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Leadbelly

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http://www.uci.org/inside-uci/press-releases/the-uci-management-committee-and-the-professional-cycling-council-unanimously-approve-the-new-organisation-of-men's-professional-road-cycling

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From 2019, the only ranking to be calculated at international level will be the UCI World Ranking. (The team version will take) into account the results of the 10 best riders of each team in all three divisions across all races on the UCI Road International Calendar.

The two best UCI ProTeams will have the right to participate in the Grand Tours. Similarly, the three best UCI ProTeams will have the right to participate in events in the UCI Classics Series and in other events of the UCI WorldTour.

We can use this thread to keep an eye on the battle through 2019 and some ante-post analysis of the likely runners and riders.

Of course it could be a damp squib with two teams running away with it, but on the other hand it may come down to a mad scramble for points at random races in September and October.
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  • Leadbelly

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    The Contenders?

     #cofidis
     #direct
     #wanty

     #androni
     #academy
     #fortuneo
     #vital

     #roompot
     #wallonie

    I've split them up a bit to indicate my rough feeling of the odds of their chances, but is there anyone else to add to the list?
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    that should be it, I guess. The exact rules are not available yet, are they?
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    Leadbelly

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    No rules available as of yet and the UCI does say "some important details still need to be finalised".

    The two things I'd want to know are:

    #1 The blurb above does say "across all races" in reference to the team ranking, but I'd want extra confirmation about whether WT races (and their magnified points) will count or not towards this wildcard competition.

    #2 There's no mention of a date in regard to when the auto-wildcards will be handed out. We can assume it would be at the end of the cycling year (October) and that would make sense in giving the successful teams enough time to strengthen for the following year, but you could also make a case for it being three months or so before the race and that would give different teams a chance of picking up the wildcards as fortunes ebb and flow over the course of the year.
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  • Leadbelly

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    Leadbelly

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    #direct Direct Energie

    Made the biggest individual transfer splash with the signing of Terpstra. How important could he be? Well this year he scored 1803 (obviously this includes points scored in WT races) and the next highest riders who will be part of this competition are the grouping of Hofstetter, Laporte, Dupont and Pasqualon who are all around the 1000pt mark, but a lot of the other "big" riders are more down towards the 500-700 range.

    So you can see he could be worth 2 or 3 times more than his rivals.

    That's assuming of course that he can repeat his annus mirabilis or at least get somewhere near it. It's unlikely to be honest. He will have some decent support on the cobbles, but will be a marked man now.

    The other big signings, as regards this competition, are more on the business side of things. Total (bigger and richer) bought Direct Energie earlier in the year and Wilier are now 100% with the team having given up sponsorship of their eponymous Italian team. No doubt this is where the moolah for Terpstra and co came from.

    Upping the Italian links would also mean an increased desire to accept the Giro (+ MSR, TA and Lombardia) wildcards if they were earned.

    Top (ten?) riders:

    Terpstra
    Calmejane
    Boudat (if he re-signs)
    Gaudin
    Taaramae
    Turgis
    Ligthart
    Hivert
    Bonifazio
    Petit

    Like some other teams it's very much a focus on sprints and one day races. There's not much climbing ability beyond Calmejane and Taaramae.
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  • Leadbelly

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    #androni

    After a bit of thought I had been planning to reclassify Androni down into the third rank of teams, but today's signing of Pelucchi means I probably won't.

    My initial reasoning for them being in the second grouping was their performance this year. They came third in the European Tour ranking (not so far behind Cofidis). They racked up 35 (!) wins over the course of the year, which is more than Wanty and Cofidis combined. Now a lot of those wins were in Venezuela and China, but Sosa and Ballerini in particular picked up some big European wins.

    So why think of moving them down a rank? Well Sosa and Ballerini have now left and won't be easily replaced. They haven't got the strength in depth or race as many days as their big rivals. Are they even interested in winning the competition and riding the Tour or the host of other non-Italian WT races?

    We don't know if the Coppa Italia wildcard will still be in place come 2020, but they must be a shoe-in for it again if it does and would RCS not invite their best (by a mile) PCT team if they didn't achieve automatic qualification?

    Anyway they're off to a good start to the competition with Masnada's win in Hainan.

    Top (ten?) riders:

    Pelucchi
    Belletti
    Busato
    Cattaneo
    Gavazzi
    Masnada
    Torres
    Vendrame

    Can only get to 8.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Are they even interested in winning the competition and riding the Tour or the host of other non-Italian WT races?
    If they do win, they are auto-invited ... but can still decline the invitation, effectively getting a better deal than the WT teams themselves.
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    Leadbelly

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    #wallonie

    This is another team who's probably not too interested in the competition. They got wildcards this year to all the big races they wanted. Similarly to Androni, if they did qualify they might just add the TdF to their country specific WT events and just fill the gaps in the calendar that they have with races that suit their characteristics - Strade Bianche for example.

    Let's be honest as well, their chances will be very, very slim even if they do try. Their squad is small and it would need a couple of their riders to have Baptiste Planckaert-esque years to stand any chance at all.

    Top (ten?) riders:

    Dehaes
    Jules
    Liepins
    Lietaer
    Nommela
    Planckaert
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  • Leadbelly

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    If anybody else wants to do a team, feel free. :P
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  • Joelsim

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    I’ll be interested to see how Nomella does, looks decent on results given he was only semi pro last year.

    Also with Dayer Q at Wilier, could be interesting, he’s shown he can climb when given a chance. I wonder how the rest of their team will look, pretty unknown at the moment.
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  • Leadbelly

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    No news is bad news for Wilier. Lack of sponsorship/financial woes will be at the root of it. Quintana might be willing to ride for minimum wage, but I can't see Visconti being so obliging (nor should he be).

    Missing out on Pelucchi (the lateness of his Androni transfer does lead me to think he might have been waiting on Wilier beforehand) means no direct replacement of Mareczko with someone of a similar level.

    Could be a long year and I don't think they'll be featuring in this thread too much.
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  • Leadbelly

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    #fortuneo

    Along with Terpstra to Direct Energie, the other big transfer in the PCT market was Greipel to Fortuneo (or Arkea as they will be). It remains to be seen however if it's just a big transfer in terms of cachet or whether he'll be able to bring in big results/points. In my opinion he'll bring in the points, but the wins in the bigger races will be hard to come by.

    The enigma known as Barguil is the other star in the team. Showed a bit of return to form towards the end of this season, but 2017 seems a long time ago. There were rumours of him wanting out earlier on in the year.

    It's slim pickings after that tbh. Welten looks a prospect and they have a couple of other guys who can pick up points in SSFRs. I would say it's unlikely they'll be vying for the auto-wildcards.

    Top (ten?) riders:

    Greipel
    Barguil
    Pichon
    Hardy
    Welten
    Delaplace
    Bouet
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  • Leadbelly

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    The Contenders?

     #cofidis
     #direct
     #wanty

     #androni
     #academy
     #fortuneo
     #vital

     #roompot
     #wallonie

    One thing I had forgotten about is that both Cofidis and Direct Energie have expressed the desire to go WT in 2020. That's no simple matter of course and there is no clearly stated method of achieving this other than the wishy-washy one of teams already in WT failing tests on sporting/financial/ethical criteria.

    It could happen though. I saw a stat somewhere a while back about this year's performance by Dimension Data being almost the worst ever by a WT team (or the earlier equivalent). If Valgren gets injured and that is repeated then even ASO might find it difficult to defend their inclusion (with a straight face).

    Something similar might happen to CCC if GVA has an off year. Katusha look weak as well.

    So yeah, the contenders could be different to the ones listed above, but we'll stick with them for the time being.
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  • Joelsim

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    One thing I had forgotten about is that both Cofidis and Direct Energie have expressed the desire to go WT in 2020. That's no simple matter of course and there is no clearly stated method of achieving this other than the wishy-washy one of teams already in WT failing tests on sporting/financial/ethical criteria.

    It could happen though. I saw a stat somewhere a while back about this year's performance by Dimension Data being almost the worst ever by a WT team (or the earlier equivalent). If Valgren gets injured and that is repeated then even ASO might find it difficult to defend their inclusion (with a straight face).

    Something similar might happen to CCC if GVA has an off year. Katusha look weak as well.

    So yeah, the contenders could be different to the ones listed above, but we'll stick with them for the time being.

    If Uran or Rusty Woods gets injured then EF are reliant on Lady Garden and Vanmarcke.
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