With the season finished it’s time to look back at the wins and also take a deeper look at the stats. Which teams had the most podium places but the fewest wins? Which teams are the most reliant on one rider?
Quick Step top the table just as they have every year since 2012 and their best year was 2014 with 61 wins. BMC had overtaken them at the previous count but the Belgian team reclaimed its habitual position thanks to an Indian summer led by Matteo Trentin and Fernando Gaviria. The most victorious riders in the peloton for 2017 were Marcel Kittel and Fernando Gaviria with 14 wins each which helps explain Quick Step’s many wins but only accounts for half of their tally and 14 of their 29 riders won during 2017. The team are able to win on every terrain with a bias to prefer flat country or at least flat finishes although Julian Alaphilippe and Dan Martin each took a summit finish.
BMC Racing came close and surprisingly their most prolific rider was Dylan Teuns with eight wins ahead of Greg Van Avermaet on seven with Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis on six wins each. Movistar finish fifth and seemed to run out of steam in the summer, their last win dates from the Vuelta a Burgos at the start of August and they looked adrift at the Vuelta. Team Sky are third and they’ll miss Elia Viviani who moves to Quick Step and has been their most prolific rider and there’s no direct replacement even if U23 World Champion Kristoffer Halvorsen is a promising sprinter although he could well turn out to be a classics contender.
At the foot of the table Astana haven’t got the results to match their budget but it’s been a tough year with the death of Michele Scarponi. On the racing front they will be satisfied with the quality, a stage win and a spell in yellow in the Tour de France with Fabio Aru and two stages of the Vuelta thanks to Miguel Angel Lopez who will be crucial to their hopes in 2018 given they’ve lost Aru. For years Astana would outbid others in the transfer market, now UAE Emirates have done it to them by poaching away Fabio Aru. Ag2r La Mondiale didn’t win much but struck when it mattered thanks to Romain Bardet’s stage win at Peyragudes in the Tour de France and his podium place in Paris which will had the team sponsors purring and pumping out their annual press release that their sponsorship returns publicity worth several times their spend. If Bardet keeps improving – his Tour podium was down to consistency rather than a coup d’audace – the team are very reliant on him, more so now Domenico Pozzovivo leaves for Bahrain-Merida in 2018.
Cannondale-Drapac’s financial woes have been well known and probably compounded by the team’s performance on the road, results have not been seductive to sponsors. 2017 was actually a relatively good season as they took World Tour wins for the first time since 2015 with important wins from Andrew Talansky in California and Pierre Rolland in the Giro and above all Rigoberto Urán won a stage in the Tour de France on his way to second overall, a huge result that with hindsight probably keeps the team on the road. Once glance at the chart helps tell us why Katusha-Alpecin have hired Marcel Kittel, they’re a big budget team with few results. Ilnur Zakarin improves but had no wins except the Russian TT championships and they didn’t win a grand tour stage or a monument classic, only four wins in the World Tour and two of these in the lesser-status “new” World Tour events. Bahrain-Merida are last but will point to two grand tour podium finishes thanks to Vincenzo Nibali and seem a classic Italian team built in the service of one leader, with Sonny Colbrelli popping up for a few sprint wins.
Now to look a little deeper into the stats…
The chart above shows the share of each team’s wins by its lead rider, in other words how dependent a team is on one rider to bring in the wins. Katusha-Alpecin stand out with Alexander Kristoff taking half their wins in 2017 and Edvald Boasson Hagen and Arnaud Démare are the key riders for Dimension Data and FDJ respectively. It helps illustrate how dependent some teams can be on one rider for wins but interestingly we might think of Bora-Hansgrohe as “Team Sagan” and he certainly makes up a lot of the squad’s budget but ten riders won races in 2017.
This chart shows the share of each team’s podium places with gold, silver and bronze to depict first, second and third places. Normally you’d expect an even distribution but in 2017 some teams struck gold disproportionately, notably Quick Step who if they had a podium finisher then almost half the time it was a winner. Conversely Trek-Segafredo were the nearly men of 2017 with 43% of the podium finishes in second place while Bahrain-Merida had 54 podium places but only 11 wins.
Pro Continental Teams
Among the Pro Conti teams Androni-Sidermec had 25 wins at first glance but some of these were Egan Bernal’s Tour de l’Avenir win when he was riding for Colombia and more were in lesser 2.2 races which are not counted here. So the actual figure is 13 wins which leaves Direct Energie as top of table. They hit the jackpot with Lilian Calmejane’s stage win in the Tour de France, a big win for the small team and even better it came on a weekend when TV audiences in France peak and after Calmejane had gone solo ensuring beaucoup airtime but they lose their key rider Bryan Coquard for 2018. Cofidis have just sacked manager Yvon Sanquer for poor results, something they’ve done to Alain Bondue and Eric Boyer before. They can sack managers because unlike most teams the sponsor actually owns the squad rather than the manager. 12 wins is modest for a €10 million budget, they haven’t won a Tour de France stage since 2008 and only had one World Tour this year and if Nacer Bouhanni was KO following his concussion sustained in the Tour de Yorkshire they struggled to channel their sprinter both before and after, for example Bouhanni bailing at Paris-Nice and the team employing his father in order to help calm him. At the foot of the table Novo Nordisk have no wins but for them participating is really a success, to show those with diabetes what can be done.
Overall cycling’s second tier is far removed from the World Tour with just four World Tour wins among all the teams, two for Aqua Blue thanks to Stefan Denifl’s wunderbar Vuelta win and Larry Warbasse’s breakaway raid in the Tour de Suisse, Nacer Bouhanni in the Volta Catalunya for Cofidis and Calmejane’s Tour stage. In short these teams may earn wildcard invites to the top races but they’re present to liven up the race and get their jersey on TV but winning is highly improbable.
- Methodology: wins are in *.1 races and above and when the rider is wearing riding for their team, eg Peter Sagan’s Worlds win is not a triumph for Bora-Hansgrohe; nor were Elia Viviani’s two wins in the Tour of Austria for Team Sky because he was riding for the Italian national team. Ancillary prizes like points competitions, mountains jerseys don’t count.