Team Victory Rankings

Monday, 26 May 2014


With the Giro taking a pause today, a look across the sport to count up the win rates of different teams. As usual the quantitative take gives us the numbers on the racing so far this season but behind the numbers are a variety of stories.


OPQS are where they were last year. They finished 2013 with 55 wins with Belkin next on 38. The Belgian team has a mix of winners with Mark Cavendish their top rider with eight wins.

This time Orica-Greenedge and Giant-Shimano are behind with FDJ next. Orica are having a great time and interestingly it’s all without much sprint success. When you look at their roster it’s packed with sprinters and lead-out specialists, the product of the Aussie track cycling conveyor belt. But only five of the team’s wins have come from bunch sprints. Break this down and there are two “sprint” wins for non-sprinter Michael Albasini and another for Simon Gerrans in the Tour Down Under when he clipped André Greipel.

To use a horrible term, “the narrative” says Team Sky are having a disastrous season with illness, crashes, riders being “parked” and more. But look at their 14 wins, that’s better than you thought, no? Their problem is one of expectations, they have not shone in the major classics and there are only four wins in the World Tour this year. Another five wins come from one race, the modest Settimana Coppi e Bartali. So, yes it’s well down on the haul this time last year.
FDJ are having a good time and this is a problem. They’re very reliant on Arnaud Démare and Nacer Bouhanni for wins. Only one other rider, Arthur Vichot, has won a race so far this year. Should Bouhanni move to another team then FDJ’s success rate would take a big hit as he’s got eight wins so far. Without Bouhanni they’d be alongside Europcar and Katusha. Bouhanni’s in talks with other teams – L’Equipe’s named Orica-Greenedge and Garmin-Sharp – but FDJ are scrambling to find the money and methods to keep him. Other teams manage to combine several sprinters, notably Giant-Shimano with Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb as well as several others but the situation is quite different: they’re not French. Démare and Bouhanni might have an eye on the classics but the Tour de France is the ultimate goal.
Bringing up the rear are Astana. The team has just five wins so far this year including the man of the moment, Fabio Aru. They were in a similar position last year too and it became a tale of quality over quantity with Vincenzo Nibali’s Giro win. But on another measure only Team Europcar have yet to win a race in the World Tour.


Rusvelo have had a surge, all their wins have come from April onwards. But all but one of the wins come from Russian races like the GP Adygeya and the Five Rings of Moscow. In other words lots of wins but when up against other Pro Continental teams in a deeper field the results don’t come so easy.

Next come MTN-Qhubeka and you wonder what they might have done in the Giro with a wildcard. We’ll see how they fare in the Vuelta. Next are Cofidis but of their six, two come from the modest 2.2 level Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour and it’s not befitting of the team’s substantial budget, if this carries on they’ll be breakaway fodder during the Tour de France; the same for Bretagne-Séché.

Looking at the chart and Australia’s Drapac have done well for a newly-promoted team but they too aren’t racing in Europe against the big squads. But what stands out is the paucity of wins for these second league teams. Collectively these 17 teams have 71 wins which is one fewer that OPQS, Orica-Greenedge and Giant-Shimano combined. Of course the World Tour teams want to win big but it’s clear they’re winning small a lot and often crowding out the smaller teams. A sponsor may consider backing a small team and hope to scoop up local race wins but this has to be targeted. For example Rusvelo win in Russia. The jackpot is a win in a domestic grand tour and this is why Bardiani-CSF are having such a great time: three wins but two in the Giro.
Last but not least is Team Novo Nordisk. Some teams would hate to be the peloton gooseberry but this is a team comprised solely of diabetic athletes and for them, showing they can participate is half the story. Not that they want a pat on a back for finishing a race, they’re hungry riders. It’s just competing is part of the point and they have a reduced talent pool to recruit from. They’ve come close to a win with Kevin de Mesmaeker’s third place in the Tour of California.

Methodology: only wins are counted. The include one day race wins, stage wins and the overall classification of a stage race. “Wins” of annex competitions such as points or mountains competitions are not included. UCI races from *.2 status and above are included.

Finally you might think there’s a big summer of racing yet to come and you’d be right but we are very close to the halfway point in the total number of racing days (1173) for 2014.

Anonymous May 26, 2014 at 5:06 am

Vincenzo Nibali

Bundle May 26, 2014 at 6:11 am

Any reason why stage wins are considered more of a “win” than polka-dot jerseys?

The Inner Ring May 26, 2014 at 10:00 am

It’s just tradition, the idea of crossing a finish line first or, in a stage race, completing the course with the shortest time.

Bundle May 26, 2014 at 10:13 am

Yes, it’s conventional. But it’s a bit of a pity. At least GT mountain and regularity classifications could be awarded a “victory” status. (In my consideration, they are worth more than a stage).

Simontific May 26, 2014 at 11:12 am

Tend to agree. I think if there were WT points available for winners of the Points and KOM jerseys in each race, even a modest amount, we might see a bit more effort from the wider peloton to contest these. Maybe a point for each day of the race a jersey is held and the same as a stage perhaps for the winner.

Anonymous May 26, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Seconded. I’m a newcomer to cycling, but it seems to me one of the issues with races is the inevitable focus on the last ten kilometers. If there was more of a genuine battle for intermediate points, at least there would be more of a reason for watching the earlier parts of the race. However, it may be potentially problematic, if it ultimately distracts from the stage win, e.g. when Sagan, Cavendish, and Greipel waste energy competing for intermediate sprints, giving Kittel an advantage at the finish. Fortunately, this has become more of a moot point recently, and there’s a similar, wider effect upon competitive integrity with some teams focusing all their energy on one stage, e.g. a TTT. Of course, this can help to increase interest and level the playing field, but it can undermine some results.

ave May 26, 2014 at 10:55 am

You got to be kidding with a secondary jersey worthing more than a stage win. Consider this: a sprinter without a stage win can win the green. So, he fails on every stage, yet you say he is more successful than those who beat him?? Come on.

Simontific May 26, 2014 at 11:14 am

So what about someone who wins a stage race without taking the stage ….

Bundle May 26, 2014 at 11:24 am

No, not joking. :) I can’t remember the last time the TdF green jersey was won without stage wins… Looking it up, I see that Van Springel did so in 1973… As well as 6th overall. Which leads to my main point: the value of seeing GC contenders going for regularity and mountain points. That’s what I think would be of great avail: to see the main stars contest everything, de-prioritize, and de-specialize. For this, these two “secondary” classifications need to regain their prestige. Any of the two, if contested by all of the strongest riders, would be tremendous achievements.

Leif May 26, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Hushovd won the green jersey in 2005 without a stage win.

ave May 26, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Zabel, 1999.

Bundle May 26, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Sean Kelly, 1989.

ave May 26, 2014 at 10:57 am

… And the same with climbers. Gaining points on early climb only to get dropped on the last climb?

Simontific May 26, 2014 at 11:15 am

Tend to agree on this. I prefer the jersey to go to a proper climber not just the guy who attacks on the most mountainous stages.

Bundle May 26, 2014 at 11:47 am

If KOM points mattered to the best climbers, their teams would go all out from the first climb.

Steve Potts May 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Novo Nordisk a “diabetic team…full of hungry riders” – Freudian slip, by any chance? And can they eat the gooseberries? ;-)

I hope they get some wins.

Steve

The Inner Ring May 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Deliberate this time ;-)

Larry T. May 26, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Counting race “wins” as all pretty much the same seems rather unfair as winning a stage in LeTour is quite often a LOT more difficult than winning one at the Tour of California. Quality vs quantity is certainly an issue, as in most things. Keeping fingers crossed the weather lets La Corsa Rosa get over the Gavia and Stelvio on their way to Val Martello tomorrow. W Il Giro!

OJT May 26, 2014 at 11:08 pm

+1 Larry. Can a lazy reader like me ask for two-tone graphs inrng – e.g. dark blue for WT wins and light blue for victories outside the World Tour? It would give an at-a-glance comparison showing who wins and who wins big.

The Inner Ring May 26, 2014 at 11:10 pm

Good idea for the two-tone depiction. I’ll see if it’s possible via Datawrapper, the widget that makes the graphics, and try next time, probably before the Tour starts.

Erik May 26, 2014 at 9:48 pm

1173 applicable races per year! Do you have data on previous years or even more interestingly, previous eras as to how many races were organised for the top tied teams?
Do post-tour grits count for anything?
Also I thinking that cases such as a certain Mr E Merckx winning 525 races in a career would be impossible for a rider in the 21st century. Pity.

The Inner Ring May 26, 2014 at 10:25 pm

No data on past years, it’s only from a file I’ve made from the last two years. Today post-tour criteriums and other similar events in the year aren’t counted. Most are now registered with the UCI but have a lower status and crucially no longer represent the large part of a rider’s income.

hoh May 27, 2014 at 8:43 am

Maybe not large percentage of rider income but they are still quite attractive even for Froome. He talked about getting 50k for an evening’s easy riding after his tour victory last year.

The Inner Ring May 27, 2014 at 8:52 am

The winners can still get good money but once upon a time it was how the lesser riders made their money, today they’re lucky to get €5k. Still, nice for an hour’s ride.

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