|21||Omega Pharma – Quickstep|
|13||Liquigas – Cannondale|
|7||FDJ – BigMat|
|7||Lotto – Belisol|
|6||Garmin – Barracuda|
|5||Vacansoleil – DCM|
|2||Lampre – ISD|
|2||Radioshack – Nissan|
|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.