With the racing taking a brief lull, time to tot up the wins by team so far this season.
Also a quick glance at the promotion/relegation standings, it’s early but a regular reader request.
UAE Emirates top the table with 11 wins, five of these from Tadej Pogačar. Juan Sebastián Molano got a surprise sprint win in the UAE Tour which probably counted for double as he won on the same day the Abu Dhabi ruler and UAE Vice-President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum attended the race. Plus even if Pogačar didn’t take his almost habitual GC win, Adam Yates took the big summit finish for them. Tim Wellens looks in great shape and has already got a win in the Ruta Del Sol. It feels an age ago but Jay Vine took the Tour Down Under. They look capable of winning on almost any terrain, the big test is how they line up behind Pogačar at the Tour.
Soudal-Quickstep are next. They’ve just had a great weekend with Julian Alaphilippe winning the Faun Ardèche Classic, Tim Merlier winning a stage of the UAE Tour and Remco Evenepoel taking the overall in the UAE Tour. And yet they were almost invisible in the Belgian openingsweekend. It’s interesting to see the team’s transformation to stage racing, the pivot to Evenepoel’s ambitions doesn’t exclude the classics but it can alter the focus, especially for a team whose identity has been so closely linked to results in March and April.
EF Education-Easypost are the surprise starters with 10 wins already, that’s more than they got all year in 2022. Can they keep it up? Quite probably yes given Richard Carapaz is yet to get going, Magnus Cort can pop up anywhere and Neilson Powless is one to watch in the Ardennes. Still, it’s unlikely they finish the season so far up the victory rankings but they’ll look for quality, Carapaz to be a menace in the Tour de France.
Another surprise is that Jumbo-Visma are only on seven wins. They’ve taken six in the last week thanks to the dubbel in the openingsweekend in Flanders. The O Gran Camiño is “only” a 2.1 race but the team hit it hard, symbolised by Jonas Vingegaard sprinting for the opening intermediate sprint on the first stage. He won the overall by more than two minutes.
Six wins for Ineos and all from different riders, including Tao Geoghegan Hart with his first win since the Giro. Plus signing Thymen Arensman is looking dynamic already. They’re bound to keep winning, but as the biggest budget team around they’re held to high standards, a season without a grand tour win can feel like a missed year but with Egan Bernal still managing injuries that’s a tough ask, expectations need a reset.
Movistar are doing well. Sure it’s still not yet March but six wins is solid – they had two all year in 2020 – and it’s also the manner of the wins. New recruit Ruben Guerreiro is delivering already, Fernando Gaviria has a win and looks competitive and Matteo Jorgenson’s win in Oman achieved the alchemy of converting promise into a win, ditto Einer Rubio in the UAE. It was said Alejandro Valverde helped get the best out of everyone but it looks like they can turn the page as well.
Intermarché-Circus-Wanty have six as well and 15 podium places. 36 year old Rui Costa symbolises the management’s “Storage Wars” policy of bidding for old lots in the hope of being able to find something to restore to old glory, likewise for Lilian Calmejane and Mike Teunissen but this is only part of the story, the musketeers also have a win from 22 year old Biniam Girmay while Gerben Thijssen and Rune Herregodts should get results soon too.
Trek-Segafredo have five wins with two from Mathis Skjelmose, who is not the next Jonas Vingegaard but not far off, a similar build and style, right down to the ethereal pedal stroke. There’s a lot riding on Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven for the classics but the former especially can pick off grand tour stage wins if needed, and quietly Antonio Tiberi had a solid UAE Tour as he continues his progress although this morning he’s making the news for the wrong reasons.
Cofidis have a spring in their step this year, none more so than Bryan Coquard who got his first World Tour win in the Tour Down Under, his next challenge is to keep on winning into spring and summer. The team can race on several fronts with Axel Zingle for cold wet classics and Jesus Herrada for sunny days in the hills, Guillaume Martin in the mountains. Their challenge is that big win, they can be strong in smaller races and win from breakaways but how to win a big race front the front group? They’ll take heart from last weekend’s riding where Anthony Perez took a classy win in the Faun Drôme Classic with a solo move that was underpinned by Victor Lafay and Guillaume Martin, he could go clear in part because rivals were wary of the latter pair.
Bahrain are only on three wins, they should be on more and it’s not just a pun about their “Victorious” team name, no they’ve had 15 podium places already this season so keep coming close to the win. Jonathan Milan looks ever-more important to them, he can win sprints and more for them. Looking ahead it’s also a crucial season for Jack Haig and Gino Mäder, both full of talent but how to find opportunities in grand tours when your first name is not Tadej, Remco or Jonas?
Three wins but the glass looks very much half-full for Jayo-Al Ula. One win in the Tour Down Under “at home” with team leader Simon Yates making the trip worthwhile, another in the Saudi Tour from Dylan Groenewegen which promotes the same tourist resort as the team’s eponymous co-sponsor. Plus another in the UAE Tour on the World Tour calendar. So far it’s typical “Greenedge” as the team is good at targetting wins and delivering.
Arkéa-Samsic are up into the World Tour, now they want to stay there. With Nairo Quintana a distant memory the team’s switching its focus to bringing on young French riders. This could be a crowded field with both Ag2r Citroën and Groupama-FDJ vying for the same role; these two rivals are more open to hiring established foreign riders but also have bigger commitments to developing young riders via their feeder teams… something Arkéa-Samsic doesn’t even have because the budget’s right. Anyway Kévin Vauquelin’s got them two wins and he can deliver more.
Team DSM are on three as well. The youngest team in the World Tour, the hard part is going to be scoring wins, there’s a lot of promise but converting this into wins is hard. If anything three wins is good because they’ve had just four podium places this season, the lowest of all the WorldTeams but at least the conversion to wins is solid. Still in Sam Welsford they’ve got a very solid sprinter, he’s one for the flat dragster finishes but already showing big power and the ability to rub shoulders, literally, with the best sprinters in the world.
Bora-hansgrohe are the surprise underperformers, just one win thanks to Sam Bennett in San Juan. They’ve had fourteen podium finishes so far this season which suggests they’re hardly struggling. Matthew Walls and Jordi Meeus can bring more sprint wins but the team looks built for the hilly stage races to come. Max Schachmann, Lennard Kämna, Bob Jungels, Sergio Higuita, Jai Hindley and Aleksandr Vlasov can each deliver plenty.
Ag2r Citroën never score high, they don’t go big for sprinting and are a team more focussed on the summer stage races. That said they’ve invested big in the spring classics over the years after spotting this is where to earn beaucoup points to keep in the World Tour. But here they’ve scored rather than won. Just the other day team manager Vincent Lavenu said “when our sponsors pay big amounts, there’s a duty to get the results” in a broadside aimed at Greg Van Avermaet. But this can be turned the other way, why is management spending big sums on a 37 year old rider who is by all accounts a consummate pro and all-round good guy but his win rate was declining even at BMC, let alone CCC, and that’s before Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel ate his lunch.
Astana are still struggling, much like last year. Simone Velasco got a decent win for the team. Mark Cavendish is the marquee signing and by all accounts happy with his debut but his story is one of quality over quantity, he doesn’t need ten wins in 1.1 races, just one stage win in the Tour de France although a win or two along the way are probably necessary steps for confidence. Cees Bol came with Cavendish but isn’t an automatic lead-out à la Mørkøv or Richeze, he’s built for the classics as well and can score and have his own chances. Samuele Battistella is a quality rider but an infrequent winner, he’ll at least score UCI points for the team.
Groupama-FDJ have won with Stefan Küng, a win that’ll give them and him some cheer given the number of times he’s been runner-up and with the “show me who you’ve beaten and I’ll show what kind of rider you are” French idiom, well he beat a quality field in the Algarve. The team rely on Arnaud Démare for a lot of their wins but he usually takes a while to get going, if he can be prolific wins in February and March are the exception. The team have been fielding Paul Penhoët for sprints and he’s probably overdue a rest or just a shot at some 1.1 Coupe de France sprints where he might land his first win.
Alpecin-Deceuninck are the only winless team now. It’s too early to say the team has problem but they’ve completely missed the opening phase of the season. Yes it’s Mathieu van der Poel’s team so once he’s in action, they’ll win soon enough… starting this Saturday with the Strade Bianche? But in recent years they’ve done well without him, there’s been a lot more to the squad and as a World Tour team that’s what they need. There still is depth with Jasper Philipsen leading the way; only he crashed in the Omloop. They’ve got a lot of sprinters and having lost Jay Vine are even more made for the flatlands although Quinten Hermans should be handy in the hills.
- What’s a win / methodology: *.1 UCI wins and higher. Wins count when a rider is representing their team, so a win in a national championship is counted; but not if a rider is racing for their country or joining their development team for one race.
Promotion / Relegation Watch
Two months into a three year cycle we shouldn’t extrapolate too much from the standings but readers have been asking about the standings so see for yourself, the red line separates the top-18. The chart illustrates the troubles for Astana and Alpecin-Deceuninck, it’s not just a lack of wins but points in general. Teams in red are second-tier ProTeams and you can see Lotto-Dstny are riding high and guess who it’s thanks to… Arnaud De Lie of course with 657 points.
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Despite the great weekend for Soudal-QuickStep, Lefevere was far from satisfied with the Het Nieuwblad and KBK performances, “I didn’t return from Rwanda to witness that!”. Anyone else would have beeen delighted with Alaphilippe and Evenepoel. Maybe the classics squad can redeem themselves today in the Samyn which should suit and with softer opposition.
Given cycling’s history, criticism from team management sometimes makes me think “Must try harder” could also mean “push the limits”.
Quickstep’s sponsorship is still dependent on local VIP and marketing in Belgium, it must be sore for management when they’re not performing in Belgium; we’re still waiting to see if the Giro will get broadcast in Belgium on public TV (it’s on Eurosport but there’s talk maybe Evenepoel means it will).
Lefevere will be even less happy now with his team unable to place a rider in the Samyn top fifty (though they were unlucky with crashes)! When did that last happen?
” Given cycling’s history, criticism from team management sometimes makes me think “Must try harder” could also mean “push the limits”. ”
Given cycling’s history, teams manage doping more often than not, so the above – albeit potentially true in some team (generally smaller) which outsources the whole process – very rarely makes any sense.
If history has anything to teach at all (no, it hasn’t, of course, barring the fact itself of having nothing to teach), we might rather look at those teams which more or less suddenly can show notable performances throughout a series of different riders, maybe even overperforming when compared to their recent profile. Generality of good performances, be it as a captain or on “domestic duties”, plus a sense of general rise in athletic potential can be decent hints of “pushing the limits” in a structured way, which is what matter the most in terms of altering competition. But since it’s all wild guessing, why bothering?
As a novelty, would it be possible to include Pog in the ranking point tables?
Not as high as you think, Jay Vine has the most points for UAE this year on 697, Pogačar is on 405.
Best points scorer this year is Pello Bilbao on 699.
I would have thought it was Costa at #1. He’s won and been podium I feel like every race he’s been in. I wrote him off. 🤦🏻♀️
Close, he’s on 648 points this season.
(as an explainer there are UCI rankings for riders but they’re on 12 month rolling basis, here we are counting points earned so far this season)
Who was the highest scorer among riders last year? Was it Arnaud De Lie? Despite differences in the style and class of the races, both Pog and De Lie are close on points so far. It will be interesting to see how this evolves later in the season.
De Lie did well but the likes of Vingegaard and Pogačar just scored so much more.
The points system has been changed and they stand to score even more now as well.
top 10 at the end of last season:
# Rider Team Points
1 POGAČAR Tadej UAE Team Emirates 5131
2 VAN AERT Wout Jumbo-Visma 4525
3 EVENEPOEL Remco Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 4402.5
4 VINGEGAARD Jonas Jumbo-Visma 3154
5 VLASOV Aleksandr BORA – hansgrohe 2484
6 DE LIE Arnaud Lotto Soudal 2268
7 KÜNG Stefan Groupama – FDJ 2180
8 KRISTOFF Alexander Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux 2099
9 VAN DER POEL Mathieu Alpecin-Deceuninck 2003.7
10 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team 1996
UCI individual points leaders last year were Pog (5131), WvA (4525), and Remco (4402.5). De Lie came in at 6th with 2268, which is pretty amazing considering the vast majority of those points were from .1 races.
“Points” effect!, can make you laugh sometimes, even stronger at this time of the year when you have WT races like TDU or UAE Tour which aren’t really worth Vuelta a Andalusia. But that’s fine, so with different motivations we can have several decent races, and Ruta del Sol doesn’t look at all in danger. Probably Algarve suffered a bit more, but still they’re healthy. I’m more worried for Milano-Torino, right now, but it’s RCS’s fault, nor the UCI’s nor is it about the point system.
If we go down one level, there are three ProTeams that keep company with Alpecin – Deceunick:
Israel – Premier Tech, Caja Rural – Seguros RGA and Euskaltel – Euskadi
Not many surprises there; Israel is doing well in the UCI points ranking largely thanks to Simon Clarke’s podiums,
Bolton Equities Black Spoke and TotalEnergies are the winningest ProTeams, but alas, the former’s 7 wins come from New Zealand and the latter’s 5 wins from Gabon and Rwanda.
Antonio ,,il Gatto” Tiberi eek
Intermarché-Circus-Wanty seem to be the “Moneyball” style team of pro-cycling (which means the management must be really good)
The “Remco” effect at QS seems to be dissipating the classics team whilst Jumbo’s strength makes it more apparent. Alaphilippe needs a return to former glory days, or they could quickly become like Froome-era Team Sky.
Upcoming Paris-Nice should give us a clearer picture of the team strengths of UAE & Jumbo V.
Since sky’s inception in 2010 its 10-3 to quickstep in terms of monuments.
I meant that QS could become like Sky in regards to concentrating so much on GT’s that the classics side suffer.
“Storage Wars” – just perfect INRNG
Enric Mas seems to have kept his late season form and was the only one to try to take the fight to Pogacar at the Ruta. Would have bumped one of the BV guys off the podium but for a mechanical — but also like BV, he’s not named Tadej, Remco, or Jonas.
Hope he keeps up the good form – he’s actually the old guy (at 28!) and needs to up his TT-ing (although he’s lucky in that respect this year at the Tour) but could well podium at the Tour.
I have been interested to see what Dunbar can do for Jayco but he keeps on not starting!
Broken something, hasn’t he?
Fractured a hand at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana after crashing on stage 1 according to
According to CN, UAE pulled Pogacar from Strade Bianche to train for the TTT at Paris-Nice. Looking at the map and profile, I understand why. It should be really quick – weather permiting.