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Congratulations to our 2021 FSA DS Winners!

They came, they clicked, they conquered

Barcelona supporters celebrate after win Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images

Ladies and Gentlemen... we have winners!

With the cycling season finally over for 2021, so too is our FSA Directeur Sportif Competition, the English-speaking world’s greatest year-long cycling fantasy game. With more or less a full calendar back on for this year, plus Olympics, the competition ran long and remained hard-fought to the end. Let’s take a quick look at how things turned out, and of course invite our winners (and non-winners) to pop by the comments and share your stories.

FSA VDS logo PLEASE USE THIS ONE!

But before we go there, let me again thank our sponsor, Full Speed Ahead, makers of fine components and wheels, for supporting us with prizes this year and for their continued support of the Podium Cafe! Check them out as part of your holiday shopping, either thru the main brand or their Vision brand, which is more focused on road and triathlon racing. They were all over the Tour de France and other big races this year, as always. Want proof? Check out these rock-solid wheels:

118th Paris-Roubaix 2021 - Men’s Eilte Photo by Vincent Kalut - Pool/Getty Images

I have a pair of Metrons from seven years ago. They still roll like you wouldn’t believe.

Men’s Competition

Here is your top ten:

  1. (DS) Lampje, Lampenkappen, 22,561 points
  2. Cacaramus, Are You Hirt? No, It’s Just Eekhoff, 22,342
  3. guegoethe, Française des Rajeux, 22,278
  4. Narrehut, Llamatron, 22,258
  5. Mqthieu, Degemer Mat, 21,840
  6. smico01, Poldeci borovicky s citronom, 21,768
  7. PvdV, Pietje Pelle op zijn Gazelle, 21,638
  8. sagas, 123456789, 21,522
  9. Googol, MacGyver Cycling Team, 21,415
  10. Luc_Nilis, Maglia Rosa, 21,088

The ability to get points from your whole roster is sort of a magical thing, and that is what separated out the top ten and the winners themselves from whoever trailed them. Things like 300+ points from all of your top 20, or 600+ from 13 or more riders, or 7 riders over the 1000 mark — that’s what fills out your scoresheet. The Lampenkappen had a single donut on its roster, but had scored consistently across the rest of it to take the win.

The three key riders seem to be Tadej Pogacar, Egan Bernal and Joao Almeida, each of whom could be found on five of the top ten teams. Pogs makes sense as our overall top scoring individual, by more than 1000 points. The fact that five teams made the top ten without him is probably more remarkable (Wout Van Aert seemed to be the alternative). Bernal was this year’s biggest comebacker, rising from his 570 point performance in 2020 to a robust 2495 this year. Almeida was the top performing 18-point rider, and while he had a wonderful breakout 2020 season, he managed to top his overall score, something of a surprise. The top scoring single-digit cost riders were Tim Merlier and Matej Mohoric, both five pointers. Mohoric was on four teams, showing that an all-Slovenian approach was a good way to go.

How did the most popular riders correlate to the top scoring teams? Well, Sepp Kuss was #1 in popularity and was on eight of the top 10 teams. Second-most-picked Leonard Kamna went one better, finding himself on nine of the top 10. Brandon McNulty (7 of 10) and Davide Ballerini (6 of 10) were notable in this regard too. Popular wisdom is actual wisdom sometimes, I guess? Or we are just a well-informed group.

Top underperforming riders include Mathieu van der Poel, Remco Evenepoel and Julian Alaphilippe, three notable protagonists throughout the season who nonetheless did not propel any of their teams into the top ten.

Finally, the total scores of 22,000 plus among the winners was the second-highest all time. The records set in 2019 (25k winner, six teams north of 22k) might not be broken for a while, unless we mess with the pricing. However, this year’s scores are a sign that we had a real season, going well beyond the 2020 totals which reflected reduced racing.

Women’s Competition

Your top ten:

  1. (DS) mattattackx, Is this even worth the grief?, 16,505 points
  2. ovesty, Lotta and the rest, 16,050
  3. Vlaanderen90, Chris’ Kiss of Death, 15,566
  4. gabriel ryynänen, unrun621, 15,495
  5. Archieboy, Wheeling and Dealing, 15,395
  6. Rob Nicolai, Flyindustman, 15,136
  7. Oaktown Oaks, The Ducks are swimming on a very green pond, 14,793
  8. unionmanbirch, Decaf Opium, 14,764
  9. Manuel8, Trying not to finish with fewer points than last season, 14,567
  10. iiturriotz, Iiturriotz taldea, 14,555

Unlike the men’s competition, there was nothing unusual about the top scores, falling perfectly well in line with past winning scores which range from 15-17k. I take this as a sign that our pricing and results scoring have achieved a level of stability. Which is good.

Emma Norsgaard wins the Connective Tissue Prize, landing on ALL of the top ten scoring teams! Her youth (22) and cost (8 points) made her a breakout candidate of note, and break out she did, racking up 2516 points (up from 419) in her fourth (!) season at the WWT level. Demi Vollering was next (8 of 10), followed by Cecile Uttrup (7 of 10). The two biggest stars, Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen, were collectively on just one top ten squad (vdB), showing that spending 52 points on one rider might lower your ceiling too much? Not sure.

In 2020 the top team scores were about half of this year’s, meaning individual rider scores were down in the pandemic year. Not news. But! It does mean that any rider who struggled to match their 2020 score this year, or dropped off, underperformed by a larger margin than might appear. This year’s fallers included Lizzie Deignan (-140), Liane Lippert (-167), amd Mikayla Harvey, Lauren Stephens and Sarah Roy, who all fell off significantly.

Others

DS Gabriel Ryynänen won the combined classification, with fourth in the men’s comp and 11th in the women’s... the best performance since 2015 when DS Ozzie 5365 finished fifth and seventh with his(?) two teams.

Our Editors’ League was won by Ursula, for the second time in three years, and frankly we are on the verge of canceling the competition if this is what it is going to be like from now on. By the way, Ursula may be unavailable to help this year with pricing and setting up for next year’s FSA DS team, so if you want to join in on the effort of keeping this competition running, please email me at the gmail address you get if you click on my name above.

As for our sponsors at FSA, DS Josheadanks won their internal competition with his 20th place in the men’s comp. They had two DSs place in the top 60 and at least three above the Jimbo Line, which is more than some of us can say. Andrew aka Edredon Browny was the top Editor’s League scorer in the big game, with a VERY respectable 49th in the men’s league and 24th in the women, good for 10th in the combined ranking.

OK, how did your draft leagues go? Any other main board observations you care to share? Hope this year was fun for you, which is magnanimous of me to say because I finished in the bottom 10% on the men’s side, despite giving off the appearance that I actually know something about cycling. Anyway, I don’t need you all to share in my misery. Carry on and do your best! Cheers.