Time to take a minute to see how our favorite teams are doing this year. And what better way to do this than with numbers!
The table below has two columns:
1) The left hand column is where the teams ranked after the first third of the season-after the Frankfurt race. At that point the spring's one day races were done.
2) The right hand column is where they rank now, after the middle of the season's big stage races: Romandie-Giro-Dauphine-Suisse-Tour with a little Dunkerque, California, and Austria thrown in for fun. Plus National Championships. Can't forget those!
Like always I break the table into a couple parts because it's so freakin' long. 76 teams long. The table you see below is for the Big teams, with some random commentary to follow on the break. Then we get the Little team table with no commentary at all. Kinda reminds me of Thanksgiving dinners when the whole extended family got together and no table was big enough for all of us so the kids sat at the little table. Anyways, to the rankings!
Table 1-The Parents Table
|2010 Post-Frankfurt Rankings||Points||2010 Post-Tour Rankings||Points|
|1. Astana||2513||1. Saxo Bank||5993|
|2. Saxo Bank||2506||2. HTC-Columbia||5031|
|3. Katusha||2130||3. Astana||4786|
|4. Rabobank||2089||4. Liquigas||4354|
|5. Omega Pharma Lotto||1790||5. Rabobank||4292|
|6. HTC-Columbia||1755||6. Katusha||3760|
|7. Caisse d'Epargne||1734||7. Garmin||3300|
|8. Cervelo||1725||8. Radio Shack||3199|
|9. Garmin||1705||9. Cervelo||2805|
|11.(tie) Sky||1620||11. BMC||2690|
|11 (tie) Liquigas||1620||12. *Lotto||2660|
|13. Euskatel||1480||13. Caisse d'Epargne||2510|
|14. Radio Shack||1460||14. Lampre||2380|
|15. Quickstep||1370||15. Quickstep||2335|
|16. BMC||1215||16. Euskaltel||2165|
|18. Bbox||895||18. Bbox||1810|
|19. Acqua & Sapone||880||19. Androni whatsit||1488|
|20. Lampre||850||20. AG2R||1385|
|21. Androni||753||21. Milram||1302|
|22. Topsport||710||22. Cofidis||1235|
|23. Milram||642||23. Topsport||1100|
1. Saxo Bank- 5993
Big fish: 1) A Schleck 1360, 2) Cancellara 1347, 3) F Schleck 810
Commentary-Well if this is their last year as a recognizable unit, then they are sure going out in style. But they are doing it a little differently than is usual for them. For several years, Saxo/CSC (along with Columbia) was either #1 or #2 with the number of riders who either won or who placed high in one race or another. Normally they would have almost all of their roster tasting success in at least one race if not several. It was the "Everyone Wins" approach to running a team and definitely it was a contributing factor towards the high morale on the team. But this year is different. Here are the top 5 teams so far:
Team___# of riders who have earned VDS points
5. (tie)Saxo Bank------15
5. (tie) Sky---------------15
Basically Saxo Bank has moved somewhat away from the approach where every rider is given a race (or several) to target and towards teams like Astana, Acqua & Sapone, and Radio Shack where the team's leading riders are supported by the domestiques. Now neither approach is necessarily better than the other. That must be said. I am just noticing a possible change in philosophy by Riis. We'll have to see more years to see if this really is a change in philosophy. But looking at their roster, it's hard to see any of the so far non-scoring riders scoring before the year's out.
2. HTC-Columbia- 5031
Big fish: 1) Cavendish 740, 2) Rogers 672, 3) Pinotti 543
Commentary-Remember, this is a transition year for these guys. Remember, they lost EBH, Henderson, Hincapie, Kirchen, Lofkvist, and Possoni from last year's team. And still they are not out of the running for the best team of 2010, while still having almost all of their roster including all those new guys score points, as that table just above shows. Bob Stapleton has a well-oiled machine with clear goals.
But it is a transition year. The team hasn't incorporated the Velits brothers very well yet. Lars Bak has also not had the debut most people expected. They also found out that Mick Rogers no longer is a real Grand Tour rider, though he's still a good smaller stage racer. Albasini, Sivtsov, and T-Mart have had sub-par years. Monfort is dissatisfied reportedly. Bert Grabsch is starting to run on fumes. Plus Cavendish had a poor first half of the season.
So imagine then being told on March 1st of this year that not only were they losing EBH, Henderson, Hincapie, Kirchen, Lofkvist, and Possoni, but Grabsch, Martin, Albasini, the Velits's, Cavendish, and Bak were all gonna perform below expectations, and that Greipel would seize up in his chance to lead the team at the Giro, and you'd have to be thinking that the team was going down the tubes. But here they are with Van Garderen winning the Dauphine, Pinotti being competitive at the Giro, Goss winning Giro sprints and Philly, Rogers being very competitive in one week stage races, Eisel winning Gent-Wevelgem, Rabon winning Murcia, Greipel pulling out a Giro win among others, and Cav finally turning it on at the Tour. That's the thing about having a deep team and correctly targeting races: one or two or five or ten stars can leave or have subpar years and the team still wins.
3. Astana- 4786
Big Fish: 1) Contador 1996, 2) Vinokourov 1282, 3) M Iglinsky 685
Commentary-As of this moment Contador still hasn't re-signed with the team. But even if he does, I still wonder what the long-term holds for these guys. Its like this: you have three parts to this team. You have Bert and his mountain domestiques. You got the young Kazakhs. Finally you got a motley collection of decent vets: Iglinsky, Vino, Grivko, Gasparotto, Davis, Bazayev, Pereiro, Fofonov, and Stangelj. If Bert stays, and however long he stays, this is how this team is gonna look: three parts. But if/when Bert leaves, and eventually Bert will leave, then what will happen? Vino will eventually retire and any chance of the team going on will depend on him becoming the DS. That's plausible.
But those young Kazakh's which make up a full one-third of the team: when are they gonna ever start producing results? Some of them look like decent domestiques (Dyachenko at least) I would think that the money guys back in Astana will eventually want a Kazakh successor to Vino in order to keep funding the team. But I don't see one of those on the horizon, do you? To me this is the most interesting thing about this team and the answer is not at all assured.
Oh-and here's the downside of have a star system type of team. If Contador doesn't race the Vuelta, this team will go down in the standings.
Big Fish: 1) Basso 956, 2) Nibali 736, 3) Kreuziger 620
Commentary-Back to that table under Saxo and we see that Liquigas is right behind HTC with the number of scoring riders with 21. What's amazing about that stat is that if doesn't include a) Jennifer Grey who hadn't scored before he got suspended-and the team is still supporting, b) Fred Williems, who won the Driedaagse de Panne in 09, and c) neo-pro Elia Viviani who won a stage at the Tour of Turkey. Then you see the other non-scores so far this year (Koren, Bellotti, Vandborg, and Paterski) and its possible that all of their riders might score before the end of the year. Basically this team is stuffed to the gills with talent, including young talent with 13 riders 25 or younger. Let's see...
Pro-Tour teams with the most riders born in 85 or later, with points earned this year and leading rider:
3. Saxo------10-2410-A Schleck
Every other team has at least three fewer kiddies.
Comparing the teams here, Liquigas has more riders scoring than the others with 10. Saxo's and HTC's points are mainly earned by their top man. Garmin has a bunch of kids that they are very slowly easing into races while Footon is throwing riders at a wall, hoping some of them will stick.
Big Fish: 1) Gesink 773, 2) Menchov 760, 3) Freire 596
Commentary-Yeah I didn't explain Rabobank's presence in that kiddie list under Liquigas. As is well known, Rabo has a Grade-A youth system. Have for years now. The question for the team is how to shape the kids with outsiders into an effective team. Obviously that's easier said than done and the possibility of adding Matti Breschel in the winter with Lars Boom objecting to that possible acquisition, brings that question to the foreground. How good are these kids? Do they just need more time? Or is there no real replacement for Oscarito say, or someone who has the strength and sprinting combination of Breschel. Should they give up on Nuyens so soon? I have no idea. Maybe Chris can enlighten us on this team's future-and if it makes sense.
Big Fish: 1) J-Rod 1160, 2) Pozzato 664, 3) Kolobnev 480
Commentary-The acquisitions of Rodriguez and Kolobnev have more than compensated for Ivanov's slump (last year: 830 points. This year: 65). And while Kirchen hasn't worked out, the team has the resources to pursue the likes of Menchov. (As an aside, I am a little surprised that they didn't get Visconti. But maybe they will do some serious picking of Caisse's dead carcass. Get some of J-Rod's old teammates.)
7. Garmin Transitions-3300
Big Fish: 1) Farrar 1135, 2) Hesjedal 840, 3) Millar 350
Commentary-Garmin has to be really happy coming out of the Tour. Yeah, Farrar crashed out (and CVV too) but Hesjedal's Tour basically confirmed his career slow ascendancy: every year he has gotten better. Farrar has done the same. Long term, this is the template for their kiddies: slow steady growth. While the kids are given time, Farrar and Hesjedal will hold the fort along with a motley assortment of vets. Next year I'll bet we see the kids competing more.
8. Radio Shack-3199
Big Fish: 1) Horner 935, 2) Brajkovic 659, 3) Machado 300. Lance, Levi, and Andreas are 4,5,and 6.
Commentary-The top Geezers so far this year (riders born in 75 or earlier):
1. Vinokourov (36) 1282 points
2. Horner (38) 935
3. Petacchi (36) 930
4. Garzelli (37) 480
5. Hammond (36) 425
6. Hincapie (37) 380
7. Armstrong (38) 290
8. Sastre (35) 275
9. McEwen (38) 275
10: Leipheimer (36) 270
Big Fish: 1) Hushovd 945, 2) Hammond 425, 3) Haussler 290
Commentary-Still the best Pro Conti team, it has been a difficult year for the sophomore team as most of they're returning riders declined from last year. Seriously. Only Hammond has had a better year and yeah, the year ain't over but look at these riders and tell me where they are gonna get a whole lot of points to equal their production last year:
Rider............…last year......this year
I am not saying that the riders all suck. Obviously injuries played a big part in the team's decline. But age has too. They did pick up a couple good riders last winter in Tondo and Bos; I think they need at least two more good riders next winter to keep the team strong. Cancellara would look great with a big E on his back, but a descent stage racer would be even nicer.
Big Fish: 1) Flecha 785, 2) Hagen 400, 3) Henderson 260
Commentary-The Tour's just ended and so the hype of Brad Wiggins as a Grand Tour riders has crashed and burned. I say that's a good thing and its time now to get on with making a great cycling team. Probably that's gonna take longer than the management would like so the big question for these guys is how much patience do they have? This isn't a particularly young team as just seven riders were born in 85 or later o they need to honestly evaluate what they have at present and then go after/steal what they are missing.
So what do they have? IMO:
- One major young talent in Eddy Boasson Hagen.
- A couple of good second line riders in Lofkvist, Wiggins, Flecha, and maybe Gerrans. Maybe Swift too.
- A bunch of hard men/domestiques. A lot of them actually. They make for some impressive trains five kilometers away from a bunch sprint finishing line and are good in awful weather in the Belgian springtime.
What they don't have:
- A Grand Tour GC contender. Duh.
- A Grade-A bunch sprinter
- Very good mountain goats though maybe one or two of their kids might develop into such.
So they have a lot of work to do in reshaping the team so that it can compete in races that it wants to compete in. It's my opinion that the success that Sky has had this year has been due to the innate talents of a few of its riders, rather than management devising winning training programs, strategies, and tactics. But that's okay as the management is brand new to road racing. Next year they don't get such an easy pass.
Big Fish: 1) Evans 1630, 2) Hincapie 380, 3) Burghardt 145
Commentary-It's just plain old hard to build a team from scratch. (Yeah, BMC existed before this year but not with the ambitions the team now has.) Just look at Sky and BMC; Katusha and Cervelo and see how often these teams hit and missed with high level acquisitions:
Evans-Basically the same rider as he was last year with Lotto: 1908 points last year; 1630 points this. Basically the world championship is the difference and if Cadel can come back and win Lombardia then the team got what they hoped for.
Ballan-210 points last year in an injury filled season. This year? 50. Plus there was that weird doping investigation that came up with nothing.
Hincapie- 222 points last year; 380 this. A good buy.
Burghardt-545 points last year; 145 so far this year. Been injured some. Meh.
Kroon-590 points with saxo; 80 with BMC. Fail.
Analysis: They bought seasoned vets; only one of whom (Burghardt) is younger than 30 and could be with the team in oh four years. They basically have to go out and buy some more as most of the rest of the team is filler.
Wiggins- the Great White GC Hope.
Hagen- declined this year due to injuries. Should be a great investment in the long run as this is the rider you want to buy.
Flecha- cobbles hardman. 33 years old so this year is probably the best year he'll give to the team. Winning Het Niewsblad was worth it.
Lofkvist-seemingly forgot about him; big decline in production pending the Vuelta.
Henderson-decent steady C-class sprinter
Gerrans- bought this career good domestique of his career year and will pay for it until the contract runs out.
Everyone else is a domestique type.
Analysis: As I said above, the management needs to figure out what kind of riders they want. But it will be hard as they now know that their management techniques are shown to be no better than their competitors.
2009: Bought two dopers in Colom and Pfannberger. Ivanov was a good buy; Karpets was a wash. McEwen was injured most of the year and is no longer a top line sprinter when he was healthy. Pozzato was a very good buy.
2010- Kirchen didn't pan out even before he git his heart attack. Ivanov declined too. But J-Rod and Kolobnev were excellent purchases. Karpets held steady; McEwen had a little left in the tank. Pozzato remained strong.
Analysis-Deep pockets managed to find some excellent talent while really missing with a couple of guys.
2009: Hushovd was a good buy; Haussler was a steal. Sastre was okay but looked old.
2010: Tondo and Bos look like good low key buys. Sastre looks very old. Haussler was hurt and Hushovd battled through injuries.
Analysis-I don't know their money situation but they need an injection of talent still. They got lucky the first year and as that luck evened out they declined.
Good buys-7- Hushovd, Rodriguez, Evans, Kolobnev, Pozzato, Bos, Flecha
Decent- 4-Karpets, Hincapie, Tondo, Henderson
We'll see- 3-Burghardt, Lofkvist, Ballan (These guys should move up in category)
Not so good-5-Kroon, McEwen, Kirchen, Gerrans, Wiggins
Bad, bad, bad-2-Colom, Pfannberger
Big Fish: 1) Gilbert 1345, 2) Van Den Broeck 455, 3) Lloyd 280
Commentary-So basically they replaced Evans with a younger, and slightly less talented version of Evans. That's called treading water, though really VDB for Evans was a good trade-off for this team. Plus they got a good domestique in Moreno. Now can they actually improve? Maybe Greipel can help.
13. Caisse d'Epargne-2510
Big Fish: 1) Lulu 590, 2) Arroyo 570, 3) Rojas 355
Commentary-Valverde was still on the books for the post-Frankfurt power poll so it is remarkable to me that the team is as highly ranked as it is while losing Valverde, his 1300 points (would have put them at #6), and his leadership/stifling of the other riders on the team.
And make no mistake: this is a seriously talented team, even if most of them were squashed by The Green Bullet. If this team is falling apart then these rider's agents must be logging serious phone time right now because so many of these guys could fit in nicely with so many teams. Does Rabobank want to replace Menchov with a stage racer/time trialist who can be a good second to Gesink? How about Lulu? Want a road captain/chronoman and probably cobbles guy if ever given the chance? Ivan Gutierrez should fill your needs. Mountain goats a need? Arroyo, Soler, Cobo... hell we got dozens! Or maybe you want to aim higher and get a possible GC leader for the future? Uran or Costa? Shop quick or they'll be gone! Or go the other way: a young sprinter who would probably fit nicely on the cobbles: say hel-lo to JJ Rojas (he's only 25!) I could go on but you get the picture: this team is a mother lode.
Okay I have no more patience for writing blurbs about the rest of the teams. If you want to fill in the blanks please do. Meanwhile the rest of the table:
Table 2: The Kiddie Table
|2010 Post-Frankfurt Rankings||Points||2010 Post-Tour Rankings||Points|
|24.Landbouwkrediet||615||24. Acqua & Sapone||990|
|25. Francaise des jeux||570||25. Francaise des Jeux||960|
|26. CSF||495||26. Ceramica Flaminia||720|
|27. AG2R||480||27. Landbouwkrediet||675|
|28. FLM||390||28. CSF||655|
|29. Skil Shimano||305||29. Skil Shimano||585|
|30. ISD||280||30. Carmiooro||545|
|31. De Rosa-Stac Plastic||215||31. ISD||485|
|32. Footon Servetto||195||32.Footon Servetto||380|
|33. Boubet-Siper||180||33. Tabriz Petrochemical||350|
|34 (tie) An Post Sean Kelly||170||34. Saur Sojasun||345|
|34 (tie) Saur Sojasun||170||35. Giant Asia||300|
|36. Xacobeo Galicia||160||36. Barbot Siper||280|
|37. Bretagne-Schuller||130||37. An Post Sean Kelly||270|
|38 (tie) Miche Pro Cycling Team||110||38. United Healthcare||260|
|38 (tie) Carmiooro-NGC||110||39 De Rosa||215|
|40 (tie) Roubaix-Lille Metropole||100||40. (tie) Atlas Personal||200|
|40 (tie) Cafe de Colombia etc.||100||40 (tie) SP Tableware||200|
|42. Burgos 2016 Castilla y Leon||80||40 (tie) ISD Continental||200|
|43 (tie) BigMat Auber 93||70||43. Roubaix Lille Metropole||190|
|43 (tie) Seoul Cycling Team||70||44. Xacobeo Galicia||160|
|45. Drapec-Porche Cycling||55||45. Bretagne Schuller||130|
|46 (tie) Tabriz Petrochemical||50||46. Geumsan Ginseng Asia||125|
|46 (tie) Jayco-Skins||50||47. Andalucia-CajaSur||120|
|46 (tie) CEP||50||48. Miche||110|
|46 (tie) Vorlberg Coraltec||50||49. (tie) Scott Marcondes||100|
|50. Palmeras Resort Tavira||30||49. (tie) Amore Vita||100|
|51 (tie) Adria Mobil||25||49. (tie) Centro Ciclismo||100|
|51 (tie) Asian Racing Team||25||49. (tie) Jelly Belly||100|
|51 (tie) Fly V Australia||25||49. (tie) Laborika||100|
|51 (tie) Geumsan Ginseng Asia||25||49. (tie) Madeinox Boavista||100|
|55. Azad University Iran||15||49. (tie) Mroz||100|
|56. Team NetAPP||10||49.(tie) Nippo||100|
|49. (tie) Partizan Srbija||100|
|49. (tie) PSK Whirlpool||100|
|49. (tie) Zheroquadro||100|
|60. (tie) Rock Racing||80|
|60. (tie) Van Vliet||80|
|60. (tie) Burgos 2016||80|
|63. (tie) BigMat Auber 93||70|
|63. (tie) Seoul Cycling||70|
|65. Drapac Porsche Cycling||55|
|66. (tie) Cafe de Colombia||50|
|66. (tie) Jayco Skins||50|
|66. (tie) Vorarlberg Corratec||50|
|69. Fly V Australia||35|
|70. (tie) Jamis Sutter Home||30|
|70. (tie) Palmeiras Resort||30|
|71. (tie) Adria Mobil||25|
|71. (tie) Asian Racing Team||25|
|73. Azad University||15|
|74. (tie) CCC Polsat||10|
|74. (tie) Caja Rural||10|
|74. (tie) NetAPP||10|