Previous: 1st after Gent -Wevelgem (1st after Omloop-weekend)
Notable Results: Jasper Stuyven wins Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Edward Theuns third in Dwars, Fabian Cancellara second in Flanders, fourth in E3 and Gent-Wevelgem
Discussion: Haven't won anything since Kuurne but since we are talking teams here there isn't really much that speaks against keeping them first, especially with Roubaix the race on the horizon. Cancellara is right where he should be, hasn't been able to finish it off, mainly due to Sagan on the form of his life. The team has been up to the tasks whenever he has needed them, Devolder, Popo and Irizar especially. Kids Stuyven and Theuns have been more anonymous in Fabian's shadow but apparently Stuyven had every bit of bad luck possible in Flanders.It will take a bold man to bet against Cancellara on Sunday.
Star Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Fabian Cancellara
"I tried one of those Kwaremont beers with Cancellada on the label and sure enough it tasted like the piss I remember running over me when I was filling in for my cousin Stijn in the Oude Kwaremont in 1966. Is he really retiring this year? Shame, the peloton needs Swedes like him with their funny cuckoo clocks and chocolate."
Previous: 6 (4)
Notable Results: Peter Sagan, Ronde Van Vlaanderen Winner, Gent-Wevelgem Winner!
Discussion: It's tempting to call this a team of one but even if it somehow is, whatever the others have been doing it's been working out well. It's not as if it is unprecedented, Fabian has pulled his team up near the top of powerpolls on nothing but his own riding before. I mean, even if the rest of the teams only mission has been "don't infect Peter with any silly germs" then they have succeeded. The record says all we need to know and barring mishaps we should see an every bit as influential Sagan in Roubaix as we did 2014.
Star Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Peter Sagan
"I like this Sagan guy, he reminds me of myself when I was younger. Minus my charming and playful personality "
3. Team Sky
Previous: 3 (5)
Notable Results: First (Kwiatkowski) and third (Stannard) in E3. Luke Rowe fourth in Omloop and fifth in Flanders.
Discussion: Once again a promising Sky come out looking a little light in the monuments. Kwiatkowski didn't love the Kwaremont x3 as much as he did the Karnemelkbeekstraat, G was anonymous and Stannard had some sort of plan that looked exciting but turned out to be a bit shite. And once again Luke Rowe looked best in the end. On the upside they look really well set up for Roubaix with Rowe and Stannard so a first monument is still very much in play.
Star Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Luke Rowe , ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Ian Stannard
"I don't see why you shouldn't be able to balance a cobbles carer with competing for the Tour de France? I've successfully combined my careers as a part time road-pavement professional and a motivational speaker on the powers of positive thinking for centuries. And look where it has brought me!"
4. Etixx-Quick Step
Previous: 4 (10)
Notable Results: Patric Lefevere has notably and surprisingly refrained from bashing the shit out of the teambus in a fit of rage (yet). Oh, and they won Scheldeprijs with that guy from Lidl.
Discussion: As a team they looked pretty solidly parked up here around third-fourth place. Problem is they haven't even looked like they were close to winning any of these (real) races. And I'm not entirely sure they feel any closer for Roubaix despite Boonen coming off as self confident. Then again, give them a sloppy and gruesome Sunday and who knows if their "throw a handful of guys at it and see if anything sticks"-strategy finally works?
Star Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Zdenek Stybar, ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Niki Terpstra , ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Tom Boonen
"Etixx-Quickstep, I feel like I can finally relate to these guys now that they've hit rock-bottom."
5. Katusha Team
Previous: 9 (6)
Notable Results: Kristoff 4th in Flanders, 53rd in E3; Kuznetsov third, Guarnieri 8th and Morkov 10th in Gent-Wevelgem.
Discussion: Nope, Kristoff couldn't get out from under his cloud of sniffles to be a factor in Flanders again. On the other hand the team look pretty well set for Roubaix. Kristoff should be up a few procent by then and guys like Politt and Mørkøv are solid-looking. Kristoff has never been lucky in Roubaix but could very well be getting there this time, especially if the weather turns to crap.
Star Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Alexander Kristoff
"We're half way through and no one has offered me a beer yet? If you need me I'll be in the back room calling my union rep.
Kristoff? Yeah, he has about as much chance of winning Roubaix as I have of becoming the trophy-cobble."
6. Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Previous: 7 (7)
Notable Results: Vanmarcke second in Gent-Wevelgem, third in Flanders, 8th in E3. Dylan Groenewegen third in Hanzame and Nokere-Koerse mini-classics.
Discussion: Another one-man band pretty high in the rankings. For Roubaix Sep should at least have three chances of getting good support in Tjallingi, Wynants and Teunissen and he is going to need them. This feels like his one big chance as I'm pretty sure his form is going up as a few others may be fading. There is absolutely no room for his usual bad luck or poor support though, he needs a clean run to beat guys like Cancellara.
Star Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sep Vanmarcke
"Zzzzzzzzzzz........ Huh, is it me again? This powerpoll is more useless than than the JumboLotto tire sponsor. If it weren't for my insights no one would have made it this far. I'm carrying this whole shitshow on my shoulders. Also, I'm still waiting for that beer. Make it a Bavik, I'm sure it's all you can afford anyway."
Previous: Outside top 10 (-)
Notable Results: Lieuwe Westra win in De Panne, Lars Boom 11th in Flanders
Discussion: In the light of Roubaix being his one really realistic target Boom's run isn't looking bad at all. He's nowhere near winning anything but he clearly has good form. If it rains he suddenly jumps up as a four or five star favorite given his performance in the 2014 TdF and Astana aren't looking half bad as a team either (except when they are looking terrible, such as in stage 1 De Panne)
Star Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Lars Boom
"Dear lord is this bum still riding? I thought he had given up pretending he has any dignity and committed to riding cyclocross already?"
8. Lotto Soudal
Previous: 2 (3)
Notable Results: Debusschere wins Dwars. Benoot third in Omloop; Debusschere 6th.
Discussion: This truly isn't looking promising at this point. Debusschere is out. Benoot is out-ish, if he is riding then surely it is at reduced power. And Roelandts isn't fully operational clearly, probably whatever backproblem he has is still hindering him. So they may be relying on Greipel or that Lars Bak wont be diving headfirst in his favorite corner again. Either way it doesn't give the best outlook for success. At least they can take comfort in Etixx doing worse than they are which should be gratifying in the bike world where the only thing better than you doing well yourself is your opponent failing badly.
Star Ranking: ⭐️⭐️ Jürgen Roelandts , ⭐️⭐️ Tiesj Benoot ?
"Lotto is the perfect sponsor for these guys. One in a million chance of actually winning something."
Previous: 5 (2)
Notable Results: Van Avermaet won the Omloop. Some managed to stay upright in Flanders.
Discussion: It takes a lot for you to feel sorry for BMC but this time you really have to. With Greg van Avermaet crashing all of BMC's, and most of Flemish hopes of a monument win went down the drain. To add insult to injury half the rest of the team went down with him so instead of favorites BMC have to go into Roubaix as the "likeable plucky outsiders". And likeable they are with hairball Daniel Oss and possibly almost completely-ish race fit Taylor Phinney as their star players. Fun guys but perhaps not winners in the end unless we see a very odd finale to this classics season.
Star Ranking: ⭐️⭐️ Daniel Oss , ⭐️ Taylor Phinney
"Jim Ochowitz is my Spirit Animal"
Previous: Outside top 10 (-)
Notable Results: Dylan van Baarle 6th in Flanders
Discussion: When a sixth place in Flanders nets you a top 10 you know the talent is pretty concentrated at the top teams in these races but Cannondale deserve a little boost after having had rotten luck with illness. Van Baarle though is progressing nicely and that Flanders ride sure made people sit up and take notice. I don't know how many bullets they have for Roubaix but hopefully their guys are on an upward trajectory. As for who else might have nudged them out of 10 we could say Movistar for Erviti's peformance, Wanty for Claeys or maybe Stölting for adding some quality small team color to Driedaagse De Panne maybe? But in reality the one of these that has cards to play for Roubaix is Cannondale.
And of the teams outside the list you have Giant ho have very strong Roubaix-names but seem so deep in the hole this spring I can't see them getting out. There's also Bora with Twaites and Barta that could sneak into the top 10 for the after Roubaix powerpoll.
Star Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Dylan van Baarle
"If I'm going to do ten of these every time we are going to have to revise my contract. Also I can't believe I stayed awake for this all the way down to Cannondale and we aren't even going to trash talk Matti Breschel."