As some folks know, the PdC editors have a small VDS league of their own. In late February we picked teams in your basic snake-like draft format. Now we are at the halfway point (sort of) what with various national championships followed by the Tour...so let's looks at the standings, shall we?
Uh oh... This isn't going to go well. Top 22 and team by team commentary on the flip!
[Chris notes: This is a draft league, which means once a rider is picked, no other team can have him. Rosters are also only 12 players. Budgets don't apply. Anyway, these teams are smaller and thinner than a regular FSA DS team so the team scoring is on a totally different scale.]
So before getting to the highlights.lowlights, and predictions for each of you, a couple of comments are in order-
1) Notice that the girls among us are collectively doing much better than those people of that other sex. Only tgsgirl is holding them back from Total Domination (and majope, but just barely and until PhilGil gets his head over the handlebars instead of over his seat)). In light of that I attribute my 5th place standing completely on the fact that I have a girls user name and the VDS Gods are not that bright in knowing I'm a boy. And no doubt if Jen See had participated this year she'd be #1 with a bullet.
2) I do expect to see some changes by the end of the year. 2 Grand Tours yet to race make me say that.
3) Just to clear on the format, we have 22 players here and pone of us drew lots as to who would pick first. Once a rider is picked, no one else can pick him-so point totals here are much less than the normal VDS league. Majope picked first. Once we went through the first round, meaning everyone had picked, we reversed the order for round two: your basic snake format. Each subsequent round reverses the order of the round before. This should give an advantage to the Ed's who pick early as they get dibs on the top riders-and for the first three years of the leage that's been very much the case. This year is different though as you will see.
3) I don't have listed the full roster of riders for each team so if you have any questions about that, just ask.
What's good so far: 2nd round pick, Boonen, that's what. 1470 points there. Plus 5th round pick Pozzovivo (652), 6th rounder Westra (590).
Not so good: Really, Douglas is hitting on almost all cylinders. 1st rounder Greipel is a bit of a disappointment at 435 but there's a bunch of small shit races yet to come for him to rack up points: he scored 685 points after this time last year. #4 pick Hooter is only at 155. #3 Foogs is only at 100.
Commentary: we should be in awe of Doug. Not only was this his first time playing this silly game but he picked next to last! That's right-and no one who's picked near the end ever has done so well. That said, I say he won't hang on to the overall lead. If he does its because a) Greipel ups his game (possible) , b) Boonen discovers that he can sprint with the big boys (that ship has passed) and Westra & Fuglsang score big (maybe). But so far so good and a podium is looking like a lock.
What's good: 4th round pick Oscarito! 1000 points! 5th rounder De Gendt! 565! 8th rounder Henao! 320!
Not so good: T-Mart-just 355. Other than that there's no real complaints.
Commentary: Looking like a serious threat to take #1. T-Mart's production was slowed by injury and he's got those Olympic TT & Worlds TT to look forward to. That's 700 points right there within reach. De Gendt should place reasonably high in the Vuelta. Other riders (#3 pick Nieve, #2 pick Chavanel, #6 pick Kessiakoff) should score points in various places. But my truly romantic pick is for Oscarito to bag a walk off Worlds RR (he wins the Worlds then retires). That would be so cool.
What's good: 1st rounder J-Rod-1867 & 4th rounder Albasini-666.
What's not so good: 2nd rounder Froome-273. 3rd rounder Galimzyanov….
Commentary: Drew is scoring exactly to form: 3rd in the standings after picking 3rd overall. Can he move up a spot or two? Honestly, it's hard to see it. I mean J-Rod could well score another 1000 but its hard to see where any more major point hauls will come from. Horner? Nah. Froome? Nope. He's too busy taking care of Wiggo. Losing his 3rd rounder Galimdoperov is a blow. 6th rounder Robbie McEwen is retired.  On second thought, I'll give Drew a decent chance to move to #1. He does have J-Rod. He needs Albasini to continue to be overlooked in breakaways and he needs Horner to win a race or get into the Tour and pull out a couple of his good TT's. It will be interesting...
What's good: Susie is the only one so far to have all her riders score. 4th rounder Vanendert-560. #2 Kreuziger-741 11th rounder Demare-355 and #10 Beletti-150.
What's not so good: #3 pick Petacchi looks like his career is running on fumes, just waiting to join Robbie on the sidelines. 5th rounder Viviani: is he gonna get serious about road racing?
Commentary: I haven't yet mentioned 1st round pick Cadel Evans here who like J-Rod is looking at a good 1000+ points, easily, unless he gets injured, and he could be pushing 2000 total when all is done (Worlds RR? He and Gerrans should lead the Aussies)-and he's at only 475 now. Susie could push for #1 if Evans and Vanendert and Viviani all score big.
What's good: 2nd rounder Ballan 1048 points. 6th rounder Terpstra-745. 5th rounder Rui Costa-637.
Not so good: 4th rounder David Millar is a total bust. What was I thinking?
Commentary: Note that I haven't yet said who my #1 pick is. Can you guess? Can. You. Guess? OR DO YOU NEED AN ACCOUNTANT TO HELP YOU?????????? FUCK YEAH I'M LOOKING TO MOVE UP A FEW PLACES. HAHAHAHAHAHA (Skip looks menacingly at the rest of you.) So I figure Levi will do better than expected at the Tour since a few of the big TT guys are holding back for the Olympics plus he has Utah and Colorado to look forward to. Costa should get some more points.
Good: 1st rounder Wiggo-1120, #3 pick D Moreno-375, #4 pick Poels-355, 11th rounder Duarte-230.
Not so much: Pretty solid team here….2nd rounder Visconti is light at 365. Of course some of the bottom feeders here would LOVE Visconti on their team.
Commentary-Tiff is looking to make a major challenge to #1. She's got Wiggins who is looking to bust 2000 easily but to get over the top she's hoping for points from 5th rounder Intxausti in the Vuelta too. Hopefully Duarte returns from Colombia to race. Visconti and the likes of Bozic, Poels and Co. scoring some wouldn't hurt either. Did I say she picked 16th? Kudos.
Good: Another nice solid-across-the-board team. 2nd rounder Cunego stands out with 840 points. Van Hummel, 11th rounder at 215 is nice too.
No good: 3rd rounder Kruijswijk has only 40 points and missing the Giro is not such a great idea. #5 pick Dumolin is holding at 70.
Commentary. Ted picked 17th so he's also over performing. His main hopes going forward are Cunego, Big Bird Mollema and Cruise Ship. Nice trio. He should hold his place in the standings.
Good: 1st rounder Nibali-a very quiet 1065 so far. 2nd rounder Mick Rogers-640. 8th rounder Niocentini-450.
No good: 3rd rounder Txurruka-0 points. (Really? 3rd round?) 6th rounder Oliver "hey! I won Lombardia! I'm going to Disneyland!" Zaugg-0 points.
Commentary: Nibali will get 2000+ points this year. He's a threat at the Tour and Worlds RR. 5th rounder Moncoutie will win the Vuelta KOM prize. Other folks will score but not majorly. You could move up a few spots. A podium finish is available.
Good: 3rd rounder Degenkolb-785 points. 2nd rounder Uran-595.
No good: 7th rounder Geniez-0 points. But really Tony's team is running as close to form as you could reasonably expect: the early round picks are scoring and scoring more than the later round picks. No one else is quite like that.
Commentary: First it's gotta be said that Tony not having Oscarito seems like a crime. That said, this team could move up quite a bit if #1 Valverde (400 points) rounds into shape-and his Suisse tour seems to show that. The Worlds RR sets up nicely for him too. Degenkolb should get his points and the same with Uran.
Good: 1st rounder Peter Sagan.
Bad. Well not bad but meh: 2nd rounder Marcato-225. 3rd rounder Benna-345, 4th rounder Hayman-150.
Commentary: Looking for a drop. Why? It's Sagan or bust. No Grand Tour hopeful or even long shot and starting now you need one or two of those stage racing climby types.
Good: 1st rounder Cav 900 points, 7th rounder Fedrigo-240
Poor: 2nd rounder JJ Rojas-122, 5th rounder Wegmann-100, 6th rounder Navardausomething-78.
Commentary-Stronger team than its current placing suggests. Cav has the Tour and Olympics RR to look forward to. But he's been getting beaten kinda regularly. Is that because he's holding something back or have the other top sprinters started to catch up with him? We'll know soon. #3 pick Van Den Broeck could also do some Tour scoring what with his improved TT abilities. Seems like JJ Rojas should start scoring too. If Cav & VDB come though, this team will move up.
Okay now we are hitting the bottom half of the league...
Good: 3rd rounder and Giro winner Hesjedal-1011. 8th rounder Cataldo-192.
Not so good: 2nd rounder Cobo-Zero
Commentary- Marvin's team here could finish strongly but…I just don't see it. Cobo needs to seriously contend for the Vuelta and…no I just don't see it. Hesjedal will get some more points but being a domestique in this Tour is gonna tire him out for the late season races. Bummer. There's Chris Anker-a Tour KOM threat? No particularly good sprinters. I'm not too hopeful.
Good: Scratches head... #12 Jonathan Tiernan-Locke-135 points!
Commentary- Marlys. Yeah, no one expected the #1 overall pick to be winless so we can't fault you there. He should score over 1000 by years end but that's not what you were hoping for. Looking at the other picks…maybe Jani could surprise in the Tour, but then how many years have we been saying that? Hey-you'll always have Slovenia. #2 Boom (365) and #3 Haussler (250) are your basic 13rh place riders. #12 Jonathan Tiernan-Locke will next ride…the Tour of Britain! (But to be fair, he's done his job.)
Good: 3rd runner Pippo-700. 8th rounder Kristoff-190.
Bad- 1st rounder Leukemans-60. 2nd rounder Farrar-298.
Commentary- Leukemans missing the Ardennes is a big blow. And Farrar…got the slows, man. And 4th rounder Bling is not yet A-class sprinter Blingy. And it was nice that Guardini blew the doors off Cav on that stage in the Giro-but where has he been otherwise? It just feels like this team should be better than it is…no bad picks-they just haven't performed. No serious climby guys here. Jim picked last so overall he's doing quite good.
Good- 3rd rounder Sep-490.
Bad-More like a big sack of Meh.
Commentary-It does look like Bobo is rounding into form and Pinot and Moser are bright talents for the future-on someone else's team-next year. But, yeah, picking Devo cursed you and your spawn for the next seven generations. Sorry bud.
Good: 1st rounder Tommy TV-860. 12th rounder Ghyselinck-120.
Poor- 3rd rounder Bole-25. Basically all the mid-round picks.
Commentary-You should move up a couple of places with Voeckler (but is he out of the Tour?) and especially 2nd rounder Kittel-370 points and a couple of Cav scalps. Top half of the table is possible.
Good: 11th rounder Dookie: 210. Wish he'd lay off the heroin.
Injured: 1st rounder Cancellara-685, 2nd rounder Nuyens-0.
Commentary- The Team Most Hurt buy um Hurts. As in injuries. With Cance and Nuyens missing so much quality races this team probably left a good 1000 points in the hospital and those 1000 points would have put you, Chris, in the top 8 or 9. But even if Nuyens won't score a point this year, Cance is back and 3rd rounder Gerrans should have some races that look to fit him nicely.
Picked 18th Note there are rumors that Sui did not actually pick his picks as he was off in Kenya or Silver Spring or somewhere and that Jimbo picked for him.
Good- 7th rounder Betancur-330 points.
Bad- 6th rounder Rujano-60, 3rd rounder R Feillu-160, 4th rounder Kloden-0. (Really? You picked him?)
Commentary-Your 2nd half of the year should easily beat your 1st half. #2 pick Daniel Martin always do totally be taking names at the Tour even if he doesn't make the podium again. 5th rounder Roelandts looks to be rounding into form after his injury, Betancur, the best rider on the worst team, will score some in the late season Italian stage races. I sure hope he gets a real team soon.
Good- So far I've done my best to find good things to say to everyone. Chris, you are trying my patience boy.
Meh- 1st rounder EBH who will NEVER EVER reach his potential with Sky-230. 2nd rounder Breschel-365: let's hope he goes back to Riis next year.
Commentary-Hey! You have the ENECO Tour to look forward to with EBH!!!! 3rd rounder Anton should do well in the Vuelta to keep you in the top 20-or fizzle like he did last year. Um, um, um..Kreder sure looked good at Tour Méditerranéen didn't he?
Good: 4th rounder Van Der Fletcha did what he always does-525 points.
Bad-Um, Andy Schleck anyone? The only 1st round pick who actually has raced to not score a point this year. There are some other underperforming riders here but none compare to the big gaping orifice of suck that is Andy.
Commentary-2nd rounder Matty Goss was in retrospect a gamble being on a new team. That gamble did not pay off as his lead out train just did not come together. It will be interesting to see what they do to improve that next year. Taaramae should pick up some points going forward but it will be nice if he changes teams and gets managed better. Andy should score too but won't, though it would be cool if he really could rally for the Vuelta.
Good- No one really. Scarponi was kind of a disappointment at the Giro. A whole lot of meh here-and that's the good news.
Bad- 2nd rounder Thor-60 points.
Commentary- Fun fact! Blez' 7-12 rounders have scored a combined 0 points! In order of rounds that's Kvachuk, S Clarke, Hincapie, Leo Bertagnolli, Henderson, and Pietropolli. Take a bow, men. Is there anything to look forward to for the rest of the year? Maybe if Hushovd rounds into shape. Or Scarponi could come back and do a better Vuelta. Not seeing to much...and I'm looking at YOU Rolland, Danielson, and Vandevelde. Maybe Tejay could pull a surprise in Colorado. He just seems to get so nervous, you know?
Good- Hey! This last place team isn't a total dumpster fire! 1st rounder Sam San's got 991 points already. 9th best score overall. #5 Bos has 230.
Bad- The rider with the third most points-#2 pick Denis Menchov-has 25. Oy vey.
Commentary-This team has Vino-a 3rd round pick,Menchov-a 2nd round pick, Roche-a 9th round pick, Langeveld-a 4th round pick, Karpets-a 12th round pick. I feel sorry for Samu. Very sorry. He's on a team that's like…those recent Steely Dan tunes that don't sam to have any melody or notes or anything at all.