Team Victory Rankings

A quick look back before looking ahead to the Tour de France. Here’s the chart of team wins with a review of how the season is going for each team and some the issues around them. Whathever they’de done so far this yearm is important but July is the team’s biggest month with huge media attention for their sponsors.

Deceuninck-Quickstep carry on as usual with the most wins and as ever the story is the same, they win a lot and a lot of them win with 14 riders, over half the roster of 25, winning so far this year (excluding TTTs and the Hammer races). Also they have a peculiar bias towards winning in that they have 46 wins but 22 second places and 22 third places meaning, like previous years, if they’re in with a chance of a win they’ll convert it more often than not. Julian Alaphilippe tied on 10 wins with Dylan Groenewegen for the most victories this year.

Jumbo Visma are second on the rankings and fourth on the UCI rankings, a remarkable performance for a team that is in the lower range of team budgets. They do this by scrapping on all fronts, contesting sprints and summit finishes in the same stage races, something rival teams will back away from in the Tour de France. Primož Roglič is perhaps still the ex-ski jumper who tried to win the Giro for plenty but he’s also the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and Romandie winner meaning beaucoup points for the team while Dylan Groenewegen might be the faster sprinter in the world right now although watching him stretch his back for minutes after losing to Caleb Ewan in the recent ZLM Tour brings a note of caution.

It wasn’t long ago that Bora-Hansgrohe looked like a Pro Conti team with Peter Sagan and his entourage bolted on to the side. Now the rest of the team is thriving with the likes of Max Schachmann and Sam Bennett winning more this season than Sagan although obviously Sagan looks primed for the Tour de France. Emanuel Buchmann is still a work in progress for the grand tours but landing a podium in a grand tour looks like the only relative weak spot.

Astana are having a big season with 30 wins, and all without a house sprinter. Instead they’re thriving in stage races and the hilly days with Jacob Fuglsang the totemic rider, once a regular in the finale of a race, this year’s his win rate has soared and it bodes well for the Tour de France although it’s another thing to parlay wins in Liège and a low-altitude Dauphiné into success this July.

Mitchelton-Scott have a decent win rate but less than recent years. This is all part of the plan though as they’ve forsaken sprinters like Caleb Ewan to challenge for the grand tours with the Yates brothers and the result is fewer success but ideally more quality. They’re still “Your Name Here”-Scott as they search for a sponsor with Huawei having been cited in the past but generous sugardaddy Gerry Ryan has said he’ll keep on funding the team too.

UAE Emirates are a bigger budget team but still not quite firing on all cylinders, they’ve acquired Fernando Gavira for a premium but he’s had injury and illness this year although the brightside is that his misfortune could be worse, see Marcel Kittel, Mark Cavendish or Nacer Bouhanni for examples of star, marquee sprinters in more of a pickle. Tadej Pogačar has been re-signed on a long term deal and Fabio Aru’s comeback from iliac artery continues with a Tour start. Questions remain for the incumbent management with Joxean Matxin also responsible for Juan-José Cobo’s Vuelta win and now the fall out.

Team Ineos have 19 wins, fewer than usual but won’t worry too much having won the Tour de Suisse and Paris-Nice with Egan Bernal. The bigger concern on a human level as opposed to victory arithmetic is Chris Froome’s recovery but the Briton isn’t a prolific winner, just a big ones as he racks up grand tours.

Groupama-FDJ are on 16 wins and an established pattern with sprinter Marc Sarreau scoring in the Coupe de France races while team leaders Arnaud Démare and Thibaut Pinot winning bigger races, with David Gaudu and Stefan Küng acting as lieutants capable of the odd win.

Movistar also have 16 wins after Alejandro Valverde’s rather blank start to the first half of the season where his win rate was well down. Richard Carapaz delivered a huge win for the team too and now Valverde is back to his old ways with the Route du Sud and Spanish national championships. The team has problems of recruitment and retention on the horizon though with Carapaz linked to Ineos but if he stays then it’ll consume a large part of the budget. There’s talk Enric Mas could join but if they’ve agreed on a deal is it on his value post-Vuelta or post Tour de Suisse?

Lotto-Soudal’s best rider is Caleb Ewan but they often struggle for wins, the spring classics are big goal but it’s rare they ever win one instead the team’s hunting ground tends to be stage races where their house sprinter, once Greipel, now Ewan can rack up wins. There have been enquiries into the pro team from politicians but this has gone away and they seem like a fixture.

EF Education First haven’t been as stable in recent years. Jonathan Vaughters’s new book One Way Ticket – due for review here soon – asserts “there’s never a team that rides better than one that’s about to go bankrupt” but experience is suggesting otherwise as they never won much until they’ve got a three year backing and ownership from EF Education First. Daniel Martinez’s stage win in Paris-Nice is still impressive, as is Hugh Carthy’s recent Swiss raid but the big win was Alberto Bettiol in Flanders.

Ag2r La Mondiale never win much – typified by their leader Romain Bardet who, for all his talentm only has seven career wins – but enjoyed a good Giro with Nans Peters. The sponsor seems happy having extended their contract to 2023 and like most of the teams here they’ll get more brand recognition in the coming month than all the prior ones this year.

Bahrain-Merida have only eight wins where three of these come from the Taiwanese, Slovenian and Ukrainian nationals and for a team with a big budget this must be making the Sheikhs rattle and roll. Still they’re a visible squad with Vincenzo Nibali having enjoyed a good Giro – no wins but a big reach into Italian households – and now taking aim at the Tour. The squad is still a work in progress with founder Alex Carrera, formerly a rider agent, being ejected from the squad and presumably they’ll be active in the transfer market to hire a sprinter and to replace a departing Nibali.

Now we’re down to the struggling teams with Dimension Data on six wins. They could be on sixteen if Mark Cavendish wasn’t struck by the Epstein-Barr virus, a tricky condition where the moment a rider begins to feel better, and trains harder only to plunge them back into despondent lethargy. But questions can be raised about their recruitment with old warhorses like Romain Kreuziger and Enrico Gasparotto although they do bring points. They’re unlucky but they’re also a low budget team as well.

Team Sunweb‘s motto is “keep challenging” only now they keep being challenged by misfortune with injuries galore, notably Tom Dumoulin’s knee which turned into a saga of him quitting the Giro, aiming to ride the Tour via the Dauphiné only to U-turn while heading to the Alps for altitude training and now one report – take Tuttobici with pinch of salt – says he might even want to leave the team. Cees Bol is proving a useful second tier sprinter. Meanwhile Michael Matthews has been turned into a superdomestique which feels wrong, like using a Lamborghini to ferry sacks of construction rubble to waste dump, although presumably he’s signed up for this and compensated for it.

Trek-Segafredo had a good Giro thanks to Guilio Ciccone but it’s been a discreet season for them so far. Big signing Richie Porte has been quite but it was only a couple of years ago we were all citing him as a genuine Tour contender. Matteo Moschetti is a promising sprinter but young and needs work to make sure he’s not the next Jakub Mareczko who was the next Andrea Guardini, two stocky Italian sprinters who haven’t progressed as much as people hoped.

This time last year the BMC team resembled one of those closing down sales you see in shops as no replacement sponsor could be found, resulting in a mass exodus of talent until CCC finally stepped in but it meant getting the stucture, World Tour licence and only a core of riders and not much was expected of them anyway. They’ll be as busy this July recruiting as they will be racing.

Lastly there’s Katusha-Alpecin on five wins of which they’ve got two in the last few days thanks to Alex Dowsett and José Gonçalves winning the TT titles in Britain and Portugal. Obviously one team has to come last but they are disappointment. Marcel Kittel’s quit the team which explains in part the lack of wins. There’s now talk that Ilnur Zakarin could join CCC and if this happens then the Katusha “Russian cycling project” of the team looks to be ending.

Now a quick scan of the Pro Conti scene. As ever it’s a wide range of ambitions and budgets. Israel Cycling Academy keep scoring wins but they’re all from national championships and *.1 races, not one *.HC win nor a World Tour race. Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec have a Giro stage to their name which counts for plenty. Total Direct Energie and Cofidis both crave a Tour de France stage win but it’s a tough ask, instead we’ll see if they get their chequebook out soon to bolster the team. Vital Concept remain stuck, not convincing enough for a wildcard invitation to the Tour so in turn few talented riders will choose them. Correndo-Circus by contrast are one of the few teams with a “must have” rider in the shape of Mathieu van der Poel and when it comes to getting invites to big races the Dutchman can open more doors than a set of skeleton keys. Arkéa-Samsic have tried to recruit big names but it’s not worked out so far, until that is Warren Barguil won the French title yesterday and the Colombian press have been earnestly repeating the odd story that Nairo Quintana could be next to join them. Finally one consequence of the UCI squeeze on this division could be the disappearance of the Nippo-Vini Fantini team with Gazzetta Dello Sport writing they will stop – despite a great Giro – and a sponsor, presumably Fantini, will switch to Bardiani-CSF to bolster the “green team”.

29 thoughts on “Team Victory Rankings”

    • Awesome link and article. I would love to read a long form piece on current use of various wearables, in field sports science testing such as this etc.

      I reckon that we will see or hear of TDF teams using the recent advent of skin patch real time hydration and electrolyte loss monitoring to further dial in nutrition as well.

      I also recall an EF rider using a Whoop wearable to assist in measuring strain and recovery in order to help him finish the TDF a couple of years ago as well?

      All fascinating stuff with trickle down benefits to your performance oriented weekend warrior at a lower price point in the future.

      • It is interesting that, all the more so if you consider that the two teams testing the technology (Bora and Jumbo-Visma) are both performing well in the victories table. Whether that is a coincidence or a consequence is unclear?

        • Whether it is related to this innovation or something else, it’s not surprising that two teams who are testing different ways to succeed are discovering some things that give them an edge over more traditional teams.

  1. Great detailed round-up, thanks.

    DD and Katusa on 6 and 5 wins each: that’s not soooo bad. Could be worse.

    Reminder that Manzana Postobon have folded 🙁

    • Except nobody ever claims that. They talk about their domination of the Tour de France and possibly other grand tours in the future. Literally no-one has ever said they dominate the classics.

  2. Good stuff from EF in the nationals, Howes winning the US title, Hofland finishing second in the Dutch RR, and Bettiol performing well in the Italian championships, finishing third in the RR and second in the ITT. Then again, maybe missing out on seeing EF’s current tye-dye design in tricolere colors is a blessing…

  3. What in the name of sanity possessed Viviani/DQS/whoever made this decision to change the Italian champion’s jersey from the classic one in the top photo to the monstrosity in the photo lower down?

    • It was a special design that Vivani wanted to race in the Giro, apparently. I remember Pozzato doing something similar at the TdF one year.

  4. So thanks to Nibali’s solid work at the Giro Bahrain have reached into a lot of Italian living rooms. So what? What are they hoping to gain from this? Are Antonio and Antonella from Milan going to forsake their week in Rimini for a package holiday to Bahrain? Are people going to buy boxes of Bahrain from the supermarket?! I don’t understand what a country can hope to gain from sponsoring a cycling team other than if it’s a national type team bringing on home riders, which Bahrain certainly aren’t.

    • It depends if you measure with objective criteria like boosting tourism… or whether it’s a plaything for a prince. Few travel to Astana either. Nibali’s Giro probably did raise the country’s name but how many watching the Giro could locate Bahrain on a map afterwards? What they could do was locate Nibali, he drew crowds to the race and currently no other Italian rider does this like he can which is presumably why Segafredo want him so much.

      • The Italianisation of Trek is interesting. They have a lot of Italian riders, including some good young ones, an Italian DS and an Italian co-sponsor with Nibali incoming with his Italian entourage. It’s another team that is de facto Italian despite not being registered there.

      • FYI: No-one can travel to Astana now. The ‘Parliament’ in Kazakhstan voted to change the name of the capital city to Nur-Sultan, after former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, because nothing says ‘freedom’ like like changing the name of your capital city to that of the man who ruled the country for 29 years and then hand-picked his successor.
        My girlfriend was there visiting a university during the recent protests – savagely put down by the government (they even blocked the internet and shut down the uni’s). She spoke to a variety of anti-government activists and academics. She didn’t meet one person who actually voted in the recent (or any other) elections, because they all know there is simply no point.
        Relevant to cycling? Depends on your point of view: the UCI does claim to look at teams’ ethics.

  5. Typo in the Bahrain-Merida paragraph, Nibali is now taking aim at the Tour I believe.

    Bora-Hansgrohe have certainly been racking up the wins this year, and that’s a good thing as a squad built around a single rider wasn’t a long term proposition. Also shows German cycling is on the up.

  6. Is it not a little weird in a pro-sport that cycling appears to have accepted a pecking order in certain races… sure teams have their up and down years, but if we looked at this same article from INRNG in the past 5, maybe 10 years I’m sure it would look pretty similar. It seems that 17 other teams are looking at QuickSteps classics dominance and are seemingly unwilling to try too much to dislodge them… “we’ll hire a ‘Sep Vanmarke’ and hope for the best, it didn’t work for x last year but who knows”

    I know budgets mean that not everyone can have a Sky Mountain train, and there is only one Peter Sagan etc…. but it seems that when a team carves out a winning niche the logical thing for rival teams to do would be to try and recreate the winning formula or at least actively disrupt that strategy somehow.

    • Don’t mess victory team rankings with success, not even in the Classics. As the old say goes, in cycling victories must be weighed, not counted.
      QS dominates but the nature of the Classics leaves abundant space for others to win. For instance (and on QS’ favourite terrain), once Boonen stopped winning Flanders and Roubaix for them, QS won “just” 2/7 editions, which is impressive, but, as I said, leaves enough room for other teams.
      They hand’t won a Sanremo for more than 10 years, and at Liège, before Jungels’ succes last year, you need to go back to Bettini and the early 2000s, just as in Lombardia’s case (which they haven’t won since).
      Criticism on QS’ tactics and failure to deliver were rampant just three years ago, when they were unable to win any relevant Classic and they barely salvaged the season mainly thanks to Kittel’s couple of victories at the Giro and at the TdF. And, while it was a low point, it wasn’t an isolated case, either, rather the worst scenario in a streak of 5 years at least when they relied on sprinting in the GTs to rack up wins while getting the odd victory in the Classics under the constant fire of local newspapers.
      Hence, I’d say your whole discourse about other teams makes little sense once memory stretches back further than, say, two years?… Classics are, in fact, won by a range of teams despite the presence of a dominant team or star riders – and that’s why they’re often that better to watch than GTs, by the way.

  7. I always find it interesting to look at who’s not winning so much in these lists, and why…

    CCC obviously had an uphill battle given their struggles to cobble together a team, but will no doubt be a little disappointed that GvA hasn’t delivered anything so far.

    Dimension Data took a slightly odd approach to recruitment over the winter as our host mentions, and clearly it hasn’t paid off, with the lack of Cavendish adding to their woes (it looks unlikely he’ll be at the Tour, and even if there I can’t imagine too much success from him)

    Trek Segafredo surprise me with so few wins, as I feel like they’ve been visible and fairly successful so far this year. I suppose Ciccone’s Giro mountain jersey was very visible but doesn’t count in the list above…

    Katusha look like a team in trouble. They’ve got some top quality riders, albeit with a couple of them struggling at present (Haas, for example) or simply not prolific winners (Politt, Dowsett). But their TdF team doesn’t look like it’s gonna turn their fortunes around. Rumour has it that Zakarin didn’t want to ride the Tour but is being forced to, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leave at the end of the season…Where does the team go from here?

  8. Your note about Groenewegen stretching his back made me think that a slip in an interview of Amund Grøndahl(‘green valley’ translated, no joke) Jansen, second last in his train, wasn’t a slip after all.
    After winning the norwegian road champs on sunday, he was asked about the Tour and the potential of Jumbo-Visma, and he failed to mention Groenewegen until the very last sentence as an afterthought, which normally would be all he talked about.

    I haven’t followed the news lately, but there might be an injury that is kept under the lids for now is what I’m getting from this, as you suspect.

  9. I think the Japanese element of Nippo-Vini Fantini was always timebound to try and get those cadre of riders on the team better prepped for the 2020 Olympicsm so was always due to fall away this year. The Ligurian base of the Italian part of the team doesn’t seem top engender the same access to talent and sponsorship that the other Italian squads get from their regional bases. The wine sponsor jumped before from Yellow Fluo IIRC so would make sense that they continue their tour of the Pro-Conti sponsorship circuit and I guess Androni not an option as Vini-Sidermec sounds like a Italian take on kalimotxo.

  10. Is there any more info on the political inquiries into Lotto Soudal? Is it just a question of assessing if the state funding was being well-spent?

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