FSA-DS. The Agony and the Ecstasy. Let's face it, ecstasy's overrated and very few of us are going to feel any all season long. So let's put on some sad songs, stare at the rain outside the window, wallow in the mudbath of despair a while longer like baby hippopotami, and share
The Riders We Should Have Picked ... But Didn't
Here are mine, some of them anyway, from the top down.
Double Restricted (24+)
None. Nil. Not one. They're all good. I picked one. Easy this lark, innit?
Er, no. No it isn't. Tombo is going to rip it up this spring, isn't he? But at least with him I can console myself that the pain will stop before Easter. Rui Costa though - that's going to be gut-wrenching all season long. He's canny and he just seems to find ways to win bike races. 22pts for a 2013 score of 1760. That's really not expensive. Ursula has gone into much detail on the possibilities of Rui's 2014 season. I can only hope he's called this one correctly.
I have Bert. The Godfather. I am calm.
I don't have Mini The Phinney. I am not calm. He has been given goals. He likes goals. He will score many times.
Der Pozzowagen, Spilak, Duran Duran, Roelandts and Nacer. At one time I think I had all of them on the team. And I only left off Kangert 'cos I thought he'd be shadowing His Nibs a little too closely to justify the cost. In the end I only took one of them and even he yo-yo'd on and off the team all month long.
After all, banking on OPQS' GC guys has always worked in the past ... hasn't it? ... Hahahahahahahahaha!
Wilco. Wilco. Wilco. I had Benat on the team for about 5 minutes; Moreno for about 5 days. But I thought Wilco was a lock. Nope. Binned in the final week. It's a cruel game this FSA-DS.
Simone Ponzi. Andy Schleck.
Gallopin' Tony Gallopin. Just couldn't convince myself. Dunno why. Dunno why not. It's his breakout year.
Where to start? I had loads of these pass through the various versions of the team. Only one was on from beginning to end without being cut at any time. Sebastiandeluded has a shed full of them and he knows which way the wind blows.
I settled on three. The wrong three. How do I know this? Because Bryan 'Shiner' Coquard will be sprinting for a host of teams again this year, but not for mine.
This is where the low-priced Italians start kicking in for the low-priced Italian races. But they're not on viddy so I won't see them, a bunch of unknown stagiaires will score at the autumn ones, and I've got a fistful of 1-2pt riders to have a shot at them anyways.
So, I give you ... Jens Keukeleire. Maybe it's just me that really likes him. Maybe he'll do absolutely nowt. But last fall, I said "Kooky, next year, 4 points, a steal." He's 4 points. He's not on the team. I contain multitudes.
I love this price-point. I could probably spend all February happily trying to compile a 75-rider team off this lot. Weird though that may be, I suspect I'm not absolutely alone in feeling that way down here at the Cafe.
Nine of them made the cut in the end. They include the ones you've all got as well. If there's two I regret, then they'd be Durasek of Lampre and Preidler of Giant. That's because I took the safe, conservative, boring option of Cunego and Ludvigsson off the same respective teams. Points or excitement? Cold, hard TT numbers or romance? I went for the numbers. So shoot me. Except there's really no need - my sense of shame and lack of self-worth is overwhelming already.
PS. Have Yannick Martinez of Europcar as a bonus. Just because. And as a little side bet that he has a 'better' season than his justifiably popular teammate, Natnael Berhane.
I ended up taking a few more of these than initially planned, and late in the month. So 'regret' might be too strong a word for those I left out. The regret is again probably more applicable to those I left in....
Over to You
When these guys come in absolutely nowhere then I will, of course, ignore them completely and pretend that I never, ever knew them. Or even make-believe that I always knew they were rubbish. But when they win - oh my, the wailing and the gnashing of teeth will be heard the other side of the Urals.
Which riders will you be eyeing nervously from here on in, biting your fingernails and muttering 'I knew I should have had him'?