Cunego goes to number one

Victory in the Tour of Lombardy on Saturday elevated Damiano Cunego to top spot in the world ranking

Victory in the Tour of Lombardy on Saturday elevated Damiano Cunego to top spot in the world ranking
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Damiano Cunego's success in the Tour of Lombardy lifted him above Paolo Bettini and Erik Zabel into the number one position in the International Cycling Union's world rankings. The 23-year-old Italian started this season ranked 227th in the world, some 2,020 points behind Bettini. Victories in the Tour of Trentino, Giro d'Italia and the Tour of Lombardy have helped to boost the young Saeco rider's status, and have now made him the 18th rider to top the world rankings. We know some of you will want to know who the previous 17 were, so here they are in more or less the order in which they topped the world: Sean Kelly, Charly Mottet, Laurent Fignon, Gianni Bugno, Claudio Chiappucci, Miguel Indurain, Tony Rominger, Laurent Jalabert, Alex Zuelle, Michele Bartoli, Francesco Casagrande, Jan Ullrich, Davide Rebellin, Lance Armstrong, Erik Zabel, Erik Dekker and Bettini. Bettini is just six points behind Cunego in the rankings and could retake top spot if he does well in this Saturday's Firenze-Pistoia time trial event. However, even if Bettini gets the points he needs, Cunego has an almost immediate chance to respond in kind when he competes in Sunday's Japan Cup. Whichever of the two Italians enjoys the most successful weekend will go down as the last rider to top the world rankings, which are to be replaced by the Pro Tour standings next season. UCI world rankings on October 17, 2004 1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco 2245.40 2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step 2239.00 3 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile 2121.00 4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) CV-Kelme 1892.00 5 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank 1818.00 6 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 1813.00 7 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal 1726.00 8 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis 1701.00 9 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1464.00 10 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 1449.00 11 Ivan Basso (Ita) CSC 1424.50 12 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1374.75 13 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Saunier Duval 1351.00 14 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears 1322.00 15 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 1318.00 16 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo 1305.00 17 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros 1303.60 18 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC 1276.00 19 Erik Dekker (Hol) Rabobank 1163.45 20 Michael Boogerd (Hol) Rabobank 1156.00
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