"Predictive Value of Pre-FSA DS Races" Revisited


Or, JTL? You were kidding, right?

Waaaaaay back before the season began, the unicorns and I sat down and tried to figure out whether pre-FSA DS races had any use in picking a team. The conclusions, roughly were:

Elites (riders costing 18+)

Recommendation: Don't pick your elites here.

Money quote: They may or may not do well in early season races, but it’s really not going to predict their performance later.

Result: Boy, was I wrong. In the past, this category has had mixed results. This year, of the 4 elites who occupied early-season podiums, the very worst (Tony Martin) returned 84.17 points per point spent. Together, their average return was 100.08. The average elite rider? 76.4

Upper Echelon (riders costing 10-16 points)

Recommendation: Iffy, but takes a lot of judgement--and/or luck. In the years I looked at, this category did about 12% better than average.

Money quote: The trick is distinguishing between, say, vintage 2010 Oscar Freire, who podiumed twice and returned over 104 points per point spent, and 2008 Graeme Brown, who also podiumed twice and earned nada, zip, bupkis that year.

Result: There were only 3 riders in this group: Boonen, Gerrans, and Farrar. Together, they did better than in years past...but the trick was distinguishing between Boonen (167.25 return) and Farrar (27.36).

Mid-Level Guys (4-8)

Recommendation: Some predictive value, but not a sure thing.

Money quote: You might do slightly better throwing darts at them than at the complete list of 4-8 pointers, but you’re still throwing darts.

Result: Yeah, pretty much. Again, as a group they performed better than average (75.5 return compared to 59.2), but individually it was a crap shoot. Costa? Huge return. Taaramae? Not so much.

Cheapies (1-2)

Recommendation: BUY.

Money quote: Hell, yeah! This is money, folks. Get ‘em while they’re hot, get ‘em while they’re cheap.

Result: Hope you bought. The 13 guys in this category would have cost you 17 points, and earned you 2917--a return of 171.6. Yes, there were two doughnuts. Yes, there are 1- and 2-pointers not represented here who would have done you as well or better--but then again, the average 1-2 point guy returned 41.9 points.

And Jonathan Tiernan-Locke? A 315-point return, suckers. Whitey was right!

Suppose you'd taken them ALL...

You couldn't. There were 27 guys listed, who together would have cost 171 points. But you could have taken 25 of them, and the logical way to make budget would have been to ditch one 18-pointer and one 4-pointer. If you'd done this, the very worst you could have scored was 14,182 points. That would have put you in 169th place.

But that would have entailed dumping Wiggins, and would you really have done that in a TT-heavy year? If you'd kept Wiggo and dumped one of the other 18-pointers, you'd have scored between 15,282-15,334 points, and finished in 88th-90th place. Not bad!