Team Victory Rankings

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

With the Vuelta done here is the listing of team wins so far this season. This will be the penultimate version this year as we’re now into the final section of the season with just 47 of the 553 days of racing remaining.

As ever the usual caveat that cycling is not about quantity, surely every team would swap all their wins for the overall winner of the Tour de France. But these rankings do cut through to illustrate several points, for example Euskaltel-Euskadi sit in last place and illustrate the problems facing Fernando Alonso as he looks at buying the team’s licence. With just six wins (of which two are Ioannis Tamouridis winning the Greek road and TT championships) the team’s win rate is extremely low. Alonso might have a passion for the sport but he’s got to spend hard cash too.

On a more cheerful note Cannondale are on a real run thanks to Peter Sagan. The Fastvakian has racked up 22 wins this year, more than anyone else – Mark Cavendish is on 16, Marcel Kittel 15- but even without him, the lime green team would sit with a respectable number of wins and obviously without him they’d have cash to hire someone else. BMC Racing are of interest too as their 29 wins counter the “loads of money, no results” sticky label. Meanwhile FDJ are having a record year with more wins than ever. The French lottery team goes back to 1997 of course when a pony-tailed Chris Horner was part of the squad.

Chris Horner FDJ ponytail

Enough of the past. It’ll be interesting to see how teams build squads for 2014. Take Garmin-Sharp where Tyler Farrar has no new contract and Robbie Hunter is going, as if the team is reducing its presence in the sprints, at least it’ll be up to the Kreder brothers and Steele Von Hoff to step up. Orica-Greenedge are supposed to be moving towards more stage race success but for now they still seem packed with sprinters, it will be interesting to see what happens with Matthew Goss. Meanwhile Saxo-Tinkoff look set to become Saxo for 2014 and with less money following the volatile Oleg Tinkov’s decision to stop sponsorship, Bjarne Riis is going to struggle to hire riders capable of winning more frequently. If the team had won more this year would Tinkov have stayed?

UCI Pro Continental

As we can see Europcar are on another level in the Pro Conti ranks. Vini Fantini have yet to lose Mauro Santambrogio’s two wins this year and if this happens then MTN-Qhubeka would be on equal terms.

There’s a mix of budgets and ambitions here, several teams seek wildcards for grand tours, we’ve seen NetApp-Endura have a good Vuelta and Caja Rural were very aggressive. IAM are strengthening for 2014. Meanwhile Colombia have just two wins and their best riders are being signed by others. The squad has been an exciting presence in some races but they’ll struggle for invitations next year without riders capable of winning big.

A word on Sojasun. Team manager Stéphane Heulot has set a deadline of 1 October to find a new sponsor but things are looking tough. Already the best riders are leaving with Julien Simon – he of the late breakaway to Lyon in the Tour de France – going to Cofidis whilst Europcar have signed Jimmy Engoulvent. Movistar are said to be interested in a couple of others. If you’ve been watching the Tour of Britain you’ll have seen Anthony Delaplace on the attack, he’s a big rouleur who’d suit many a sprint train whilst Alexis Vuillermoz is in his first year on the road, did the Tour de France and has looked strong in other races.

Conclusion
These rankings are simplistic but if you want to know which teams are folding or struggling for sponsors, look at the number of wins. Yet if budget and wins can be correlated, it’s not always the case.

This year teams are building rosters for 2014 without the pressure of the World Tour points system as there are only 18 teams chasing 18 places thanks to Vacansoleil-DCM’s retreat. But all those rankings and scores are for spreadsheets and fans who want to geek out. What most people want to know is who is victorious.

vimes September 17, 2013 at 10:11 am

So Astana is struggling, as they have only 14 wins? Well, they have only won the Giro, Tirreno, Trentino, etc. I think they will be quite happy with their season, as will be Ag2R, who are third last in your ranking. Sorry Mr. inrng, but numbering the wins without looking at the quality of the wins doesn’t tell you anything.

The Inner Ring September 17, 2013 at 10:16 am

I didn’t mention Astana? Also see the second paragraph where I add the usual caveat than quality matters more than quantity (and the conclusion too).

Alex222 September 17, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Does help if you read the full article before criticising

Cgb September 17, 2013 at 10:26 am

To be clear, Astana has 38 second place finishes in 2013

Sam September 17, 2013 at 10:32 am

Team Colombia have been a bit of a disappointment this year. Chavez crashing in Feb and being out all season was a blow, but he isnt their only quality rider. But there’s also trouble in the team with riders allegedly not having been paid since the spring. You wonder whether Signor Corti has ensured solidarity by waving his salary in support (or his son’s0 – but I doubt it…

NetApp have had a good season, topped off by an incredible Vuelta. But the riders who came in from the Endura side of the merger have not had such an enjoyable time, by all accounts.

On to next season have to say I’ve been very impressed with who Vaughters and Garmin have been hiring for next season – some real young talent.

Looking forward to seeing how Vino tries to wriggle out of the MPCC policy that prevents him racing Pellizoti till May…

Dieter September 17, 2013 at 11:04 am

“Alonso might have a passion for the sport but he’ll [need?] cash too.”

The Inner Ring September 17, 2013 at 11:23 am

spend!

There’s talk of Fiat sponsoring but that’s because he’s part of the Ferrari team owned by Fiat. With the exception of Skoda who are one of the sport’s biggest sponsors, it’s rare to see car makers/brands in the sport. Cycling’s audience demographic is very different to Formula 1.

Karl Owen September 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I would have thought cycling’s audience demographic, especially in the UK, was fairly similar to Formula 1? Predominantly middle aged, middle class and male?

The Inner Ring September 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Perhaps in the UK…. but the UK does not get cycling on mainstream TV so the audience figures are low even if the audience segment is valuable.

The biggest watchers of bike races are in France, Spain, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland are men aged over 60. And the second largest component of the audience? Women aged 35-55.

See http://inrng.com/2011/01/call-yourself-a-fan/ for more

Dieter September 17, 2013 at 11:50 am

Is there reliable figures available for the teams’ operating budgets? It would be interesting to see a scatterplot of the number of wins by total money spend…

The Inner Ring September 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm

No, they’re not public. Teams have to prepare accounts for the UCI as part of the licence application so the numbers exist but they’re kept secret. Also it’s hard to work out the exact budget, imagine you set up a team in the first year you are spending a lot on things like the team buses so your budget is high but often first year teams struggle a bit so the win rate is lower. Also there are often bonus payments for wins so the spend goes up if there are more wins which would distort the data. In short it gets hard to compare.

Dieter September 17, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Interesting. Are rider salaries made public?

sam September 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Not as a matter of course. Though sometimes press articles do make reference to a small number of top riders’ salaries.

The Inner Ring September 17, 2013 at 12:24 pm

No, it’s private info. Some headline numbers are out there but the reality is often more complicated with the fixed salary component and then variable elements like bonuses, payments for image rights and other things. The image rights can be bigger than the salary, a common tax dodge.

TIm September 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Saxo-Tinkoff seem to have had much more presence in races than their total wins would indicate. Certainly higher profile than others, just with fewer results. I guess that is the benefit of a Contador.

Shawn September 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Any comparison to current UCI points available?

LM September 17, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Horner, man of the future, styled by a man of the past; Fignon.

Tom September 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm

That’s another instance of quantity over quality.

Jan September 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I’m confused about the number of wins. Does a grand tour (or other tour) stage count as a win, and then also the overall GC?

So Horner would get, say, two stage wins in the Vuelta and also the overall, for three wins?

Thanks again for this site; I learn so much!

The Inner Ring September 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Yes, a win can be a stage and the race overall. But it has to be a win, rather than an extra jersey or other prize.

Jan September 17, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Thank you!

Patrick - de Witte - September 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Conclusion: hard figures are sometimes quite different from the “gut feeling”. I think the KOM-jerseys are quite good examples. Edet won the mountainjersey in the 2013 vuelta but never finished into the top 70 of any stage.
So Edet (and Cofidis) had some good exposure, but is quite invisible when “crunching the numbers”.

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