With 11,790km behind him and 2,828 points over his closest rival on the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index, Gilbert is the clear 2011 winner. The 2012 Pro Cycling Index will feature some major enhancements that will make it easier to track top riders’ performance throughout what promises to be an exciting season.
London, UK, 23 November 2011– Philippe Gilbert routed the competition in the inaugural season of the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index. The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider’s dominance was such that his position at the top of the Index was never seriously threatened.
The Belgian’s form in late April earned him four consecutive Classics, including the Ardennes triple of Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. At the 2012 Tour de France route presentation in Paris in October, he was quick to single out his victory in La Doyenne as his best: “Liege-Bastogne-Liege was my greatest win this year, because I’m from there.
I was always dreaming about this race and finally won it so it was very nice. I think I will also remember the series of four races I won: Fleche Brabanconne, Amstel, Fleche Wallone and Liege, it was just amazing,” said Gilbert, IG Markets 2011 Pro Cycling Index winner.
The IG Markets Pro Cycling Index was created to provide a clear ranking system that rewards riders for winning the most prestigious races in the most competitive fields. Philippe Gilbert had an outstanding spring, a strong summer and was competitive right up to the end of the season – 2011 will surely go down as one of the best overall performances seen in the past twenty years.
Olly Stevens, IG Markets Head of Sponsorship, is looking forward to 2012:
“We have an exciting host of new features and rankings planned for the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index in 2012 – next season promises to be a great one with all of the top riders having points to defend in the opening races. With the help of our expert panel, we will be undertaking a full review of all the races in the Index with some being promoted or relegated for 2012.”
Gilbert’s IG Markets Pro Cycling Index 2011 season in numbers:
- The gap between Gilbert and runner-up Alberto Contador was 2,828 points – more than were held in total by three out of the Top 10 finishers in the Pro Cycling Index
- Gilbert’s largest single points haul in a day was at Liege-Bastogne-Liege (615 pts) where he improved on his 3rd place the previous year and earned a bonus for completing the Ardennes triple
- Gilbert raced 11,790 km in counting races
- Gilbert joins BMC Racing Team in 2012, where he’ll race alongside Tour winner Cadel Evans, Greg Van Avermaet and Thor Hushovd – all in the Pro Cycling Index Top 25. Their combined points are greater than all fifteen of Rabobank’s riders in the Top 200.
IG Markets Pro Cycling Index expert panel insights:
The IG Markets Pro Cycling Index expert panel of journalists has travelled the four corners of the globe this year as the sport’s international reach broadened. Read on to hear from Rupert Guinness from the Sydney Morning Herald, Ciro Scognamiglio from La Gazzetta dello Sport, Alasdair Fotheringham from The Independent, Raymond Kerckhoffs from De Telegraaf and Stephen Farrand, former Cyclingnews.com Production Editor on their views of a memorable season:
The Sydney Morning Herald
“When I moved to live in Europe and follow cycling in 1987, Anglo-Saxon cycling in the sport was still a novelty – even with the presence of the 7-Eleven team and a number of English speaking stars that included Australian Phil Anderson and a certain 1986 Tour de France winner in Greg LeMond and 1987 winner in Stephen Roche. To witness this year’s events on the bike where Anglo-Saxon cycling has been so powerful has been an absolute highlight!
As an Australian, to see Matt Goss win Milan-San Remo and then Cadel Evans win the Tour de France has been sensational, but to see so many other English-speaking riders achieve so much in other battles for wins and podium bids in other races has been fantastic.
I recall Chris Sutton’s Vuelta stage win that gave British Team Sky the lever for a terrific race – 2nd overall by Chris Froome and 3rd by Bradley Wiggins. And what about Froome’s fight to try and win the Vuelta? Battles come no better…but then came the Worlds win by Mark Cavendish by less than half a wheel over Goss, who started it all for Anglo-Saxon cycling this year with his Milan-San Remo win.
The standout moment for me has got to be Cadel Evans on the top step of the podium in Paris on July 24th in the yellow jersey of the Tour winner, and with the Australian flag draped over his shoulder. THAT moment, as the national anthem was played will remain with me forever… as I am sure it would for any cycling lover who saw ‘one of theirs’ win the greatest and biggest bike race in the world.”
La Gazzetta dello Sport
“Philippe Gilbert has been the rider of the season, no doubt about that. With the exception of the Worlds, where the circuit wasn’t suited to him, he won almost everything he entered. In 2012, with the powerful BMC Racing Team, he can achieve the Classics that have eluded him so far: Milan-San Remo and Flanders.
His teammate next season, Cadel Evans, also enjoyed a perfect season. The Tour de France was the highlight, but he also took Tirreno Adriatico and the Tour of Romandy. Mark Cavendish – a great Tour de France for him with five stages and the green jersey, and obviously the Worlds – completes the ideal podium for me. After some years of dominance, not exactly a great season for Alberto Contador.
He did win a very tough edition of the Giro but he faded at the Tour. Some notable disappointments: Vincenzo Nibali (no wins all year), Denis Menchov (not competitive in Grand Tours), Andy Schleck (second in the Tour de France three times in a row now, and except for Liege, he wasn’t competitive in other races). Surprises: Juan Jose Cobo and Chris Froome for a great Vuelta, Oliver Zaugg, Nick Nuyens and Johan Vansummeren in the Classics. As for which teams will make their mark in 2012, I can’t see beyond BMC, Sky and RadioShack.”
“Can we be so surprised that despite not winning the World Championships, Philippe Gilbert has ended the year as the top rider of the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index with nearly double the points on his closest pursuer Alberto Contador? As the winner of all three of the Ardennes Classics, by April, 2011 was already Gilbert’s best ever season, but with 18 victories – the highest total for any single World Tour rider – stretching from February to September, Gilbert’s consistency throughout the year has netted him the Index top spot too.
Each of the remaining top five riders in the Index had a standout moment in 2011: Contador’s sole ascent of the last kilometres of Mount Etna in the teeth of a gale; Evans narrow, perfectly timed victory at the Mur de Bretagne en route to Australia’s first ever Tour de France win; Rodriguez’s double whammy in the Vuelta’s steepest climbs at Valdepeñas and El Escorial and Cavendish’s last-second charge for glory to crown Great Britain’s best road-race World Championships ever.
Those names are already more than established amongst cycling’s greats. As for whom we’ll see moving even higher in 2012, Bauke Mollema (19th in the Index) raises hopes for Holland in a Grand Tour next season following his strong showing at the Vuelta, whilst Matt Goss (14th) is sure to rise up the rankings as he spearheads the new Aussie GreenEdge assault on the bunch sprints.
And at 21, the ultra-versatile Peter Sagan’s hat-trick of Vuelta stages and 15 victories is surely a foretaste of greater things to come for the talented Slovakian – will a top ten placing in the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index in 2012 be amongst them?”
“The 2011 season saw a number of great champions win a lot of races. Philippe Gilbert with his Ardennes triple, Cadel Evans’ build-up to the Tour de France with wins at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Romandy, and Mark Cavendish with five stages in the Tour de France and the rainbow jersey of world champion, were the big heroes of the year.
Then we had some high-profile riders who had a solid year, but who were missing a little something, like Alberto Contador (a beautiful victory in the Giro d’Italia but not the old “Pistolero” at the Tour), Joaquin Rodriguez (missed out on a big victory), Fabian Cancellara (not as dominant as in 2010) and Fränk Schleck (runner-up at Liege, and 3rd at the Tour de France).
Some riders really made a breakthrough this year: Tony Martin, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Matthew Goss and Peter Sagan all showed that they can be future heroes of cycling.
If we look to the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index, there is one rider missing from the top echelons, who I believe will become one of the stars of years to come: the German powerhouse Marcel Kittel. He won 18 races in 2011 (one stage in the Vuelta a Espana, and four stages in Tour of Poland), his first season focused on sprinting. He finished 2011 ranked 82nd in the Pro Cycling Index, but I am sure he will develop into a Top 20 rider next year.”
Former Cyclingnews.com Production Editor
“The 2011 season will be remembered as one of entertaining contrasts and contradictions. There were some highly expected and hugely dominant winners, such as Philippe Gilbert, who rightly dominates the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index. Then there were some unexpected but highly deserving surprise winners such as Johan Vansummeren at Paris-Roubaix and Oliver Zaugg at Il Lombardia. Some races were dominated from the start, as Alberto Contador did at the Giro d’Italia, yet the Tour de France was an incredible battle almost all the way to Paris, where Cadel Evans pulled on the yellow jersey. Many people dismissed Mark Cavendish’s chances of winning both the green jersey and the world title but he proved them wrong. Some old riders continued to win but talented young riders such as Peter Sagan, Dan Martin, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Matt Goss are leading the next generation of great riders. The sport is suffering from the global economic crisis and losing key sponsors, yet several super teams are emerging who look set to dominate the sport in the coming years. Some traditional races are being lost, but new ones are developing around the globe. For some, the future looks difficult, but the contradictions and changes are also signs of vitality.”
Further facts and figures from the 2011 IG Markets Pro Cycling Index:
- World champion Mark Cavendish finished in 5th place, the highest for a sprinter in any current cycling ranking system
- The nearest sprinter to Cavendish in the Index was 14th placed Matthew Goss, winner of Milan-San Remo
- 58th placed Jakob Fuglsang was the busiest rider, racing 16,155 km in counting races
- Spain has three Top 20 riders in the Pro Cycling Index (Alberto Contador, Joaquin Rodriguez and Samuel Sanchez). Belgium, Australia, Great Britain, Italy and Luxembourg all have two
- The biggest drop from the Top 10 this season: Vincenzo Nibali (9th to 30th) and Robert Gesink (10th to 31st).
IG Markets is delighted to announce that the Pro Cycling Index will shortly re-launch with major enhancements to functionality, making it easier to track the top riders’ performances throughout the season. Points breakdowns, movement tracking and unique video and written content will be among the improvements.