A look back at the victory stats for the year with a deeper dive the data and a look at how each team fared.
Deceuninck-Quickstep top the table again, as they have done for ten years now. In 2011 they tied with Team Sky and since then have won the most races each season, often by a large margin over the other teams too. Here’s their record over the past ten years:
Rating teams by the number of wins is just one metric, but it’s the one this team seem to opt for more than other squads, they’ll take any win anywhere. It’s precisely because they don’t go for the overall win in grand tours that they can bring sprinters, stage-hunters and more to the party. Mark Cavendish was their most prolific winner and 18 riders on the team won.
Jumbo-Visma are second and thanks to wins by Primož Roglič and Wout van Aert. House sprinter Dylan Groenewegen continues his comeback, if he can return to past form his biggest challenge will just be making the team for big races, a dilemma facing other riders on the up too, think Jonas Vinegaard and the team will want to find room for Tom Dumoulin’s goals too. Olav Kooij turned pro this year and is already a top sprint talent.
Ineos are third and the stage-race specialists. Exclude national championships and they only won three one-day races this year, all the other successes come from stage races. Bernal’s Giro win is an obvious highlight for them but they also took big titles like Catalunya, Romandie and the Tour de Suisse and each time with different riders (Yates, Thomas, Carapaz). Still the likes of Tom Pidcock and Ethan Hayter look promising for the classics and more but the big question still how to win the Tour, particularly beating Tadej Pogačar. Put simply Ineos is the strongest team with the biggest budget but they lack the best rider. For the sport as a whole that’s probably no bad thing.
UAE Emirates are fourth and it’s a half surprise. They’re a big budget team now and high profile but haven’t had a deep roster and Pogačar’s taken 40% of their wins. Recruitment this year looks to address some of this, arguably more than to support Pogačar with Pascal Ackermann likely to score but can he, would he make their Tour team? João Almeida is a bigger signing, he can cover stage races when Pogačar is resting and the two of them – arguably the best U23 riders in the amateur ranks before they turned pro – could work well together too.
Bora-Hansgrohe finish high but they probably hoped for more. Peter Sagan and Pascal Ackermann arguably didn’t have the season either wanted either, still both delivered and both are leaving the squad. It’ll be interesting to see where they finish next year as the squad looks to be turning more towards stage racing and the mountains with Jai Hindley and Sergio Higuita but they’ll count on Sam Bennett to score, and it’ll be a test of the “rider leaves Quickstep and doesn’t do as well” hypothesis. But Max Schachmann defied this idea, although he had a quieter 2021.
Bahrain were often victorious this year with Sonny Colbrelli a contender for revelation of the season. Collectively though the team still looks like a work-in-progress, a squad in search of a purpose and this is in part to the frequently changing management. Mikel Landa’s a grand tour contender of sorts, with Jack Haig a rising prospect now. The likes of Gino Mäder and Matej Mohorič can win grand tour stages. And in case you’re wondering, there’s no news on the police raid during the Tour de France.
Groupama-FDJ are next which is a surprise. They won plenty but just twice in World Tour races with Gaudu in the Basque Country and Küng in the Tour de Suisse which is why the wins might not be so memorable. They have three dedicated leaders in Thibaut Pinot, David Gaudu and Arnaud Démare but have some solid support, with new signing Michael Storer one to watch, his Vuelta wins were no fluke so we’ll see if he can repeat in a new environment.
It’s been a solid season for Trek-Segafredo. Jasper Stuyven took a prestigious Monument, and in Sanremo to the satisfaction of Italian co-sponsor Segafredo. Bauke Mollema took a Tour de France stage with a trademark solo attack and Vincenzo Nibali offered a parting gift with a win in Sicily. Antonio Tiberi continues his quiet progress. 19 wins is the haul from the men’s team and the squad is a model of integration with a strong women’s team that stands alongside.
The Israel Start Up Nation team is the pet project of Sylvan Adams and so has several vocations, one to promote Israel, another to bring on Israeli riders and perhaps Itamar Einhorn’s stage win in the Tour of Slovakia was a big deal than the result by itself? Dan Martin was the fittest of the Fittanze in the Giro (pictured) and retires on a high, this was one of three World Tour level wins for the team. Chris Froome remains their high profile rider but nowhere near yet to a victory but obviously scores on other metrics, a big name to bring interest in the team. The team had a lot of near misses, only DSM scored proportionally more second and third places than wins.
EF Education-Nippo by contrast had the best win rate from podium places, 44% of the time a top-3 position was a victory. Quality too with many World Tour wins but nothing in the Tour de France, not easy given only a few teams took wins of course. The team’s been busy recruiting and hunting for unloved talent, James Shaw returns to the World Tour and they’re reported to have signed Mark Padun.
Well Movistar did better than last year where the had only two wins. The team’s gone from a major presence in grand tours to a more eclectic mix. Miguel Angel Lopez delivered the marquee win they needed in the Vuelta and Enric Mas showed what he can do but can this include winning anew? Lopez is of course leaving and Ivan Sosa is an interesting signing, he made a name for himself as a 20 year old beating Lopez before signing with Ineos.
Astana are still around. Backroom battles over control for the team were arguably the biggest story for the team as co-sponsor and part-owner Premier Tech walked out. Alexey Lutsenko is the central rider, the cornerstone for the squad but still an unknown quantity, 7th in the Tour de France but with only one top-10 along the way. But they’re reforming the band of old with Vincenzo Nibali returning; and the pantomime villain team recruits Gianni Moscon too. The team should have more breadth so they can cover the classics and Giro with Lutsenko free for the Tour and other goals.
When doing race previews here sometimes there’s a suitable Cofidis rider for the day but invariably the “Cofidis discount” is applied, their chance reduced because the team just doesn’t win often. Elia Viviani is the example, a prolific sprinter, he landed five wins with Cofidis in two years. You could put this sort of thing in a meme but it’s more complicated, Viviani had injuries, the Olympics were always a big goal and their postponement meant two seasons with eyes on the track and once Tokyo was done he picked up. Still the only World Tour win was Victor Lafay in the Giro and oddly that day as soon as the break went he was a rider to watch. Christophe Laporte’s a big loss and it’ll be interesting to see if Bryan Coquard can win again while new signing Benjamin Thomas is one to watch.
Ag2r Citroën have changed a lot with new riders coming in but for all the arrival of classics riders, their best signing has to be climber Ben O’Connor and his stage win in the Tour de France and eventual fourth place overall. Andrea Vendrame got a Giro stage win, Clément Champoussin a Vuelta stage win too, a season of quality with Benoît Cosnefroy taking the Bretagne Classic too. It’s not a race win but Dorion Godon won the season-long Coupe de France title too. The tricky part will be repeating this success all over again.
In cycling managers rarely get sacked for poor performance because team managers are often the team owners too. Chez Lotto-Soudal though there’s been a staffroom clearout with some directeurs being shown the door. It looks harsh, you could have Machiavelli, Spinoza or Cyrille Guimard in the team car but it wouldn’t make up for a moderate budget. They’re heavily reliant on Caleb Ewan to the point where they probably need to support him even more to assure more wins. The season could have worked out very differently for them had Ewan not decked it in Pontivy early in the Tour?
At the start of the season Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert really didn’t look like a World Tour squad. But a small detail: they hired Aike Visbeek, previously a coach at Sunweb/DSM and well-regarded. With Giro and Vuelta stage wins they’ve beaten expectations.
Bike Exchange have had a tough time. Michael Matthews “homecoming” didn’t bring a win but he came very close, notably on the opening day of the Tour de France with second place to Julian Alaphilippe. There’s probably a maglia rosa waiting for him in Visegrad. Simon Yates had a great Tour of the Alps but came up against Egan Bernal in the Giro. The glass half-full version is the team are lucky to be on the road after last year’s messy Manuela muddle; the glass half-empty story is they’d just have hoped for more but have riders who are good but often bettered in the specialities by others elsewhere.
Team DSM is all about the process rather than winning which is fine when the victories happen as a result but when they’re not the mood must take a hit, Cees Bol’s Paris-Nice stage win was a rare victory until Michael Storer got to work at the Tour de l’Ain and Vuelta, where Romain Bardet got a big win too and banked a grand tour to set him up for 2022. Their busiest member of staff must be the employment lawyer on retainer as the squad keeps losing riders. This can fund the squad in part as they effectively harvest transfer fees but it’d only work if they can unload superstar riders for big prices.
Qhubeka-Nexthash are in last place and this hasn’t helped their search for new sponsorship. Assos got bumped by Nexthash on the eve of the Tour de France, even if the team said the latter was just the official cryptocurrency partner but apparently the bump bruised. Still they had a great Giro with three stage wins and showed canny recruitment can work, the likes of Campenaerts, Nizzolo or Schmid wouldn’t be at the top of any draft list but all delivered.
The chart above shows the mix of podium places. It’s more instructive for teams with lots of wins and results on the whole and shows which squads have managed the alchemy of turning potential bronze and silver places into gold.
That’s it for the World Tour teams. Missing is Alpecin-Fenix with 33 wins which would put them fourth in the rankings at the top if they were a WorldTeam. They’re not but get all the benefits without the costs. With Mathieu van der Poel they a superstar who can win big, including at the Tour de France but the rest of the squad’s successes tend to come massively from sprint finishes.