At times this season the word “index” has rhymed with suspicion thanks to the leaked list of Tour de France riders.
But now a far less suspicious index and hopefully a safer way to manage data has arrived: the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index. Cycling’s a tricky sport for rankings because we have sprinters alongside climbers, one day specialists and stage racers. Now that’s all part of the attraction for me. But it’s hard to say who is the best rider in the world and the wider public, not to mention sponsors, often “have to” know who is the best.
Personally I take a pluralistic view and tend to rate several riders as the best at the same time since we don’t really see Merckx or Hinault style domination across stage races and classics alike. Plus I don’t know why but I have dislike of lists, you won’t find my “top 10″ features on here. But I’m still interested in rankings, especially because points are crucial for teams and riders. Points are effectively a form of currency.
Often you might not realise a rider’s value to a team until you check their ranking points for example France’s only squad with “ProTeam” status is Ag2r and you probably don’t realise their number-three ranked rider, on the UCI scale, is Lloyd Mondory. You probably wouldn’t recognise him if he walked past you but France’s only top level team is dependent on this guy.
The UCI rankings haven’t quite worked for me. They don’t get updated that often – the late Xavier Tondo is still listed – and there’s a tendency to reward consistent top-10 finishes over actual victories. I like the Cycling Quotient rankings indeed there’s a permanent link on the right of the page for easy access all the time but the site is run by volunteers and if it’s timely and accurate, it’s not well known.
To return to my earlier point yes it’s hard to pick the best rider but in times past the Super Prestige Pernod rankings were a big deal. Riders are unlikely to make concious or subconscious decisions during a race based on their IG ranking for the time being.
But we’ll see, the company is putting plenty of resources into this and the aim is to establish this as feature that’s here to stay, which is why I’m giving it a mention. Put simply it could be as useful as CQ but with a bigger push in the media to make it more widely understood and therefore valued. It’s this legitimacy that both the UCI and CQ rankings have so far struggled with.