Power Poll: After Act 1

Three races in. Three races wiser. Three races more confused. Let me give you a stern reminder that this is a poll of team strength, nothing else. We're not focused on individual riders here but what results the teams are capable of as a unit. Now that I have dutifully reminded you of this I can go on to tell you to promptly forget all about that nonsense. Welcome to the Cobbles Power Poll: The One-Man-Show Edition!

1. Cannondale ( Last poll = 5th⬆ )

A dominating win in Wevelgem and an almost as impressive second in E3. Sagan really is a one-man wrecking crew this year. Except he isn't really. His team that I have dissed before as his potentially fatal flaw has twice now turned out to handle the workload asked of them admirably. It's not that they are dominating races like OPQS at their best but they've managed the key jobs needed to put their juggernaut captain in a position to finish the jobs himself. In E3 they did the crucial bridging move to get Sagan back to the front after a poorly timed defect and on Sunday Maciej Bodnar managed to join Sagan in the break and provide all the relief-work his captain needed before the finale. Even the jaded Cuddles the Cobble couldn't help but be impressed.

2. Radioshack ( 10,5th ⬆ )
Spartacus. He's back. That is all. No really. That is all. Except Devolder is saying he's right on track for De Ronde and who am I to cast doubt on such claims?

3. OmegaPharma - Quick Step ( 1st )
It's not that Lefevere's boys aren't looking good. Chavanel, Terpstra, Maes and especially Vandenbergh have obviously all hit form as have helpers Stybar and van Keirsbulck. They just aren't getting much out of it so far. With Boonen somewhere in limbo they've either not shifted leadership to the right guys or those who should have stepped up haven't. If you ask Lefevere (who no one has ever referred to as "Cuddles" ) it's the latter of course. These no good bums aren't getting the job done. Will they from here on? Will Boonen be ready for the big tasks?

4. BMC ( 2nd )
The bigger the paycheck, the less results seems to be the theme for BMC so far. Greg van Avermaet and Daniel Oss have saved BMCs bacon but only just. Oss is going with the big boys while Thor is busy talking about his great shape that he just can't seem to mobilize in the moments when it matter most and Gilbert is busy with ....... not caring too much, not really finding his sharpness? I dunno? Of course if the two bigs can get the chips to fall into place on the coming two Sundays when it matters most to them, all else will be forgotten. I'm just not really feeling it right now. If that leaves the brilliant Oss with the window to continue to shine, I can't say I will mourn much.

5. Team Sky ( 4th ⬇ )
Team most likely to put four people in the top 10 in De Ronde.......... without even coming anywhere close to winning. That's what Sky feels like right now.

6. Katusha ( 3rd )
A calm week for Katusha but both Paolini and Kristoff are hovering around in the races. They still look like a danger unit to me

7. Astana ( New ⬆ )
Another team that looks good to pad the top 5-10 but perhaps not get the wins. Borut Bozic has been on fire, combining good racing-instincts with fast finishes and Maxim Iglinsky is showing the kind of power that still has Nibali waking up in cold sweats at nights. Writing Iglinsky off is done at your own risk, he has the Monument-Mullet.

8. Orica-Greenedge ( New ⬆ )
After a disappointing first classics season Orica have really gotten off to a more solid start this year. Both Jens Keukelaire and Sebastian Lengeveld have gotten into the deciding breaks this week. Indeed Langeveld looked the strongest of the bunch as Cancellara stomped off on the Oude Kwaremont. These guys are looking good for Tour of Flanders. If a little bland.

9. Europcar ( 5th ⬇ )
We laughed, we cried, we kept our fingers crossed and we sympathized as Thomas Voeckler lost out to the the chase and 7000 liters of lactic acid in Dwars door Vlaanderen. The pattern still holds, the green frenchmen are having some impressive races but the big wins elude them.

10. Vini Fantini-Selle Italia( New ⬆ )
Another one man show that merits mention. Oscar Gatto has hit a sweet run of form and showed impressive skills for the cobbles in Dwars. With some fast-men as well they could represent for Italy in DePanne and Scheldeprijs even if they get outmatched in the Tour of Flanders.

10 1/2. IAM Cycling ( New ⬆ )
Heinrich is back. Gloveless, in shape and swearing like a drunken (superfluous?) aussie sailor. He has some competent backup too so we may very well get to see him feature in Flanders and Roubaix. Who knew?

Dropped. Team Blanco ( 7th )
Vanmarcke is never going to catch up and Boom is back in the Rabo doldrums. Likely result sheet? Blanco

Dropped. Lotto-Belisol ( 6th )
The crying flahutes of Loto aren't having anything go their way so far. Roelandts punctures every five minutes and the others aren't much luckier. Unless Greipel snags Scheldeprijs or Bak sneaks in another "lucky" escape things are looking a bit bleak.

Dropped. Lampre ( 9th )
It takes a special kind of magic to be totally invisible while wearing fluoro-neon.

Dropped. Garmin-Sharp ( 8th )
Do I need to say anything? If Vansummeren hadn't been two and a half meters tall and towered over the rest of the bunch we wouldn't have seen them much in any of the races. Nuyens was the dud-gamble of this years transfer.season apparently and they lost their most promising guy Bauer in the scary crash in Dwars. I'm sure Farrar will make himself visible in some race somewhere, I'm just not that sure it will be in the next week or two?

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