Team Victory Rankings

August is a very busy month for the World Tour with the Tour of Poland, the BinckBank Tour and the Vuelta and that’s just the racing. Teams are changing shape with plenty of rider transfers being announced already.

Quick Step lead with 53 wins and they’ve had exactly as many second and third places combined meaning they win a lot more than they place. 13 riders have won so far. The best ever result by a team in recent times is High Road in 2009 with 85 which is achievable for Quick Step but probably unlikely. There’s quality too, four stage wins in the Tour de France where they collected all the jerseys at different points during the race too.

Team Sky are second on 36, with Michał Kwiatkowski having just won his home Tour of Poland with two stage wins along the way. Egan Bernal is on six wins. Of course among the count are the Giro and Tour which matter more than others although is winning the Tour a big win for them or just an expected result these days? It’s still a big win, much as in Peter Sagan taking the green jersey might seem baked-in for us but offers huge publicity for the sponsors. For a change though expectations in the upcoming Vuelta may be lower, for now their options look more limited, there’s no obvious contender for the overall win with Chris Froome likely to rest and Geraint Thomas due to ride the Tour of Britain.

Mitchelton-Scott have 30 wins. Their most prolific rider? Simon Yates has six and the team will have a twin track approach in the Vuelta with both of the Yates racing the Vuelta. After Simon Yates, next comes… the team, they have five wins from the complicated Hammer Series events where wins go to the team, not riders. There’s still no news on a co-sponsor.

Who would have thought Lotto-Jumbo would be on 27 wins and sitting fourth? Dylan Groenewegen has scored 11 including two Tour stage wins. The team is among the lowest spenders in the World Tour but has somehow extended the services of Primož Roglič, Steven Kruijswijk, George Bennett and Dylan Groenwegen during the year and now they have to worry about retaining neo-pro Sepp Kuss who has just won the Tour of Utah and by riding the whole field off his wheel… three times on three stages. It’s impressive but repeating this in Europe may be harder with narrow roads and the fight for position but that’s a skill that can be learned.

Mid-table and Astana have 24 wins, it wasn’t long ago that the team’s future was briefly in doubt but this has been settled among Kazakh political and business circles but they’re not the team they used to be when they could fight on several fronts even if they came out of the Tour de France with two stage wins, a result most would be jealous of. Bahrain-Merida are the big recruiters at the moment, bringing in plenty of riders, especially from BMC. So far seven hires have been announced for only one departure so there’s a big shake-up here although one quiet move was to extend Mark Padun’s contract, the Ukrainian climber has quietly impressed this year. BMC Racing are set to lose over a third of their roster and that’s just the official departures so far. New owner Dariusz Miłek will have to splash some cash soon, they’re hired Serge Pauwels and Guillaume van Keirsbulck, 21 years of pro racing between them and eight wins so the team won’t be racing up the rankings in 2019 at the moment. It’s sensible to hire the riders they want rather than those that are on the market, there’s a difference.

Groupama-FDJ are punching above their weight on 22 including some World Tour wins, notably Georg Preidler’s win in Poland last week but it’s still a top-heavy team built around Arnaud Démare and Thibaut Pinot. The arrival of insurance giant Groupama this year has given the team a budget boost which should let them make a generous offer to Thibaut Pinot but does he want to stay and ride the Tour de France? In comes Stefan Küng, an engine for the team time trials and a strong rider for the spring classics allowing the team to play two cards, Küng for the breakaways and Démare sitting tight for the sprint. But will FDJ stay around, the sponsor is the French state lottery and could be privatised soon… although this event seems to have been six to nine months away for the last three years.

Team Sunweb have a disappointing six wins. Tom Dumoulin’s second places in the Giro and Tour are huge results and satisfying for the team, probably more than winning ten or even 20 *.1 races but it’s surprising that Michael Matthews, Nikias Arndt, Max Walscheid and Phil Bauhaus haven’t delivered a few more sprint wins.

A prize win, not a victory for Pierre Latour

Meanwhile three teams still haven’t got a World Tour win: Ag2r La Mondiale, Dimension Data and EF Education First-Drapac. All are having a tough time, Ag2r may not have hoped for a lot of wins in the Tour de France but the toll of injuries – including selecting already-injured riders like Tony Gallopin – cost them and Romain Bardet; EF-Drapac also may not have planned on victories but publicity from a podium chance for Rigoberto Urán only for him to crash and quit the race. Meanwhile Dimension Data are having a rotten season, plagued with injuries, crashes and bad form. All three have issues of quality and quantity, Ag2r haven’t even had an HC-level win so far this season but at least have 11 wins to their name, more than the other two squads combined. Normally the answer to a lack of wins is to bring in a sprinter and Ag2r lack proven winners; EF-Drapac bought in Sacha Modolo and Dan McLay but both have been discreet this year and meanwhile Mark Cavendish has been playing catch-up for much of the season. In a pre-Tour presentation Dimension Data boss Doug Ryder said his team’s aim was to win a grand tour with an African rider but first they’ll have to keep their World Tour licence; or consider other means such as merging with Cervélo-Bigla to have a women’s team with Ashley Moolman who could win the Giro Rosa and thus win a women’s grand tour if we use this semantic description.

Katusha are last on the chart thanks to alphabetic order, they could be ranked above EF-Drapac by virtue of winning in the World Tour but it’s been a tough season for them with just four wins despite a ripping roster, a bumper budget and a star sprinter. If they were a football team would the manager be sacked?

Onto the Pro Continental ranks and if this is cycling’s second division there’s no sense of a team on the up, a squad deserving of promotion to the World Tour. If anything the problem is the opposite, who issue wildcards to for the major events. Teams can hire some stars or just deliver “animation” to a race, ie cannon-fodder for the day’s early breakaway. Even so the upcoming Vuelta has invited Cofidis – who coincidentally sponsor the race, just fancy that – Caja Rural who are arguably Spain’s second team, Euskadi-Murias and Burgos-BH, the latter has just one win and also one rider provisionally suspended. Cofidis top the table and will hope for more with Nacer Bouhanni at the Vuelta but there’s still a stand-off between him and management and you sense the team would happily let him go to another team but the rider is on a seven figure salary and won’t get that elsewhere so he has no incentive to move. A star rider in the Pro Conti ranks is Ivan Ramiro Sosa, recent winner of the Vuelta a Burgos, the pre-Vuelta test with always a selective race and this time he was riding away from the likes of Astana and Team Sky. It’s said he’s joining Trek-Segafredo. Another star rider is Wout van Aert only there’s still no news on the Aqua Blue Sport and Verandas Willems-Crelan merger, briefly announced by the Irish team before a bucket of cold water was poured over it by the Belgian side and the longer this drags on the more inclined existing riders at both teams will be to head for safer prospects elsewhere. Lastly Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise are off the chart as they still don’t have a win.

  • Methodology: all *.1 races and above count but wins were a rider is not racing for their team don’t count, for example Matteo Trentin’s European cycling championships title was a win for Italy, not Mitchelton-Scott.

66 thoughts on “Team Victory Rankings”

    • You think that’s a factor? One way it could influence the results is that the bigger intra-team competition to make the selection of the big races provides the riders on the stronger teams with a comparatively bigger incentive to do well.

      • I don’t think that’s the case. These guys are just as incentivised to win. Smaller teams definitely benefit with larger squads. It’s harder for smaller teams to protect their GC/sprint star and so they don’t send guys up the road on breaks.

    • Bring on five consecutive year’s numbers and then we can discuss. Just 2 years make no statistical or scientific evidence whatsoever.

    • Agree with Anonymous, anecdotal evidence tough to analyse for trends. With that being said, QS and Sky have benefited from other teams being significantly weaker this year. So many teams having a really weak year, AG2R, Katusha, etc. Whether or not that is because of smaller team sizes is tough to determine, but really think QS and Sky have developed/signed the next batch of champions.

      One quick note, even though Michelton-Scott-Whatever has 30 wins, they spent twelve days in the Maglia Rosa, that has to count for something. Spent more time in a leader’s jersey in 2018 than Froome.

      • I’d be so bold as to state that the reduced team sizes have made very little difference, certainly to the top teams.
        If anything, the contrary; it’s concentrated strength.
        And especially so in non-WT races – both Quick Step and Team Sky have earned almost half of their respective wins in non-WT events.

        Which leads one to wonder if the change was worth it?
        Or does it lead to even smaller teams next year? And, if so, how low do you go?

  1. I find Lotto NL Jumbo very fascinating. They have a small budget and punch way above their weight.
    They also actively recruit riders from beyond their Dutch title sponsors. Is it the influence of the Bike sponsor and Shimano?

    • This was an experiment but it was clear it wasn’t working out earlier this year only they’ve struggled on, it’s now gone public with riders openly blaming the material on social media. A nice idea for a simple touring bike perhaps but not for racing, even if 1×12 comes out it’ll still be awkard to ride and then a lot of works for the mechanics who have to keep changing cassettes and chainrings and then matching the right length chains too.

      • Kind of perversely funny that – to make things simpler for the riders they make things much more complicated for their mechanics and seemingly less reliable in the process. And the riders hated it anyway.

      • Silly situation, I can’t imagine how big the cassette would have to be to accommodate a mountain stage and the following 100kph descent!

        With that being said, the riders who went to social media should be suspended or face within the team punishment – openly blasting a sponsor (regardless how dumb they are) is the height of unprofessionalism.

  2. Education First-Drapac is kind of depressing for Me. Pointing out how Lotto-Jumbo’s budget is among the lowest spenders in the World Tour, yet has success. While EF-D has done so poorly & I root for them, being another low spender, I’m reminded how the other day I was disappointed when I read they signed TJVG. -Wishing they’d sign winners.

    Making smart choices is part of Lotto-Jumbo’s success. I like them. I may start rooting for them and forget EF-D, which has some roots down the mountain in Boulder.

    & if Lotto-Jumbo retains Sepp Kuss, there will still be a Colorado connection.

    • Couldn’t agree more. I’m a huge fan of Slipstream, but they are so disappointing. TJVG seems like a really nice guy, but I’m so disappointed they signed him.

      I actually want TJVG to do well, but think he has no business signing on for a team in desperate need of a leader. TJVG needs to switch to climbing domestique to change his legacy. There’s nothing wrong with making that choice, many guys way more talented than he is have done it and built great reputations doing so.

      Slipstream has to go back to it’s roots and develop young talent. You’d think with their aussie connection they’d have two really strong pipelines of young talent, but instead they are struggling big time. The comparison to Lotto Jumbo is bang on, Jumbo’s had a great few years of building the proper way.

      • Agree – look at Gesink at Lotto-Jumbo. Once a frequent top10 GC rider, now a super domestique and stage hunter. He was really good at the tour and seems to have quietly grown into the role. I never fully understood why a top 10 in a GT is so much better than a stage or two. Though I imagine winning could sometimes be more difficult than racing at the top for three weeks.

    • yes, lotto-jumbo have to be among the standout performers on low budgets. and they do it by animating races too rather than just quietly hanging on. with a kiwi on the team i’m a supporter too 🙂

      QS i believe have only a moderate budget yet regularly dominate throughout the year.

      katusha have to be the big disappointment. i believe their budget is 2nd only to sky, yet they continue to achieve little with it despite hiring last year’s top sprinter.

      DiData seem to have problems every year… always a good excuse but never delivering.

    • I wonder if EF-Drapac are (partly) suffering the effects of last year’s near-demise…
      They seemed to be developing a few young talents quite nicely, who then jumped ship when the sponsor problems hit last August/September – Dylan Van Baarle finished 4th at Flanders, now at Sky; Alberto Bettiol was a promising all-rounder, moved to BMC and did nothing; Davide Villella; Davide Formolo…

      But at the same time, it does seem like Vaughters has a thing for hiring ‘personal projects’ in a bid to turn around rider’s careers, promising big things of them, but then not reaching those promised heights – I’m thinking of Pierre Rolland, Sep Vanmarcke, Taylor Phinney, Rigoberto Uran, and now Tejay…all quality riders, no doubt. But they’ve hardly turned into prolific winners at EF-Drapac…

      • I respect what JV has done for the sport and team but I think he needs to step away. The MBA was just window dressing for someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing. Spends too much time drinking wine in France while Savio signs all these great Colombians which are essentially in his backyard. I think he’s too chummy with US riders and is afraid to cut the under performing ones.

  3. Given the team budget remains unchanged, would the counts of victories vary should they choose to use bike brands differently? Say Orbea instead of Pinarello, Merida instead of Specialized?

    • I have absolutely no basis of saying this but this is my dumb-ass mansplaining 0.02$
      I think for most road races most bike manufacturers are okay with enough testing (there are some exceptions here and there of course, for example the single chainring debacle).

      With time trialing however I think bikes make plenty of difference?

    • You think the win totals would be different if the bike brand decal on the downtube was different? Gawd, I hope not! I’ve wondered (with dread) how long before the bike biz installs a “constructor’s champion” prize into the sport? That would make the team budget argument pale in comparison to the loot spent by the Big-S vs Big-T vs Big-G. But then they might have to admit to who actually makes the bike rather than whose decal is on the downtube…

      • Not in any way trying to discredit the ‘Team Victory Rankings’ work. Again Given there’s is NO limit on team budget, perhaps some kind of correlation studies if any between bike choice and victory rankings. 53 vs 4 wins, i can only imagine never to lay a finger on the latter bike.

    • A lot of the brands are just that, brands. Frames from different companies can be made in the same factory, see where famously the top-3 in the Tour de France had all ridden different bike brands but they were made in the same factory, or for a more recent take on this.

      Of course there is R&D, geometry is down to the brand etc and then all the non-performance things like sales and after care, but it’s not like one premium frame coming out of one door of the factory is going to make you win/lose over another premium frame that comes out of another door in the same factory, unless we go right to very small things, for example a photo finish where one rider is on a bike that is more aero than the other and this could have helped make the difference.

      • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Couldn’t agree more. 2018 TdF st.20 ITT. 1-sec difference between 1st and 2nd. Enjoy reading previous articles as well.

    • Bike preference is a personal think, and the Giant TT bikes just look fast to my eyes, but according to The Secret Pro: “As for the bikes themselves, the common knowledge is that Specialized, Trek, Canyon, and BMC are a step above everyone else. Sure Giant, Bianchi, Cervelo, and Pinarello are great, but when it comes down to millimetres, a brilliant bike can make all the difference.”

  4. EF seem to have the knack of taking promising young riders one would expect to progress and then failing to do so. Carthy scored far more points as a very young rider with Caja Rural in 2016 than he has since with EF. Dombrowski is another who scored well in 2015 as a young rider and, when judged on PCS points, has declined since when by age he should be improving. More examples are available. Part of this may be down to changed roles in a WT team though, if they are now support riders, then those being supported are failing too. One may highlight TdF bad luck with Uran but WT teams must have some fallback. I would be delighted to see TVG prosper again next year though, sadly, would be surprised too.

    • Vaughters burns kids out.

      On LA’s podcast, he talked about how Vaughters had a young promising talent doing 4 x 20 min intervals and testing and all the rest of it, in the off season when he should have been resting or just doing base.

      Why? Just because, apparently.

      Ruined the kids next season. Had him in a hole for 12 months or so before he came back.

      (I think it was Lawson Craddock but I could be wrong.)

      • Really, you’re taking LA’s opinion here and on one anectdote about one rider? Sure he has no grudge with JV. JV only coaches a few of the team and had much success with Dylan Van Baarle. It his insistence on signing guys like Dombrowski who test through the roof but can’t race and letting guys like Skuijns who don’t seems to excel at any one thing but winning, go. He’s the closest WT team to colombia but lets Savio sign all the good prospects there and instead signs retread after retread like Modolo.

        • Can’t compare Slipstream to Colombia, there is zero comparison. Not even in the same division. Colombia is one of the best teams in cycling history, Slipstream will always have been an interesting story, but never be discussed in the same context.

          • I was referring to the country of Colombia. Suggesting that with Slipstream the only WT in the Americas, they should be recruiting in Colombia. Instead they get scooped by Adrioni. That’s a huge miss by JV.

          • Cd – Sorry, excellent point. I agree, the Colombians produce some amazing riders, often guys who are super tough (eg. Rigoberto Uran) and JV should be all over that.

            But, let’s be honest, there are many things that JV really is not doing well. By this point, Slipstream should have established themselves but they are the worst WT team by far. Katusha is having an off year, DiData is much newer so has excuses, but Slipstream’s at least 10 years old now.

  5. The supposed advantage of any particular bike brand is simply a myth encouraged by the big bike manufacturers. With the UCI controlling the weight of a bike, does anybody really think there is any significant performance difference. Only the journalist’s who propagate the myth for gainful employment probably with meaningless comments about stiffness, acceleration, cornering……. The construction methods are similar, construction materials are similar, weights are similar, geometry is similar, components are similar.

    Can anybody point out a significant advantage to a particular brand ? I choose my bikes and components based on loyalty, reliability, price and familiarity.

    Quick Step are the best simply because they have a shrewd manager and a team full to the brim of potential winners. They would still be winners on any bike.

    • Fortuneo ditched thier traditional and home frame supplier mid-season for BH, apparently due to rider insistance. Maybe an isolated case but bike brand preference can’t be all myth.

      • The story was told in L’Equipe that in the end it wasn’t so much performance as sales. The summary version is that Warren Barguil owns a bike shop with his uncle and he’s been selling Giant bikes there, a link to his Sunweb days. Having started riding Look this year with his team they wanted to sell Look frames in the shop. They then asked for regional exclusivity for Look frame sales but the company wasn’t ready to tear up deals with other shops in the area which annoyed Barguil and Co and things went from there. So it turned out to be business rather than riding according to the story in the press.

    • How refreshing to read these opinions!!! It’s been said over and over again that the guy in the yellow jersey would have won the race even if he had to use the same make/model bike used by the lanterne rouge. This is what makes bike racing so different from F1 , MotoGP, etc.
      Of course the bike biz spends zillions to convince us otherwise, but it’s great to see how many realize it’s just marketing-maven baloney. I’ll be watching to see what happens with the minimum weight regulations since it seems the bike makers who want everyone to toss their old rim-brake bikes in favor of disc brakes fear a lighter minimum weight could see even more pro resistance to being forced to ride a bike that could cost you big-time in the event of a flat tire.

  6. High Road record will be hard to reach also because sprinters are demotivated tackling the Giro and Vuelta in last few years. IMO not because there would be an actual lack of sprinter stages but more because Giro and especially Vuelta’s new business model left sprinter stages spread throughout all 3 weeks more as a leftover to transition stages instead of dedicating a few consequtive days in the first week only for sprinters. Nothing wrong about that though but it seems to be a fact.

  7. hi, those interested in EF Cannondale or Vaughters, I’d advise reading Phil Gaimon’s latest book. Yes, Gaimon is not objective but he goes into a lot of detail about Vaughters signing him on and off over 3 seasons and he is strangely (and often very funnily) balanced – his MO is to make a comment and then balance it out with the contrary view. Its a very readable book – buy it.

    Anyway, the book feels honest and Vaughters comes out of it very badly – manipulative, dishonest, clumsy and deeply untrustworthy. An example – he’d agree a contract at $X thousand with a rider by email and/or phone and then send the contract through with a lower amount in it and expect the rider to sign it. A sad, power-crazy bully is how he comes across. And I know the book is just one opinion.

    • I long said, that together with tinkov (and maybe ochowicz), vaughters was/is the main reason why cycling can‘t get forward the last years, why there is always bad blood instead of constructive working together and why cycling stumbles from one poisoned, fudged decision to the next. The way he tries to manipulate people, pulls strings behind the scenes, the way he has (in my opinion) zero interest in the sport, because it is all about HIM, damages cycling enormously. He is always there to spin poison into people‘s ears. The bs he and tinkov started with the tv money, which the „bad race promoters“ withhold from „the poor teams“ still sits in people‘s mind (not once did they show any evidence, that there is indeed revenue to spend, trump-like it was enough to just shout, not once did they mention, that races already pay teams. They pay them money to race, they pay their hotels and a lot of other stuff – and that most races don‘t get money from tv, they even pay for the tv production. Would the teams also share these costs? And if the teams want something of the income of the races (if there is any) of course the teams must also pay the races something of their sponsormoney, because the race allows a team to show their sponsor. That is only fair, right?)

      I could somehow live with vaughters (and his symptoms like velon, hammer etc) in cycling, if I‘d think he does what he does, because he really believes it is in cycling‘s best interest. But personally I think he doesn‘t care about cycling, what really bothers him, is that he isn‘t in control and that things aren‘t the way he wants them to be. I think it is more a revenge/jealousy thing. He reminds me of other people like him I met in my life. They are always are bad news. They always in everybody‘s ears. Talk behind backs, incite anger, try to overthrow the ones that have more to say than them, but not through open challenge or work, but through manipulating others. When you have someone like that in your team, say goodbye to teamwork and good productivity. And when asked what it is all about, they are all big, innocent eyes and „never meant it that way“.

      One very good example, that to me encapsulates exactly what this type of person is all about, was, when vaughters called french people „frogs“ on twitter, then got called out, because that is racist and then his one french rider had to say publically on twitter, that he has no problem with being called a „frog“. I mean, what should Rolland say, he is an employee of vaughters! And even, if it doesn‘t bother him, does he speak for all french people? And have we in 2018 still not learned, that calling others names is not the thing to do?

  8. Hi Inrng,
    Would it be possible to make a chart that divides the number of wins by the team budget?
    Like power to weight ratio?
    Or is this team budget data perhaps not available for all teams?
    As always, thanks for your insight.
    Kind regards, Jasper

    • There’s no public data for team budgets. All teams submit budgets to the UCI and they have tables and charts but it’s not public. Some teams have info available but only a handful. And there are lots of wild guesses out there so be careful if you see some numbers without evidence.

      • Interesting question. Given the following assumptions: 1.all Tour race bikes were made of known molding tech with the almost identical care/process and materials employed,2.SKY said to be the sky is the limit budget among all, 3. race tactics remain the same,4.power meters not banned. Implications likely be..?

  9. I’m astonished that bouhani is on a 7-figure salary – is there really that much exposure to be gained for Confidis to sponsor a pro conti team to the tune of millions?

    • He signed at the peak time, just when he’d won three stages in the Giro and when the Alonso team was said to be starting and so there was especially high demand for good riders, this got Peter Sagan a very good deal with Tinkoff too. If he could win in the Tour de France as they hoped at the time then he’d be worth it.

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