I am eternally optimistic that anyone cares what I have to say about cycling and FSA DS. So here I go spouting out into the ether. If you are undecided about the riders in the Double Restricted and Restricted categories then here are my opinions about them. Perhaps a voice other than your own inner chimp will help you decide which if any to choose. Or perhaps you will decide that I am the outer chimp and completely Disregard me.
This Started getting long so I decided to chop it at the 30 pointers. My pencil is pretty sharp at this end. These guys are the cream of the crop and mostly proven performers. They do however cost a bundle, so they need to have solid years just to pay off. In order to be good investments they must have monster years.
Ratings will be out of 5.
Joaquim Rodriguez: Past and future winner of anything that ends in a steep ramp. Loser of any race with a TT. The man rides all season long. Rides 2 GT's a year. Rides the Ardennes Classics. Rides the Fall Classics. Wins and finishes well all year long.
What could possibly go wrong?
Katusha! His team is now pro-conti and subject to the whim of race promoters for invites. They have already been dis-invited from the Giro. J-Rod is only a Gamble if he doesn't get invites. If he is invited he will get his points. If not he will still get points just not as many.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Peter Sagan: What can this Wunderkind do? Everything.
- Green Jersey
The only thing that may be out of his reach is a GT win. He is young. He is only getting better. The big questions are... How much more can he win? Will he improve on his Cobble results? Will he do better in the Ardennes? Will he win the Green Jersey again?
At this price he will need to be almost as good as least year just not to suck. He will need to blow up and score like 3000 plus points to have a great season. Last year repeated will simply be a modest year for him. Ask your self this.... Do I think that Sagan will do better than last year? Will he get better at the cobbles? Will the Amstel finish change help him?
Rating: 4 Stars
Alberto Contador: Back from his "2 year" suspension for Clenbuterol. Scored 1560 points from August 6 to September 29. He races everything to win. He doesn't lose much. He will be the biggest impediment to Wiggo repeating 2012. Has a team of big domestiques, has Riis, will never give up. I don't care for him, but I get those who love him and the way he rides.
What are the downsides? Past doper. If that doesn't bother you than you might be worried that he is allowed to ride the Tour. Years he is definitely allowed to ride the Tour have not been his best FSA DS years. He has only ridden 2 GT's in years that he is not allowed to ride the Tour. He has only ridden after the Tour in years he hasn't been allowed to ride the Tour. If he rides the Tour his season usually ends there.
My guess is he wins his Tour prep races. Likely wins the Tour. Then shuts her down with about 2000 points. Could be he does more, but that is the most likely scenario.
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars
Phillipe Gilbert: Is he back to 2011? Will he take those rainbows and hand out a major dose of butt-kicking to the peleton again? His toolbox is full. He is a great puncher with the ability to hump over shorter climbs. He can sprint after a climb. He has punch after Monument length races. He has what it takes to win:
- All the Ardennes
- Paris Tours
- GT stages
- Various other hill/difficult Classics eg Strade Bianche, Gent-Wevelgem
At 32 the real problem is that he has to be on in all of these to pay back. If he is off form or unlucky in any of these parts of the season he is in FSA DS trouble. If he is consistently on form and there or thereabouts throughout the year he will be awesome. He has done it twice before, so we know he can do it. If you want to put your eggs in a proven classics basket that can produce all year, this is a great bucket. Chances are he is a massive point hauler again this year.
Rating: 4 Stars
Bradley Wiggins: PdC Rider of the Year last year. Had the Midas Touch. Won everything he raced. Some people think that he is already bored of winning the Tour, and has set his target a little lower this year. I mean how many times will you get to pin the #1 on your jersey during the Tour?
Yeah he is totally going to throw out the training plan from last year and give up his Tour defence before it starts. Team Sky are going to say " Hey guys I know we have last years Tour winner on the team, but we're going to send him to the Giro. Froome is good enough to beat Contador and Schleck. We know that Wiggo just doesn't have what it takes to beat those guys, and there is no way that Froome could possibly get injured or have a bad day at the Tour. So lets just put all our eggs in one basket." Me I just don't see it. If he lines up at the Giro I say Sky is mad.
FSA DS wise Wiggo is a bit of risk in that most of what he won last year is the same stuff Contador usually wins on his way to winning the Tour. Could put them both in a bit of a points pickle for the whole year. If both of these guys eat each others lunch all season their points will suffer. If Wiggo rocks again this year he might score another 2600 points. If he is pinched by Contador a few times, and doesn't win the Tour? 2000 is probably more likely.
At 30 points this makes him a bit of a risk.
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars
Alejandro Valverde: Back from his "Vacation/Suspension" in 2012 he had a hard time getting going early in the year. He still managed to put up 2000 points. What is in store for him in 2013?
- Well he can rock the Short Stage races
- Rule the Ardennes
- Win GT's
He will ride the Tour and likely the Vuelta, he will be on the go from the early season till the end. This guy is massively talented has a sprint and can climb. The only problem? Sagan and Phil Gil have come along and might eat his lunch in the classics. J-Rod may school him at the Vuelta. Valverde will not win the tour. Here there and everywhere he will score. Will he get enough to be 3000 and real value?
Possibly! Wow I love being decisive! With all his skills and his all year riding, with his likelihood of riding two GT's, and his proven ability to be the FSA DS top point producer. He could be a value at 30.
Rating: 4 Stars