Best Tour Team

Sep 4, 2009
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It seems to me that over the last few weeks there have been more epic battles amongst the CN population than necessary. As an avid fan of most of you guys, and the insight you provide I wish to get onto a productive track.

Who do you believe has the best stage race team THIS YEAR, and why?

(Please dont let this morph into a discusion about he said she said. I am sincerely interested in the sport and love the speculation process.)
 
May 10, 2009
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mightymac12 said:
It seems to me that over the last few weeks there have been more epic battles amongst the CN population than necessary. As an avid fan of most of you guys, and the insight you provide I wish to get onto a productive track.

Who do you believe has the best stage race team THIS YEAR, and why?

(Please dont let this morph into a discusion about he said she said. I am sincerely interested in the sport and love the speculation process.)
Hard to say...CSC or Columbia. Sky in my opinion could have gotten better GC riders for the money the spent (building a tour team around Wiggins doesn't look wise). Shack don't have much depth. So the first two would be my opinion. Garmin, Cervelo are also worth a mention, as are liquigas.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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The topic title doesn't mesh with the post. Tour team or Stage race team? :)

Tour team, Astana simply because they have far and away the best contender.

Stage race team, Liquigas. No one can compete for sheer depth of top GC contenders.
 
Aug 6, 2009
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Depends on what you mean by best. Radioshack gives Armstrong perhaps the strongest helpers of any team, but I don't believe Armstrong himself nor any of his lieutenants can actually win. Liquigas also has a very strong team, but again it's uncertain whether they have anyone who can actually win, and I'm not sure they'll work for each other. Astana has a much weaker team but as issoisso says Contador's personal strength is likely to carry the day. Saxo Banks helpers are almost as strong as Radioshack IMO and Andy is a far stronger captain than Armstrong. Of cause this is all going by GC potential. If you're talking about stage wins then Columbia is a very strong.
 
Jan 11, 2010
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Best all round team: Saxo, Rabo
Best stage race team: Liquigas, Astana, Caisse
Best Tour team: Astana, Saxo, Radio Shack

And by all round I mean stage races + cobbled classics + hilly classics. I'd have rated Radio Shack among the best stage rage teams, if they didn't put all their eggs in one basket.
Astana are likely to win two grand tours this year. Both with the same rider, but that doesn't matter, I guess.
 
Aug 11, 2009
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As already posted by a few others, Contador is the most likely to win the Tour. So, one could say Astana has the best team to win the Tour, too.

I think Saxo Bank has the most *complete* Tour team, though, because they have the best mix of legitimate captains and role players; Radioshack have more guys who can finish in the top 10, but everyone at Saxo Bank has a definite role and each rider is happy to play that role. The fact that they won the Tour with Carlos Sastre (a rider who is not capable of dominating the race like Contador or the pre-comeback Armstrong) is proof of the entire team's worth. For example:

GC riders: the Schlecks have no selfish issues to work out as co-leaders

Tempo Specialists: Voigt and Cancellara always get the job done for the GC riders--and often pick up high-profile stage wins, to boot. Larsson isn't bad either, as arguably the second best TT rider in the world.

Mountain Domestiques: Fuglsang is coming up quickly; both Sorensens are now excellent.

Matti Breschel and Stuart O'Grady are both excellent all-rounders who can sprint and help lead over the cobbles. O'Grady, of course, also brings experience.

Then, if injuries and/or illness knock some of these guys out, there's always Baden Cooke (who's become a pretty well-rounded classics man in addition to his former Green Jersey glory) and Frank Hoj (who rides very strong tempo, especially over cobbles and through cross-winds).

For a team that currently lacks the money to hold onto some of last year's talent, I'd say that's a pretty damn good group for targeting the GC. And yes, I am admittedly biased towards the Danish squad.
 
Jan 30, 2010
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I will assume best stage race team means the best group of all nine riders...

Following on from that, I think this thread assumes the question: who will win the team classification of the Tour de France?

RadioShack (Armstrong, Leipheimer, Kloden, Zubeldia and even Horner)

Liquigas (Basso, Pellizotti, Nibali and Kreuziger)

Saxobank (A Schleck, FSchleck, Fugslang, Cancellara and even Richie Porte)

4th in line is Astana with Contador, Vino and Periero. But hey, they'll probably win the YELLOW jersey anyway so who cares about the team classification?
 
Jul 2, 2009
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Very difficult to quantify this is.

If I were to choosed based on which team I think will win it the highest % of the time you go with Astana, only by virtue of Contador, but not because they're the best 'team,' they just have the best frontman, although they'll have a perfectly good team if Navarro, Tiralongo, Pereiro and Vino all show up and are prepared to work for him.

If the question is which team has the best 'supporting cast' for their leader I'd say Saxo. Assuming Schleck the Younger leads, they'll have the strongest #2 man in Schleck the Elder, they'll have some outstanding 'mountain men' in Chris Anker Sorensen and Fuglsang, and a couple of guys who can really work the peleton with The Canc, Larsson and Voigt. Saxo have shown in the past that they can run really well as a team and everyone performs their roles well and without a fuss.

If you want to go for the team with the most GC talent you pick Liquigas; Nibali, Pellizotti, Basso and Kreuziger, all of whom will reportedly be at the Tour. No team has that amount of talent in the GC department.

There is also door number 4, which is which team is best equipped to achieve their own aims at the Tour, and that could arguably be said to be Columbia-HTC. They want stages, and with Cav and Greipel they'll probably win every finish without a significant incline. Also they have a pretty intruiging card to play for the GC in Tony Martin, who could definitely do something big, and anything he gets would just be gravy on top of Cavs' wins.
 
Moondance said:
Very difficult to quantify this is.

If I were to choosed based on which team I think will win it the highest % of the time you go with Astana, only by virtue of Contador, but not because they're the best 'team,' they just have the best frontman, although they'll have a perfectly good team if Navarro, Tiralongo, Pereiro and Vino all show up and are prepared to work for him.

If the question is which team has the best 'supporting cast' for their leader I'd say Saxo. Assuming Schleck the Younger leads, they'll have the strongest #2 man in Schleck the Elder, they'll have some outstanding 'mountain men' in Chris Anker Sorensen and Fuglsang, and a couple of guys who can really work the peleton with The Canc, Larsson and Voigt. Saxo have shown in the past that they can run really well as a team and everyone performs their roles well and without a fuss.

If you want to go for the team with the most GC talent you pick Liquigas; Nibali, Pellizotti, Basso and Kreuziger, all of whom will reportedly be at the Tour. No team has that amount of talent in the GC department.

There is also door number 4, which is which team is best equipped to achieve their own aims at the Tour, and that could arguably be said to be Columbia-HTC. They want stages, and with Cav and Greipel they'll probably win every finish without a significant incline. Also they have a pretty intruiging card to play for the GC in Tony Martin, who could definitely do something big, and anything he gets would just be gravy on top of Cavs' wins.
I hung back on this one because opening post is very vague about how to judge best team.

Which team has the best squad to win a variety of stage races, I would actually go for RadioShack/Liquigas/Saxo Bank/Caisse d'Epargne. Problem is RadioShack will be focusing on one race so discount them. Liquigas will spend too much time squabbling so that leaves Saxo Bank with the Schlecks, Fuglsang, Voigt who usually can win smaller stage races. Cancellara as well.
Caisse for the stage races shorter than the GTs.

Which team will be best at giving support to their leader at a GT, Astana, Saxo Bank and maybe RadioShack, all depends if Lance is up to it.

Team most likely to win Team Classification at Tour, again RadioShack but again depends on how obsessed they are with getting Lance in yellow. Liquigas could easily outdo them though.

Best team at tour in terms of everything, GC, jerseys, stage wins etc: Columbia, Saxo Bank, Garmin,

A myriad of answers to a vague question.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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I read this post as take out the contender and then who has the best support. I think almost any team can turn themselves inside out and provide support on the flats so in the mountain is where it counts. Therefore in my opinion the strength of a team can be based on the 2nd best rider you have. The best number 2 on a team is Frank Schleck. The obvious problem with my method is that the second best rider is highly dependent on who is the best rider.

Having said that is just how I read the question. You could read as finish highest in the teams class (radioshack), to actually win the yellow jersey (astana), most depth throughout (liquigas), most stages (columbia) etc.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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I think some folks here underrate Sky.

I see a team with

Wiggins
Boasson
Lofqvist
Augustyn
Froome
Thomas
Arvesen

that is a super team. If you stick Nibali and Kennaugh into that team, in 2011, and the improvement in the squad, because it is a young team, then I think it could be the best GC team for the Tour.
 
Jul 2, 2009
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blackcat said:
I think some folks here underrate Sky.

I see a team with

Wiggins
Boasson
Lofqvist
Augustyn
Froome
Thomas
Arvesen

that is a super team. If you stick Nibali and Kennaugh into that team, in 2011, and the improvement in the squad, because it is a young team, then I think it could be the best GC team for the Tour.
Wiggins is overrated, which pulls down the, as you correctly point out, quite impressive supporting cast they have.
 

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