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Grand Tours with National teams (thought experiment)

Well, maybe I just had to much spare time today (I'm not used to having mondays off work), bit inspired by a thread in a Danish forum I decided to go forth with the idea.

A long time ago, the Tour De France was raced by national teams (or regional at least). I thought it would be fun to watch a grand tour where all teams were national teams instead of sponsored teams. Therefore I sat down and made a thought experiment:
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Each national team consists of:
- One captain (C) (more riders on one team could be potential captains,granted) for the general classification.
- At least one sprinter (S).
- At least one one-day rider (O) for breakaways or uphill finishes.
- At least one timetrialer (T).
- Some gregarios for the mountains.

A rider could have more roles. The countries with most riders have been permitted two teams (Spain, Italy and France - well, maybe I left out Belgium), but nothing more. In the end some countries just couldn't field enough (at least quality) riders, so I decided to make some mixed teams. USA gets the first nine jerseys, since LA is part of their team and he is the greatest GT rider of the last ten years.

25 teams, 225 riders - and the field looks extremely strong (not surprisingly). I guess there's no doubt SPAIN 1 looks superior, but there's a lot of interesting teams included. Feel free to comment about any riders you feel I left out (I made some difficult choices along the way, but i've got my reasons). I would be especially interested in hearing if I left a great GT rider out in the smaller nations. Actually the hardest part was selecting the French riders, since there's a very even peloton after the top2 (Chavanel and Casar). One could definitely argue a riders case there. If you just think I wasted my time, just surf on and spend no more time here;)
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USA:
1: Lance Armstrong (C)
2: Levi Leipheimer (T)
3: Tyler Farrar (S)
4: David Zabriskie (T)
5: Danny Pate
6: George Hincapie (O)
7: Christian Vande Velde
8: Tom Danielson
9: Chris Horner

SPAIN 1:
11: Alberto CONTADOR (C-T)
12: Oscar FREIRE (S-O)
13: Samuel Sanchez (O)
14: Antonio Colom
15: Juan José COBO ACEBO
16: Joaquin RODRIGUEZ
17: Igor ANTON
18: Ezequiel MOSQUERA
19: Oscar Pereiro

SPAIN 2:
21: Luis Leon SANCHEZ (T)
22: Alejandro VALVERDE (S-O)
23: David ARROYO
24: Ruben Plaza
25: JA GOMEZ MARCHANTE
26: Mikel ASTARLOZA
27: David De La Fuente (O)
28: Jose Ivan Gutierrez (T)
29: Carlos Sastre (C)

ITALY 1:
31: Danilo DI LUCA (C)
32: Stefano GARZELLI
33: Alessandro Petacchi (S)
34: Damiano Cunego
35: Marco Pinotti (T)
36: Daniele Pietropolli
37: Domenico Pozzovivo
38: Franco Pellizotti
39: Alessandro Ballan (O)

ITALY 2:
41: Ivan Basso (C)
42: Vicenzo Nibali (T)
43: Daniele Bennati (S)
44: Francesco Masciarelli
45: Mirco Lorenzetto (S)
46: Filippo Pozzato (O)
47: Matteo Carrera
48: Marzio Bruseghin (T)
49: Michele Scarponi

FRANCE 1:
51: David Moncoutie
52: Remy Di Gregorio
53: Thomas Voeckler (O)
54: Sylvain Chavanel (C-T)
55: Jimmy Casper (S)
56: David Le Lay
57: Matthieu Ladagnous
58: Jerome Pineau
59: Benoit Vaugrenard

FRANCE 2:
61: Romain Feillu (S)
62: Sebastian Hinault (S)
63: Clement L’hotellerie
64: Jerome Coppel (T)
65: Christophe Moreau
66: Pierrick Fedrigo
67: Anthony Geslin
68: Amael Moinard
69: Sandy Casar (C)

AUSTRALIA:
71: Cadel EVANS (C)
72: Allan Davis (S)
73: Robbie McEwen (S)
74: Simon Gerrans (O)
75: Matthew Lloyd
76: Mark Renshaw
77: Michael ROGERS (T)
78: Adam Hansen
79: Wesley Sulzberger

DENMARK:
81: Chris Anker Sørensen (C)
82: Matti Breschel (O)
83: Lars Bak
84: Nicki Sørensen
85: Jakob Fuglsang (T)
86: Brian Vandborg
87: Alex Rasmussen (S)
88: Frank Høj
89: Michael Mørkøv

BELGIUM:
91: Stijn DEVOLDER (C-T)
92: Tom Boonen (S)
93: Gert Steegmans (S)
94: Philippe GILBERT (O)
95: Kevin SEELDRAEYERS
96: Maxime Monfort
97: Jürgen Van Den Broeck
98: Johan Vansummeren
99: Francis De Greef

HOLLAND:
101: Robert GESINK (C)
102: Thomas DEKKER (T)
103: Kenny Van Hummel (S)
104: Karsten Kroon (O)
105: Steven De Jongh (S)
106: Joost Posthuma
107: Stef Clement
108: Lars Boom
109: Laurens Ten Dam

GREAT BRITAIN-IRELAND:
111: Mark Cavendish (S)
112: Charles Wegelius
113: David Millar
114: Daniel Martin (C)
115: Chris Froome
116: Ben Swift (S)
117: Bradley Wiggins (T)
118: Nicholas Roche
119: Philip Deignan (O)

RUSSIA:
121: Denis Menchov (C-T)
122: Vladimir Efimkin
123: Serguei Ivanov (S)
124: Yury Trofimov
125: Alexandr Kolobnev (O)
126: Vladimir Karpets
127: Timofey Kritskiy (T)
128: Evgeni Petrov
129: Aleksander Efimkin

GERMANY:
131: Linus Gerdemann (C)
132: Fabian Wegmann (O)
133: Tony Martin
134: Bert Grabsch (T)
135: Christian Knees
136: Andre Greipel (S)
137: Jens Voigt
138: Heinrich Haussler (S)
139: Andreas Klöden

SWITZERLAND:
141: Fabian Cancellara (T)
142: Martin Elmiger (O)
143: Michael Albasini
144: Gregory Rast
145: Aurelien Clerc (S)
146: David Vitoria
147: Oliver Zaugg
148: Johan Tschopp (C)
149: Mathias Frank

SLOVENIA:
151: Tadej Valjavec (C)
152: Janez Brajkovic (T)
153: Grega Bole (O)
154: Simon Spilak
155: Borut Bozic (S)
156: Marko Kump (S)
157: Gorazd Stangelj
158: Robert Vrecer
159: Jure Golcer

COLUMBIA:
161: Jose Serpa
162: Juan Mauricio Soler (C)
163: Leonardo Duque (S)
164: Felix Cardenas
165: Marlon Perez Arango (T)
166: Rigoberto Uran
167: Luis Laverde (O)
168: Victor Hugo Pena
169: Mauricio Ardila

PORTUGAL :
171: Candido Barbosa (S)
172: Rui Costa (C-T)
173: Tiago Machado
174: Nuno Ribeiro
175: Sergio Paulinho (O)
176: Filipe Cardoso
177: Manuel Cardoso
178: Bruno Pires
179: Jose Mendes

UKRAINE:
181: Andriy Grivko (T)
182: Yuriy Krivtsov
183: Yaroslav Popovych (C)
184: Yuri Metlushenko (S)
185: Ruslan Pidgornyy
186: Volodymir Gustov
187: Vitaly Kondrut
188: Vitaliy Buts (O)
189: Dmytro Grabovskyy

TEAM SCANDINAVIA:
191: Thor Hushovd, NOR (S)
192: E. Boasson Hagen, NOR (C-T)
193: Kurt Asle Arvesen, NOR (O)
194: Gustav Larsson, SWE (T)
195: Thomas Lövkvist, SWE
196: Fredrik Kessiakoff, SWE
197: Marcus Ljungkvist, SWE
198: Jussi Veikanen, FIN
199: Kjell Carlström, FIN

TEAM SOUTH AMERICA:
201: Juan Jose Haedo, ARG (S)
202: Lucas Sebastian Haedo, ARG (S)
203: Mauro Richeze, ARG
204: Alfredo Lucero, ARG (C)
205: Jorge Giacinti, ARG (T)
206: Murilo Fischer, BRA (S)
207: Carlos Ochoa, VEN
208: Jackson Rodriguez, VEN (O)
209: Jose Rujano, VEN

TEAM EX-RUSSIA:
211: Kanstanstin Siutsou, BLR (C-T)
212: Aleksandr Kuschynski, BLR
213: Yauheni Hutarovich, BLR (S)
214: Branislav Samoilav, BLR
215: Alexandre Usov, BLR (S)
216: Vasil Kiryienka, BLR (O)
217: Maxim Iglinskiy, KAZ
218: Assan Bazayev, KAZ (S)
219: Sergey Lagutin, USB

TEAM EASTERN EUROPE:
221: Robert Kiserlovski, CRO
222: Roman Kreuziger, CZH (C)
223: Frantisek Rabon, CZH (T)
224: Vladimir Miholjevic, CRO
225: Martin Velits, SVK
226: Peter Velits, SVK (O)
227: Radislav Rogina, CRO (S)
228: Sylwester Szmyd, POL
229: Przemyslaw Niemiec (T)

TEAM ZEAFRICAN:
231: Ryder Hesjedal, CAN (C)
232: Svein Tuft, CAN (T)
233: Michael Barry, CAN
234: Dominique Rollin, CAN
235: Hayden Roulston, NZL
236: Robert Hunter, RSA (S)
237: Darryl Impey, RSA (O)
238: John Lee Augustyn, RSA
239: Gregory Henderson, NZL (S)

TEAM THE REST:
241: Thomas Rohregger, AUT
242: Bernard Eisel, AUT (S)
243: Rein Taaramäe, EST
244: Kim Kirchen, LUX (O-T)
245: Andy Schleck, LUX (C)
246: Frank Schleck, LUX
247: Ignatas Konovalovas, LTU (T)
248: Erki Putsep, EST (S)
249: Peter Wrolich, AUT
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Haussler is assuming his Australian citizenship next year, so I would definitely have him in the Australian team. Stuey O'Grady MUST be on the team. I think Baden Cooke still has the talent to be included in the Australian team. It would actually be very interesting to see how these teams progress, because the Aussies, on paper, would be very competitive in the classics and have a half decent chance for podiums in the GTs.
 
The teams are just supposed to be for a grand tour, that's why Cooke was left out. Had forgotten about Hausslers citizenship change, but I guess he's easy to replace in the German team with Gerald Ciolek (even though he's had an off year so far).

Stuey must indeed be considered alongside Haussler for the Australian team, but Sulzberger and Lloyd seems to be better in the mountains than both of them, and with bot Robbie and Davis on the team, there's no more room for a sprinter. McEwens future is sadly enough unknown atm, but I'm hoping for the best. Maybe Hansen should be replaced by O'Grady, but considering how many in here respect Hansens unselfish work, I opted for him. Personally I'd pick Stuey.

Reg. the Tom Zirbel aspect I know he's a capable TT'er, but considering how many quality TT riders USA can field (LL, LA, Hincapie, Zabriskie), I'd say Farrar is a way better choice for TEAM USA to be able to compete in the sprints.
 
Personally I would rather see a tour with only national teams so no doubles and no mixed teams but that would mean alot more teams if you want all the best riders...

You only have one polish rider. Poland is traditionally a very strong nation so I find it odd that they could only get 1 rider. Either the quality of polish cycling ha gone down in the last few years or there are some talent missing.
 
Apr 12, 2009
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BELGIUM:
91: Stijn DEVOLDER (C-T)
92: Tom Boonen (S)
93: Gert Steegmans (S)
94: Philippe GILBERT (O)
95: Kevin SEELDRAEYERS
96: Maxime Monfort
97: Jürgen Van Den Broeck
98: Johan Vansummeren
99: Francis De Greef
I do agree with this selection.
The nice thing is, except for monfort, all these ride for a belgian pro tour team (Q-step or Lotto)

Some remarks:
Maybe now that i've seen Serge Pauwels working for Sastre in the giro, he might deserve his place in this team more then De Greef...
Boonen has only got Steegmans and Vansummeren for the sprints, maybe you could replace one climber for Hulsmans/Weylandt/Van Avermaet...
 
I like it. Good thread. Looks like you put a lot of thought into it.

Surprised you left Gibo off both Italian teams. Though you may be assuming he's going to retire soon.

I would remove Tom Danielson off the American list and replace him. Tom Zirbel would be fine. If I were to pick, I'd put Floyd Landis on there, but I know that choice will be met with some criticism.
 
May 26, 2009
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Racing the Tour with national teams would be interesting in a way since certain teams would be fighting for certain jerseys. For example we'd have Italy, Spain, America and Australia contest for the overall whereas we'd have Great Britain and Belgium going mainly for the sprinter's jersey. The geographic position and training possibilities in a country would play a great role in what kind of team they would bring to the race. For example it would be natural for a country like Belgium (no mountains) to bring a sprinter team.

Though maybe it's better this way so that we don't have a concentration of great riders on one team. It wouldn't be fair to have two teams from the bigger cycling nations (like Italy) since the two teams would certainly ride for each other. Then if we had a single team from for example Spain we'd have a team looking like this:

1: Alberto CONTADOR
2: Oscar FREIRE
3: Samuel Sanchez
4: Antonio Colom
5: Oscar Pereiro
6: Carlos Sastre
7: Alejandro VALVERDE
8: Luis Leon SANCHEZ
9: Igor ANTON

Now need we even race the Tour if Spain sends a team like this :)
 
ingsve said:
You only have one polish rider. Poland is traditionally a very strong nation so I find it odd that they could only get 1 rider. Either the quality of polish cycling ha gone down in the last few years or there are some talent missing.

Actually there's two, just forgot to give Niemiec his abbreviations. But still not that many, agreed.

Buffalo Soldier said:
Maybe now that i've seen Serge Pauwels working for Sastre in the giro, he might deserve his place in this team more then De Greef...
Boonen has only got Steegmans and Vansummeren for the sprints, maybe you could replace one climber for Hulsmans/Weylandt/Van Avermaet

I decided to choose mainly hills/mountainmen from the countries that were able to deliver enough of such riders. That's why I haven't picked more than Boonen and Steegmans for the sprints. It's just a bonus that Vansummeren has the ability to help here as well.

Reg. the last rider in the Belgian selection, it came down to De Greef, Pauwels, Van Den Broeck and Devenyns. It was pretty much a coin toss:)

RhodriM said:
I'd stick Geraint Thomas in the GB team too.

I don't know much about Daniel Martin, would he really be best leader?

This selection was actually one I was certain of. G.T. was indeed on my preliminary list, but I think his main ability is time trialing, where both Millar and Wiggins should be able to compete at least on the same level. Daniel Martin impressed me in Volta a Catalunya, and even though he's young, he is Great Britains best GC contender. Roche could be considered too, though.

Alpe d'Huez said:
Surprised you left Gibo off both Italian teams. Though you may be assuming he's going to retire soon.

I would remove Tom Danielson off the American list and replace him. Tom Zirbel would be fine. If I were to pick, I'd put Floyd Landis on there, but I know that choice will be met with some criticism

Yes, Gibo is 38 years and rapidly declining.

"Tenacious D" was perhaps included due to my fondness of him. I'd have to say I still lack seing Zirbel in serious European competition before giving him the green light. And did anyone besides me notice Danielsons far better results the last week of the giro? Getting in form hopefully;)

My tenth rider for TEAM USA was McCartney btw.

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Keep'em coming, even though it's just a distant fantasy it's fun to discuss IMO. I'm definitely listening to arguments, but please be ware of my original thoughts of rider selection for each team....
 

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