn't really get any feedback. Most of the teams have not (yet, I will update this article if I get any further answers!) andswered my questions and with BMC Racing Team, Jim Ochowicz, president / general manager of the American team with a Swiss sponsor was not prepared to comment on the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index at this time. The team probably prefers to wait and see until something tangible will arrive instead of the partly unclear proposal which has been announced so far.

    Cycling Quotient (also known as the CQ Ranking) the feedback was more consistent. CQ Ranking is based on the old ranking system used by the UCI and which the international federation abandoned in 2005 when introducing the UCI ProTour. Updated daily by a team of fans based on all results of UCI cycling races, this ranking which is currently led by Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and where Fabian Cancellara is only at the 10th position, rapidly became a more complete ranking of all cyclists as recognised by cycling fans.

    Speaking for the team behind the CQ Ranking, Leon Beerendonk said not seeing the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index as a "competitor" simply because we don't think CQ is the absolute best ranking. We are only a group of cycling fans which continues the previous UCI ranking, initially because we needed it for a game and since the creation of the CQ Ranking to share it more widely.

    Leon rightly admits that the CQ Ranking doesn't have an official status and doesn't look to get one even though he realises that more and more widely, CQ Ranking is seen as the world ranking due to the lack of an official adapted ranking.

    Like the UCI, he reminds of other initiatives which were set up in the past few years like for example the ranking of the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad 2 years ago and which slowly passed away after a few months.

    Concerning more precisely the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index, Leon reminds that it all seems a bit unclear for now, but with solid companies backing this there seems to be an opportunity to promote this ranking quite widely.

    Leon insists, and I think he's right to do so, on the fact that only the reliability and the consistent application of the same rules will allow this ranking to find its place: it seems to be a good idea to award additional points for winning with panache but if that leads to a ranking with Cavendish 1st and Voeckler 2nd, no one will take it seriously. Subjective criteria and the application of an uncalibrated points system would definitely undermine this ranking.

    The team behind CQ Ranking is also wondering which races will be taken into account in this ranking: ce qu'on lit dans le communiqué de IG Markets pousse à croire que seules les grandes courses comptent alors que pour un classement global mondial, toutes les courses devraient être prises en compte (cf. les limitations du classement UCI WorldTour). Dans ce cas, une mise à jour quotidienne tout au long de l'année devient possible et cela rend donc le classement plus dynamique.

    CQ Ranking se pose finalement quelques questions sur comment IG Markets traitera le point sensible pour tout classement : il est assez difficile de supprimer des résultats selon les règles officielles dans les cas de dopage pour lesquels un coureur est disqualifié et je me demande donc comment IG gèrera ce point.

    En conclusion : CQ est surtout curieux de voir ce que donnera ce nouveau classement plutôt que d'être inquiet d'avoir de la concurrence. Cela pourrait néanmoins faire peur à l'UCI : CQ n'est bien évidemment pas un concurrent pour eux mais une collaboration entre équipes et entreprises présentes dans le vélo pourrait donner suffissament de pouvoir pour en faire quelque chose d'important.

    Et vous ?

    Qu'en pensez-vous ? De ce nouveau classement ? Du fait que ça soit une entreprise comme IG Markets qui pousse cette idée ? De la réaction de l'UCI ou de celle de CQ Ranking ?

    A vos plumes pour laisser un commentaire ci-dessous !

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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Currently 10 comments!
  1. Hello Thomas. Excellent article !
    Ma réponse était trop longue pour tenir en commentaire. Elle est donc ici : http://21virages.free.fr/blog/index.php?post/2011/04/15/IG-Markets-Pro-Cycling-Index

    Juste un dernier commentaire : ca ne me choque pas plus de voir Cancellara leader du classement UCI (apres 3 belles places d'honneurs dans des courses prestigieuses), que de voir Nibali leader que Cycling Quotien alors qu'il n'a pas encore réalisé de prouesse en 2011.
    Bref, le classement idéal n'est pas encore né !

    | Mart1 | friday 15 April 2011 at 11:54:31

  2. Nibali est en tête du clt CQ Ranking sur les 12 derniers mois, alors que Cancellara est en tête du clt world tour 2011 (depuis le 1er janvier), on ne peut pas comparer ces 2 clts et c'est normal qu'on ne retrouve pas du tout le même résultat.

    CQ Ranking propose aussi un clt 2011, et c'est Matthew Goss en tête dvt Cancellara (c'est le contraire au clt world tour, le suisse dvt l'australien).

    | oliv56 | friday 15 April 2011 at 14:55:28

  3. dernière chose cancellara a gagné 2 courses cette année, le GP E3 (non comptabilisé à l'uci) et le chrono de Tirreno.

    Me concernant, je préférerais un mixte des 2, cad un clt basé sur les gdes epreuves labélisé world tour (à la condition d'ajouter une catégorie pour diférencier le tour down under - tour de pologne - eneco tour avec des epreuves plus réputées comme paris-nice - tour de suisse - pays basque, de même pour les classques, 1 victoire à la flèche wallonne vaut plus qu'une à quebec) plus les 3 meilleures perf sur les autres epreuves (ce qui permettrait par exemple à cancellara de marqué des points grâce à sa victoire sur le GP E3)

    | oliv56 | friday 15 April 2011 at 15:03:35

  4. @Mart1, merci pour ton commentaire .. sympa ta petite analyse !
    @Mart1 & oliv56 : la première place de Nibali s'explique effectivement par l'effet "12 mois glissants" qui est équivalent à ce que propose IG Markets. En ce qui concerne les victoires de Cancellara, je sais effectivement qu'il a remporté le Grand Prix E3 mais cette course fait partie de l'Europe Tour et quand je parlais de sa première place au classement UCI WorldTour sans victoires, je sous-entendais effectivement sans victoires dans des courses faisant partie de l'UCI WorldTour.

    C'est justement la grande différence entre les classements UCI qui se font par WorldTour ou circuit continental et les classements CQ Ranking ou celui que propose IG Markets.

    Une équipe non UCI ProTeam ayant moins d'opportunités de participer à l'UCI WorldTour, elle aura forcément moins de points dans le classement qui y correspond.

    | Thomas Vergouwen | friday 15 April 2011 at 15:50:20

  5. @oliv56 : Évidemment, un classement sur 12 mois glissants ne donne pas le même résultat qu'un classement sur 12 mois "non glissants". Je disais juste que l'un comme l'autre donnent des résultats discutables.

    Je n'avais par contre pas vu qu'il y avait un classement CQ 2011. Merci pour l'info. J'y retourne ;-)

    En fait, je me demande is le classement CQ Ranking s'inspire pas de l'ancien classement UCI qui était lui même inspiré du classenement ATP. C'est à dire prenant en compte les résultats de l'année précédente. Un coureur qui termine moins bien une course que l'année précédente redescend dans le classement.
    Ca donne aussi, parfois, des résultats étranges.
    Je ne doute pas que Nibali va faire une grande saison (il a d'ailleurs mieux terminé Tirreno cette année que l'an dernier) mais ça fait drôle de le voir numéro 1 mondial au CQ.

    | Mart1 | friday 15 April 2011 at 16:28:04

  6. @Mart1 : effectivement, comme je le disais dans mon article, le CQ Ranking s'inspire de l'ancien classement de l'UCI (avant 2005 et l'introduction de l'UCI ProTour) mais ne prend pas en compte les résultats au-delà d'une période de 52 semaines (ou un petit peu plus si la date d'une course change par exemple). Les règles du CQ Ranking sont ici.

    | Thomas Vergouwen | friday 15 April 2011 at 17:49:54

  7. nibali a quand même gagné la vuelta et fait 3e sur le giro en 2010 (plus 5e du tour de lombardie / victoire au tour de slovénie / 3e du tour de burgos), dc sur les 12 derniers mois, sa place de numéro 1 ne se discute pas à mes yeux.

    Contador (même s'il va perdre des points cette semaine à cause de sa contre performance du jour en castille e leon, l'année derniere il avait gagné cette epreuve) devrait prendre la tête du clt cqranking "12 mois glissants" après le giro où il devrait terminer au moins sur le podium.

    nb : les équipes et dc les coureurs "continental pro" n'inscrivent plus de point au clt uci world tour depuis cette année, ce qui est très très injuste et assez incompréhensible.

    | oliv56 | friday 15 April 2011 at 23:18:50

  8. Zeer interessant onderwerp! Wie is de beste renner van het peloton? Jaarlijks te bepalen en liefst op een zodanige manier dat "De Beste renner aller tijden" er ook uit komt boven drijven.
    Mijn referentie bij wat ik nu schrijf is het boek van Aart Aarsbergen en Peter Nijssen met de titel "De grootste Wielerkampioenen" en het boek komt met 110 renners op basis van een puntentelling waarmee het klassement wordt toegelicht.
    Bovenaan staat met kop en schouders Eddy Merckx met enorme voorsprong op de nummer-2, Bernard Hinault maar André Darrigade, Raymond Poulidor en vele anderen komen in die lijst niet voor.
    Tour/giro/vuelta etappes tellen er niet in mee mee maar bovendien werkt in negatieve zin mee "Tegen wie men het in zijn tijd moest opnemen".
    En dit laatste argument vraagt om aandacht opdat de beste renner van 2010 straks ook vergeleken kan worden met die uit bijvoorbeeld 1990 zelfs al komen er wedstrijden bij of vallen er wedstrijden af.

    | odyseus3 | tuesday 19 April 2011 at 20:33:54

  9. Après une campagne de classique exceptionnelle, Philippe Gilbert est en tête de tous les classements.

    Current CQ Ranking :
    1.GILBERT Philippe 2310
    2.NIBALI Vincenzo 2226
    3.CONTADOR Alberto 1852
    4.SCARPONI Michele 1815
    5.SANCHEZ Samuel 1714
    6.FARRAR Tyler 1673
    7.GESINK Robert 1636
    8.MARTIN Tony 1511
    9.CANCELLARA Fabian 1487
    10.RODRIGUEZ Joaquin 1482

    CQ Ranking 2011 :
    1.GILBERT Philippe 1313
    2.SCARPONI Michele 841
    3.GOSS Matthew 808
    4.CANCELLARA Fabian 784
    5.KLÖDEN Andreas 772
    6.SANCHEZ Samuel 766
    7.CONTADOR Alberto 621
    8.VOECKLER Thomas 594
    9.GESINK Robert 593
    10.ROJAS Jose Joaquin 592

    UCI World Tour Ranking 2011 :
    1.GILBERT Philippe 356
    2.CANCELLARA Fabian 236
    3.GOSS Matthew Harley 203
    4.KLÖDEN Andreas 202
    5.SCARPONI Michele 202
    6.SANCHEZ Samuel 163
    7.GESINK Robert 156
    8.HORNER Christopher 143
    9.BOONEN Tom 140
    10.EVANS Cadel 128

    | oliv56 | monday 25 April 2011 at 17:14:38

  10. Gilbert a le mérite de mettre tout le monde d'accord :-)

    | Mart1 du blog de l'Ardoisier | tuesday 26 April 2011 at 8:54:55

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