With the season finished it’s time to look back at the wins and how the teams fared, 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?
Plenty of races were postponed this year from the summer to the autumn, but many were sadly cancelled. In the last three years the World Tour teams have scored between 460-470 wins between them. For 2020 the total is 286, implying roughly 40% fewer race days.
Deceuninck-Quickstep top the tables just as they have done for the last eight years. They had 39 victories with Remco Evenepoel as their most prolific winner contributing eight, remarkable given he spent much of the season in rehab following his Lombardia crash but testimony to his versatility, he can win on the flat, against the clock and new for 2020, in summit finishes. The team’s model is established, they live for the spring classics and aim for a maximum of victories, they don’t target the overall classification in the big stage races and if a young rider looks like GC potential he’ll go elsewhere for a bigger contract.
UAE Emirates are second and took the biggest prize with Tadej Pogačar’s Tour de France win, he was their most prolific winner too. House sprinter Fernando Gaviria has struggled twice with the coronavirus this year but still landed five wins. They’re a big team near the top of the table yet sometimes it’s hard not to see the old Lampre team underneath. This memory should fade given the focus on recruiting talented new riders but they’ve not rushed into the market to bolster Pogačar’s chances next year, only hiring Rafał Majka and they’ll count on riders like Brandon McNulty to keep improving.
Jumbo-Visma come next and this time it’s thanks to Primož Roglič. A grand tour contender? Certainly but a winning machine as on his way he collects all kinds of stages, he often wins mountain stages out of a small group and time trial stages alike. The Dutch team has a constellation of stars but many have shot up in value so retaining them when their contracts expire and the end of next year is a pressing issue. Can they afford to keep Wout van Aert or would it make sense to give up on bunch sprints and let Dylan Groenewegen go elsewhere? It’s as much a strategic decision as a financial one, arguably the former should drive the latter.
Not long ago that the Bora team looked like Peter Sagan’s entourage bolted onto a modest Pro Conti team but Bora-Hansgrohe barely need the Slovak. Pascal Ackermann is establishing himself as one of the world’s best sprinters and must fancy a crack at the Tour de France soon while the squad is packed with talent for stage races. Paris-Nice winner Max Schachmann is now one of the best riders in the world, albeit a touch forgotten for he missed out on the resumption of the season after breaking his collarbone.
Groupama-FDJ are a surprise fifth, thanks to Arnaud Démare who finishes the year as the rider with the most wins. The story is paradoxical in that he decided to stop going for the classics and focus on his sprinting but has done this so well you wonder if he shouldn’t have a go at the classics because in races like the Tour de Wallonie he was beating the likes of Caleb Ewan one day, Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet the next. They’re a French team but resemble Italian teams of old with a clear leader surrounded by a phalanx of helpers, when they went to the Tour it was all-for-one behind Thibaut Pinot, in the Giro for Démare. David Gaudu will be crucial next year as he emerges from a support role. Atilla Valter is a good signing from CCC.
For Ineos there are wins and wins. Winning each of grand tours in the same season still looks like the big target but nobody predicted they’d have won the Giro with Tao Geoghegan Hart but come up short with Egan Bernal in the Tour and Richard Carapaz in the Vuelta. Filippo Ganna was their most prolific rider, he won all this time trials this season except for the San Luis stage on road bikes in January when Evenepoel won They’ve made some big signings in Adam Yates, Richie Porte, Dani Martinez and Tom Pidcock is one to watch, as much to see how he combines his love of racing with the corporate world of Ineos. But how to win those grand tours? Bernal’s got long term injury challenges, Thomas is a Tour contender but no certainty, ditto Carapaz. All this makes 2021 more interesting.
EF Pro Cycling had a great season with stage wins in all the grand tours and Dani Martinez taking the Critérium du Dauphiné and we got the Hugh Carthy of old in the Vuelta, or rather delivering on the promise from his Caja Rural days. The interesting thing is what comes next with the signing of Hideto Nakane linked to the arrival of new sponsor Nippo, a Japanese construction company and Rigoberto Uràn’s as yet unannounced two year contract extension which is linked to incoming Colombian sponsorship and the establishment of a local development squad.
Team Sunweb has been mocked as a high end development squad among the World Tour but they’ll like that, particularly when Tiesj Benoot took a great Paris-Nice stage win, Marc Hirschi is winning Tour stages and they placed two riders on the Giro’s podium in Milan. If anything the question is why only 16 wins as they can pick off a lot of smaller races but the pandemic’s partly to blame. Signing Romain Bardet is interesting, he’s thrown everything at the Tour de France before and it’s worked when he’s landed on the podium but when it hasn’t it’s consumed the whole season. He’s 30 and has only seven career wins, this should change soon.
Mitchelton-Scott‘s biggest triumph was escaping the Manuela Fundacion farce. The team could never have fallen into the hands of an almost unknown businessman from Andalusia, but the surprise is that the takeover talks went so far. In the wake of all of this they’re still reliant on benefactor in Gerry Ryan but haven’t been able to keep Adam Yates although in comes Michael Matthews.
Astana are another team with backroom difficulties and reports of unpaid salaries before the pandemic had been declared. The funding from Kazakhstan is drying up and so existing sponsor Premier Tech has stepped up, and behind the scenes stock in the team’s managing director, the Belgian Yana Seel is rising while general manager Alexander Vinokourov value is falling. It means the team is struggling to hold onto its riders with Miguel Angel Lopez said to be joining Movistar and Aleksandr Vlasov has apparently already signed with Ineos for 2022 but he’d surely like to move soon given his new contract could well have another zero on the end. Still it was a decent season for them with Jakob Fuglsang landing Il Lombardia and two Tour de France stage wins thanks to Lutsenko and Lopez.
Lotto-Soudal are on 12 with seven from Caleb Ewan who has arguably been best sprinter in the world for the last two years. He delivers when it counts. Tim Wellens is back to winning ways and so too was John Degenkolb. The squad’s made a mid-season announcement that it’ll be focusing on bringing on more youth riders and they’ve signed seven neo-pros for 2021, plus a 22 year old and a 24 year old and it’s bound to have an effect as riders find their feet.
A quiet season for Trek-Segafredo, they’re never the most prolific but injuries and illness hit them hard. They’ll take great satisfaction from Richie Porte’s on the Tour podium. Mads Pedersen delivered three wins, is he a sprinter? Arguably not but there’s a scale that goes from, say Ewan to Démare to Kristoff to Pedersen, what the Dane lacks in pure speed he’s got in brute force at the end of a hard day’s racing. They’ve not been shopping much but neo-pro Antonio Tiberi looks very promising.
Israel Start-Up Nation bought their way into the World Tour for one dollar late last year when they acquired the Katusha team’s UCI licence. The problem was that it was too late to buy new riders so the entered cycling’s top tier with a second tier roster. Harsh, but they’re the paraphrased words of co-owner Sylvan Adams. They did well with Hugo Hofstetter winning Le Samyn, Alex Dowsett a Giro stage and Dan Martin a Vuelta one. The biggest thing they did all year was sign Chris Froome, a big gamble given the way he was riding prior to signature and now given the way he’s been riding since. Even if the Dauphiné crash had never happened Froome’s 35 and for a “start up nation” they’re old assets like Michael Woods and Daryl Impey.
Bahrain-McLaren looks like a pot of money in search of a purpose. Launched with great pomp at the McLaren “Technology Centre” earlier this year, they had the assembled media cooing about Formula 1 collaborations but less than a year later McLaren’s sponsorship is in the bin and they only landed two World Tour wins thanks to Jan Tratnik in the Giro and Ivan Garcia Cortina in Paris-Nice. They’ve signed Jack Haig for next year, a good rider but not prolific either.
CCC rescued the old BMC team but only just and while the team’s new backer was Dariusz Miłek, a former cyclist and long-time benefactor of Polish cycling, his corporate colleagues cut back on the marketing budget and the men’s World Tour team ends. Of the nine wins, six came out of the Tour of Hungary and Josef Czerny’s Giro stage win was the biggest. The licence has been bought by Circus-Wanty but it feels like a paperwork deal rather than a takeover, they get the UCI licence but not much of the roster.
NTT have had a tough time and now the top sponsor is pulling out. It’s been an awkward case study, projected as “Africa’s team”, they’ve looked more Scandinavian of late and tried some Moneyball-style signings. Domenico Pozzovivo was a good example, he recovered from injury to have a very good Giro. Giacomo Nizzolo was their best rider, a string of sprint wins starting Down Under, then Paris-Nice before the Euro and Italian championships but he’d crash out of the Tour de France. There’s talk of a rescue deal but each day seems to bring a story of a new rider leaving and if they ride into 2021 the odds are as a demoted ProTeam.
Ag2r La Mondiale are often in the breakaway but rarely on the podium. The squad’s had five wins and thanks to Nans Peters, the Tour de France stage win they crave. Romain Bardet’s move to Sunweb creates a vacuum that will be filled by classics contenders like Greg Van Avermaet and Bob Jungels but whether this pair can win much is debatable but combined with Oliver Naesen they’ll be interesting to watch. It can often take a couple of years for star riders to co-operate in a race but GVA and Naesen are training pals so a bond is there already. Marc Sarreau could be a clever signing, he’s not going to win World Tour sprints galore but could harvest victories in the smaller Coupe de France races to get them on the scoreboard. Ben O’Connor should help too.
Cofidis have had a torrid time. You know the story by now, they haven’t won a Tour de France stage since Sylvain Chavanel in 2008. They moved up to the World Tour for 2020 and signed Guillaume Martin and Elia Viviani but have just two wins to show, stage wins for Anthony Perez’s in the Tour du Var and Attilio Viviani in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo, both 2.1 status races in January and February. Elia Viviani had ten wins last year but zero here, a hard crash in the Tour Down Under wrecked things and he never quite got his mojo back. Guillaume Martin was close but kept launching his sprint too early, perhaps the guy to play poker with? But it’s not all about wins, on his day Martin can hang with the best in the high mountains and the team has a solid leader to build around… something he knows and been public about calling for team management to improve.
Movistar are joint-last. In 2016 they were third on the scoreboard, now they had fewer podiums than Cofidis but they landed a World Tour win thanks to Marc Soler in the Vuelta so you can say winning in their home grand tour saved the season. It’s been a transitional year for the team after the exodus of half their squad – 12 riders – including Nairo Quintana, Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa and replaced by younger riders, the majority aren’t Spanish speakers. Forty-something Alejandro Valverde finishes the season without a win which is a first since 2011 or 2003 depending on whether you count a year when he was banned or go back to his first season as a pro. It still looks like a long term project, Ivan Garcia Cortina is a good signing but the biggest signing for 2021 is Annemiek van Vleuten and just in time for the Olympics too.
This chart shows the reliance of teams on one rider for their wins. It’s most notable at Groupama-FDJ and Lotto-Soudal where house sprinters Démare and Ewan while the high percentages on the right more reflect the low level of wins all round. Deceuninck-Quickstep win a lot and a lot of them win, 15 of the squad’s riders took a win.
This chart shows the distribution of podium places with gold for the win, silver for second and bronze for third. Jumbo-Visma beat the odds, they win rather than place while Sunweb had a good year but it could have been better as they were often so close to more wins.
- Methodology: wins are in *.1 races and above and when the rider is wearing riding for their team, eg Julian Alahilippe’s Worlds win is counted as a triumph for Deceuninck-QuickStep. Put simply wins count for a team when a rider is wearing their jersey. Ancillary prizes like points competitions, mountains jerseys don’t count.