Okay, here are some more guys on the team:
Vincenzo Albanese (50 teams, 31 points) - I'm going a little bit on faith on him, based on the word of folks who believe he's a real talent whose word I trust. But I had him in my team last year at 159 until the last second, which was a good move (about the only good move I made last year; hell I probably replaced him with Grosu or Machado or something). At 31 points he provides a tantalizing opportunity if he can live up to his potential. I guess I never really saw much from him last year in particular, nor did I read interviews suggesting what was up, but I know he had quite a late start to the season due to lingering injury, and it just seemed like he was chasing form the whole year, even if I didn't get any direct confirmation of that. I had similar feelings about other guys I liked this year, including Ruben Fernandez and Owain Doull. Anyway, he shouldn't lack for opportunities with the Italian calendar and on Bardiani. Plus he looked like his form came around by the time of the Worlds. Plus he won a 1.1 race before he was even pro (although, you know, Battaglin and Villella and guys like that did quite well in those before turning pro, and they've proven to be underwhelming in general). We shall see.
Danny van Poppel (45, 287) - why isn't he on 40 more teams than this? What's not to like? A good young sprinter leaving the stifling atmosphere of Sky (where he scored 477 the year before even so), going home to a team with really only one other big sprint option (who is going to focus on the Tour)... seems like money in the bank to me. I mean, maybe his ceiling is low in some people's minds? His 695 season a couple of years ago looks real nice, and there's no reason to think he can't achieve at least that again, coming into his age 24 season and on his 4th team already, he's pretty experienced for a 24 year old... seems like a winning combo to me.
Amaury Capiot (43, 32) - a few ways to approach this one. First, math - 32 CQ points/4 racing days = 8 points per day. Forecasting that onto a season is tasty. Okay, secondly, and more seriously, he only had FOUR racing days! His last race was February 16th (well I guess he had that DNF in June too). Third, 187 points as a 21 year old, 309 at 22, then an injury-hell season at 23. As long as he's good to go (and from what I've read he is), I don't see how he doesn't get back to his 'old' level at least, if not take a leap forward. I'm big on riders that are 24 this year.
Ruben Fernandez (42, 115) - not exactly a 'left field' pick, nor a 'I can't believe how much this guy is gonna tear it up' pick, but I think he's a solid pick, and one I'm excited about. In his 2016, he picked up good points in TdU, Poland, Burgos, and Vuelta for pretty much 400. Then he had a year of bad luck, injuries, bad form. I think he's on track for a solid year of 4-600 if nothing major goes wrong. Movistar needs some riders to be on the level of the Herradas or Izagirres a couple of years ago, and Fernandez has the raw talent to build on.
Pierre Latour (36, 453) - yeah, it's hard to see him going through the roof, but he offered about the best value in that price range, for sure. A few reasons I'm bullish though: 1) he did the Tour last year for the first time, which is 21 days without many points for riders being initiated, 2) he basically got no points in stage races last year (aside from Besseges and 29th in the Tour), and I know he's got room to grow, 3) he established himself as a bona fide TT threat last year, and although their importance is diminishing, there are enough races out there that if he gets it together in stage races (see point 2) that could get him over the top and score him a bunch of extra points). He's got a very high floor, if nothing else.
Matvey Mamykin (36, 67) - I wavered on him a lot, and was super disappointed in his totally anonymous season after he was so exciting at the end of last year. But what ultimately got me was an article I read where he basically said he did his job at Katusha working for others (which I knew) and although he didn't say he was specifically excited for leadership at BH, he did explicitly mention that he really liked the Spanish calendar. There are definitely enough races there that if he shows the type of class he did in late 2016, one of those attacks is gonna stick and score him some decent points. Running through in my head the races he'll likely do with that squad, I think he has enough opportunity that something good has to happen.
Sam Oomen (33, 471) - sometimes you become a big fan of a rider by following them closely as they rise up through the ranks; sometimes you see a flash of excitement from a rider you've never heard of before and then look into them and start being a fan. And sometimes, you're aware of a rider but he slips under your radar until you consider him for the CQ game and then become a fan based on his stats. I definitely overlooked Oomen these last two years, but he's like a CQ dream for me: tons of potential and talent, utterly dependable and consistent in high level performance. Decent ceiling, high floor. His only DNFs in 63 race days were the Vuelta where he got sick, and Milano-Torino (who's not gonna stop pedalling a tough one-day in October if you're out of it?) But those results! 15th, Andalucia; 14th, Paris-Nice; 19th, Pais Vasco; 9th, California; 7th, Poland; 13th in the Vuelta when he dropped out. Let's say he did the same race schedule this year and increased his placing by an average of 5 places (which, as a 22-year-old developing, isn't unreasonable). That'd make him a good pick. Let's imagine him finishing a GT. That's even better! And how about developing as a one-day racer? He did 5 one-day races all year only (not counting nationals and Worlds), and was anonymous in Amstel and Liege, then at the end of the year had 6th in Tre Valli and 11th in Lombardia (and the DNF in Torino). 11th in Lombardia at 22? That is some promising stuff. I dunno exactly what his schedule looks like this year, but PCS shows him in the TdU, Algarve, P-N, Liege, Giro, Pologne. Loving it so far - his base form seems good enough to top 20 WT races, and 11th in a 250+km mountain race is promising for a good showing at LBL, Lombardia again, or the Worlds. Oh and he's good enough at that TT that he was on the TTT champ team. I'm high on this kid. I would say he's my favourite pick in this game, but that is reserved for a rider I haven't gotten to yet; maybe instead I'll say he's the rider who I'm looking most forward to seeing what he can do.
Jurgen Roelandts (25, 228) - definitely one of my older picks, and one of the ones with the most predictable ceiling. But Roelandts is quality. I'm banking on a change of scenery being good for him. Two main things that made me take him: 1) he had an okay, but not very good, spring this year. Doing anything in MSR and/or Flanders would make a world of difference. Plus, he didn't race after the Tour, save for a DNF at London-Surrey. Throw in a more well-rounded year and I could see him get results in BinckBank, Plouay, Canada or wherever. 2) he's moving teams into a support role for GvA. He's always kinda been the guy at Lotto and that's been fine, but a few things open up with this new role. First, he's a great foil, like how Devolder somehow won two Rondes just because he was on Boonen's team. If he goes up the road and it's GvA, Sagan, and a few randos behind, who's gonna chase him down? Second, when you're riding for yourself you can give up if you don't have it on the day, but you've gotta stay up there if you're the last support for someone with a real chance to win. I'm thinking of something like Stuyven's ride in E3 in 2016 where he was more than cooked but ended up like 4th or something because he buried himself beyond the red for Cancellara. Anyway, I guess that's a lot of thought to spend on a pick that has a range of roughly 300-700 points and is a known quantity. But I'm happy to have him on board.
Okay gotta cut off this part 2... seems like I'll have to get the last 7 riders with yet another post. Well even if no one else enjoys reading this, it's cathartic for me, haha.