2012 Team Victory Rankings updated

Monday, 26 March 2012

Wins Team
21 Omega Pharma – Quickstep
13 Liquigas – Cannondale
13 Team Sky
8 Greenedge
7 FDJ – BigMat
7 Lotto – Belisol
6 Garmin – Barracuda
6 Movistar
5 Vacansoleil – DCM
4 Katusha
3 Rabobank
2 BMC Racing
2 Lampre – ISD
2 Radioshack – Nissan
2 Saxo Bank
1 Astana
1 Euskaltel – Euskadi
0 Ag2r – La Mondiale

I won’t be doing a running commentary every Monday but this time last week I listed the World Tour teams by win and in the space of seven days several teams without a win finally got the result they needed.

Astana’s Janez Brajkovič won a stage in the Tour of Catalonia as did Samuel Sanchez for Euskaltel-Euskadi. Cadel Evans won Stage 2 and the overall in the Critérium International. Note these three riders are just who’d you’d expect to appear once the roads head for the mountains. In addition, promising all-rounder Diego Ulissi won two stages in the Semana Coppi e Bartali. This leaves Ag2r – La Mondiale as the World Tour gooseberry.

It’s not for the want of trying for the brown short brigade. Rinaldo Nocentini was second on Stage 3 of the Critérium International, pipped by a crafty Pierrick Fédrigo. Mickaël Cherel was prominent in several moves during the Tour of Catalonia but couldn’t translate his energy into a win.

We’re still in March and it is early to dwell on the numbers but they reveal a problem for Ag2r in that they have many riders capable of cracking the top-10 but wins are rare. They took just five wins in 2011, crowned by John Gadret’s Giro d’Italia stage win. It’s easy to criticise the team as deficient but that ignores their modest budget, they simply can’t afford the best riders. This is a subject I’m hoping to return to soon: how do you build a competitive team on a modest budget.

At the other end of the scale Omega Pharma – Quickstep continue their winning ways. Tom Boonen’s win yesterday was very much a team performance. The squad seems renewed, Boonen has won seven races already this year, amazingly Quickstep won just eight in total last year. Note the Highroad influence with managers like Brian Holm but the roster is simply so strong that last year looks like an aberration.

derek adams March 26, 2012 at 12:28 pm

AG2R: Dear oh dear! I wouldn’t mind but they have lots of really good riders. Lots of stage race near-contenders. Sadly one of those is NOT poor ol’ confused Nico Roche. Now there’s a lad who needs to re-orient his career and start winning some semi-classics. No shame in not being his dad, and he’s much better looking!

Gerrald March 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Triggered by the remark on the AG2R budget, I just tried to look for a list of team budgets for 2012. Does not seem to exist, anybody here that can help me out? What I found for AG2R is that they were on 8.5 M€ in 2011 according to L’Equipe, which I compare to Rabobank which was 15 M€ in 2011 according to wikipedia. Anybody any other numbers?
Anyway, looking at the numbers above Astana is probably the wordt right now in terms of euros spent per victory.

rick March 26, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I think Radioshack and BMC have to be unhappy with the company they are keeping on this list. The so called superteams and really under performing even for the early season. Greenedge on the other hand have impressed with their ability to do what SKY or Leopard-Trek could not do in their first year, win.

lieutenantmudd March 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Is it just the size of Ag2r’s budget? Or is how they choose to spend it?

Peraud makes what 300K a year? Plus the expense of staying in the WT

To me it seems like the team is prioritizing WT points over victories. They’d be better off like Farnese Vini. Smaller team focused on 2-3 leaders and relying on wildcards.

Less races, more victories.

Jerome March 26, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Interesting that greenedge which when they presented their roster was so sprint heavy managed to go the entire sprint favourable ‘Pre season’ without a win in a bunch gallop but rather the punchy climbers have shined in gerrans and albisini

Gavin March 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I wouldn’t just blame the budget, fact is Euskaltel have the smallest worldtour budget and they have a win to their name. Agree entirely with the sentiments above regarding Nico, nice bloke, but forever underachieving, in fact i’m not entirely sure where he got his GC rider reputation from.

Adam March 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Inrng, on building a competitive team on a modest budget, how much goes into selecting good young riders. I follow ice hockey, and there rookies can ‘only’ earn $400,000 a year for their first two years no matter how good they are. Combined with the salary cap it really has led to teams drafting young talent and improving over 2-3 years.
HTC seemed like the masters at this as surely they underpaid for EBH, John Degenkolb, Burghardt and even Cav.
I’ve always thought that there wasn’t enough money ball in cycling, BMC being the poster child for it this year. I know Thor is a crowd favorite, and while he had a great Tour last year he only won 3 races in 2011. Is he really worth the money? Wouldn’t AG2R be better off trying to find the next Sagan or Steven Kruiswijk than trying to compete on bank accounts?

cinjet March 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm

@Adam: For a sponsor, Thor really is worth the money. And beside that, he is an icon and an idol for younger riders, which could also be said to have a positive influence on a team. The problem with the analyses in this article (and many others) is that they really only captures the wins and / or the points, and this does not capture the value of a rider. I imagine that there are many, many riders that do not get any point but are of tremendous value for a team when you look at the role they take outside a UCI points perspective (e.g. motivating the team, or in the group dynamics of a team).

I think it is particularly sad in the case of Saxo Bank. They have almost no points left and will struggle this year without Contador. Although everyone would agree that without the current SB riders AC wouldn’t have won the Giro, or any other race for that matter. As with Boonen’s G-W win, they were team performances. In this sense, SB was way to dependent on AC, and you could argue that he was not worth his money. (Although the team possibly wouldn’t have excisted anymore without him…)

Larry T. March 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I don’t think any of this should matter much with just one of the five monuments run off so far in 2012. If this was late May and my team was way down at the bottom of the list I might start being concerned but it’s way too early to start comparing budgets vs race wins. If BMC wins nothing more than LeTour this year I can see them maybe letting some of the non-Tour essential guys go, but winning just ONE big race can change things in an instant for any of these teams. Of course having some early wins CAN make the team morale better, which may lead to more wins, but I wouldn’t be writing off any team this early in the season.

Paul I. March 26, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I think it’s pretty instructive to compare AG2R with FDJ, who did drop down to Pro Conti level for a year, but who now have a roster of exciting young French talent, plus wins to back that up.

Bundle March 26, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Quite intriguing. But “victories” (e.g. stage victories) tend to be a little overrated by fans these days. A GC top-3, a green or polka-dot jersey, are certainly worth more than a stage victory in my mind, but these don’t count as “victories”.

Rui March 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm

@Bundle

That fans don’t cherish a polka dot jersey is bad (although I must say, does that really happen?), but to count zero, zilch, nada to the ranking, that is a travesty.

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