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VDS 2010: An Expanded Race Calendar?

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Just a quick update on your favorite subject. Next week we will roll out some of the VDS materials. I am not sure we will finalize the rider rankings, though that's in process. But we do plan to roll out the race list. Some conceptual items you should know about:

  • It's a much, much longer list, though it's in the editing process and I'll listen to comments too. But... it's approximately twice the number of races!
  • The next rule change is that most of these races are going to be scored in a new sixth category. [Some may be cat-5, and some of last year's cat-5s could be downgraded.] In cat-6 the points would only go to the top five: 100-70-50-30-15. And 25 points for stage winners, where the cat-6 is a stage race.
  • The real rationale for this is not to revamp the VDS. It's to create a rider and teams ranking that's unique to the Podium Cafe. I have no interest in the UCI rankings, since they only cover races that the UCI gets along with. And while I have much love for all things Cycling Quotient, I take some issue with the fact that they score every race under the sun, so you wind up with, oh, say, French teams who do NOTHING on the international scene but fatten up their rankings with small-race wins all over France. I think we can do better by creating a ranking of all the races which are being contested by the top level teams and riders. And to do this, we have to recognize that wins in places like Le Samyn and Coppa Bernocchi are still wins. They're worth a few points.
  • The effect on the VDS shouldn't be too large, for one reason: you aren't going to win by cleaning up at Cat-6 races. There are too many of them, and the wins and points will be distributed all over Europe and beyond. By culling only the top-five and stages, it won't be very easy to predict what riders are even favored, save for the top sprinters. However! It will elevate the importance of picking the right bottom tier riders for your team. Leadout men and domestiques will be far less important than secondary protected riders. In this way, last year's VDS results won't be as helpful a guide as last year's CQRankings.
  • Mechanics... still up in the air. I want an application built into the site, but they ain't free. Stay tuned.

Like I said, details next week. For now, what do you think of the concept? I am pretty wedded to the idea of creating our own ranking, but hey, you can try to talk me out of it...