• A rolling ranking system will be introduced for the men's professional peloton (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The International Cycling Union (UCI) this week announced the launch of a new world ranking system for men’s professional road cycling.
International Cycling Union
26 Dec 2015 - 8:11 AM  UPDATED 26 Dec 2015 - 8:59 AM

So who is the best rider in world cycling? Is it Tour de France winner Chris Froome? Perhaps Alejandro Valverde who tops the current calendar year end rankings? Maybe it's John Degenkolb who won both Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix? What about world Champion Peter Sagan?

And where do New Zealand's Taylor Gunman, the winner of the Oceania Tour, and Europe Tour leader Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) really sit in relation to their better known peers?

The UCI would like to bring some clarity, context and meaning to those questions with the introduction of a new rolling (52 week) ranking system for individuals and nations which will be published in parallel with the existing arrangements for individual, teams and nations.

That current calendar year system is led by Valverde, his Movistar team and Spain. What is different in this new parallel system is that riders at all levels who score event results will be listed, including those who are not UCI WorldTour team members (WorldTour riders will also now feature in Continental rankings).

Its calculation will not be based on a specific series, as is the case with the UCI WorldTour Ranking, but on the entire UCI International Road Calendar (UCI WorldTour, UCI Continental Circuits, UCI World Championships, National and Continental Championships, Olympic Games and Continental Games).

The rolling ranking will begin on 11 January 2016 and will be published once a week, however its full effect will not be felt until 11 January 2017. 

The new system is part of an ongoing process of reform by the UCI, and "was the subject of a thorough consultation process which took into account the interests and wishes of riders, teams, organisers and National Federations as well as media and fans," it said in a statement.

So what does this mean? Given the points allocations awarded to races (Eg. 1000 points for winning the Tour de France and 850 for the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana) WorldTour riders should continue to top the leaderboard.

However, dominant Continental riders, like Gunman and Bouhanni will be brought out of their current silos and charted with riders like Froome, Valverde, Degenkolb and Sagan, perhaps giving a truer global performance picture for the sport and making the rankings something worth bragging about.

You can find the changes on page 57 of the UCI rules and regulations.

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