If we’ve ever had a more exciting FSA Directeur Sportif competition, it’s news to me. Other years have been exciting, don’t get me wrong, but it’s all hanging in the balance again.*
[*Men’s competition. The women are done. I’ll talk more about the results once all competitions are completed.]
First, let me drop in the top ten from today’s standings. Some Cafe regulars in there...
- TH WHISTLER, Riding with Bigger Knobs, 19076 points
- Mur de Huy, Illes Balears - bala, 18861
- babayLOL, LA BEBERANCE MA GUEULE 2K16, 18273
- shawnm4747, Jesus, He's One Odd Christian, 18247
- Jan Ullrich, Mike Team, 18167
- holmovka, Stormbringers p/b variations of the f-word from their race…, 18145
- gravel road, The Donkey Hostel, 18102
- SophiesChoice, Merry Christmas, You Wonderful Old Building & Loan!, 17941
- Manuel8, KabindaPower - Windmill International - Macaco & Amigos LD…, 17935
- yeehoo, il vaut mieux pomper, 17929
That is an eclectic group. I think my favorite name has to be Sophie’s Choice, with extra credit for almost certainly assembling their team in December. The other really noticeable matter is how tightly grouped teams 3-10 are (3-12, actually, before things finally start to spread out), which says as much about the competition at the top as it does about the competition at the very top. For as much as you have these eight teams collectively breathing down each other’s necks, the top two squads are on another plane altogether.
Oh, and a month ago the standings were:
- TH WHISTLER, Riding with Bigger Knobs, 16501 points
- babay, LOL LA BEBERANCE MA GUEULE 2K16, 15778
- Mur de Huy, Illes Balears - bala, 15223
- Moncassin31, Pédale, 14933
- Mandagger, That's all yolks!, 14832
So we’ve seen one reversal of podium placements between steps two and three, but the identity of the podium finishers hasn’t changed. But it’s not too late. Who has the advantage over the final weekend?
TH Whistler has the following riders left:
Abu Dhabi Tour: Diego Ulissi, Juan Jose Lobato, Zico Waeytens
Japan Cup: Jasper Stuyven
Chrono des Nations: ?? I haven’t seen a startlist yet and whereismyvds.com doesn’t have one either.
Abu Shabi Tour: Diego Ulissi, Jens Keukeleire, Juan Jose Lobato, Sacha Modolo
Japan Cup: Jasper Stuyven
Chrono des Nations: ??
The teams are separated by 215 points. Can Jens Keukeleire and Sacha Modolo scare up 216 additional points? Maybe, but I wouldn’t stake my life on it. The Abu Dhabi Tour is cat 3, so stages are worth 50 points and the overall win 250, with minor places to follow. Japan and CdN are cat 5 and 6, so overall wins are worth 150 and 100, respectively, and if Illes Balears doesn’t have anyone besides Stuyven going, then it’s all for nothing. Unless the CdN reverses things.
As for the final podium spot, La Beberance can’t realistically expect to move up, but there are no less than four challengers to realistically bump them off the honor roll. [Let’s call the >300 point deficit of Sophie’s Choice a bridge too far.] The standings are as follows:
- La Beberance
- Jesus, at -26 points
- Mike team, at -106
- Stormbringers, at -127
- Donkey Hostel, at -171
Key riders? Here’s Abu Dhabi.
- Beberance: Floris Gerts, Magnus Cort Nielsen, Michal Kwiatkowski
- Jesus: Diego Ulissi, Floris Gerts, Juan Jose Lobato, Magnus Cort Nielsen, Zico Waeytens
- Mike Team: Diego Ulissi, Filippo Pozzato, Floris Gerts, Jakub Mareczko
- Stormbringers: Diego Ulissi, Jakub Mareczko, Juan Jose Lobato, Mark Cavendish
- Donkey Hostel: Dayer Quintana, Diego Ulissi, Jan Polanc, Juan Jose Lobato, Kiel Reijnen
Uhhh... Beberance could be in some trouble here. Kwiatkowski is clearly his ace, while MCN will help them get rid of everyone but Jesus. On the flip side, a big performance by Diego Ulissi will throw the race to Jesus or one of the others, since they all have him. JJ Lobato and Jakub Mareczko could factor too. Oh, and I see one more monkeywrench out there for Beberance’s plans... Mark Cavendish! If Cav repays Holmovka’s loyalty with a big performance in Abu Dhabi, well, that would be a fun story to write.
Next week we will go back over how it all went down. In the meantime, check out our sponsor, FSA, and read all about their big launch, the K-Force WE Electronic Groupset, announced before and during Interbike last month.