What is 660 you may ask? It is the average number of points each rider on your team will have to score, if your team is to score 16,500 points. This is a total that I think will be near the winning mark by seasons end. Why am I worried about the average score per rider? I write about it since, at this point, it is the only number that really matters.
Wait, why isn't it important to worry about individual rider scores? Since you did not pick an individual, you picked a team. Having picked Moser and Demare last year, I know it feels nice to pick some cheap over performers. The reality is that your team now rises and falls as a collective. A few wunderkind over achievers will not do you much good if your team is mired in mediocrity. It no longer matters how many of X value riders you picked, or how whether you have unrestricteds or not. All that matters is the average baby.
By way of example. In 2010 Jen Grey was the worst pick you could make individually. His Values bust meant he was a dogs nut for the season. Yet, despite this boat anchor, Albertina was able to ride a wave of points to second. In 2010 she had 10 riders average over 100 efficiency, with the smaller race schedule and the non-automatic promotion of WT races to top categories this is impressive.
Tgartner had Kolobnev and Greipel. Cost 36 points return 1612 points. That is not good by any stretch. His average, 526 points per rider. Good enough to top the table. As Ursula relaxed his iron grip on points and gave us all deluded senses of accomplishment, we saw mid table teams with averages around 490 points. In the new economy we shall be fortunate to see a team with 17,000 points by years end. That means that 660 is a reasonable end season average to look at.
Has 660 affected my team selection? Yes it did. I went with a few more riders that I thought could produce mid level returns, rather than banking on hitting home runs with every rider. I have taken fewer 1-2 pointers and even there not gone for the biggest prospects.
So how does my team look versus 660?
18 Points: Ryder Hesjedal
Any one who saw my write up on the restricted riders will have known that I am a crack smoking homer. I think Ryder has a solid chance to outperform last year. with a better idea how to manage his form for the classics I think he could do more than just put in a late attack in La Fleche. Even though the tour of Alberta failed to even make Cat 6 in the FSA DS calander I think that he will come off the tour building form through to that race, carrying forward to a strong end of the season.
I went completely off the rails in this category. I have deluded myself into thinking that I am able to pick the 5 riders who will out of the 19 do well. High hopes indeed. Oh the Hubris!
Young up and coming GC stud. All I need from his is reasonable progression. I can not afford regression. He has been given a big boy schedule and we shall see what he does up against the other big boys. My hopes are for a consistent season of moderately improved results.
Prediction/Realistic Assessment: 800-1000
A rider purchased for solid returns. I think he has a very reasonable chance of doing again what he did last year. I don't need or expect more, but I would not turn down exceptional returns.
Realistic Assessment: 700-900
Here is a guy I am banking on having a break out year. When not having a broken leg he has shown a consistent ability to turn in 1200-1300 point seasons. I think he will do that and more! Here is to Bobo being the ultimate prize!
Realistic Assessment: 1000-1300
Another rider I think can be a star. Hit with illness during his main goal for the year, I think he can go big this year and win many a sprint.
Realistic Assessment: 700-900
Sep Van Marcke
This is an uncharacteristic pick for me. He is a young classics guy. Not the kind I usually take. I think that he can stud up and be there or thereabouts all classics season. I think that he will most likely make a solid progression with a chance of breakout.
Prediction/ Realistic Assessment: 700-900
So having Jen Grey on my team once before and turn up an 18 point dog nut has not turned me off him completely it appears. I like the way he came on at the end of last season on a Shit Small Team. Back on a mid range team I think he can easily get his points.
Realistic Assessment: 500-700
I have not yet soured on Matti. Hopefully this is the year he returns to classics ace with a side order of all round goodness. If not well last chance to show yourself good Matti boyo.
Realistic Assessment: 400-600
Its all about progression baby. Give me a bit of exponential growth. This is one of those go for broke picks. I think that he is covered in rainbows and pixie dust, but what will reality show?
Realistic Assessment: 400-600
Mikel Nieve and Benat Intxausti
Young Basque GC guys. Good for 300-500 points with a chance of upside.
A not awesome, not young, yeoman of middling results. Was last year a fluke?
More Rainbows and Fairy Dust. Is on all three of my teams this year!
Tom Jelte Slagter
I had him last year! All you newbies can get off my lawn!
Everyone else is 2 points or less and a total crapshoot. I think Appollonio will Demare this year, and Boivin and Coquard as well. I think the Izzagire's are in for big things. I think that Veilleux and Parisien will improve. I hope Serebrayakov handles competing with the big boys. I believe Langevled can come into his own as a Cobble Classics man. Down here though it is all hope and supposition with a bit of research and preference thrown together.
Hope: 150 point average
Reality: 100 point average
Reality says I might hit 8550 or so, probably about mid table. If I hit a few winners to balance out the losers I could find my way into the top 150 again. If 8-10 of my bets pay off and my solid guys just stay solid I could win it all!
But it is all about the 660 baby!