With the Giro done it’s time to review the standings of wins by the pro teams so far this season. Since the last look after the spring classics the top four in UCI World Tour are unchanged although OPQS have substantially extended their lead.
In terms of race days we’re now almost halfway in to the season with over 250 days of racing completed. So whilst OPQS dominate, on average 88% of the time they don’t win.
OPQS have 12 wins from Mark Cavendish who alone has more wins than several teams or in fact more than the last four teams on the chart above combined.
If the top four are unchanged Movistar climb up. Normal since the Spanish team is built for stage races and it enjoyed four wins in the Giro allowing it catch up with FDJ who had a rotten time in Italy. The French team, despite the quiet revelation of Francis Mourey’s stage racing talent, lost their hopes of a stage win with Arnold Jeannesson, Sandy Casar and Nacer Bouhanni all leaving the race early. Casar’s injuries mean his goal of riding all three grand tours is gone and he’s now unlikely to start the Tour de France.
Talking of the Giro, Astana is on “just” eight wins although one of these includes the Trofeo Senza Fine, an obvious reminder of the difference between quality and quantity. For all Movistar’s and OPQS’s success in the Giro, Astana won the race outright.
BMC Racing are too far to the right of the chart but can of course count on the deep support of Andy Rihs. Team Saxo-Tinkoff have just two wins, a far cry from the days when Bjarne Riis managed the world’s top team but all can change with a successful summer for Alberto Contador. Note Oleg Tinkov is said to be selling Tinkoff Credit Systems which could mean even more money.
However the likes of Vacansoleil-DCM and Euskaltel-Euskadi show how tough life can be. The Dutch team has been hunting for new sponsors but the lack of wins can’t help.
Europcar continue to dominate the Pro Continental ranks, revealing the gulf between those at the top and the bottom of cycling’s second division. At the top teams like Europcar and Vini Fantini can count on wildcard invitations which means valuable publicity in their home grand tours, which means more potential for sponsor income which allows hiring better riders and therefore an increased chance of wildcard invitations, and all this without forking out for a World Tour licence. New teams MTN-Qhubeka and IAM Cycling are trying to crack this, the African team is playing a variety of “Moneyball” in hiring riders like Gerald Ciolek for a new lease of life whilst mining swathes of Africa for raw talent. By contrast Swiss team IAM have a solid roster and they are in talks to hire Fabian Cancellara for 2014 but they’re not targeting a World Tour spot. It’s a virtuous circle but still risky as momentum matters and the likes of NetApp-Endura and Sojasun need results soon.