The European season begins

The first two World Tour races in Europe throw up some intreging results

by TERatcliffe26   March 18, 2013  

Following the earlier season racing, we have hit the month of March meaning the main World Tour races are now underway, with the completion of the first two week long stage races, Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. My current World Tour and Fantasy point’s totals can be seen below.

World Tour Points: 244

Fantasy Total: 1366
TDU: 355
ToQ: 60
ToO: 341
Paris-Nice: 245
Tirreno-Adriatico: 365
Milan-Sanremo: 44

This period of racing turned out to be a good one for my squad of riders. The last two races have allowed me to ovehaul Drheaton in the Fantasy scores, as well as opening up a sizable World Tour points lead thanks to the GC/Stage winning combination of Contador and Sagan at Tirreno-Adriatico. My 164 World Tour points from these two races would see me in 2nd position in the standings behind Sky.

Firstly Paris-Nice provided me with decent haul of WT points despite going into the race without a genuine GC contender. However a stunning performance from Diego Ulissi to take 7th spot netted 30 points, with Drheaton’s big GC contender Liewue Westra only ending up in 8th spot. This point’s haul was made even better with a Stage win from Kittel and 2nd place finishes for Gilbert and Iglinsky, meaning my whole team is chipping in with points, with all selected riders managing to weigh in with fantasy points.

Diego Ulissi, the young Italian finally showing is shorter stage race potential

As for Tirreno-Adriatico it was even better for my team with Alberto Contador finishing in 3rd place (70 World Tour points) and two stage wins from Peter Sagan (12 World Tour points). Drheaton’s team failed to have any GC contenders and with Cavendish only managing a 2nd and 5th place finishes he came away with just 7 points, with riders such as Vanendert not yet stepping up to the mark. Again my team all scored fantasy points, leaving it very tight between me and Drheaton from a fantasy perspective.

So now its time for the Classics season to get under way, with the Flemish and Ardennes races still to come, the racing got underway yesterday with a rain and snow hit Milan-Sanremo, which was again a decent day out for my team with Peter Sagan taking 2nd place and another 80 World Tour points, leaving my team comfortable in 2nd place but still a way behind team Sky. Drheaton also picked up the same number of points through 3rd and 9th place finishes for Cancellara and Cavendish respectively. So what is next to come for my team? Drheaton feels that this stage of racing is where his team can fight back and put in some big performances, but I wouldn’t be so sure. With Sagan as my main focus, he is backed up with the big names of Gilbert, Voeckler and Gerrans, and although that list is not the longest, the potential from the rest of my squad remains, with Degenkolb, Iglinksy, Ulissi and Gatto easily capable of putting in some big performances.

It seems my team is saving there form for the big races as their were no notable performances from any of my squad members at any other non-WT races. As well as the classics, we also head into some crucial Spanish stage races in Catalunya and the Basque country for the final Giro preparations, as my team will see the anticipated debut of neo-pro Fabio Aru in Catalunya, with the mountainous terrain aptly suited.

Fabio Aru, the Astanta neo-pro who could make a big impression in the mountains

Again none of my neo-pros made any waves at the big races, and neither did any other neo-pros, however one youngster in his second year at Omega Pharma – Quick Step showed his stage race potential in Tirreno-Adriatico. The rider in question is the Pole Michael Kwiatkowski, who seems similar to a younger Bradley Wiggins, with his forte being in the ITT discipline, but over the last year has worked strongly to remain with big guns in the mountains. As a former junior World ITT Champion, the evidence has been there that he could follow in the footsteps of the likes of his teammate Tony Martin, backed up early in 2012 after taking victory in the ITT at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen. But after his latest performance its seems he could go one step further, with the signs of his capability evident during the summer of 2012 where he managed a 2nd place finish behind another up and coming youngster, Moreno Moser, at the Tour de Polonge, and followed it up with an 8th place finish at the Eneco Tour. Earlier this year his form continued, finishing 2nd in the ITT at the Volta ao Algarve, which sealed him 2nd position overall behind teammate Tony Martin. Now his biggest result of his career so far has arrived, finishing 4th overall at Tirreno-Adriatico, which also left him as the best young rider. Unfortunately I’m unsure of his race program, but don’t be surprised if he is given free rein to compete for the young riders jersey at either the Giro or the Vuelta, however it may well be just a few years too soon yet, as he only managed 136th in last years Giro, but even so he is a big talent and big things will come in the near future.

Michael Kwiatkowski, the best younger rider at Tirreno-Adriatico

5 user comments

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Well, since drheaton opened the challenge up, there's actually 3 of us tracking teams this season, and in a complete surprise (to me at least) I'm apparently the best placed of us all so far in WT terms, though still trailing Sky. So here's my accounting:

World Tour Points: 272

Fantasy Total: 980 + TA???
TDU: 119
ToQ: 311
ToO: 126
Paris-Nice: 382
Tirreno-Adriatico: ???
Milan-Sanremo: 42

Sorry, didn't record fantasy points for TA, since it was a premium competition. If anyone knows what Appollonio, Hushovd, Schar, Roux, Dowsett, Cancellara and Cavendish scores me (or where to find it), then I can fill in the last score above.

Picking a number of GC riders who are maybe less under pressure to win this year seems to be paying off. Most visibly Talansky rode a brilliant Paris Nice, finishing second, despite little team support in the mountains. Gorka Izaguirre is less successful than his brother, but I think the consistency he's showing bodes well for a long and point rich season. van Garderen has also been quietly amassing points, and reasons to be leader, putting the best case against Cadel with some solid rather than spectacular riding. If TJ and Talansky both ride California this year it could be a cracker. Albeit not for WT points...

Roy and Roux have had a quieter period, with Roux showing up in breakaways, but both seem to be comfy and in good form. de Gendt is sitting in a decent position in Catalunya, ahead of the big mountains, and Dowsett impressed me at TA with performances in the team and individual TTs, and a top 20 on a flat stage.

From the sprinters, Cav is getting results, but he's also clearly beatable. He seems to be approaching the crux point of his career where he can be more than a sprinter (see Hushovd & Boonen) or like other sprinters (Hunter, Petacchi) he faces a long tail off. His battling result at MSR for 9th perhaps holds promise for his long term future. Kittel has redeemed himself a touch and Appollonio is turning out decent results that I'm comfy with. One mild surprise is Laurent Pichon. 8th today at Catalunya, topping his 3rd place at Classic Loire Atlantique. Ok it's a 1.1, but some definite promise there for a role as my 4th sprinter this year and next, producing results just when I was wondering if I needed a 4th option. Good timing, and worth backing when we can.

Classics wise, Spartacus has started showing his value with points at MSR, and having elected to not shortlist Maxim Iglinsky for Paris Nice, he then goes and gets WT points. I'd picked him for the Classics, and hopefully this shows some form before the cobbles.

In general I have big hopes for the Classics, with Cancellara, Hushovd, Schar, Iglinsky, Cav, JTL, Rasch, Dowsett, Appollonio and Cattaneo all riding over the next few races.

Having limited my picks to WT teams I missed Ciolek, but he's been a stalwart in my Fantasy team, putting Africa on the map. I think he can join Jesse Sergent on my 'I wish I'd rememberd' list. Certainly he would have been a bargain for his results so far.

I'm also shaping up well for races like the Criterium International, and the 1 week stage races.

So all in all, a very good few weeks, and hopefully not over just yet.

posted by robdaykin [160 posts]
19th March 2013 - 23:14

4 Likes

robdaykin wrote:

Sorry, didn't record fantasy points for TA, since it was a premium competition. If anyone knows what Appollonio, Hushovd, Schar, Roux, Dowsett, Cancellara and Cavendish scores me (or where to find it), then I can fill in the last score above.

Right calculated your score for Tirreno, you got 254 points

When I get round to it I will try and add you to my spreadsheet then I can also keep track of your scores for the WT races not in the game and the premium races

posted by TERatcliffe26 [3986 posts]
20th March 2013 - 11:36

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That would be very kind of you. I don't want to generate you extra work though.

Since I now have complete figures, my fantasy total now sits at 1234, trailing well behind in the fantasy stakes, despite the lead in WT points.

posted by robdaykin [160 posts]
20th March 2013 - 19:27

6 Likes

robdaykin wrote:
That would be very kind of you. I don't want to generate you extra work though.

Since I now have complete figures, my fantasy total now sits at 1234, trailing well behind in the fantasy stakes, despite the lead in WT points.

No extra work as I can just copy and paste the template I already created.

I have you as 282 WT points

posted by TERatcliffe26 [3986 posts]
21st March 2013 - 13:07

8 Likes

Fine.

I make it 272 if you only count the top 5 scoring riders, as per the UCI team table, though presumably over the year they count all riders when it comes to licensing. Assuming I read that correctly. I'm happy to count all riders though if that's the way we're scoring. Though you'll probably want to drop the 4 from Iglinsky where I didn't pick him for Paris Nice. Being scrupulously honest.

posted by robdaykin [160 posts]
21st March 2013 - 19:17

5 Likes