Did Ag2r Avoid Breaking Saunier Duval’s Losing Record?

Saturday, 19 May 2012

A double win yesterday for French squad Ag2r La Mondiale. First they won in the Circuit de Lorraine Professionel, a 2.1 stage race on France’s eastern borders thanks to Sébastien Hinault. Then Sylvain Georges doubled-up with a fine solo stage win in the Tour of California.

Until now they had yet to win a race this year and were a day away from “beating” the longest losing streak set by Saunier Duval who didn’t win a race until 19 May back in 2005. This time Ag2r won their two stages on 18 May, a day ahead. But 2012 is a leap year meaning the French squad might have won earlier in May but we’ve had an extra day in the year.

This clever point was pointed out by Twitter’s IrishPeloton, a master of statistical analysis and co-presenter of the excellent Velocast This Week in Cycling History podcast. But in reply Edward Pickering, the editor of Cycle Sport Magazine, had other ideas:

This is difficult. What if we go back even further?

Comparing the worst record since the UCI formed the Pro Tour for 2005 is a bit of a thankless task. In some sports winning and losing streaks can matter to measure in form teams but in cycling the individual aspect of the sport is different. This is a such a quirky record that nobody really keeps tab of it. In other words whether Ag2r did or didn’t break this record doesn’t matter much but I’d been keeping tabs on which teams have been winning… and yet to win.

For the record the UCI Pro Team with the most wins is Omega Pharma – Quickstep with 28 wins, ahead of Team Sky (21) and Liquigas-Cannondale (19). So bravo to Ag2r for their double win. The challenge now is to catch up and if they land a win in the Tour de France the team’s sponsors and supporters will be overjoyed.

Roadie61 May 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Apparently, Ag2r wanted a monkey off their back!

A magnificent day for the French team! If you didn’t see Sylvain Georges 184 km solo win yesterday in the ToC, you missed something remarkable. The peloton underestimated catching him…with 4km to go, the peloton was still 2:05 behind, and Sylvain was never caught. At high altitude this was a feat of sustained suffering over many kms of climbing, and this monumental triumph was felt by all, no doubt:) Georges legs were like rubber as he climbed the podium. Someone not named Sagan was on the top step this day, though Peter did put in another impressive sprint for 2nd at + :28, leaving Peter Velits in his rear-view mirror.

Fantastique!

Frogboy May 19, 2012 at 11:32 pm

http://www.cyclisme-mag.com/Actualites/Route/Videos/La-victoire-de-Sylvain-Georges-en-video-12754/
That is an excellent video of the win taken from inside the AG2R team car. This victory exemplifies how thrilling bike racing can be, made even sweeter for francophiles because we’ve waited for it for so long… Now if only Gadret could find an extra gear somewhere, and Casar stop losing too much time in the high mountains, we’d be set at until the Dauphine!

Edward Pickering May 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I should correct the maths in my tweet – post-pub mental arithmetic made me lose a day. Ag2r actually went 124 days this season without a win, not 123.

Rob May 19, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I’m wondering how much the radio ban might have contributed to the peloton not catching up.

zavod miru May 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Seeing the two Slovakians on the podium reminded me how powerful a Czechoslovakian pro team would be on paper like a GreenEdge concept but turbocharged ! lets call it VelvetEdge..

Firstly you have the billionaire financier Znedek Bakala who funds the Quick Step team.
manager Jan Svorada
Hor categorie Sagan , Kreuziger, and Stybar
then class riders like the Velits brothers, Konig , Barta
time trialist Rabon
super domestique Adam Hansen **
then throw in a couple of Track endurance guys like Blaha and Hacecky”…”………i’m sure there are a few more i can’t remember but this is a start.
**** i know he is from Cairns but he is more Czech than Australian nowadays.

billy buster May 20, 2012 at 7:08 am

@zavod miru “…he is more Czech than Australian nowadays” Please explain?

Zavod miru May 20, 2012 at 8:26 am

Whereas most Aussies gravitate to Gerona as their summer base. …Adam has lived in the Czech Rep. for quite a few years and settled with a Czech girl which i assume is still the case.

The Inner Ring May 20, 2012 at 8:28 am

I think he’s still proudly Australian but yes, happily living in Czech Republic during the year.

But a good point about the Czech team and one to watch at the Olympics of course.

Zavod miru May 20, 2012 at 8:41 am

INRNG Not sure how many riders the Czechs and the Slovaks have qualified but surely Sagan will be heavily marked. Are the breakdown of the country numbers available yet?

Jay Taylor May 20, 2012 at 8:17 am

We were at the start of the Tour of California stage this morning, and, after we had scrambled around photographing everyone and everything and basically thought that the day couldn’t get any cooler, Sylvain Georges rides right on by on his way to the start. I recognized his glasses from the TV broadcast the night before and without thinking shouted out “Hey, there’s the winner!” Let me tell you, this guy turned around and gave the biggest smile. What a great victory and one I’m sure he’ll remember for his whole life.

Dave May 21, 2012 at 6:46 am

I am now a big Sylvain Georges fan just because of his whole demeanor on the podium – from the way he walked up and was just glowing to be up there, to his “ow my back!” bit after lifting the obnoxiously large stage trophy, to the way he lit up when they told him the two hot chicks on the podium were going to kiss him….it was all tremendously disarming.

Alex May 20, 2012 at 10:59 am

Shouldn’t a winless streak be measured in race days instead of calendar days?

Bundle May 21, 2012 at 8:57 am

Who’s the blonde on the picture? Her number, anyone? :)

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