Team Victory Rankings

Team victory chart

With Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico done, an update to the team victory rankings. OPQS now lead thanks to recent wins from Sylvain Chavanel and Tony Martin, a sign that the Belgian team can win on almost every front, with the probably exception of the high mountains and the overall classification of grand tours.

Vacansoleil-DCM and Euskaltel-Euskadi are the two teams without a win. A problem? Yes and no as I’ll explain below with the story of Wout Poels.

Wout Poels

Wout Poels’ Recovery Ride
In cycling you can’t always win, in fact you usually don’t. When 25 teams start a race, 24 will lose unless it’s a stage race when there are wins for various jersey competitions. Lose is a strong word and if you can’t win a race then how you go about trying becomes an important story. It’s here that Vacansoleil-DCM has quite a story with Wout Poels. Do you remember the giant crash on Stage 6 of the Tour de France, the Metz massacre that broke bones, punctured lungs and led to a wave of abandons? Well Poels was on the victim list with a ruptured kidney and spleen, a bruised lung and three broken ribs. The Tour doctor examined him and when the medic pressed on Poels ribs the Dutchman felt electric pain… but gritted his teeth and said he felt nothing so that the doctor would clear him to ride. Poels tried to ride on but it was too much and he was evacuated to the nearest hospital and it was feared he was going to lose a kidney. Fast forward to today and he’s just finished 10th in Tirreno-Adriatico. No podium but an encouraging tale of recovery that’s as much of a win as any race result.

Ticking Clock
Still for all the heart-warming tales here, time for a cold shower. Vacansoleil is considering whether to pull out of the sport after backing the team since 2008. The lack of results is not helping matters, especially since a decision is expected to be reached in April meaning there’s the sound of a ticking clock and no result in the Tour de France, the vital publicity festival, can change things. When the last team rankings were listed on here I cited Blanco’s predicament as they too hunt for a sponsor and wondered if the lack of backer meant riders were just that bit hungrier for the win. With Vacansoleil-DCM the answer is probably not, because this Dutch team is equally hungry but has no wins.

Wins versus points
Meanwhile Euskaltel-Euskadi’s still going to count on the likes of Samuel Sanchez, Igor Anton and Mikel Nieve to deliver results in the summer stage races. The team is without a win but crucially not without points. There’s a big difference between actual wins and points. The chart below shows the UCI team rankings.

Team victory chart

Here we see Team Sky a long way ahead because remember placing high on the final GC of a stage race is crucial for points. But Euskaltel are mid-table. Argos-Shimano have only six points, the sum total of Marcel Kittel’s Stage 2 success in Paris-Nice.

Once again remember these rankings are only based on World Tour points. When it comes to promotion and relegation at the end of the season the UCI has a secret system (unveiled here) based on points from all pro races and not just those on the World Tour.

Nervous times for the Vacansoleil-DCM team management with the sponsor weighing up the future and the lack of wins so far. At the other end of the scale OPQS have wins in many domains. Team Sky might have lost Mark Cavendish and his win rate but they’re not short of ranking points.

12 thoughts on “Team Victory Rankings”

  1. Flecha has to do it for Vacansoleil in the classics (together with Björn Leukemans). Fortunately for him his predecessor Stijn DeVolder has set the bar extremely low.

  2. A heartening tale of recovery for Poels, who was a strong pick for the white jersey at the Tour before that huge accident. Hopefully he is well on his way to recapturing that form now.

    • Ag2r have had several wins this year but they’ll probably be happy with mid-table in the rankings because it means no worries about being ejected from the World Tour. They’ll hope Pozzovivo and Gadret can score points in the Giro and Tour, and Péraud wants top-10 in July too.

    • The sport is often defined by the Tour de France. All it takes is Contador to win a grand tour and Saxo’s season is a triumph. They have hired reinforcements to help him and they’ll hope the likes of Roche and Kreuziger can get results too but neither are prolific winners.

  3. Sky have more wins that every other team combined. Easily. They also have the most expensive bikes, with cool gadgets and microchips that the part-time village-based outfits like Euskatel and Any French Team can only dream of. And they have the most attractive wives, not to mention the massed-ranks of carefully selected, elite-level sideblart. But they’re not in any way arrogant douchebags about any of this and actually come across as really grounded and likeable.

    And, if for some reason, you DID dislike them, you’d soon regret it. Their combination of wit and charm would win you over. And if that didn’t work, they’ve got the steely determination and dignified ingenuity to vanquish any foe. If you think about it, they’re sort of a cycling version of Marty Mcfly. And who doesn’t like him? Dude can travel through time. Don’t hate.

  4. Blanco is second in points, eh? That has to bode well for them picking up a sponsor, right?

    I think they need to include Kit Style Points in their inclusion/relegation rulings. When you are watching from the ‘copter it’s damn near impossible to tell a few of the teams apart, especially when a sprinter is in the Points jersey & not the team kit.

    I also think Euskatel needs to attend bike handling skills training camp before they’re allowed to start in any more mass-start races. It’s amazing how often those lads are on the ground. Bad luck or not enough skill?

    Thanks for the article, puts things in perspective after the first quarter (?) of the season.

    • It is probably not the only common misspelling of a pro team name and possibly not even the only long-established name that is misspelt but it strikes me as curious why Euskaltel so often becomed “Euskatel”. I do not have a theory but I have observed that it is not only English-speakers who do it.

      I must admit that whenever there is a crash I try to check whether there are any Euskaltel riders involved in it, but that’s mainly because I’m a fan and I’d like to know whether they really are on the ground more often than any other team – or whether it is actually a case of those orange jerseys being so much easier to pick out on the TV screen and of a cognitive bias.

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