Team Victory Rankings

Monday, 22 April 2013

With the classics done where do different teams stand? As the chart above shows there’s a difference between the quantitative and the qualitative with some scoring numerous wins but often at a lower level.

Also with the Tour de France wildcards being announced soon, below is a look at the second division pro continental teams.

Whilst Liège-Bastogne-Liège took place underneath bare trees and there’s a great summer of cycling ahead, remember that the calendar is loaded with races in the early season. By now we had one third of the year’s total number of race days. Of course there’s a bias to calendar with the early season loaded with classics that suit a particular type of rider and arguably, particular teams. Now that the spring classics are over the roads are heading for hills and then over to the mountains so the nature of the sport is changing.

I’d speculated before whether Rabobank’s withdrawal would make the Blanco riders more hungry for results but we can see Vacansoleil-DCM is facing the loss of its sponsor and this hasn’t created the results, the Dutch campers have only one win between them so far.

The likes of BMC Racing and Saxo-Tinkoff are languishing for now but note that BMC’s budget is about double that of the Danish team. Bjarne Riis and colleagues have created a relatively high profile team thanks to careful signings and the obvious presence of Alberto Contador. But there are questions of ambitions and targets, for example FDJ has eleven wins but how many of them can you remember? They’ve won six race in April but whilst most people watch the big classics, FDJ have been taking local races, for example yesterday Mickaël Delage won La Roue Tourangelle.

As ever it almost goes without saying that quality matters more than quantity both in terms of publicity but also for precious ranking points. As much as OPQS lead the table, we have to go back to 2007 when Patrick Lefevere “only” got one podium in the spring monuments plus the Amstel and the team this year was saved by Niki Terpstra’s Roubaix podium. In fact to take this away from teams and go to nations, we have to go back to 1918 for the last time the Belgians didn’t win a significant spring classic.

Looking ahead it’s hard to see OPQS being overtaken. Mark Cavendish is about to come back from a break meaning stage wins in the Tour de Romandie and Giro await. Team Sky have big ambitions for the Giro and Tour but there might be few wins along the way, a time trial here, a mountain stage there and the squad’s sprinting power is diminished this year.

Pro Continental

The UCI’s second division has 20 teams but so far only 15 have won so far this year. Europcar leads by a long way, with more wins than the next three squads combined. The team is hunting for a new sponsor and must surely offer the best value for money in the sport: success, guaranteed entry into the Tour de France and pretty much scandal free since the day Jean-René Bernaudeau started his pro management career. But Europcar remain resolutely French with a focus on domestic races, winning in the Etoile de Bessèges or the Circuit de la Sarthe with the only World Tour win coming from Damien Gaudin’s in the Paris-Nice prologue. By contrast MTN-Qhubeka have four wins but one of those is the invaluable Milan-Sanremo.

Brian April 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Love these updates! Good to see these results pile up as the season progresses. Already salivating for the start of the Giro!

Sam April 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Be interesting to see what happens in the sprints for Cav from Romandie onwards. If OPQS dont get their act together, his haul isnt likely to increase dramatically.

The Inner Ring April 22, 2013 at 1:51 pm

It’ll be interesting to see how they support him, can they build a small train for him for in Romandie and then in the Giro and Tour, all whilst supporting other riders and ambitions. It’s likely Mark Renshaw joins for 2014.

Sam April 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Comes down to what their other riders’ ambitions are. Martin’s TTs aren’t affected by supporting Cav, nor are opportunistic breakaways. On the other hand Cav joined in the belief that he would have total support for the Tour, and that he wouldnt be in the same position as 2012 with a GC ‘rival’ on the same team…and low and behold the emergence of Kwiatkowski. Too soon for GT assaults, though.

Carn Soaks April 22, 2013 at 7:29 pm

I think Queens Park Rangers, I mean Quickstep still live in the early to mid 2000’s, when Tom and Robbie used to race Against one another or Oscar, Thor, Stewie or Baden in Le Tour. Everyone tended to ride with the one man leadout, except maybe Petacchi who had two guys. The sprint has been refined by Columbia, but you need a really committed structure outside of races to develop the cohesiveness required to put 6 men on the front for the last 4 k’s. AND thats the other issue, lots of teams are trying the train, but like Orica and Blanco, they put too few on the front way too early to effect the result of a clean lead out upto the 250m mark, ala 2009 HTC.

Greg April 22, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Hasn’t Cav already proven that he can win without a train? He seemed to be determined to do take wins by racing for them and creating his own opportunities. Maybe the shortfall here are our own expectations?

As for the charts above, they are interesting but as you say they are not weighted for prestige. What if we rank each race as a 2.1, 2.0 or whatever the scale is and assign points to each… oh, then we’re the UCI. Interesting insights with sponsor hunts commencing for Vacan & EuropCar, not to mention RadioShack.

The Inner Ring April 22, 2013 at 8:40 pm

He can win without the train, but it makes it easier having one and probably increases his chance of a win.

Sam April 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Its not a question of our expectations being misplaced. More than any other sprinter Cav CAN win without a train. However, its by no means the majority of the time – look at how many times since Qatar his OPQS train’s let him down and he’s missed out on a win. Its just not how things were meant to be for him at OPQS. That’s totally clear from his reaction and that of Lefevere. Having said that, I’m sure they’ll get it sorted for the Tour, if not for the Giro first. Lefevere’s spent too much money on Cav’s contract for that not to happen.

Ad April 22, 2013 at 2:40 pm

How catastrophic would it be for Cofidis not to get an invite to the Tour? It’s hard to make a case for them getting the other wildcard really. Although being French helps.

The Inner Ring April 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm

There are three wildcards. Normally four but with Katusha as the 19th World Tour team it means three Pro Conti teams.

Europcar are the obvious pick but looking at the others the choice is not too interesting. I have time for Cofidis and Sojasun but they’ve not impressed much this year.

DrHeaton April 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

There’s an argument for MTN-Qhubeka to be included but they haven’t shown much in stage races, perhaps a Vuelta invite may be more likely.

IAM have been strong and if they go well in Romandie may get the nod, Bretagne have also shown well in some races. I suspect those three plus Cofidis and Sojasun may be the ones going for the last two spots. Cofidis will surely get one of them thanks to some stronger than usual signings (Coppel) plus a few current riders like Taaramae should swing things in their favour. Sojasun may struggle though.

Anonymous April 22, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I would have thought Europcar and 2 of Sojasun, Cofidis and IAM for TdF wildcards. In World Tour terms Argos-Shimano are the ones in real trouble at the moment with their points and no prospects for the tour GCs, but, big plus, they have s sponsor.

Anonymous April 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm

They also have Kittel and Degenkolb who should both Hoover up enough wins to see them to safety. The worry would be for euskaltel. Hard to see Sanchez carrying them this year and Anton isn’t consistent enough.

The Inner Ring April 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Remember a stage win in the Tour de France is worth the same as finishing 14th overall when it comes to points. Sprinters have to win often rather than win big to earn points.

Chrisman April 22, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Vini always impress me. Is it sacriledge to have an Italian wildcard in the TDF? Sojasaun don’t impress me that much. Argos have Kittel but he suffered from horrible dysentry last time out – rather immature and embarrassing, not the sort of impression you want to leave.

The Inner Ring April 22, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Vini Fantini will do well in the Giro but this means they’re all tired for the Tour de France. Like Europcar they have one grand tour in them, the squad is not deep enough for much more.

ben April 23, 2013 at 3:42 am

Orica Green-EDGE’s results must be applauded. For a second year team without any absolute star rides (Gerrans and Goss are very good, but not stars like Cavendish, Griepel, Bonnen, Cancellara, Gilbert, Wiggins etc etc) they have done outstandingly well.

Alan S April 23, 2013 at 4:32 am

Great stuff, love the updates.

(GO MTN-Qhubeka!)

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