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The 2018 CQ Ranking Manager Thread

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Re: The 2018 CQ Ranking Manager Thread

14 Jan 2018 00:08

I also enjoy reading about people's thoughts on their teams. Looking forward to the third installment, skidmark.

skidmark wrote:Sam Oomen (33, 471) - [...] I would say he's my favourite pick in this game, but that is reserved for a rider I haven't gotten to yet; [...]

You're obviously going to say that Valverde is your favourite pick. Since he's my favourite active rider, he's also my favourite pick, even though I didn't pick him myself. But I'm very curious about the merits of that strategy. I stated earlier that I believe my own more balanced strategy will be better. I'm mainly basing myself on historical CQ game data, but also my belief that good mid-range picks will give a better return on average than unreliable cheap picks (especially as the best cheap picks are in my team anyway). But I decided to do some number crunching on this, to see who the maths agree with.

Let's assume that 15000 points will win you the game, which has often been the case. This means that the winning team doubles their points.

Let's remove Valverde (costing 1828 points) from your team, and say you're working with a budget of 5672 points. Double that, and you'll have 11344 points. To get you to 15000, you'll need Valverde to score 3656 points. That's highly unlikely, so by that train of thought, picking him is not a good idea.

But picks in different price ranges will normally contribute with different percentage returns. Cheaper picks will more than double their points, while the more expensive picks will increase less, percentage wise. So a 5672 budget should see a bigger percentage return than a 7500 budget.

To get some data on this, I'm looking at the optimal team for 2017, which comes in at 24851 points. That's 331% of the cost of 7500 points. By running the script with the budget changed to 5672 points I get a team that scores 21962 points, or 387% of the cost. Scaling those numbers back to correspond with a doubling of the 7500 team, we get a score that is 234% of the cost for the 5672 team.

So if your Valverde-less team is game-winning material, it will score 13272 points. Then, to get to 15000, Valverde will need to net you 1728 points.

That means he doesn't even need to break even!!

Now, of course, there are more factors in play here, and I suspect that the real answer lies somewhere in between my two different 'conclusions'. You'll rely on there not being mid-range picks you omitted (to accomodate Valverde) who'll have storming seasons, and who are picked by many others (Alaphilippe or Moscon being a possibility). And there will need to be enough value in the lowest price categories that there are still good picks left who didn't fit into the more 'balanced' teams you are competing against. And you need to find those picks, which often is a lot more difficult than finding good picks among the slightly more expensive riders.

But all in all, it seems like your Valverde strategy has more legs to stand on than I initially believed.
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14 Jan 2018 00:43

A different approach is to reduce it to Valverde and 1-3 of the rarest/worst cheap picks on his team and compare that group with an equally large group of the best/most popular mid priced picks that he didn't pick. Like the Nibali/Grosu duo last year. At the end of the year, it revealed that Nibali was a good pick, and that the duo would have outscored Gav/Ewan with some margin if Grosu had been replaced by a better pick.

This year's matchup could be the trio of Alaphilippe, Thomas, and Terpstra vs. Valverde, Vendrame, and Doull. While the alternative trio is 10 points more expensive, skidmark had 11 unused points, so it was a viable alternative. Personally, I don't know the two rarest pick and therefore cannot judge what expected average score they have, so someone else should be the judge for that. So how much do you (plural) expect the respective trios to score on average?
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14 Jan 2018 00:57

That's maybe a more relatable way of looking at it, Netserk. :)

I reckon the Ala trio would score a lot more. But then I don't believe that Vendrame, Doull or Terpstra are particularly good picks (I'll be interested in reading skidmark's explanation for Doull). A quick look and a rather conservative estimate landed me on 3600 for the Ala trio vs 2950 for the Valverde trio. The make-up would be Ala 1800, Thomas 1300, Terpstra 500, Valverde 2350, and the two others 300 each.

Regarding my calculations in the post above, I noticed a small error. I forgot to remove a rider from the 5672 budget optimal team. It wouldn't make a huge difference though. Valverde would need 1854 points (a tiny profit) instead of 1728 points.
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14 Jan 2018 01:08

Why do you have Valverde so low? I saw EitB's numbers on him, but I think he made a mistake of averaging the different WC points, when this year's route is clearly much better for him. Not to mention that his race schedule will be like last year and not the catastrophe that was '16. So I'd have him at 2800-3000 on average, as I think he has the potential to reclaim the CQ-record, if the stars align and he hasn't declined.
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14 Jan 2018 01:12

I basically took his average CQ score for a normal season, subtracted for Landa, age and injury uncertainty, and added for WC potential and more WT races than earlier years.
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14 Jan 2018 01:58

Yes injury uncertainly, however, it is highly unlikely that age is going to make much of difference here when Valverde had his best ever spring last season. Until he actually starts to show an age related decline can you really actually factor that in?
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14 Jan 2018 04:57

The strategy and thought process you guys just went through for why to pick an expensive rider or not is interesting. I never think things through like that. That’s why I’ll never win this game....or come close! :)
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Re:

14 Jan 2018 11:49

Squire wrote:I basically took his average CQ score for a normal season, subtracted for Landa, age and injury uncertainty, and added for WC potential and more WT races than earlier years.

Another factor to take into account in Valverde's favour might be the low quality of competition. With Contador and Purito gone, Froome facing a possible ban, Quintana and Landa in the same team and Nibali usually rubbish until late spring, who is going to challenge Valverde on all these spring stage races?

He probably won't get as many points as last spring, because that was insane. But even if he only does slightly worse, while adding in the points from two GTs and the autumn one day races (+ possibly worlds) and he could be on for over 3000 points quite comfortably.

I think by far the biggest risk is that he crashes out again, rather than that he races all year and gets only around 2000 points. The Valverde strategy is definitely a gamble, because if he fell and broke a collar bone in Vuelta Andalucia or Catalunya, then he's going to finish the spring 1000 points down on last season.
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14 Jan 2018 19:25

Kristoffer Halvorsen crashed. He was up there in the finale. I guess he would have been fast. There’s some points lost....
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Re:

14 Jan 2018 19:47

There were no points today, it was just a stupid crit. But he has broken a bone in his hand and will be out for some time.
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14 Jan 2018 20:48

Permission to say "****".
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Re:

14 Jan 2018 22:46

armchairclimber wrote:Permission to say "****".


Unlucky for Halvorsen, but:
1) He's on half the teams, so it's not gonna matter that much
2) With a delayed start to the season, he's gonna have a smaller risk of burning out before the season end

The saddest thing competition wise is the fact that we'll have to wait a bit to see his potential and what we can expect this season.
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Re: The 2018 CQ Ranking Manager Thread

14 Jan 2018 22:49

He needs an operation.
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Re: The 2018 CQ Ranking Manager Thread

15 Jan 2018 02:07

A few quick thoughts on the selection of some of my most uncommon picks for 2018!

Richard Carapaz (349 points, 8 teams) - Carapaz ended 2017 on a negative note when he was excluded from the Juegos Bolivarianos because of a heavy night out together with a few team-mates. Movistar is heavily loaded as well with guys like Quintana, Landa and Valverde ect ect however, Carapaz still found a way into my team because I truly believe he has excellent potential for the future. In 2018, Richie is set to ride the Giro d´Italia where Movistar perhaps shows up without any clear leader figure. Richie is from Tulcan (Ecuador) and now lives in Parroquia Julio Andrade - its no secret he rides better in cold climate and therefore I really believe he could be one of the big revelations in this year's Giro! He rode a fantastic Vuelta last year, attacking vividly on several stages, riding more conservatively however on the Angliru stage (in colder rainy conditions) and showed glimpses of his massive potential. I know he has been training hard on his favorite mountain (Chunquer 3250m above altitude), and well I believe there is, even more, to come in 2018. A slight gamble of course!

Tom Devriendt (206 points, 3 teams) - Devriendt is one of the most underestimated riders in the peloton according to team-manager Van der Schueren. In the past, Devriendt, he has suffered from mononucleosis, severe knee-problems which in fact almost ended his career last year, serious mishaps hampering him from reaching his true potential - former pro rider Wim Feys predicted him a sublime career many moons ago but luck hasn't been on Devriendt´s side, to say the least! --- In September (2017) the positive feelings on the bike returned and in all honestly (replaying the race on Youtube in preparation for this game) Devriendt hardly put a foot wrong in the Autumn races. He now reportedly has had his best ever winter preparation and new team-mate for 2018, Timothy Dupont, reports Devriendt is flying on team-camp! He is a fragile pick but I hope there is a solid break-through waiting around the corner in 2018. My team would certainly need it! :razz:

Alexander Edmondson (164 points, 6 teams) - Were kinda of to a good start already :razz:. In my opinion, Edmondson has all the attributes to be a great classics rider in the future - strong-willed and determined - a good sprint finisher; who can ride hills as well! I've seen him been compared to Stuart O’Grady and I agree with that comparison on most parameters. I was truly impressed Edmondson gapped one of his best friends young Chris Harper on the climb at the nationals (Harper is a unknown gem trust me) and that he held on to take the victory (albite just) was just fantastic. I don't have high hopes for TDU, but I think Edmondson could feature again already in Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race for example.

Mads Würtz Schmidt (160 points, 7 teams) - In short, I believe he has all the qualities to triumph at the highest level! He is a physical phenomenon, super stylish on the bike and in general just very, very all-around. I was/am in doubt about his selection though, I fear, (his tremendous rouleur skills taken into count) could be used in some sort of train for Kittel? I decided to skip that fear though and tell myself Schmidt is riding for a contract extension in 2018 and surely will be motivated to demonstrate his skill-set! totally ignoring that following orders to a tee for Kittel also could earn him a new contract :D. I hope for the best though!

Nelson Soto (54 points, 4 teams) - Nelson ‘El Huracán’ Soto stomped his authority on this years Vuelta a Colombia, winning 3 stages (could easily have been 4) but Juan Pablo Villegas managed to time his late solo surge to perfection thereby winning the last stage of the race! --- ‘El Huracán’ has since then signed with Caja Rural - the main reason behind my choice of selecting him, as I think his skill-set will fit amazingly with Caja Rural´s race calendar. ‘El Huracán’ is 1.73cm and only weighs 63kg so not exactly your prototype of a sprinter, he is very, very fast, however. He formed a super sprint duo with Alvaro Hodeg at Coldeportes- Claro in 2017. Soto also won the annual climbing TT up Las Palmas (in the U23 category) in 2016 and has been in the top-10 on El Escobero (Colombia's, Motirolo) so for a fast man he climbs very very well. A good combination of scoring points on the Spanish racing circuit. I was hell-bent on having a rider from Caja Rural this year, I seriously considered Danilo Celano but didn't dare in the end. Cristian Rodríguez was in my selection at one point until I dumped him and started flirting shortly with Nick Schultz :D... ‘El Huracán’ it was though and I think he could potentially be a solid yet unspectacular choice.
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Re: The 2018 CQ Ranking Manager Thread

15 Jan 2018 05:29

fauniera wrote:Oh come on, we are all enjoying reading your posts. Of these 8 riders i only have Albanese in my team, but i have picked Latour for a different game.

Mamykin said in an interview that he was supposed to race Dauphine and the Tour in 2017, but as Taaramäe fell ill he had to race the Giro on very short notice and without enough preparation. He also rode two Grand Tours last year at the age of 22, which is way too much too soon. I think he will do well at Burgos, maybe very well. I considered him (as well as van Poppel), but there were simply too many interesting "cheap" riders out there.


Well thanks, it's hard not to feel a bit self-indulgent after realizing you spent 45 minutes writing about a handful of riders you picked for a fantasy game. Of course I guess we're all obsessed with this game, so this is a good audience.

I didn't read that particular Mamykin interview, but yeah, that was my suspicion. I feel like the lesser calendar, the slow buildup of the season (leading up to presumably an attempt to get a Vuelta wild card), and the general lack of pressure I - fairly or not - associate with Spanish PCT teams will definitely be a good combo. You're right that there were a lot of interesting cheap riders, and definitely a standout tiebreaker for me is if I've seen something special from a rider directly in a race. And in the Vuelta 2016, Mamykin had it. Sure there are some times you see that from riders and it doesn't work out, but more often than not it means they're gonna be good (off the top of my head, riders I've picked for this game from seeing something in their youth before they got many points include Landa and Majka). Anyway, I'm higher on him than his more expensive teammate Herklotz, that's for sure. Man, remember when Herklotz and Ewan looked like different skill-set, but equal level talents as 18 year olds? Only a few years back. Still hoping for Silvio to live up to that potential.
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Re: The 2018 CQ Ranking Manager Thread

15 Jan 2018 05:57

Squire wrote:I also enjoy reading about people's thoughts on their teams. Looking forward to the third installment, skidmark.

skidmark wrote:Sam Oomen (33, 471) - [...] I would say he's my favourite pick in this game, but that is reserved for a rider I haven't gotten to yet; [...]

You're obviously going to say that Valverde is your favourite pick. Since he's my favourite active rider, he's also my favourite pick, even though I didn't pick him myself. But I'm very curious about the merits of that strategy. I stated earlier that I believe my own more balanced strategy will be better. I'm mainly basing myself on historical CQ game data, but also my belief that good mid-range picks will give a better return on average than unreliable cheap picks (especially as the best cheap picks are in my team anyway). But I decided to do some number crunching on this, to see who the maths agree with.

Let's assume that 15000 points will win you the game, which has often been the case. This means that the winning team doubles their points.

Let's remove Valverde (costing 1828 points) from your team, and say you're working with a budget of 5672 points. Double that, and you'll have 11344 points. To get you to 15000, you'll need Valverde to score 3656 points. That's highly unlikely, so by that train of thought, picking him is not a good idea.

But picks in different price ranges will normally contribute with different percentage returns. Cheaper picks will more than double their points, while the more expensive picks will increase less, percentage wise. So a 5672 budget should see a bigger percentage return than a 7500 budget.

To get some data on this, I'm looking at the optimal team for 2017, which comes in at 24851 points. That's 331% of the cost of 7500 points. By running the script with the budget changed to 5672 points I get a team that scores 21962 points, or 387% of the cost. Scaling those numbers back to correspond with a doubling of the 7500 team, we get a score that is 234% of the cost for the 5672 team.

So if your Valverde-less team is game-winning material, it will score 13272 points. Then, to get to 15000, Valverde will need to net you 1728 points.

That means he doesn't even need to break even!!

Now, of course, there are more factors in play here, and I suspect that the real answer lies somewhere in between my two different 'conclusions'. You'll rely on there not being mid-range picks you omitted (to accomodate Valverde) who'll have storming seasons, and who are picked by many others (Alaphilippe or Moscon being a possibility). And there will need to be enough value in the lowest price categories that there are still good picks left who didn't fit into the more 'balanced' teams you are competing against. And you need to find those picks, which often is a lot more difficult than finding good picks among the slightly more expensive riders.

But all in all, it seems like your Valverde strategy has more legs to stand on than I initially believed.


Haha, how do you know I wasn't going to say that Vendrame was my favourite pick? You know, after saying in an earlier post that I never even paid attention to him until now.

I love the detailed numerical analysis around Valv, that is really something to think about. But I agree in terms of using an expensive rider as a strategy to optimize points - it doesn't work every year, and usually mid-range guys are the best. When I won the game in 2012 with the 'lowest highest' rider (meaning, no other teams had a cheaper rider that was the most expensive rider on the team - I think it was like Kreuziger or Modolo at 532 and 528 points, can't remember in which order), I pretty much took that as confirmation that mid-range was the way to go. But then, I can't exactly remember, but then next year I think SteelyDan won with Sagan or something, or at least a lot of the high-scoring teams had expensive guys, and it really made me rethink the value of that strategy once I realized that not every rider had to double, and in fact picking a more expensive rider that would get like 1.5x would free up space to pick cheap guys that would hopefully score 6x (albeit only 2-300 point gains each, but that adds up in a team of 33). So yeah, strategy in this game is always evolving. This year, the stars aligned to be able to pick Valverde - he had that injury, alot of the 'obvious' picks are pretty cheap, like Cav, Coquard, Nizzolo, Konig, and only really Chaves and Lopez in the mid-high range... the choice was pretty clear early on to build the team around either Valverde or Alaphilippe and someone like Thomas or Moscon or whatever (I admit that I didn't have the lateral-thinking brilliance of fauniera to take both Bala and Ala, or I very well might have).

But apart from all other reasons (which I'll get into when I have two hours or something to write about it), I liked going with Valverde because I think him plus whatever rando will be in the same range as Ala and another, but a good tiebreaker is that fewer teams would have Valverde. I actually really liked netserk's analysis last year at the start of the year or Nibali + Grosu vs Gaviria and Ewan, and thought about it all year, and that carried over into my thinking this year. A big lesson from having Nibali last year, even though it was a crap year for my team, was that sure you could make the Nibali/Grosu vs. Ewan/Gav comparison on the points level, but there's also the dimension of the popularity level. Nibali was on, what, 7 teams? And Grosu (rightfully so, ugh) only 2. Gav and Ewan were on a bunch. It's good to get popular riders as a base for your team, but at some point I've become swayed by the risk strategy around expensive riders that I'd rather have a pair that scores 1900 points combined and are both on fewer than 10 teams than a pair that scores 1900 points combined and are on >40 teams each. Imagine if that combo had been what it should have been, like Nibali/Bernal?

Anyway, that was a factor for sure. I was thinking the other day about doing a similar comparison to netserk's from last year with Valv and someone else this year, but picking other riders that balanced out the popularity. Like, I don't really think Doull and Vendrame are the best people to pair in a straight up comparison, because they are also my two rarest (and last, therefore those I'm least convinced of) picks. I'd be interested in somehow making a comparison by putting a couple of my more popular riders with Valverde vs. Alaphilippe and some less popular riders.

Looking forward to the season starting, that's for sure.
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15 Jan 2018 06:23

Methodologically, I think it makes sense to pair Valverde with the last/rarest picks, as if you were to change your mind and not roll with Valverde, you would have to change several spots, and as such they would be first in line. If you only want to compare Valverde vs. Alaphilippe, there would be an obvious winner if Ala had a the same or bigger profit as Valverde, or Valverde scored by the same or greater factor of his price as Ala. In the third (and most likely) scenario though, you have to compare them paired with the marginal riders (a priori) that would make comparable groups, as expensive picks in the end are no better than mid-range picks if not there are enough good cheap riders to fill the last spots. To do that generally and not specific to your team, we'd have to identify what the typical marginal riders would be, even if just as an anonymous average of what one could expect from one's last picks (in a given price-range).
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Re:

15 Jan 2018 06:43

Netserk wrote:Methodologically, I think it makes sense to pair Valverde with the last/rarest picks, as if you were to change your mind and not roll with Valverde, you would have to change several spots, and as such they would be first in line. If you only want to compare Valverde vs. Alaphilippe, there would be an obvious winner if Ala had a the same or bigger profit as Valverde, or Valverde scored by the same or greater factor of his price as Ala. In the third (and most likely) scenario though, you have to compare them paired with the marginal riders (a priori) that would make comparable groups, as expensive picks in the end are no better than mid-range picks if not there are enough good cheap riders to fill the last spots. To do that generally and not specific to your team, we'd have to identify what the typical marginal riders would be, even if just as an anonymous average of what one could expect from one's last picks (in a given price-range).


Yeah, I see what you're saying. I guess I just was thinking about how last year when I was building my team, I picked Nibali in my first 5-10 riders and built around that, whereas Grosu was the last rider shuffled onto my team, and in that way was the one I was expecting least from. On the other hand, if I had gone with the Gaviria/Ewan combo, they both would have been among my first 5-10 picks. So it seems weird to compare two 'obvious' riders with one rider that was 'obvious' to me and one that was very marginal, because usually I'd expect two great picks to score more than one great pick and a whatever pick. But I guess in essence, picking that expensive rider is what allows you to open up and get a bunch of those marginal riders.There's a bit of a butterfly effect there that is more complicated, like I wouldn't have been able to have all three of, say, Mamykin/Capiot/Albanese if I had two riders totalling Valverde's points instead of just one rider. Or any three riders that were beyond the obvious first round of picks. I dunno, maybe the lesson here is that I need to stop picking riders like Grosu for my final pick. In which case, lesson learned (I hope...)
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15 Jan 2018 06:56

Even if they were among your first picks, if you could identify an alternative duo or trio that you'd expect more from, you could still change to that.

With regards to popularity and risk (with the purpose of maximizing overall winning chance, not average performance), I'm somewhat skeptical of the reasoning behind that, but it's not something I've thought enough about to simply dismiss.
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15 Jan 2018 15:58

Early problems for two of the biggest talents in the peloton as neither Halvorsen nor Lambrecht will start Tour Down Under. The former because of a broken bone after a crash in the People's Choice Classic and the latter due to whereabout issues (not his own fault though).
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