Country of registration – and even sponsor origin – is only a base indicator of professional cycling’s national roots. The regional creep of cycling’s popularity is globalising the professional peloton, especially at the UCI Continental level. Cycling iQ looks at the national makeup of each UCI division for the 2012 season.
Though 2012 UCI WorldTour and UCI ProContinental teams were finalised in December 2011, cycling’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale, today announced the conclusion of the registration process for 2012 UCI Continental teams. Finally, we can get a complete snapshot of where all the professional cyclists are from.
It is extremely tempting to analyse every possible angle, but I have instead decided to publish the below chart and table, which is a collation of all information in the UCI team’s database. A few interesting pull-outs follow the table:
Number of nations (of 74 with UCI-registered riders) represented by cyclists at:
UCI WorldTour level = 42
UCI ProContinental level = 44
UCI Continental = 70
(The red cells in the table represent divisional voids, where a nation does not have a single rider competing in any given division)
Belgium has the most registered road cyclists (231) competing on the UCI circuit in 2012, but it is trounced by Kazakhstan (46%), Spain (45%) and Italy (36%) when expressing the number of WorldTour (WT) professional road cyclists as a percentage of all registered road cyclists (ie, Belgium has 52 WT riders from its 231 divisional aggregate = 23%).
Considering its size, economy, infrastructure, industrialised status and reputation for being a competitive culture – in spite of its eight continental teams – Japan has a long way to go, relative to European nations, until it can be considered to have a global foot-hold in professional cycling.
If anyone would like a copy of the spreadsheet for their own analysis, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I’d be really grateful it if any findings/angles could be shared in the comments section below for the benefit of all readers.
[Note: all data used to create these summaries has been copied directly from individual team pages on the UCI’s teams database, as at 27.03.2012. I can vouch for the accuracy and completion of the data only to the extent that each team’s individual database template is correspondingly accurate and complete. The above graph has also been update in this related Cycling iQ article].