FanPost

Pat McQuaid's Math and the New Top 17

Earlier today, tgsgirl posted a fanpost based on a Pat McQuaid interview where he talks about new ideas for a Team Ranking system that takes into account not only the overall points earned, but also the "quality of the 15 best riders." Presumably, the "quality" would be determined by Pat and his friends.

In the same fanpost, tgsgirl took a funny shot at BMC. I laughed, but then thought, are BMC really a one-man-show? I think they are. I know tgsgirl thinks they are. But what do the maths says?

So, I hastily threw together a spreadsheet that looks at the three different ranking systems, all based on UCI's official rankings as of September 13, 2010. Big disclaimer. I know that the UCI rankings are ridiculous and in no way a good indicator to determine team strength. But, it is what is used, so let's not debate that aspect of this exercise. Here are the three ranking systems I analyzed.

  1. The UCI's Team Rankings
  2. The UCI's Team Rankings for only the Top 100 Riders
  3. The UCI's Team Rankings for only the Top 100 Riders weighted to favor teams with multiple scorers

The goal of this exercise was to look at some of the factors that may go into Pat's decision on who he thinks the Top 17 teams are.

1. The UCI's Team Rankings

1. Astana with 980 points
2. Rabobank with 898 points
3. Team Saxo Bank with 851 points
4. Team HTC – Columbia with 765 points
5. Garmin – Transitions with 758 points
6. Team Katusha with 750 points
7. Liquigas-Doimo with 730 points
8. Bmc Racing Team with 657 points
9. Omega Pharma-Lotto with 641 points
10. Team Radioshack with 621 points
11. Caisse D’epargne with 616 points
12. Lampre-Farnese Vini with 511 points
13. Cervelo Test Team with 464 points
14. Euskaltel – Euskadi with 450 points
15. Sky Professional Cycling Team with 435 points
16. Quick Step with 312 points
17. Androni Giocattoli – Serramenti Pvc Diquigiovanni, with 243 points

Who's out: The French - Ag2r, Cofidis and BBox all miss out on racing next year

Who's bad: Milram and Footon. Both these teams are bad. I mean really bad.

2. The UCI's Team Rankings for only the Top 100 Riders

1. HTC
2. Rabobank
3. Astana
4. Saxo
5. Liquigas
6. Garmin
7. Katusha
8. Radioshack
9. BMC
10. Caisse
11. Omega
12. Lampre
13. Cervelo
14. Euskaltel
15. Sky
16. Quick Step
17. Androni

The Maths: Each team gets to keep the scores from the top 100 riders, not the UCI's current 255 point-scoring riders.

This modified ranking is where I start to veer from Pat. If his dream is to look at the top 15 riders from each team to determine the "strongest" teams, I think he's more insane than we all think he is. No team has 15 strong riders. In fact, only one team has 10 "strong" riders. My definition of "strong" is a rider who in the top 100 of UCI points scored.

Surprise, surprise, surprise: HTC dominates this ranking system like they do the road. They have 10 riders scoring in the top 100, ranging from Greipel to Monfort.

Movers and Shakers: Taking into account just the top 100 riders, the biggest movers and shakers are Astana and HTC. HTC jumps three spots from fourth to third, and Astana drops from Bert's spot on the top step of the podium to third place.

3. The UCI's Team Rankings for only the Top 100 Riders weighted to favor teams with multiple scorers

1. HTC
2. Rabobank
3. Liquigas
4. Radioshack
5. Astana
6. Garmin
7. Saxo
8. Katusha
9. BMC
10. Caisse
11. Omega
12. Lampre
13. Cervelo
14. Euskaltel
15. Sky
16. Ag2R
17. Quick Step

The maths: Each team gets to keep the scores from the top 100 riders. Then, I multiplied this number by the total amount of riders that scored points in the top 100 for their team. So, HTC had 1,139 points by my modified UCI top 100 rankings, and they also had 10 riders score in the top 100, so that gives them a score of 11,390. Make sense?

Was tgsgirl right to bag on the BMC Boys? No! Sorry tgsgirl, for I too have no issue bagging on BMC. But in this case, it is unwarranted, as they are the 9th strongest team according to this way less than scientific ranking. How did they get to be the ninth best team? Mainly on the back of Cadel, but they also had help from four other riders.

Astana-shing fall: In the three tiered ranking system analyzed here, Astana goes from first to third to fifth. With Bert exiting at the end of this year and Vino a year older, it will be tough for Astana to stay in the top 10 next year.

Gas rises to the top: Just as Astana falls, Liquigas rises, jumping from seventh to fifth to third. This is why I think my maths work. It's clear Liqui is one of the strongest teams in the peloton. They deserve to be third place, not the UCI's current 7th.

All you Lance haters, suck it! The most surprising thing for me about this whole exercise was how well Radioshack fared. They had eight riders score in the top 100, which only four teams did (HTC, Rabo, Liqui and the Shack). That in itself is impressive. Even more impressive was their top scoring rider, Chris Horner, has 216 points, which is low when you look at the other top teams' top scoring rider. What it means? Radioshack has diverse riders that were selected as part of a well-rounded team where everyone contributes, everyone gets the chance to win, and there are no superstars. Ha! Maths don't lie people. It is what it is.

Sexy-less back: They are Astana with cooler jerseys, dropping from third to fourth to seventh.

Huh? I really thought Caisse would shine under my newly formed system. Not really. They started out average and ended slightly less than average.

For Shame: Sky has been dreadful this year, but Quick Step should be taken out back and put down like Old Yeller. Boonen and Chavanel have been their only two scorers, and due to injuries, they haven't score much.

So there you go Mr. McQuaid. I have done all the work for you for next year.

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