It’s a quiet week before the weekend storm of cobbles starting with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday. This micro break gives a moment to look at the team victory rankings and see who’s had a good start to the season.
If you think it’s too early to count, think again. There have been 68 days of racing so this year meaning we’re one ninth of the way through the season already.
- Etixx-Quick Step pick up where they left off. The finished 2014 with 62 wins, 21 more than second-placed Giant-Shimano
- Team Sky have had a great few days with Froome’s two wins in Andalucia getting the headlines but Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas collected three wins for the team in the Volta ao Algarve
- Movistar have been seen as stage race specialists but of their seven wins, four have come in sprint finishes. Three thanks to J-J Lobato and one surprise result for J-J Rojas in Qatar, “Mr 4th place” finally wins
- IAM are well-placed but can they keep on winning? Matteo Pelucchi is proving a useful sprinter
- A modest start for Giant-Alpecin, you’d expect them to be ahead given the sprinting talent. Remember Marcel Kittel’s fallen ill and missed races
- Should any of the three teams without a win worry? Not really as Cannondale-Garmin have decided not to have a sprinter and place their eggs in the basket labelled stage races, Paris-Nice is the first test. In times past the team had to wait until May for a win but there’s a greater quality to the team these days
- It’s too early but FDJ might want to sneak Arnaud Démare into a domestic Coupe de France event to rack up a win soon for morale. The same with Lotto-JumboNL, the newly branded team has Moreno Hofland and it’s surely a matter of time until he wins
What of the Pro Conti teams? As the chart shows there have been slim pickings so far with some mixed stories inside:
- Southeast had three wins in the Vuelta a Tachira in Venezuela which might explain why they lead but you don’t remember seeing the wins
- Drapac get a World Tour win on home soil thanks to Wouter Wippert, a dream result
- Bretagne-Séché took four stages of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon, a nice race but the team sponsors don’t have any business there
- MTN-Qhubeka’s recruitment programme isn’t paying big dividends yet. Stephen Cummings won one of the Trofeo Mallorca races while Matt Goss, Edvald Boasson-Hagen, Tyler Farrar and Theo Bos are aiming for other races. The biggest win has been the acquisition of a Tour de France wildcard
- Europcar’s got two winners with Bryan Coquard and Dan Craven, Namibian national champion
- Novo Nordisk get their first win, not of the season but their first win since the team started
- Sam Bennett took an important win for Bora-Argon 18 in Qatar, the Irish sprinter can take on the best. I’m curious to see how he fares this season knowing his contract is up at the end of the year, who will come calling?
Where are the French?
As an aside the French had a brilliant week in the velodrome but are proving discreet on the road. The rankings above list team wins but as a nation France supplies the most pros to the peloton but can only count on three wins so far: Tony Gallopin and Bryan Coquard in the Etoile de Bessèges… and Japan-based Thomas Lebas in the Tour of the Philippines.
1+1 = 3
As ever, counting wins is merely counting and cycling is so much more than data tables and points. Couting wins doesn’t measure the value of wins whether it’s their status in the sport’s heritage and history nor the economic value such as the publicity generated. Yet all teams long for that first win and those that wait begin to get nervous creating a negative spiral.
In cycling winning is rare, tiny odds for one rider in a race and relatively low for a team. So as much as winning matters, how you lose is often the story, or put another way, if you can’t always win, how you try is the interesting part. The defunct Cervélo Test Team did a good job of this, explaining the struggles to fans with their “Beyond The Peloton” promo documentaries and it’ll be interesting to see what MTN-Qhubeka does this year given some of the Cervélo team’s DNA appears in the stripey-jersey team.
With the classics looming it’s easy to see Etixx-Quickstep pulling away as they win “their” races. No other team has such a focus on the spring classics. Giant-Alpecin should rack up more wins to with Kittel’s return. Surely Peter Sagan’s going to win something soon?
Methodology: only World Tour, *.HC and *.1 and *.2 races are counted for the rankings. Overall wins are included, for example two of Lampre-Merida’s tally comes from Oman where Rafael Valls won Stage 4 and he won the race overall.