With the 2019 UCI road racing season well and truly over*, we resume our review of the year’s racing highlights.
Following our look at domestic team performances in the end-of-season UCI World Rankings, we now turn our gaze to the rider rankings. Which domestic and British U23 riders scored the most points?
*The UCI’s quirky road racing season finished with the Tour of Guangxi on 22nd October. So Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes’ participation in the Tour of Fuzhou this month officially falls into the 2020 road season. This means points Canyon dhb accumulate at Fuzhou will count towards the 2020 rankings. Confusing, we know…
First up, let’s take a look at ‘domestic-level’ riders. Here, we’ve plucked the best 10 points scorers from riders in British Continental and elite teams, as well as Brits riding abroad riding at the Continental level or below.
Connor Swift topped these rankings in 2018. This year, Tom Pidcock (Team Wiggins Le Col) finished as the highest-ranked domestic rider with 264 UCI points. 20 year-old Pidcock had yet another stellar season on the road, despite his horror crash at the Tour de L’Avenir. He scored a handsome 125 points with his 3rd place in the U23 road race at the World Championships. His wins at the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs and the Tour Alsace, as well as 3rd overall at Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux also earned solid points scores, helping to elevate him as the highest points scorer from the domestic teams. In fact, Pidcock was the 11th best-ranked British rider overall in the UCI World Rankings in 2019. The 10 riders above him were all World Tour riders (see below).
Below Pidcock was Irishman Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes). Townsend had an outstanding season. At home he won three National Road Series races. But it was his international exploits that earned him his UCI World Ranking points (National Road Series races are not UCI races). Podium places in four one-day races (Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic, the Classic Loire Atlantique, Heistse Pijl and Memorial Philippe Van Coningsloo), as well as 4th place in the Irish national road race championships all contributed to his tally.
In third place was Tokyo hopeful Ethan Hayter (VC Londres). Hayter is part of British Cycling’s Podium Programme and represented the Great Britain Cycling Team in some of the biggest U23 races on the international calendar. He caught the eye with stage wins at the Baby Giro and the Tour de L’Avenir (the latter won the stage before his season was ended with a broken collarbone). But the bulk of his rankings points were scored thanks to his overal win at the A Travers les Hauts de France stage race, his 5th place in the road race at the National Road Championships and 10th at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
Elsewhere in the top 10, Kiwi James Fouché (Team Wiggins Le Col) racked up most of his points thanks to his wins in the New Zealand elite national road race the U23 national time trial. John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling) also scored big at national championships, with 2nd in the time trial and 3rd in the road race at the National Road Championships. His results at the World Championships also boosted his total, where he won bronze in the Team Time Trial – Mixed relay and then finsihed 14th in the individual time trial.
Matt Walls (Great Britian Cycling Team), Scott Thwaites (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK), James Shaw (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) and Tom Stewart (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes), all performed well enough to feature in the top 10. And last year’s top domestic point scorer, Connor Swift, also snuck into the top 10. Swift began his season at Madison Genesis before switching to Pro Conti team Arkéa-Samsic in May.
British U23 riders
How about the next generation of British riders?
Pidcock and Hayter, already mentioned, were the highest-scoring British U23 riders in the UCI World Rankings in 2019. Matt Walls, also in the domestic top 10, finished 3rd. Walls was consistent throughout the road season. Stage wins in the Baby Giro and the A Travers les Hauts de France stage race were obvious highlights. But his main points were scored with 2nd overall at A Travers les Hauts de France, 2nd in the Arno Wallaard Memorial one-day race and 13th in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ Continental) was the ‘nearly’ man of the British U23 scene in 2019. The second-year U23 took 3 podiums and 5th overall at Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux , 3rd at the U23 Tour of Flanders, 3rd at the U23 Eschborn-Frankfurt race and 8th at the U23 Paris-Roubaix. His first UCI race win was elusive however.
Fred Wright (Great Britain Cycling Team) is off the World Tour with Bahrain-Merida in 2020 (or whatever their new name will be), and he certainly showed his potential in 2019 with stage wins in both the Baby Giro and Tour de L’Avenir.
The other riders in the U23 top ten were former U23 British road race champion Rob Scott (Team Wiggins Le Col), U23 British time trial champion Charlie Quarterman (Holdsworth-Zappi), Giro Valle D’Aosta runner-up Adam Hartley (SEG Racing), Memorial Philippe Van Coningsloo podium-finisher Charles Page (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) and bronze medallist in the British time trial championships Ethan Vernon.
Featured photo: Zac Williams/SWpix.com. 2019 UCI Road World Championships – Yorkshire, England – Under 23 Men Road Race – Tom Pidcock before the start