Uh... this is getting weird.
Just a month ago I checked in on the FSA Directeur Sportif competition, particularly re the dudes, with the Vuelta a España heading toward a conclusion. It was a tight affair with lots of teams still in contention. And everything has changed.
The teams that were #s 1 through 10 are now 8, 6, 5, 1, 9, 31, 3, 4, 20 and 23, respectively. There were some precipitous rises and falls, in just a very short time. And we aren’t done yet. The new top ten is very, very tight.
- Mamie Nova, 14,131
- Mute Legs, 14,094
- I Swear This Made Sense in February, 13,945
- Black Foresters, 13,894
- Ah j'ai deux roues mais la dalle, 13,885
- \o/, 13,798
- Montreuil Cycling Team, 13,732
- Team Igloo, 13,673
- Pingu, 13,604
- Cobbles&Gravel, 13,486
A few observations:
- This is a ridiculously tight competition. The largest gap between any two teams on the list is 149 points between #s 2 and 3. The gap from 1 to 10 is about 650 points. With a full races left on the calendar, including the Guangxi Tour and Presidential Tour of Turkey stage races, making for about 30 paydays. So close to the end... and such a long way to go.
- That’s not the biggest surprise: last year’s competition was decided by 180 points; the year before by 57 points; the year before by 240. What’s slightly surprising is that the current leader, Mamie Nova, is doing it with depth as opposed to star riders, led by #6 Michael Matthews. This was the case last year, more or less, when TH WHISTLER won with Alexander Kristoff as his top guy, when Kristoff was #5 in individual scoring. Prior to that the top teams tended to have one of the top two or three riders leading the charge.
- You have to get to team #4, Black Foresters, before you find a team led by a top-three rider (Peter Sagan). You even have a highly competitive team, \o/, whose top rider is Zakarin, the world’s 16th-best rider on the points chart. Team \o/ is less than 350 points from the top spot, with fully 13 riders racking up more than 500 points and a 14th (Valgren) likely to join.
- It’s exceedingly hard to say who is going to decide the race for these teams, except that it won’t be Primoz Roglic, who is on numerous teams, and probably not Dylan Teuns or Rafal Majka, who pops up in a few places. But beyond that the teams vying for the win are remarkably dissimilar, to the point where it’d take too long to describe which team wants which scenario to play out. Pretty much every team has a unique scenario it’s hoping for, as far as their top riders are concerned, and that’s before we get to who would like to see which lesser rider suddenly rise to the top.
On the women’s side, we have decided to cancel the competition.
There are two races left on the calendar, both this weekend, to spare us from a long winter’s nightmare. Both are in Italy -- Emilia and GP Beghelli — and the startlists suggest that nobody will be there with the potential to wrest the Winner’s Cup away from a rendezvous with a cold, dark Swedish winter. Stick around for Monday when our worst fears are confirmed.
P.S. Congratulations to Majope, who has ridden Tom Dumoulin, Philippe Gilbert and, yes, Edvald Boasson Hagen to a commanding and seemingly insurmountable lead in the Editors’ League.