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Team Victory Rankings

Time to look at the teams and the number of races they’ve won. It might be early in the spring classics season but we’re almost a quarter of the way through the season as measured by the number of days of racing and therefore the amount of wins up for grabs.

It’s also the chance to evaluate some issues from Tinkoff-Saxo’s managerial mess to Astana’s looming licence loss.

Etixx-Quickstep looked to pulling away in February but Team Sky and Movistar have caught up. Richie Porte’s wins in Paris-Nice and Catalunya have made the Tasmanian the most prolific winner in pro cycling this year. Meanwhile Etixx-Quickstep are collecting headlines for podium finishes but they’re still winning regularly, however the Belgian superteam is held to high standards in the classics and collecting on the Ronde Van Zeeland Seaports and the Handzame Classic are not exactly what Patrick Lefevere dreams about. Meanwhile Belgian underdogs Lotto-Soudal are having a good start too. The top four teams account for exactly half of the wins.

Giant-Alpecin are missing Marcel Kittel who’s been struck with a virus. Of course Milan-Sanremo is as good as it gets but the sprinter-heavy team isn’t bringing in the results like they were last year when they had five wins from John Degenkolb, four from Luka Mezgec, three from Marcel Kittel, two from Tobias Ludvigsson and one from Tom Dumoulin; now the score is two from “Dege” and one from Mezgec.

Cannondale-Garmin got their first win of the year but it’s slim pickings, a morning stage of the Criterium International in front of small crowds and no TV. That’s better than Lotto-Jumbo and FDJ who are hardly promoting the image of good fortune their lottery sponsors crave. For FDJ it’s the worst start to the season since 1999. Thibaut Pinot came close in the Critérium International and the team will be pleased with his performance in Corsica after Tirreno-Adriatico but the consensus is that he still managed to lose the race last weekend, isolated on the final climb he attacked too early and then being countered by Péraud and a stronger A2gr team.

By mutual agreement


Note the modest performances of big budget teams like BMC Racing and Tinkoff-Saxo. It’s too easy to look at Tinkoff-Saxo ejecting Bjarne Riis and think “crisis” but they’re only two wins different from BMC Racing, a squad with a solid management and Alberto Contador looks nailed on to win the Giro, at least going by the bookmakers. Still these are stressful times for the Russian team, as predicted Bjarne Riis has been paid off and any surviving Danish riders and staff will be feeling nervous now.

Results vs rankings: if BMC and Tinkoff-Saxo look low on the chart above when it comes to the UCI World Tour rankings they’re a more respectable fifth and sixth place overall. Comparing the win rankings to the UCI rankings today reveals a correlation but not a perfect match. If you need to know the Spearman’s σ is 0.64. Rankings are rightly biased to the top events but they also reward consistent placing, for example Geraint Thomas’s fifth place overall in Paris-Nice earns 50 points, as much as he got for third in Gent-Wevelgem and his success along with Richie Porte puts their team first.

As for Astana they have six wins, five of which come from Andrea “Flash” Guardini who scored four in the Tour de Langkawi, his preferred race over the years with 18 stage wins. But instead of counting the wins we could be counting the days left for the team. Today’s De Telegraaf says the UCI could remove Astana’s licence… which is exactly what the UCI wanted to do just one month ago. The news is not new. Reading between the lines one possibility is that De Telegraaf have had it confirmed from the UCI that Astana’s document gathering and argumentation isn’t going to be enough to save it on Thursday’s licence hearing. All will be clearer in the coming days and weeks but a resolution might take much longer if appeals are launched.

Among the UCI Pro Continental teams there’s always large gap. Those at the top are able to rival the World Tour teams on a good day, see Pierre Rolland and Maciej Paterski in the Volta Catalunya or Topsport Vlaaderen in the Dwars Door Vlaanderen for recent examples. Those at the other end struggle for invitations yet alone wins.

The big loser for now is Cofidis, beaucoup budget but sans success. The team spends more than World Tour outfits like IAM, Cannodale-Garmin and FDJ but hasn’t got much to show for it. Much has been made about Bouhanni’s sprint train not working and this is a fair point, one time Cofidis manager Cyrille Guimard used to reckon it took three years to get a team working; Mark Cavendish took a while to get satisfaction with OPQS. Still Bouhanni is capable of winning alone too so he shoulders some of the responsibility, more so since he signed for a small team that’s not won much of late: he knew what he was getting into. The team plans to end the drought by placing Bouhanni into a series of smaller races in the coming weeks like Paris-Camembert and the GP de Denain.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Larry T. Monday, 30 March 2015, 5:35 pm

    Once the spring classics are “done and dusted” as the Brits like to say, it would be a better time to take stock of who has done what. Winning one of the monuments changes a lot.

    • Ferdi Monday, 30 March 2015, 10:39 pm

      I like my Roubaix mudded, not dusted, sir.

  • Samuel G Monday, 30 March 2015, 8:49 pm

    Re Astana do you know anything about the French/Slovenian JFA project? Are they waiting in the wings to pounce on Astana’s WT license?

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 30 March 2015, 9:32 pm

      No news, there’s not much to say they’re serious at the moment.

  • gabriele Monday, 30 March 2015, 9:54 pm

    “…one possibility is that De Telegraaf have had it confirmed from the UCI that Astana’s document gathering and argumentation isn’t going to be enough to save it on Thursday’s licence hearing”. CN speaks of a UCI “senior officer”.
    This sounds really bad.
    Like, shouldn’t the Licence Commission hold at least a certain degree of independence from the UCI (they sometime even call it “Independent Commission”, quite funny)? Or that was just what was being claimed to wash UCI management’s hands whenever a decision by the Commission supposed a problem, in one sense or in the other?
    And, wouldn’t this be that kind of leaks which has been so heavily censored by the CIRC? “Volvemos a las andadas”, as they say in Spanish.
    I didn’t need this last performance in the generally petty show to be convinced that the whole Astana matter was more than everything UCI politics… still I want to hope that it’s only bad journalism by De Telegraaf, because otherwise it would be an awful symptom about the Gattopardo nature of cycling institutions. Rationally, I’ve always been pessimistic about this subject, still I couldn’t avoid to hope, against all odds, for a real change.

    • Samuel G Monday, 30 March 2015, 10:16 pm

      I’ve heard a few people including Vinokourov and Nibali claiming that this is all ”UCI politics” but no one ever seems to say exactly what they mean by that. What do you think the real motives might be?

      • gabriele Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 12:48 am

        I’ve got some ideas, but wouldn’t make them public without compelling facts.

        I’d like to stress that I liked the way the UCI tackled the Astana problem with the ISSUL audit and so, but the promptness with which the audit gave its results (less than three months), considering their sociological approach and the logistic problems while monitoring a whole team during wintertime, made me doubt about the process.

        I guess they found some smoking gun, but even a smoking gun must be considered with the due attention if we’re recurring to extreme measures like shutting down a WT team. Taking legitimate decisions isn’t the same thing of writing big titles in a newspaper. You can’t stop to “how bad that looks”. Such a swift process may even suggest the existence of an insider (which wouldn’t be surprising given the conflicts that have been raising in the team)… that would be very interesting, but, in any case, it must be taken into consideration carefully.
        Let’s see: I’d really like to wait for the decision, and for the relevant information to be made public in the name of the new transparency policy by the UCI, but this unpleasant episode – the supposed leak about a preconceived decision – remembered me old times and suddendly made my pessimistic side strong enough to speak out a couple of words too much.

        The question really started months ago, I also found quite strange the mediatic howling for the EPO positive from the Iglinsky brothers, who were being progressively left aside by the team: that is, it may be a symptom of team doping, sure, but it equally could be a case of personal initiative. I generally tend to consider team organised doping more probable than the “maverick” hypothesis, but precisely in this case you don’t have much hints in that direction: throwing your money and taking risks with minor riders whom your DSs don’t want to use?!
        Why all the effort to include the other positives, if the two structures have just one single person in common? Davidenok was officially a stagiaire when the positive test came out, since three weeks or so (lucky coincidence!), but I’d dare to speculate that his problems were related to the “development team”, since a couple of other guys, there, had the very same kind of troubles.
        Nevertheless, we observe a lot of insistence to connect all these quite different dots to shape an Astana WT serious doping case.
        Ditto for the naming of Bruyneel and Armstrong as relating to the present situation, which really can’t be done in good faith, since they even had a significant conflict with those in charge now.
        Although media generally love to inflate matters, when I see such an hype about anything, I always feel someone is blowing on the fire.
        The timing of the publishing of the riders’ test results was also peculiar (we supposed they were back-tracking samples and checking again but… hadn’t they really looked for steroids or EPO in the first place?). No official explication was ever given about the subject.

        To sum it up, I feel that reactions were not proportionate to facts (to the facts which were publicly shared, at least). Other situations may equally have deserved further investigations, especially an audit like ISSUL’s, but they didn’t deserve a comparable degree of attention.
        That hints at a political (lato sensu) construction of the case, which really doesn’t imply that “Astana is innocent”, but that what happens may not necessarily be framed as “fighting doping”.

        The whole of it made me worry that the story is always the same… I’m far from sure about that, but just as many spectators say they’ve got sooo much suspicious about riders because of what happened in the last 20 years, well, I’m quite supicious about cycling institutions. Riders have to undergo more strict conditions, the same should go for the UCI, especially in terms of transparency and respect of due procedures. True respect, I mean, not just mounting a good looking façade.
        All in all, I’ve said too much, when I really think that the right thing to do is to wait and see how this ends, before settling whatever definitive judgement.

        • Larry T. Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 7:57 am

          I can’t argue with those who say the Astana “issue” is political. I see it as trying to correct a wrong that was allowed to go on too long. This team was born out of doping scandal and probably should never have been granted a license in the first place. A political move then perhaps followed by the political pendulum swinging (too far, we have to wait and see) back the other way. It can certainly be argued that this team is being made an example of, while other teams might be worse. But that’s the same argument BigTex used and I think at this point the numbers are small of those who would say nothing should have been done about/with Tex? Innocent people might pay a heavy price in this mess, but it’s the same old-same old: to avoid penalizing them, should the sport just continue on the road that put it where it is today OR do something to demonstrate that it’s turned a corner?

          • gabriele Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 12:15 pm

            No Armstrong comparison is adequate, precisely because in Armstrong’s case the problem wasn’t just doping, but how they were doing it, and above all the UCI – and not only UCI – political ties. No other rider in recent times (some thirty years at least) ever attained anything like that – nor probably did it ever happen on such a scale before -, let alone Vinokourov (quite the contrary, I’d say); thus to me it’s just nonsense to bring him into discussion.
            That said, I’m not saying they shouldn’t punish them if they’re guilty, I’m saying that I’m worried we possibly won’t see any doping fight intention behind the punishment. Punishing people for whatever strategic reason doesn’t help doping fight at all. It doesn’t even make them an example (everyone just understand that doping is not an absolute matter, but a political question, so keep your head down and everything will be fine, doping included). It’s not like people weren’t caught and punished in the last 25 years and more, for you didn’t notice, and it didn’t stop or hinder doping very much, I’d say.
            If you’re interested in fighting doping, you shouldn’t start from positive tests but from doping culture. In that sense, there are facts in cycling that draw attention and would deserve an audit like ISSUL way more than the Iglinsky bros, but they aren’t addressed, which I consider to be a negative symptom when trying to guess if the Astana WT case implies a real will to fight doping. That’s what is interesting for me, not one culprit less around there.
            (The discourse about the development team is a bit different because – if, hopefully, the tests weren’t manipulated – it’s totally ok to shut it down. In fact, what I consider Astana really guilt for is not cutting out Sedoun, as I’ve read somewhere).

          • Tovarishch Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 1:07 pm


            Whilst I can see the point you are making the point of the audit was not, if I understand it correctly, to discover if doping was present in the team but to find out if the actions that Astana said they were taking to prevent doping were actually taking place. Thus the sanction, if any, would not be so much about doping as about misrepresentation to the Licencing Commission.

        • Anonymous Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 12:49 pm

          Hi Gabriele,

          I tend to agree with the main thrust of what you’re saying, but let’s wait and see what happens after the license hearing. Hopefully the Telegraaf story is just a re-run of old news rather than something more worrying. I can’t imagine Cookson being overly happy with such a leak happening on his watch if that turns out to be the case… I gues we’ll never know.

          I’d also be interested to know how the Kreuziger case fits into your asessment of the likelihood of team-organised doping at Astana. I agree that Davidenok & the Iglinskiys are peripheral characters, but Kreuziger was their rider for the Giro for 2 years.

          • Cragomatic Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 12:49 pm

            Whoops, that comment was from me, by the way.

          • gabriele Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 3:58 pm

            Dear Tovarishch and Cragomatic,

            I share your views, and maybe what I added right there in the conclusion of my larger comment above passed a little unnoticed because of *a little* disproportion, between that couple of lines and… all the rest.

            Obviously, patience is utterly needed to form whatever general judgement.
            My personal worries depend on the fact that I’m afraid of seeing again a pattern of “antidoping as a political weapon” which made more harm to cycling than doping as such.

            Entering in an arbitrary terrain full of shades like “did they really do what they promised?” (in a couple of winter months?), when we speak of “policies” and “good practices” looks like finding an excuse to execute what you planned. There is always space to demonstrate that “they didn’t fulfill”. Shutting down a WT team on that basis is just doing as you please with a pinch of added PR powder.
            But – I’m anticipating what I hope isn’t going to be true, that is, I still hope that the “compelling ground” we’ll be informed of will be enough compelling, or the Commission won’t hold back the license. *That* is why I was so worried when it looked like the decision had already been taken before any hearing… it would be a confirmation of the worst hypothesis.

            Kreuziger case is an interesting example. I read recently that the independent experts noticed that it wasn’t up to them to decide in the first place which situations were deserving further scrutiny and by whom. We also may observe that Kreuziger’s case was apparently far from very clear or evident. I believe that BP-based *sanctions* should be adopted in extreme cases, not in “frontier” situations: the BP is very useful to enforce a policy of increased pressure or “diplomatic” intervention.
            Otherwise, we should be sure that the criterion to start the procedure of experts’ checking (and those same experts’ naming) is fair, and we’re quite far from that, at least listening to what some expert who participated in the program say.
            From a purely personal point of view, as an exception to my usual line of action, I may add that I suspect that in 2012 the UCI allowed the Astana (not only to them) a little more “freedom” than it was desirable. It’s not Kreuziger’s case that leads me to speculate in that sense, nor Vinokorov’s golden medal (source of so many future troubles…), more a sum of factors.
            Fair it may seem that someone should pay for what *possibly* happened then, now that the guard has changed, I’m still more worried about the intention and the regularity of the process than about its result.
            “Il fine giustifica i mezzi”, but is antidoping “il fine” or is it “i mezzi”, under these circumstances?

            Note that, to answer Larry, too, if something surfaces through a legitimate process, I won’t ever defend “let’s not punish them”. I don’t especially like how the BP is used (I still can’t believe how Horner’s values we saw passed through!), but if, in the end, a court will decide that Astana and/or Kreuziger have to pay, than fine – I’m quite far from being crying for their “absolute innocence”.

            I’ll just refrain from rejoicing in a supposed antidoping triumph or in the hope of a reborn cycling, if I’ll have reasons to suspect that it was, above all, *something else*.

    • Andy W Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:36 pm

      Perhaps the licence commission spoke to Frederik Kessiakoff – what he says about Astana ‘management’ is pretty damning
      I can easily see how such pressure would encourage riders to dope

      • gabriele Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:22 pm

        I can easily see how things can be seen from different ways around 😉

        In any case, it’s funny how the article wholly skips a year, 2013, in its narrative. Things happening afterwards would make a little more sense (without becoming more intelligent or sensitive on Vinokourov’s part).
        But than the pedagogic tale wouldn’t work.

        Listening to what Martinello tells, I wonder what would have Kessiakoff said if it had been put aside from racing and then released at the end of his contract. Mobbing, perhaps? Nor Kessiakoff specifies that he ever communicated to the team his need not to race, quite the contrary. Much of what happened, in his own words, depended on his mental reaction to the surely curt as well as laconic “letters from Vino”.
        I’m not defending this style at all (one of the reasons because of which I’d be so happy to see Nibali elsewhere). What is more, Kessiakoff looks quite sincere, too me.
        But I find the story pretty unrelated to the bigger frame, whereas Velonews is actively trying to build “another piece of the puzzle”.

  • AK Monday, 30 March 2015, 9:58 pm

    The Telegraaf article actually claims to have heard from a high ranked person in the licensing committee that a decision was made on March 20 to take away the Astana license. They do soften it up a bit by saying they did not get official UCI conformation but the claim is Astana *will* lose its licence, not *could*. De Telegraaf is not The Netherlands’ most careful paper when it comes to making claims but they do some decent investigative journalism now and then.

    • gabriele Monday, 30 March 2015, 11:29 pm

      Does it literally say “a high ranked person”? The Commission is made of 4 persons… one president and three more judges.

      More exactly:

      “The UCI’s License Commission is a committee composed of four members who are independent of the UCI: President of the Commission since 2004, Pierre Zappelli is a former Swiss Supreme Federal Court judge; Hans Höhener, is a former president of the Swiss Athletics Federation and a senior corporate executive; PhD André Hürter, is president of the board of directors for Schnyder SA Biel; and Paolo Franz, who is a senior manager at IBM”.
      (Read more at http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/third-positive-uci-requests-license-commission-review-astana-worldtour-license_349623#xXHEWB0UDBzz4MTL.99)

      If it’s true, whoever of them leaked the news took quite a dangerous step.

      • Tovarishch Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 7:10 am

        I’m sure they have administrative assistants, legal aides, secretaries etc. Perhaps not high ranking to you are I but that would be typical media slant on whomever they talked to.

      • AK Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 11:34 pm

        Sorry, slightly mistranslated that. In the article they speak of a highly ranked person within the UCI, who has related (whispered, it says literally) this to the newspaper. This UCI official apparently knows that the licensing committee had already made up its mind on March 20.

  • Othersteve Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 12:39 am

    We may perhaps may never know the exact details of what might happen or how it came to the press. Yet obviously lesser mortals within the larger UCI will have needed to know the license committee decision to plan the “termination” with in the UCI, and manage the separation of Astana?

    If that is the case the leak maybe from other then the four members Gabriele mentions above,.

    • gabriele Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 12:55 am

      That’s why it would be important to understand exactly what the newspaper meant. However, the problem is that no decision should have been taken, so it would be strange that lesser mortals were aware of something that didn’t really exist, like this *decision*, or did it? It’s the kind of situation which leads straight to a CAS appeal. But, as I said before, tempted may I be to jump to any conclusion, the truth is that we lack too much information to say anything sensible. Let’s just wait and see. I was just stunned by a possible leak after what CIRC said about these situations.

  • Noel Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 12:56 am

    Mth-Q must be pretty happy with their start… Altho it’s not their sprinters delivering the results..

  • King Boonen Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:09 am

    The Astana thing is a mess, it feels like the bumbling nonsense that went on when Hein was Pats strings.

    We should be hearing about this when the licence is actually revoked, not piecemeal through press releases, interviews and newspaper reports.

    However, Vino and Riis both out of cycling in the same week? Surely a good thing.

    • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 1:23 pm

      It would be even better if they could be kept out forever.

      • King Boonen Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 12:03 pm

        Yep. If the Astana licence is revoked that might be it for Vino, surely no one would want him after that. I’m sure someone will have Riis though…

  • Scott Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:10 am

    Have you ever considered plotting the win/budget ratio per team? That’s assuming you have access to approximate budgets, of course!

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 11:40 am

      It’d be a good chart and in general if we knew the budgets we could evaluate teams better. But budgets are very hard to come by.

  • Augie March Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:52 am

    Another interesting stat for perhaps the end of season would be which team and rider had the highest percentage of World Tour wins, something that the UCI rankings don’t capture as they value consistent high placings.

  • Tovarishch Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 7:28 am

    Interesting to do the comparison with this time last year (Inrng – why can’t we ‘get the Data’ any more?)

    Sky definitely the big winners – 8 to 16. If they all went swimming how many more would they get?
    As you say Giant and Cannondale are the big losers (how many of last year’s 6 wins were Sagan?) even Garmin had 5 wins by now. BMC seem to talk the talk but not walk the walk (7 to 4)!

    • Augie March Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 8:29 am

      4 of 6 were by Sagan.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 9:06 am

      Sorry about the data. I was using the Datawrapper.de website for the charts and data but they’ve moved to a payment service and the cost isn’t worth it.

  • djconnel Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 12:02 pm

    The “traditional” view is results before Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico are essentially pre-season and don’t count much. It would be interesting to see the rank correlation, or rather the Spearman’s σ, of “pre-season” to later season for a previous year. Of course, if the two are strongly correlated, then even if the early season races don’t themselves count strongly, by virtue of being highly correlated with the results that do, they indirectly count.

    The Langkawi example with Viviani is a good one. Can you really say Astana is that much more successful than Cannondale-Garmin for stuffing their total with stage wins in Malaysia? Cannondale-Garmin has its goals later.

    • noel Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 1:24 pm

      Guardini I think you mean.

    • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 1:49 pm

      I’m not sure its helpful to talk about “races which count” and “races which don’t count”. Clearly, though, most fans of the sport will realise that a win in the Tour de Langkawi is not equal to one in Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico. Its also true that we have a system which attempts to weight the wins accordingly. All these tables are only guides though. Its pretty clear to see that Etixx and Sky are doing well and Garmin and Lotto-Jumbo less so.

      • djconnel Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:06 pm

        Whoops — yes, Guardini.

        But I think it’s clear that the races which come mid-March and after are more prestigious, and you’ve got to target your fitness, so while some will cherry-pick early races knowing they can’t compete at the top level races, the top stars are most focused on races in the meaty part of the season. Those are the races people will remember at the end of the year and for years to come: the races in Jan – Feb – early Mar are of primarily regional interest (Australians rightfully will think a lot of the Tour Down Under winner, but it isn’t going to count much toward anyone’s “Rider of the Year” award, unless they’re just counting wins).

        BTW, I was surprised how strong the correlation between total wins and UCI rankings was. There’s the tendency to think some teams are “perpetual seconds” while others are cherry picking minor wins, but the statistics so far don’t support that level of detail. This blog investigated the perpetual second tag as applied to GVA and it wasn’t statistically supported: he wins almost as much as he places any other place 2nd to 6th. So while you might even expect a negative correlation between early and mid season (teams peaking too early) I suspect that wouldn’t be the case.

        • djconnel Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 5:11 pm

          I answered my own question using data published in this blog last April 3 and last October 20. The result is indeed some teams had much stronger mid-to-late seasons then early seasons, among them (surprise) Tinkoff-Saxo, but also Astana, Katusha, and Francais de Jeux. Note if you eliminate Quickstep, who simply won all year, the correlation is (by eye) fairly weak: 0.405. So the pre-season isn’t so predictive after all.

          • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 5:15 pm

            Great work and some cheer for those struggling so far.

  • Andy W Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:21 pm

    Isn’t Paris-Camembert the one where you win your own weight in cheese ?

    I wonder what Bouhanni weighs…

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 5:16 pm

      Alas, I think that’s gone although there is a big cheese for the winner.

  • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:22 pm

    Bearing in mind the “statement” that Oleg Tinkov has just published on Facebook, I begin to wonder what future seasons might look like. He seems to want some kind of Tennis-like series of events throughout the season at which all the top riders must race. It would certainly be a better way to measure rider against rider and tea against team.

    • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:23 pm

      team against team, obviously!!

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:29 pm

      Only cycling’s not like tennis. You can’t engineer a way to compare Contador with Cavendish, Kittel with Quintana etc. This might infuriate some but it’s part of the charm too.

      • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:53 pm

        But that is not what Tinkov suggests. He does suggest that the likes of Contador, Nibali, Froome and Quintana should be forced to ride head to head to prove who is the best though. And I, for one, agree with him. All the ducking and diving does cycling as a sport a disservice. Tinkov is also well aware that you need sprinters’ races too. His statement is very interesting.

        • MultiplexRant Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 10:10 pm

          Kind of agree with Tinkoff too on this issue. Boxing – a far more straightforward sport than cycling – has lost an entire generation of fans because of organisational confusion and big names ‘ducking’ each other for years.

          It would be great to see a grand tour with the ‘big four’ all going for the win. The only problem being that, really, this would only happen in one of the three grand tours, and really, it would be The Tour.

          • Othersteve Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 2:34 am

            One of the biggest problems with Boxing as a sport has been PED’s.

            Enough said, cycling is a sport of head, heart, lungs and legs. I don’t see any reason to
            compare to Boxing?

  • gabriele Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 8:55 pm

    Boom boom, roaring cannons between FCI and UCI with public & punchy emails flying both sides (Di Rocco, one of the most unfortunate president a federation may happen to have… started the cockfight).

    • gabriele Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 1:16 am

      Russia and Kazakhstan (as States) recently signed an important agreement.
      …The Kazakh and Russian Federations also signed a “memorandum of cooperation” to develop cycling in their countries this month… (CN)

      Considering what CIRC (Cookson’s cooking) unexpectedly said about Makarov, maybe the Astana story’s conclusion will depend more on Cookson’s will to cut ties with his cumbersome “biggest supporter”, the good Igor, than on other factors.

      Meanwhile, elsewhere… Di Rocco strikes back, but apparently he’s rooting for the Astana shut down (or UCI’s ?! 😉 ), insinuating serious things and all his usual devious Jafar repertoir:
      “I hope the Licence Commission deals with things autonomously,” Di Rocco said. “I don’t want to think what will happen if the team does not keep its licence. I’ll actually probably have to think more about if the opposite happens. Politically thinking, if the Licence Commission confirms Astana’s licence, what does it mean for the UCI? I think it would be very weakened. That’s my contribution to the debate.” (CN)
      Note how *very concerned* about doping aspects he looks (quite the same goes for Cookson’s letter, which curiously enough I could read only in Italian).

      • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 1:20 am

        The irony is that the whole point of the Licence Commission is that it’s supposed to be independent of the Management Committee, to ensure that team status is not dependent on the President and others, of having friends in high places.

  • MultiplexRant Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 10:13 pm

    The REAL big question that INRNG is studiously avoiding here – where are all of Rusvelo’s wins?! Surely they should’ve clocked up a good dozen by now in e.g. The Tour of Yakutsk, GP de Tashkent and whatnot?

    • Megi Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 11:11 am

      That’s because those long winters delay the season in central Asia. Just watch them fly post April 3.