Races of the week:
Just one race this week, the Tour of Romandie
Team of the week:
And because there was just one race, there’s just three riders on this week’s team. First named rider is the rider of the week and if a rider has a number in parentheses after their name it means the number of times they have made the select Team of the Week here.
1. Primoz Roglic. Wins Romandie almost wire to wire. Second on points. Masterful defense since stage 2 and especially on stage 3 : wouldn't let Bernal go and then pipped him at the finish line for second on the stage. serious competitor. Now we get to watch him sandbag prior to the Tour-which he could win. Next race for him is the Tour of Slovenia.
2. Egan Bernal. 2nd at Romandie, winner of the youth jersey, 2nd on KOM, 3rd on Points. Next race is La Route d’Occitanie, which is what the Route du Sud is calling itself now. That race should witness a nice dual between Sky and Movistar.
3. Thomas De Gendt. Crazy has got to be mentioned somewhere in these weekly summaries. And at Romandie he not only won a stage with his usual breakaway attack (why can't teams just know he’s gonna do this?) but he wins the KOM and Points jerseys too. We’ll have to wait til the Dauphine to see him again.
Team of the Week- Lotto Jumbo
For delivering the win to Roglic. Cruise Ship MVP.
Reverse Survivor Game:
Richie Porte! Welcome to scoring! We are down to three: Gaviria, Bouhanni, and Chaves remain scoreless. All three will be lining up at the Giro.
FSA DS Team of the week
This is easy this week: the highest point earner at Romandie is...we got a tie! Gouwe Kouwie ds’ed by Gouwe Kouwie79 (has) and Que sí, que no! ds’ed by ChefSpikjker tied at 1244 points. Both have Roglic, Bernal, and Fuglsang.
The Spring GC Power Rankings
Three weeks ago I ranked the cobbles riders. This week I rank the spring GC riders as their last race just ended (Romandie).
The races we are considering are mainly the FSA-DS scoring races (Abu Dhabi, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of Catalunya, Pais Vasco, Tour of the Alps, and Tour of Romandie with mention of the preseason stage races of Algarve, Andalucia, and Oman.
To the rankings!
- Primoz Roglic- 871 points. Victories at Pais Vasco and Romandie and one stage at Tirreno-Adriatico. Won the points jersey at Romandie and Pais Vasco plus a stage at PV. Was 6th on GC at Valenciana. We have a new major GC contender. You better believe he’s on the short list of Tour faves. He’s got the classic combo of good climbing and very good time trialing. Shows grit by holding off his main challengers stage after stage.
- Alejandro Valverde- 774 points. The current FSA-DS points leader had to get those places somewhere. Al did it by winning Abu Dhabi and Catalunya (plus two stages and the KOM jersey) and also the preseason Valenciana (plus two stages).
- Marc Soler- 550 points. Won the last stage to be crowned the Paris-Nice winner. Won the youth jersey there too. Also 5th at Catalunya while riding in support for Valverde and Quintana (who finished 2nd). 3rd at Andulucia. I swear to god if Eusebio Unzue doesn’t let Soler ride for himself at the Vuelta or basically ANYWHERE FROM NOW ON I will throttle the old guy. Soler should be the team’s leader at the Giro but NOOOOO. Unzue had to give that leadership to, I dunno, Betancur? makes bio sense. Carapaz, which makes some sense but it should be Soler, Carapaz, and Amador at that race. You know what’s keeping Soler from the Giro? The Vuelta Aragon. Ugh. I hope Soler gets a flat on the first stage and goes home. So stupid. Don't get me started.
- Simon Yates- 511 points. The wrong Yates has been at four stage races with the following results: 4th on GC at Catalunya with a win own the last stage, 2nd at Paris-Nice with a stage win (and he looked so good prior to the last stage) and was just training at Abu Dhabi and Valenciana. He’s at the Giro and Vuelta) and should be a top 10 contender at both, possibly top 5 or even podium.
- Miguel Angel Lopez- 425 points. The most impressive pure climber so far. Warmed up at Oman, finishing 2nd on GC and winning the Green Mountain stage. 2nd at Abu Dhabi while getting pipped at the line climbing Jebel Hafeet (and the youth jersey) Meh at Tirreno-Adriatico (16th place) then 3rd at Alps while winning stage 2. Doing the Giro/Vuelta thing. Looking forward to him climbing Monte Zoncolan.
- Mikel Landa- 395 points. We are getting to the meh stage of this ranking. Landa was given leadership in two WT stage races, Tirreno-Adriatico and Pais vasco, and finished 6th and 2nd respectively. At Pais Vasco he finished 1:09 down and included finishing 1:16 down to Roglic in the flat TT, while at TA his deficit at the end of 1:13 to Kwiatkowski included a 50 second loss to Kwiat in the final ITT and a further 40 second shortfall in the TTT. Not good. Perhaps the team should have backed Jaime Roson in both races? Unzue? Got a comment?
- Julian Alaphilippe- 368 points. Before his Ardennes campaign Ala had a curiously sort f satisfying stage race campaign. He raced four stage races (including his 7th place GC finish at the inaugural Colombia Pro y Paz) and only got near winning once, at Abu Dhabi, where he finished 4th overall. At the two biggest stage races he started out well, including winning the first two Pais Vasco stages, only to fade when the races reached their business ends. Still he racked up a Valverde-esque 368 points. Nice
- Honorable mentions. Quintana won 350 points while being overshadowed in his two races, Pais Vasco and Catalunya by teammates Landa and Valverde.
- Kwiatkowski started slow at Valenciana (70th on GC), revved up big time at Algarve (1st on GC and two stage wins and the points competition); 1st at Tirreno-Adriatico before fading to DNF at Pais Vasco for a total of just 274 points. (Flower is currently the chair of the the Get-Algarve-and-Andalucia-into-VDS committee.)
- Finally there’s Sky’s new stage racing phenom, Egan Bernal with 425 points. We saw him finish a strong 2nd today at Romandie-including a win in Friday’s TT. He was on track for an equally strong 2nd at Catalunya, which has no time trials, when he crashed badly on the last stage. That left him with just points. Not counted are his 6th place at Tour Down Under and 1st place at Colombia Pro y Paz. Too bad he’s not Sky’s leader at the Giro. Vuelta?
But how do the guys above compare to past winners? Briefly-
- 2017- Valverde 845 points and two wins (Catalunya, Pais Vasco); Contador: 2nd @ 750 points including three 2nd places at Pais Vasco, Catalunya and a memorable one at Paris-Nice plus a 4th 2nd place at Andalucia.
- 2016- Quintana: 856 points and wins at Romandie and Catalunya. Contador scored 638 points with a win at Pais Vasco, two more 2nd places at Cataluna and another fascinating Paris-Nice and a 3rd at Algarve. (Someone should make a movie of Contador at Paris-Nice. Serious amount of drama and fun there.)
- 2015 saw Richie Porte clean up: 2nd @ TDU, 4th @ Algarve then wins @ Paris-Nice, Catalunya, and Trentino, good for 889 points. (He added just 82 points the rest of the year.)
- 2014 Contador: 946 points and wins at Tirreno-Adriatico and Pais Vasco, and a 2nd place at Catalunya.
- 2013 Chris Froome: 791 points with wins at Romandie and Criterium International and 2nd at Tirreno-Adriatico. Porte: 867 points with a Paris-Nice win. Quintana: 600 points with a win at Pais Vasco; Nibali 495 points with wins at Tirreno-Adriatico and Trentino.
- 2012 Bradley Wiggins: 768 points with wins at Paris-Nice and Romandie
You get the idea. These rankings are dominated by hard core Grand Tour GC men. Grand Tour winners usually in the year they are listed here. Or at least podium finishers in Valverde’s case. (Richie Porte is the exception that proves the rule.) Note that I did not list riders who won just one stage race and didn’t score much in any other spring race. Several of those, and Nibali is the poster boy here, went on to Grand Tour wins. With the exceptions of Valverde and Nibali the tops of these rankings do not include serious Ardennes/hilly classics riders like Alaphilippe or Kwiatkowski or Dan Martin-and Valverde has only in the last couple of years been very successful in the spring stage races.
That brings us back to Primoz Roglic and the idea that he’s a serious contender for this year’s Tour. You betcha. Hope he’s on your team.
Previewing the week to come-
Let’s see what have we got....
- Tuesday, May Day, we start off at the World Tour Eschborn-Frankfurt in, well Frankfurt where they ride around the banks in a revolutionary way? I don't understand Europe. I also don’t understand “World Tour” as this “World Tour” race has just nine “World Tour” teams in it and so is just a cat 5 race this year. (See: Presidential Race of Turkey.) (Need 10 WT teams to be a cat 4 race like Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne or E3.)
- Thursday starts the well made Tour de Yorkshire. Fun race Brits!
- Then there’s that Giro d’Israel on Friday. Lasts awhile I’m told. Hops over to Italy eventually to finish it off. Hopefully someone can give its a viewing guide. Oh- just realized we will be back to Middle East racing times, meaning time for us poor North American west coasters to tape those stages while we sleep and vividly dream of Zoncolans.
Oh almost forgot! Next Sunday brings us the French SSR Grand Prix de la Somme!