The 2021 CQ Ranking Manager Thread

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As it's yearly tradition for me by now, the start of this game falls right into the busiest time of the year for me as a college student. Threw a team together in an hour or so yesterday and am fully expecting to have missed some extremely obvious picks. We'll see. I really wish I had started working on the team a bit earlier and I was honestly close to not playing at all, but hey, rather a bad team than no team at all. And in any case I will struggle to do worse than last year.
 
See me! See me! I'm ready for the big reveal!

Okay, I haven't been too enthusiastic about the cycling season the last few weeks because it seems so insecure and continues to be pushed back. I have been even more pessimistic than last spring where many people believed no races would be raced in 2020, and I stood firm that there was no reason they wouldn't.

But, I think that to get in zynch with and to hype my feelings for this game, I need to make a run-down of my team (even if it was created more hastily than usual) as I have done the past couple of years. So:

Remco Evenepoel, 918
I just did not dare not to include him. I know that his injury is still present but what if he is good to go by mid-March and soon reaches his top level? Then he could win a Grand Tour and harvest tons of points throughout the year. Last year he didn't really get results in high-profile races, yet he managed to amass 918 points just by being the most ridiculously talented rider we have ever seen.

Peter Sagan, 767
Well, I kind of love him, and now that he is as cheap as he could ever be, I don't see any good reason not to take him. Especially since his schedule looks like one big points-getter. Let the crossers stare each other out, and 2021 could be the revival of Sagan (actually, stage 10 of the last Giro was that). I would settle for wins in MSR, Flanders, Roubaix, Worlds and points jerseys in the Giro and the Tour (with multiple stage wins) for this pick.

Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno, 655
A bit of a no-brainer to me. He will probably be high up in two Grand Tours, and maybe a few more WT races. I choose to believe that his real TT level is what he showed so brilliantly in the Volta ao Algarve than what he so horrendously displayed in the Tour (and the Giro, for that matter, but well, that was quite a different way to fail), and if that is true, he should be a good pick.

Michael Matthews, 639
He just seemed so good last year, pre-Tirreno, and he had a horrible schedule and was eventually removed from the Giro quite questionably. I recently watched some footage from the 2017 Tour, and if he can refind those legs, 639 points for him should be money in the bank. He was even scheduled to begin his season earlier than usual (but then Valencia was canceled) which indicates he will also ride non-WT races.

Thibaut Pinot, 631
Tourmalet and Prat d'Albis. And he was second-best in Dauphiné 2020 before he crashed. And he will ride the Giro instead of the Tour. Which may mean he will also ride the Vuelta. As in 2018. Allez!

Alexander Kristoff, 519
I have never considered him before, but that is because he usually gets ~1500 points in a regular season. Maybe covid screwed his season a bit but he still showed with a 3rd place in Flanders that he still has his usual level. So if the season resembles normality, he should be good. A boring pick, nonetheless.

Egan Arley Bernal Gomez, 450
Well, if he can leave his back issues behind, he should be a no-brainer, even considering the generally low prices of riders.

Geraint Thomas, 408
I'm so ready for him to win the Tour 2021 with 60 kilometres of ITT. He looked really good in Tirreno and until he crashed out of the Giro, he looked like he had recovered his 2018 level.

Alberto Bettiol, 390
A simple monument win, and he is close to last year's score. He may not win Flanders again, though, but EF have lost profiles, which means more freedom, and he should improve his 390 points quite dramatically.

Matteo Trentin, 370
He almost got 1500 points in 2019, and I don't see why he shouldn't come close to that tally again. Of course, UAE is a crowded place, but they don't have that many profiles for the cobbles, and Trentin is a versatile guy who should get his chances across the board. Maybe not in the Tour, though.

Sonny Colbrelli, 347
I just want Italian guys who cost between 300 and 400 points, okay! Last year, he was a slave in the Tour. This year, that does not seem to become the case because Landa primarily has his eyes on the Giro, where Colbrelli may not be going. And if he is let loose in the Italians one-day races he could score tons of points. Also, his performance in the Binckbank Tour queen stage indicate that a lot ot points could await him in the cobbled spring.

Davide Formolo, 291
He can do a bit of everything. He doesn't have a record which screams +1000 points season in 2021 statistically, but second places in both Strade Bianche 2020 and LBL 2019 proves he can get loads of points. He may even apply for a top GC spot in the Giro.

Emanuel Buchmann, 157
He seems like one of the more obvious picks. A few people talked him up to a potential Tour winner last year, but crashes put an end to that. Which means he is very cheap now.

Cristophe Laporte, 136
The only doubt is whether his generosity will hold him too much back. Otherwise, he should be a prominent figure in the Coupe de France. Hopefully, he will not spend too many race days as a leadout for Viviani.

Jonas Vingegaard Rasmussen, 107
Okay, I had 30 riders and was 107 points short so he fit perfectly, but I really do think he has the potential to honour the pick. He just needs to have a few races wihout domestique duties which is a real concern with Jumbo riders. But his Tour of Poland 2019 and Angliru 2020 showings show that he has a huge potential in a variety of tough races.

Nils Politt, 89
Okay, ideally, I just want him to be a domestique for Sagan all the time, but realistically, a guy who can go 2nd in Paris-Roubaix (in a non-Dillier way) should be a bargain at such a low cost. He can hopefully play a Bortolami-and-Tafi role in Roubaix.

Vanmarcke Sep, 70
A normal season for him, and this cost is ridiculously low. A must have.

Marc Sarreau, 70
A victim of the Groenewegen-Jakobsen incident who lost the remainder of the season due to that crash. In 2019 he won four one-day races in France, and now he has moved to a team with no other sprinter (AG2R). Okay, that may make him race bigger races where he is less likely to obtain points but I think he will still do a lot of the French races, so I think the 70 points could be multiplied by quite a large number. In 2019 he got more than 700 points.

Gianni Moscon, 69
Okay, he is a despicable human being, but I just want to win this game, alright?

Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo, 68
2020 was a disaster but even so, he managed to beat Evenepoel on a mountaintop. Quite the feat. The problem is that INEOS are swamped with climbers but still, he got tenfold his 2020 numbers in 2019 and 2018 and he should obviously be on the rise given his age.

Thomas Pidcock, 57
Too exciting to exclude, really.

Steven Kruijswijk, 57
Well, an obvious pick to my eyes. Dumoulin's announcement didn't worsen this pick.

Pierre Latour, 49
He has had a troubling last couple of seasons but now he has changed teams to Total Direct Energie, will obviously get a lot of freedom and should certainly get a lot more points than in 2020.

Niki Terpstra, 48
Terpstra and Moscon on my team! You can't blame me for only using my heart in the picking process. But if Terpstra can find a reasonable level, he should be a good pick. And in that case I would have a reason to not just be annoyed by his success (PR 2014 remains my worst monument experience).

Tony Gallopin, 33
I hope last year was just an off-year. I saw he got quite a significant beard during the winter. Hopefully, that can propel him to a decent 2021 season.

Chris Froome, 30
Obvious. Too cheap to ignore.

Christopher Lawless, 25
He is out of INEOS and in his case, I would expect that to mean quite a significant increase in points now that he can show himself in other venus than the Tour de Yorkshire.

Mauri Vansevenant, 15
He seemed cool in Flèche Wallonne. Whether he can score thousands of points remains to be seen but talented QuickStep riders are usually scoring decent amounts of points (see Evenepoel and Almeida).

Sebastian Langeveld, 15
He may be past it but in the spring of 2019 he was really, really strong, even if his results sheet doesn't indicate it (but in Flanders he was cruising and just had to spoil the collaboration in the Bettiol-chasing group). If he can regain that level, 15 points is an acceptable cost.

Sacha Modolo, 15
When MVDP leads him out on the Via Roma, who will be laughing then?

Laurens De Plus, 5
Not the best team to score points for, but at a price of 5 points he was impossible not to pick, considering that he freaking won the Binckbank Tour in freaking 2019 and is freaking 25 years old.

Mathias Norsgaard Jørgensen, 0
He broke his leg before the last season and that continued to impede him after the corona break. He should certainly be good enough to multiply his score by an infinitely high number. If he can add to his cost by a few hundred points, that would be alright, too.

Marco Brenner, 0
Well, there's no downside here, is there?

Riders I am afraid were mistakes to omit and were close to be included in my team:
Mads Pedersen
Greg Van Avermaet
Sergio Higuita
Fernando Gaviria
Pavel Sivakov
Oliver Naesen
Bauke Mollema
Rigoberto Urán
Elia Viviani
Ivan Garcia Cortina
Philippe Gilbert
Casper Pedersen
Magnus Cort
Mike Teunissen
Alberto Dainese
Bob Jungels
Fabio Aru
Edward Theuns
David Dekker
Mads Würtz Schmidt
 
EVENEPOEL Remco 918
PINOT Thibaut 631
HIGUITA GARCIA Sergio Andres 503
GAUDU David 484
BERNAL GOMEZ Egan Arley 450
GAVIRIA RENDON Fernando 373
SIVAKOV Pavel 368
BARDET Romain 358
MCNULTY Brandon 346
NAESEN Oliver 344
MOLLEMA Bauke 310
HAILU Biniam Girmay 277
VALTER Attila 265
HAYTER Ethan 228
KRON Andreas Lorentz 228
LEKNESSUND Andreas 213
VERMEERSCH Florian 208
SIMMONS Quinn 205
BUCHMANN Emanuel 157
KOOIJ Olav 144
CHAMPOUSSIN Clément 111
VANMARCKE Sep 70
KRUIJSWIJK Steven 57
PIDCOCK Thomas 57
LATOUR Pierre 49
JANSEN Amund Grøndahl 35
FROOME Chris 30
VAN WILDER Ilan 26
VERMAERKE Kevin 22
VANSEVENANT Mauri 15
HAVIK Piotr 0
PALZER Anton 0
BRENNER Marco 0



Due to Covid, I had a very different strategy this year. On a macro level, instead of trying to balance my team, I went all in on youth. I figured that you could get pretty much two years worth of development instead of one since the young riders’ breakouts had been put on hold last year.

The price-weighted average age of my team is 24 years old. There are 21 riders 23 and under. The rest are riders that were just too cheap to pass on, usually because of a combination of covid and/or injury.



I don’t think any of my picks are going to be very original. The logic behind them is pretty obvious (I think) so I’m not going to expand on them individually unless somebody wants me to detail a particular pick. I would guess Havik is going to be my most unique pick (though I don’t think I’m the only one that picked him). I usually like to take a cheap really outside the box option (like Levasseur last year for instance) to have a rare pick to cheer. this year there’s just so much value at every price range that I couldn’t bring myself to doing it.
 
Reactions: postmanhat
Here's my team. I was gobsmacked when I started trying to make my team how many potentially massive scorers there were on offer. I mean, I knew to expect it, but it's going to be quite the year.

tobydawq, I think I caught most of your list of guys you were worried about leaving out:

EVENEPOEL Remco918
KRISTOFF Alexander519
HIGUITA GARCIA Sergio Andres503
VAN AVERMAET Greg503
BERNAL GOMEZ Egan Arley450
TRENTIN Matteo370
SIVAKOV Pavel368
BARDET Romain358
COLBRELLI Sonny347
NAESEN Oliver344
IZAGIRRE INSAUSTI Ion312
MOLLEMA Bauke310
VIVIANI Elia261
LEKNESSUND Andreas213
MOSCHETTI Matteo180
TEUNISSEN Mike172
BUCHMANN Emanuel157
JUNGELS Bob136
LAPORTE Christophe136
BOASSON HAGEN Edvald131
HODEG CHAGUI Alvaro Jose129
DUPONT Timothy114
POLITT Nils89
SARREAU Marc70
VANMARCKE Sep70
SOSA CUERVO Ivan Ramiro68
KRUIJSWIJK Steven57
PIDCOCK Thomas57
LATOUR Pierre49
JANSEN Amund Grøndahl35
FROOME Chris30
LAWLESS Christopher25
DE PLUS Laurens5
 
My motivation this year was a little hampered by the situation and all the circumstances around bike-races getting canceled/replaced. But anyway here we go - until the wheels fall off I guess!

Julian Alaphlippe - Alaphilippe is a sublime athlete. Now at his zenith. A champion that will honor the rainbow jersey in every race he enters. He race – and get results – from February to October. Anyway, together with Hirschi, a fully fit Evenepoel, and maybe and Van Aert? the only riders I see successfully being protagonists at both the Olympics and the World Championships this year!

Aleksandr Vlasov - Obviously I knew Vlasov was a very talented climber, yet the magnitude of his breakthrough genuine caught me by surprise. Vlasov has insane watts uphill which makes him competitive on every type of mountain top-finish and I think it's reasonable to rank him or label him among the best climbers in the World already now. He is a very, very live outsider for the Giro d'Italia and I think he can race the Olympics competing as a neutral athlete? Anyway, he is here instead of Evenepoel whom I chickened out on because of the latest news dating a week back or so.

Marc Hirschi - Hirschi is a compact, power-packed explosive climber/puncher, capable of winning all the biggest races on the calendar. There is little doubt in my mind that Hirschi one day could become a Grand Tour contender as well. After all, he is the “The Kylian Mbappé of cycling.” as Cancellara puts it :p! Obviously, there won't be any GC plans in 2021, however, Hirschi will fly in the Ardennes and be Stratostopic at the Olympics and maybe even the Worlds this year.

Mads Pedersen - In all honesty, Van Aret and VdP are a level up on everyone else in the Classics currently. In the bracket below I have Pedersen, Bettiol, and Senechal as the strongest, at least based on how they rode on the Muurs in 2020. Pedersen is perhaps even better tailored for a race like Roubaix etc, besides I was sold on his “race every day like it's the last race of the calendar “ philosophy for 2021. Combine this with the fact that Pedersen is heavily underrated “or at least was“ heavily underrated as a fast-man and now will lead Trek sprinting-wise in 2021 a category where I also feel he is on the come-up albeit not a pure bunch-galloper nor does he desire to be. I sensed value in him CQ wise and I am convinced he will win big at least once or twice in 2021.

Egan Bernal - 2020 was obviously a very complicated year for Egan, with his back-problems and all. However before everything went south he had some stellar performances as well, his victory on Col de Beyrède, for example, was genuinely world-class and I have little doubt that a recovered Egan is a 1000 point CQ cyclist, year in year out! If not injury-plagued Egan, will be there with the best of the best again in 2021.

Sepp Kuss - Kuss is the best lieutenant/climbing domestique in the world hands down. When the news of Tom Dumoulin taking a break from cycling broke, and the chances of Kuss riding for himself more often quadrupled, I struck at once. Kuss has so much untapped potential and now being higher in the pecking order at Jumbo, perhaps only have to slave at the TdF in service of Roglic. Watch him light up the Vuelta a España in 2021.

Alberto Bettiol - There is always a bit of risk involved in choosing a rider like Bettiol - You can't be completely sure what you gonna get! Life is like a box of chocolates, I guess. Greg Van Avermaet stated back in 2019 that Bettiol is crazy talented but in 2018 for example rode around well above his ideal race-wight. Now with age + 2 successful seasons under his belt, I feel Bettiol is entering the prime years of his career and therefore is less of a Rubik's Cube. In 2021 I roll the dice with Bettiol.

Lucas Hamilton - I know he won that stage in Tirreno Adriatico in 2020 but other than that I actually wasn't too impressed with his performances overall! Matt White trusts him though and I guess there is some truth in that Hamilton, more or less is in the same class as Hindley and Sivakov, etc dating all the way back to their U23 encounters. Hopefully, Hamilton can add a little to his arsenal because there is little doubt he was/is a world-class talent!

Quinn Simmons - Controversial and all, kinda get that Moscon vibe with Simmons, anyway, you can't deny he has a throwback mentality to cycling and puts in a HUGE training-load when he is not at the gun-range in Tucson. Obviously, work in progress but Simmons is a hell of a talent whom I expect good results from already in 2021.

Miguel Florez - He did an FTP test with Hernan Dario Casas back in 2016 and achieved results pretty similar to those of Nairo. H.D Casas mentions Florez as a potential finisher between top-5/8 in a Grand-Tour in the future, and that Florez also packs a pretty mean punch towards the line (Uphill). His big Achilles heel beside an abysmal TT, is his lack of self-belief and confidence in own abilities. In that regard, his victory on the queen-stage of Vuelta San Juan was crucial,l and I predict we gonna see a very live Florez in 2021. He will be an important climbing domestic to a fading Nairo (GT wise at least) - and could capitalize and get some results for himself as well.

Emanuel Buchmann - Buchmann is a proven competitor -so no need to write page up and down about a guy like him. He looked like a million bucks in the Dauphine before a crash suddenly tore it all to pieces and ruined his season pretty much. His climbing looks very, very solid and I think he will have a great Giro d'Italia in 2021, where he has to be one of the big pre-favorite podium contenders going into the race.

Stefan Bissegger - More versatile than a Swiss Army Knife. He’s a superb racer. He can sprint a little. He can climb a little. He’s very promising on the cobbles. And he’s an excellent time trialist. Check the Binck-Bank tour this year! On the second to last passage of Muur-Kapelmuur he was flying. I think he will do the Olympics (Track commitments?) yet I didn't want to miss out. I don't know about 2021, but one day Bissegger will be a very, very good competitor.

Christophe Laporte - With the question-mark surrounding Viviani and his heart-troubles, Laporte becomes an even more vital part of Cofidis' quest for success in 2021. I predict Laporte will win a few times this year, as always it won't be victories from the top-shelf but still of noteworthy caliber. With his CQ price-tag, he was pretty easy to include into my rooster this year.

Kaden Groves - I didn't go with Dainese this year, even though his top-speed in my book still is a small notch above Kaden Groves´s. So why Groves? Simply because he is much more versatile, a sort of Michael Matthews Version 2.0. I haven't checked the Parcours for the Australian Nationals, but I assume they are held in Buninyong as always where Groves actually could survive the circuit and sprint for gold and get off to a flying start.

Alessandro Covi - I saw an article with Damiano Cunego, where he mentioned Covi, as a name to follow for the future. I had him pegged as a promising climber based on his junior and U23 days -He can defiantly go uphill don't get me wrong, but there is more to his game, he is also strong at the repeated efforts at intensity as he showed in Brabantse Pijl and I believe he could become a good 1-day rider (as well). The hierarchy at UAE seems defined and the competition crazy strong, however in 2021, I think Covi, will turn a page and establish himself as a rider well worth banking on for the years to come..

Alessandro Fedeli - One of the most improved riders on the Pro-Conti scene in 2020. Biniam Girmay Hailu is without a doubt the golden-boy at DELKO, he is just so insanely talented, however, Fedeli is far from a slouch. Fedeli was flying in several semi-classic in 2020 and only a saddle sore acquired in Tour of Luxemburg stopped him from being selected by Cassani, too join the Italian national squad for the Worlds at Imola. 1-day racing seems to be his niche, but he can pass a hill or two quite good as well - after all, he won Pian Della Mussa (U23) in 2016 beating Vlasov and Masanda to second and third, so there is defiantly potential in Fedeli. I look forward to seeing him explode his talent to the best of his abilities this season.

Louis Vervake - Several years ago I predicted him to be one of the most promising climbers to come out of Belgium in recent years. He had severe problems with motivation a few years back, but at Alpecin he seems to have really found his joy for bike riding again. His results in 2020 were not spectacular, but very decent nonetheless, there is defiantly something to build upon in the years to come - still only 27 years of age. Together with Xandro Meurisse, he will lead Alpecin in stages-racer and although they won't set the world on fire, I feel Vervaeke is the one with the most untapped potential and room for improvement. In 2021 he is also riding for a contract and the young-guns are tripping behind to take the rails, led by a very, very young and promising Ben Tullett.

Clement Champoussin - The next in line to feel the heavy pressure from the French press, in their desperate quest to find the next Hinault or Fignon. Champoussin is a good little grimpeur no doubt - he would have won the Col de la Loze stage in Avenir if he hadn't gassed in the last kilometers and was overtaken by Alexander Evans and Michel Reis. His first Vuelta was a good indicator of his talent, he has the courage to attack and in Tour de Luxembourg he showed he is not just a one-dimensional climber who gets blown out the back on the flattish terrain. He will have his chances in 2021 - I admit I am not sold on Bob Jungles anymore and especially not in stage-races however, time will tell if I am too fast to count Jungels out or not.

Jonas Vingegaard - Outstanding at the Vuelta Espana - I think there were like 10 guys left when he let go on Angliru, he basically out-worked George Benett that day if I remember correctly. Jumbo knows he is a serious prospect, I saw Sepp Kuss in an interview on youtube (El Sello Ciclista) where he said Vingegaard is the truth and a name to really follow in the years to come. Dumoulin is taking an indefinite break, I honestly feel he will never come back, anyway, Vingegaard moves up a little within the stacked Jumbo-Visma hierarchy, and if nothing else will act as a super-domestique to Sepp Kuss at the Vuelta, just wait and see.

Sep Vanmarcke - He still has his brute force on the cobbles I guess, however, I don't think he will ever get really close to battle for a cobble monument ever again. His price-tag this year is really low and that's why I included him, he will ride a full spring program, and if all goes well I hope he at least doubles his CQ points for 2022. In other words, my expectations for Vanmarcke are very modest this year.

Gianni Moscon - It's almost tragic that a dude with the extraordinary talent that Moscon, undoubtedly possesses, is in this situation where nobody counts on him anymore other than to make a fool of himself. I add him anyway because 2021 is contract year for Moscon, and I saw him training and looking pretty lean on Gran Canaria together with Filippo Ganna. I hear Dario Cioni? is in charge of him again this year at Ineos and I just hope that they get his motivation back, so he can actually start to look like an athlete again.

Harold Tejada - Oscar Sevilla mentioned Tejada as the best domestique in Colombia already last year (2019). Honestly, Tejada surprised me in 2020, he has always been a good talent, without ever standing out as a mega-talent or someone with insane super-star potential. In an episode of Ciclismo en Grande on youtube, Luis Fernando Saladariga mentions Tejada as one of the most serious and dedicated Colombian riders which goes hand in hand with the famous phrase that talent doesn't beat hard work. Vlasov is on the come-up and Tejada will ride the Giro d'Italia together with the young Russian. The way Tejada looked on Mont Ventoux (Sensational) I actually expect he will get his own chances at times within Astana and CQ-wise that could mean a rather sensible return pointwise.

Thymen Arensman - This kid is lit. The way he picked his break-away attempts (3) at the Vuelta was truly impressive. Two of them made it to the line and he was Tim Wellens's lucky charm as Wellens won both of those stages. Arensman is built like a Brinks truck and can both climb and TT really well. DSM is known for their relatively flat hierarchy and I think Arensman will manifest himself in smaller stage-races (if there are any left on the calendar ha.ha) already next year.

Mark Donovan - Like with Thymen Arensman above, Donovan is a budding stage-racer in the making. At the Vuelta, he also hit a few breaks on Mountian stages and was in the mix until the final kilometers. This year DSM signed a super-talent in Andreas Leknessund and there is also a very young Ilan Van Wilder who could progress further, however, I sustain that with a GT in their legs both Arensman and Donovan are poised to take a step further in their development.

Steven Kruijswijk - I think Kruijswik is a slightly fading cyclists. Nothing stage in that as he is pushing 34 years of age already,. However, he has in the previous 5 years always scored over 500 CQ points so it would be utter nonsense not to add him to my roster based solely on that. That and the fact I was getting low on CQ cash he.he. I still expect at least around 300 points from him in 2021.

Tom Pidcock - Mega talent. One of the first riders on my list for this year's game. This kid can do everything on a bike, extremely versatile, combine that with his insane potential and you have a superstar in the making. He will have a truly special career.

Kevin Rivera - Fragile little climber, who on his day is capable of deliver truly brilliant preformances only then to DnF the very next. Its super frustrating to witness to be honest. Anyway, If you see his training videos going uphill at home in Costa Rica, you can see he is a special talent, yet he hasn't been able to put it together for a full season in Europe yet. I hope and pray 2021 is the year we get to see Rivera fly uphill.

Orluis Aular - I saw an Interview with Xabier Muriel where he predicts Aular will be one of the riders from Caja Rural who will take a step forward in 2021. He was injured in December and January last year which really hampered his entrance to racing in Europe. Then the pandemic came and everything went to hell so to speak. He needs to pick his days. On undulating terrain, he can really have his say, and with his fast surge towards the line, he is a very dangerous competitor. He has winner inscribed in his DNA.

Pierre Latour - 2021 will be a year full of leadership opportunities for the seasoned Frenchmen. Can it get any worse than last year's disaster? I don't have any answers, he is a sensible and cheap pick who at least gets the chance to ride for himself whenever he wants. However, if he can redeem himself? That remains to be seen and I am really in the dark as to what to expect from Latour myself.

Amund Grøndahl Jansen - I never really followed him, to be honest. I mean I know he can have his say on classics style of terrain, and that moving away from Jumbo only increases his chances to ride for himself, which is positive in the aspect of this game but other than that? No idea. His calendar looks sensible, so I guess there is a good chance of him scoring significantly more than in 2020.

Chris Froome - I hope he is not the Cavendish of last years game, or the Froome of last years game ha.ha. He clearly must have undergone some sorts of testing which shows his watts are still intact, or else why would Israel bother signing him? Anyway, I roll the roulette with Froome one more time in 2021, and hope for jackpot, albite nervous that this year will turn out to be another fiasco for the former 4x TdF winner!

Daniel Mendez - Mendez is still so young, that it would be unrealistic to expect a huge turnover from him already this year However a truly splendid climber who as a junior showed spectacular performances week in, week out. Honestly I dont remember a junior as dominate as him climbing wise, since when Ivan Sosa raced with Canapro! There doesn't exists a lineal progression curve in pro-cycling (thank god), some mature a bit later than others and with Mendez its hard to say where he exactly falls in that category, However i am sure JJ. Oroz and the whole Kern-Pharma set-up know they have a real jewel at their disposal.

Camilo Ardila - He indeed is/was a monster talent with super-star potential. However, as I said above the progression curve doesn't automatic tilt upwards, just because your are blessed with increadble skills from a young-age. Some stall or even regress in their development and with Ardila everything is still up in the air in that aspect. Ok so after he won the Baby-Giro he basically dindt touch his bike for 6 months and was hampered by those pesky knee-troubles. HOWEVER, he looked at least decent in Tour Colombia 2020, and was doing intesitiy intervals on Letras, so he must have been on some kind of form, but I guess his injury problems could have returned because of the work-load. Anyway, it wont be easy for Ardila to manifest himself within this UAE squad, but he is one a 3- year deal and the recent comments from Yeyo Corral makes ground for optimism, so maybe Ardila could become a super climbng-domestique in 2021?
 
Reactions: postmanhat
Due to Covid, I had a very different strategy this year. On a macro level, instead of trying to balance my team, I went all in on youth. I figured that you could get pretty much two years worth of development instead of one since the young riders’ breakouts had been put on hold last year.


I don’t think any of my picks are going to be very original. The logic behind them is pretty obvious (I think) so I’m not going to expand on them individually unless somebody wants me to detail a particular pick. I would guess Havik is going to be my most unique pick (though I don’t think I’m the only one that picked him). I usually like to take a cheap really outside the box option (like Levasseur last year for instance) to have a rare pick to cheer. this year there’s just so much value at every price range that I couldn’t bring myself to doing it.
Interesting. I had almost the exact opposite strategy - with a lost year of development, and without youth results to base an assessment off of, I ended up staying away from young picks and going with more established riders because I felt like their variability was easier to predict properly. That'll be fun to see how your team develops.

Five teams picked Havik - you have four rarer riders than him, including one unique pick!
 
I don't have a presentable spreadsheet quite yet, but I do have the popularity tab entries done and can share some of that info. I believe there are 93 teams, although 91 are showing up on the front page so I have to double check with my list to see what might have happened. Regardless, here are the top 10 riders in popularity:

  1. 81 teams
  2. 77
  3. 74
  4. 71
  5. 71
  6. 64
  7. 60
  8. 60
  9. 60
  10. 56
Anyone wanna guess who they are? 4 team Ineos in the top 10, only one rider over 200 points cost in there, 7/10 riders on new teams this year.
 
Here's my team:

Alejandro Valverde (yeah, yeah, I know, I know, but can't leave him off my team)
Mikel Landa
Enric Mas
Sonny Colbrelli
Remi Cavagna
Kasper Asgreen
Sergio Higuita
Ivan Cortina
Matteo Jorgenson
Ion Izagirre
Jesus Herrada
Nikias Arndt
Mathias Norsgaard (0 points, nothing to lose)
Gonzalo Serrano
Inigo Elosegui
Niklas Eg
Cristian Munoz
Ian Garrison
Manuel Penalver
Juan Pedro Lopez Perez
Mark Donovan
Anthony Perez
Jonas Koch
Abner Gonzalez Rivera (0 points, nothing to lose)
Diego Andres Camrgo Pineda
Carlos Rodriguez Cano
William Barta
Nils Politt
Chris Froome (at 30 points not much to lose regardless of my not caring for him)
Neilson Powless
Miguel Angel Lopez
Tiesj Benoot
 
See me! See me! I'm ready for the big reveal!

Okay, I haven't been too enthusiastic about the cycling season the last few weeks because it seems so insecure and continues to be pushed back. I have been even more pessimistic than last spring where many people believed no races would be raced in 2020, and I stood firm that there was no reason they wouldn't.

But, I think that to get in zynch with and to hype my feelings for this game, I need to make a run-down of my team (even if it was created more hastily than usual) as I have done the past couple of years. So:
Agreed that it's a downer to see all the races pushed back, and agreed that I'm hoping this game will kick-start some excitement for me.

I like your team. I strongly considered about 25 of those guys. The most painful cut of my team was Pinot, I just had too expensive of a team with a few guys left to cram in and had to let him go. I really think doing the Giro has the potential to unlock the calendar for him. Like, imagine 2019 except he finished the Giro and got a few hundred more points, and also the possibility of the Olympics. He's an underrated guy in one-day races, and that end-of season Italian calendar may do him wonders. Only 20 teams have him too!
 
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My team:

SAGAN Peter -767- Was a close call and had several combinations without him, but in the end I think I felt him at least doubling his points was more certain than several other options.

MATTHEWS Michael -639- Huge room for improvement in the points now getting a much better program and also a prefect world championship, had him as the safest expensive pick

HIGUITA GARCIA Sergio Andres -503- Very close pick against riders like Gaudu and Van Avermaet and one of the last picks, but still big potential to improve

BERNAL GOMEZ Egan Arley -450- Certain with him sounding fresh again

THOMAS Geraint -408- Still think he will podium in the TDF and hopefully do more than that, relatively safe pick

LUTSENKO Alexey -397- Solid pick that should improve well , could not ignore his 2019-score

TRENTIN Matteo -370- Very Certain

SIVAKOV Pavel -368- certain

BARDET Romain 358-- Had him at double cost last year so he got a chance more , but it could just as well have been Colbrelli or Ion Izagirre for instance

NAESEN Oliver -344- certain

MOLLEMA Bauke -310- Certain, despite a bad raceprograme with the Giro-helper-TDF double, but always solid

GARCIA CORTINA Ivan -251- The big breakthrough has to come soon and did not want to miss out and should get a lot more points being captain in all relevant races now for Movistar

HAMILTON Lucas -211- One of the least certain picks again, but another one that has the potential for a big breakthrough and that also should get more chances to lead now, and he sounded very confident that he could do as well as someone like Hindley

GILBERT Philippe -208- To afraid not to pick him at the price with him still sounding optimistic enough already for MSR despite his injurysetback

BOL Cees -178- Certain

TEUNISSEN Mike -172- Very Certain

BUCHMANN Emanuel -157- Very certain

BISSEGGER Stefan -145- Big talent and potential, hard to leave out

JUNGELS Bob -136- Very solid pick with much chance to well enough

LAPORTE Christophe -136- boring pick but very solid chance of improving a lot

BOASSON HAGEN Edvald -131- Should get more chances and many well suited races next year so a very solid pick

HODEG CHAGUI Alvaro Jose -129- Boring again but good potential to improve especially with Jacobsen not 100%

CALMEJANE Lilian -125- One of the last picks in the final fitting of the puzzle , but very solid at the price and should imporve well, also with a good chance to start well

POLITT Nils -89- certain

SARREAU Marc -70- certain

VANMARCKE Sep -70- certain

DEKKER David -70- Big talent and great teamrole already getting leaderrole in the Giro and many other suited races with few the Jumbo sprinters

MOSCON Gianni -69- One of the final picks also, could flop and waste a spot, but also juge potential if he gets back to his old self, and it sounded like Tosatto had been assigned specially to get his head right which could perhaps do the trick. And yes he is not likeable, but cant have the luxury to considder that here..

SOSA CUERVO Ivan Ramiro -68- One flop-season could not stop me from picking a rider that was the next Bernal not long ago so cheap.

KRUIJSWIJK Steven -57- Very certain

PIDCOCK Thomas -57- certain

LATOUR Pierre -49- certain

DE PLUS Laurens -5- Obviously tempting at the price but was not sure I wanted to use a spot for him with him likely not getting many chances, besided the Ardennes, but still a huge talent at 5 points and got in in the end fitting the puzzle





The riders that nearly made it:

Evenepoel, had him very certainly in the team until the injury-delay news , and in the end did not dare to take him, Im a bit afraid Ill regret that seing many other teams with him now
Viviani, was certain until the heart-problems, BAsed on how other riders have not come back from that I did not dare to include him
Colbrelli, I Izagirre, Formolo and Stybar 4 very solid mediumpriced riders, that I did not mind including but that did not fit the points in the end
Froome, Aru and Tersptra, in the last decision they lost out to Moscon, De Plus and Calmejane, but it was very close, I long time had Froome certain at the price but in the end the news of him likely also doing the Giro to train for the TDF made me less afraid to leave him out, and trust my gutfeeling that he (sadly) wont score much. Terpstra I would have liked to include but it just did not fit the points so well. In the end I just wanted Calmejane more than Aru so it had to be Moscon and De Plus instead.
Mäder, had him certain a long time both as a likely breakthrough and as a rider I liked, but in the end I got too conservative and could just not defend picking him over riders like Laporte,
Jungels, Hodeg and Calmejane
Gaudu, Avermaet and Kuss the 3 other more expensive riders that were closest to make my team
Jansen and Vansevenant, 2 very good cheap picks that also just did not fit the points in the end
Q. Hermans, was in the picture a few times in some combinations as my first pick amongst those under 5 points

I never considdered Dumoulin more than 10 seconds, as he seemed a bit unmotivated and also with that Flanders-plan that did not seem profitable
 
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Oh my, I didn't realize Sarreau had 700+ points in 2019. Very good pick.

Although this might be the year that you should only include established rides who scored less points than normal due to circumstances, I couldn't resist including some of the biggest talents ready to break their CQ points record this year (I think): Eekhoff, Hayter, Hamilton, Bissegger, Arensman, Donovan, Pidcock, Vansevenant and Brenner. It's part of the fun for me. The risk is that those talents do well in smaller races, and those races have the most risk of being cancelled due to pandemic reasons. Oh well, it's just a game after all. Watching those talents improve is a big part of the fun for me in cycling, so I could't stand maybe seeing them do as well as I thought and not having them in my team. For example: I'd rather have Kooij in my team than Jungels, although it might be (a lot) smarter to pick the latter.
 
Oh no, the injury trouble didn't dissuade more people from picking Remco. Now I'm worried.

When the news about his persisting injury broke, I though, he has the talent to score loads anyway. But when I read he had been off the bike for weeks, he became too uncertain for me. Also rumours of cancelled Olympics played a part in me deciding to ditch both him and Dumoulin (obviously).

But CQ wasn't really on my mind for the last week or so...

So when I realised today that the submission deadline had passed, I had to make huge changes to my team, finding replacements for 1800 worth of points (Izagirre was also out once the early-season Spanish stage races were off). So it all got a bit rushed.

Anyway, here it is:

SAGAN Peter
MATTHEWS Michael
KRISTOFF Alexander
GAUDU David
BERNAL GOMEZ Egan Arley
LUTSENKO Alexey
TEUNS Dylan
TRENTIN Matteo
BARDET Romain
COLBRELLI Sonny
NAESEN Oliver
MOLLEMA Bauke
VALGREN HUNDAHL (ANDERSEN) Michael
BOL Cees
TEUNISSEN Mike
BUCHMANN Emanuel
MEEUS Jordi
LAPORTE Christophe
JUNGELS Bob
HODEG CHAGUI Alvaro Jose
STEWART Jake
DUPONT Timothy
THIJSSEN Gerben
SARREAU Marc
VANMARCKE Sep
MOSCON Gianni
SOSA CUERVO Ivan Ramiro
HALVORSEN Kristoffer
KRUIJSWIJK Steven
PIDCOCK Thomas
LATOUR Pierre
JANSEN Amund Grøndahl
HERMANS Quinten
 
My motivation this year was a little hampered by the situation and all the circumstances around bike-races getting canceled/replaced. But anyway here we go - until the wheels fall off I guess!

Julian Alaphlippe - Alaphilippe is a sublime athlete. Now at his zenith. A champion that will honor the rainbow jersey in every race he enters. He race – and get results – from February to October. Anyway, together with Hirschi, a fully fit Evenepoel, and maybe and Van Aert? the only riders I see successfully being protagonists at both the Olympics and the World Championships this year!

Kaden Groves - I didn't go with Dainese this year, even though his top-speed in my book still is a small notch above Kaden Groves´s. So why Groves? Simply because he is much more versatile, a sort of Michael Matthews Version 2.0. I haven't checked the Parcours for the Australian Nationals, but I assume they are held in Buninyong as always where Groves actually could survive the circuit and sprint for gold and get off to a flying start.
Yes I love that somebody rolled the dice on Alaphilippe. I almost had him in there too. Honestly at that price, I would have picked him in any other year. Just couldn't justify dropping 1200 points on a single rider this year even if it's one of the two or three best rider in the world.

I also consider keeping Groves for this year and like him more than Dainese for the purpose of this game. Could definitely see a breakthrough with a year to get stronger and get to the tail end of more one day races.

Enjoyed your team, you're certainly not afraid to pick expensive riders. It's definitely a situation where I like the riders a lot more than their prices (Hirschi and Vlasov), but there's no doubting the talent and hopefully it'll work out as well as Pogacar last year.

Interesting. I had almost the exact opposite strategy - with a lost year of development, and without youth results to base an assessment off of, I ended up staying away from young picks and going with more established riders because I felt like their variability was easier to predict properly. That'll be fun to see how your team develops.

Five teams picked Havik - you have four rarer riders than him, including one unique pick!
Ok guess I'll have to explain some of my picks then. Cool that I have a unique pick. No idea who that is, McNulty maybe.

I don't have a presentable spreadsheet quite yet, but I do have the popularity tab entries done and can share some of that info. I believe there are 93 teams, although 91 are showing up on the front page so I have to double check with my list to see what might have happened. Regardless, here are the top 10 riders in popularity:

  1. 81 teams
  2. 77
  3. 74
  4. 71
  5. 71
  6. 64
  7. 60
  8. 60
  9. 60
  10. 56
Anyone wanna guess who they are? 4 team Ineos in the top 10, only one rider over 200 points cost in there, 7/10 riders on new teams this year.
I'm guessing Bernal is the "expensive" popular pick. Froome probably in there somewhere too.
 
My motivation this year was a little hampered by the situation and all the circumstances around bike-races getting canceled/replaced. But anyway here we go - until the wheels fall off I guess!

Julian Alaphlippe - Alaphilippe is a sublime athlete. Now at his zenith. A champion that will honor the rainbow jersey in every race he enters. He race – and get results – from February to October. Anyway, together with Hirschi, a fully fit Evenepoel, and maybe and Van Aert? the only riders I see successfully being protagonists at both the Olympics and the World Championships this year!

Aleksandr Vlasov - Obviously I knew Vlasov was a very talented climber, yet the magnitude of his breakthrough genuine caught me by surprise. Vlasov has insane watts uphill which makes him competitive on every type of mountain top-finish and I think it's reasonable to rank him or label him among the best climbers in the World already now. He is a very, very live outsider for the Giro d'Italia and I think he can race the Olympics competing as a neutral athlete? Anyway, he is here instead of Evenepoel whom I chickened out on because of the latest news dating a week back or so.

Marc Hirschi - Hirschi is a compact, power-packed explosive climber/puncher, capable of winning all the biggest races on the calendar. There is little doubt in my mind that Hirschi one day could become a Grand Tour contender as well. After all, he is the “The Kylian Mbappé of cycling.” as Cancellara puts it :p! Obviously, there won't be any GC plans in 2021, however, Hirschi will fly in the Ardennes and be Stratostopic at the Olympics and maybe even the Worlds this year.

Mads Pedersen - In all honesty, Van Aret and VdP are a level up on everyone else in the Classics currently. In the bracket below I have Pedersen, Bettiol, and Senechal as the strongest, at least based on how they rode on the Muurs in 2020. Pedersen is perhaps even better tailored for a race like Roubaix etc, besides I was sold on his “race every day like it's the last race of the calendar “ philosophy for 2021. Combine this with the fact that Pedersen is heavily underrated “or at least was“ heavily underrated as a fast-man and now will lead Trek sprinting-wise in 2021 a category where I also feel he is on the come-up albeit not a pure bunch-galloper nor does he desire to be. I sensed value in him CQ wise and I am convinced he will win big at least once or twice in 2021.

Egan Bernal - 2020 was obviously a very complicated year for Egan, with his back-problems and all. However before everything went south he had some stellar performances as well, his victory on Col de Beyrède, for example, was genuinely world-class and I have little doubt that a recovered Egan is a 1000 point CQ cyclist, year in year out! If not injury-plagued Egan, will be there with the best of the best again in 2021.

Sepp Kuss - Kuss is the best lieutenant/climbing domestique in the world hands down. When the news of Tom Dumoulin taking a break from cycling broke, and the chances of Kuss riding for himself more often quadrupled, I struck at once. Kuss has so much untapped potential and now being higher in the pecking order at Jumbo, perhaps only have to slave at the TdF in service of Roglic. Watch him light up the Vuelta a España in 2021.

Alberto Bettiol - There is always a bit of risk involved in choosing a rider like Bettiol - You can't be completely sure what you gonna get! Life is like a box of chocolates, I guess. Greg Van Avermaet stated back in 2019 that Bettiol is crazy talented but in 2018 for example rode around well above his ideal race-wight. Now with age + 2 successful seasons under his belt, I feel Bettiol is entering the prime years of his career and therefore is less of a Rubik's Cube. In 2021 I roll the dice with Bettiol.

Lucas Hamilton - I know he won that stage in Tirreno Adriatico in 2020 but other than that I actually wasn't too impressed with his performances overall! Matt White trusts him though and I guess there is some truth in that Hamilton, more or less is in the same class as Hindley and Sivakov, etc dating all the way back to their U23 encounters. Hopefully, Hamilton can add a little to his arsenal because there is little doubt he was/is a world-class talent!

Quinn Simmons - Controversial and all, kinda get that Moscon vibe with Simmons, anyway, you can't deny he has a throwback mentality to cycling and puts in a HUGE training-load when he is not at the gun-range in Tucson. Obviously, work in progress but Simmons is a hell of a talent whom I expect good results from already in 2021.

Miguel Florez - He did an FTP test with Hernan Dario Casas back in 2016 and achieved results pretty similar to those of Nairo. H.D Casas mentions Florez as a potential finisher between top-5/8 in a Grand-Tour in the future, and that Florez also packs a pretty mean punch towards the line (Uphill). His big Achilles heel beside an abysmal TT, is his lack of self-belief and confidence in own abilities. In that regard, his victory on the queen-stage of Vuelta San Juan was crucial,l and I predict we gonna see a very live Florez in 2021. He will be an important climbing domestic to a fading Nairo (GT wise at least) - and could capitalize and get some results for himself as well.

Emanuel Buchmann - Buchmann is a proven competitor -so no need to write page up and down about a guy like him. He looked like a million bucks in the Dauphine before a crash suddenly tore it all to pieces and ruined his season pretty much. His climbing looks very, very solid and I think he will have a great Giro d'Italia in 2021, where he has to be one of the big pre-favorite podium contenders going into the race.

Stefan Bissegger - More versatile than a Swiss Army Knife. He’s a superb racer. He can sprint a little. He can climb a little. He’s very promising on the cobbles. And he’s an excellent time trialist. Check the Binck-Bank tour this year! On the second to last passage of Muur-Kapelmuur he was flying. I think he will do the Olympics (Track commitments?) yet I didn't want to miss out. I don't know about 2021, but one day Bissegger will be a very, very good competitor.

Christophe Laporte - With the question-mark surrounding Viviani and his heart-troubles, Laporte becomes an even more vital part of Cofidis' quest for success in 2021. I predict Laporte will win a few times this year, as always it won't be victories from the top-shelf but still of noteworthy caliber. With his CQ price-tag, he was pretty easy to include into my rooster this year.

Kaden Groves - I didn't go with Dainese this year, even though his top-speed in my book still is a small notch above Kaden Groves´s. So why Groves? Simply because he is much more versatile, a sort of Michael Matthews Version 2.0. I haven't checked the Parcours for the Australian Nationals, but I assume they are held in Buninyong as always where Groves actually could survive the circuit and sprint for gold and get off to a flying start.

Alessandro Covi - I saw an article with Damiano Cunego, where he mentioned Covi, as a name to follow for the future. I had him pegged as a promising climber based on his junior and U23 days -He can defiantly go uphill don't get me wrong, but there is more to his game, he is also strong at the repeated efforts at intensity as he showed in Brabantse Pijl and I believe he could become a good 1-day rider (as well). The hierarchy at UAE seems defined and the competition crazy strong, however in 2021, I think Covi, will turn a page and establish himself as a rider well worth banking on for the years to come..

Alessandro Fedeli - One of the most improved riders on the Pro-Conti scene in 2020. Biniam Girmay Hailu is without a doubt the golden-boy at DELKO, he is just so insanely talented, however, Fedeli is far from a slouch. Fedeli was flying in several semi-classic in 2020 and only a saddle sore acquired in Tour of Luxemburg stopped him from being selected by Cassani, too join the Italian national squad for the Worlds at Imola. 1-day racing seems to be his niche, but he can pass a hill or two quite good as well - after all, he won Pian Della Mussa (U23) in 2016 beating Vlasov and Masanda to second and third, so there is defiantly potential in Fedeli. I look forward to seeing him explode his talent to the best of his abilities this season.

Louis Vervake - Several years ago I predicted him to be one of the most promising climbers to come out of Belgium in recent years. He had severe problems with motivation a few years back, but at Alpecin he seems to have really found his joy for bike riding again. His results in 2020 were not spectacular, but very decent nonetheless, there is defiantly something to build upon in the years to come - still only 27 years of age. Together with Xandro Meurisse, he will lead Alpecin in stages-racer and although they won't set the world on fire, I feel Vervaeke is the one with the most untapped potential and room for improvement. In 2021 he is also riding for a contract and the young-guns are tripping behind to take the rails, led by a very, very young and promising Ben Tullett.

Clement Champoussin - The next in line to feel the heavy pressure from the French press, in their desperate quest to find the next Hinault or Fignon. Champoussin is a good little grimpeur no doubt - he would have won the Col de la Loze stage in Avenir if he hadn't gassed in the last kilometers and was overtaken by Alexander Evans and Michel Reis. His first Vuelta was a good indicator of his talent, he has the courage to attack and in Tour de Luxembourg he showed he is not just a one-dimensional climber who gets blown out the back on the flattish terrain. He will have his chances in 2021 - I admit I am not sold on Bob Jungles anymore and especially not in stage-races however, time will tell if I am too fast to count Jungels out or not.

Jonas Vingegaard - Outstanding at the Vuelta Espana - I think there were like 10 guys left when he let go on Angliru, he basically out-worked George Benett that day if I remember correctly. Jumbo knows he is a serious prospect, I saw Sepp Kuss in an interview on youtube (El Sello Ciclista) where he said Vingegaard is the truth and a name to really follow in the years to come. Dumoulin is taking an indefinite break, I honestly feel he will never come back, anyway, Vingegaard moves up a little within the stacked Jumbo-Visma hierarchy, and if nothing else will act as a super-domestique to Sepp Kuss at the Vuelta, just wait and see.

Sep Vanmarcke - He still has his brute force on the cobbles I guess, however, I don't think he will ever get really close to battle for a cobble monument ever again. His price-tag this year is really low and that's why I included him, he will ride a full spring program, and if all goes well I hope he at least doubles his CQ points for 2022. In other words, my expectations for Vanmarcke are very modest this year.

Gianni Moscon - It's almost tragic that a dude with the extraordinary talent that Moscon, undoubtedly possesses, is in this situation where nobody counts on him anymore other than to make a fool of himself. I add him anyway because 2021 is contract year for Moscon, and I saw him training and looking pretty lean on Gran Canaria together with Filippo Ganna. I hear Dario Cioni? is in charge of him again this year at Ineos and I just hope that they get his motivation back, so he can actually start to look like an athlete again.

Harold Tejada - Oscar Sevilla mentioned Tejada as the best domestique in Colombia already last year (2019). Honestly, Tejada surprised me in 2020, he has always been a good talent, without ever standing out as a mega-talent or someone with insane super-star potential. In an episode of Ciclismo en Grande on youtube, Luis Fernando Saladariga mentions Tejada as one of the most serious and dedicated Colombian riders which goes hand in hand with the famous phrase that talent doesn't beat hard work. Vlasov is on the come-up and Tejada will ride the Giro d'Italia together with the young Russian. The way Tejada looked on Mont Ventoux (Sensational) I actually expect he will get his own chances at times within Astana and CQ-wise that could mean a rather sensible return pointwise.

Thymen Arensman - This kid is lit. The way he picked his break-away attempts (3) at the Vuelta was truly impressive. Two of them made it to the line and he was Tim Wellens's lucky charm as Wellens won both of those stages. Arensman is built like a Brinks truck and can both climb and TT really well. DSM is known for their relatively flat hierarchy and I think Arensman will manifest himself in smaller stage-races (if there are any left on the calendar ha.ha) already next year.

Mark Donovan - Like with Thymen Arensman above, Donovan is a budding stage-racer in the making. At the Vuelta, he also hit a few breaks on Mountian stages and was in the mix until the final kilometers. This year DSM signed a super-talent in Andreas Leknessund and there is also a very young Ilan Van Wilder who could progress further, however, I sustain that with a GT in their legs both Arensman and Donovan are poised to take a step further in their development.

Steven Kruijswijk - I think Kruijswik is a slightly fading cyclists. Nothing stage in that as he is pushing 34 years of age already,. However, he has in the previous 5 years always scored over 500 CQ points so it would be utter nonsense not to add him to my roster based solely on that. That and the fact I was getting low on CQ cash he.he. I still expect at least around 300 points from him in 2021.

Tom Pidcock - Mega talent. One of the first riders on my list for this year's game. This kid can do everything on a bike, extremely versatile, combine that with his insane potential and you have a superstar in the making. He will have a truly special career.

Kevin Rivera - Fragile little climber, who on his day is capable of deliver truly brilliant preformances only then to DnF the very next. Its super frustrating to witness to be honest. Anyway, If you see his training videos going uphill at home in Costa Rica, you can see he is a special talent, yet he hasn't been able to put it together for a full season in Europe yet. I hope and pray 2021 is the year we get to see Rivera fly uphill.

Orluis Aular - I saw an Interview with Xabier Muriel where he predicts Aular will be one of the riders from Caja Rural who will take a step forward in 2021. He was injured in December and January last year which really hampered his entrance to racing in Europe. Then the pandemic came and everything went to hell so to speak. He needs to pick his days. On undulating terrain, he can really have his say, and with his fast surge towards the line, he is a very dangerous competitor. He has winner inscribed in his DNA.

Pierre Latour - 2021 will be a year full of leadership opportunities for the seasoned Frenchmen. Can it get any worse than last year's disaster? I don't have any answers, he is a sensible and cheap pick who at least gets the chance to ride for himself whenever he wants. However, if he can redeem himself? That remains to be seen and I am really in the dark as to what to expect from Latour myself.

Amund Grøndahl Jansen - I never really followed him, to be honest. I mean I know he can have his say on classics style of terrain, and that moving away from Jumbo only increases his chances to ride for himself, which is positive in the aspect of this game but other than that? No idea. His calendar looks sensible, so I guess there is a good chance of him scoring significantly more than in 2020.

Chris Froome - I hope he is not the Cavendish of last years game, or the Froome of last years game ha.ha. He clearly must have undergone some sorts of testing which shows his watts are still intact, or else why would Israel bother signing him? Anyway, I roll the roulette with Froome one more time in 2021, and hope for jackpot, albite nervous that this year will turn out to be another fiasco for the former 4x TdF winner!

Daniel Mendez - Mendez is still so young, that it would be unrealistic to expect a huge turnover from him already this year However a truly splendid climber who as a junior showed spectacular performances week in, week out. Honestly I dont remember a junior as dominate as him climbing wise, since when Ivan Sosa raced with Canapro! There doesn't exists a lineal progression curve in pro-cycling (thank god), some mature a bit later than others and with Mendez its hard to say where he exactly falls in that category, However i am sure JJ. Oroz and the whole Kern-Pharma set-up know they have a real jewel at their disposal.

Camilo Ardila - He indeed is/was a monster talent with super-star potential. However, as I said above the progression curve doesn't automatic tilt upwards, just because your are blessed with increadble skills from a young-age. Some stall or even regress in their development and with Ardila everything is still up in the air in that aspect. Ok so after he won the Baby-Giro he basically dindt touch his bike for 6 months and was hampered by those pesky knee-troubles. HOWEVER, he looked at least decent in Tour Colombia 2020, and was doing intesitiy intervals on Letras, so he must have been on some kind of form, but I guess his injury problems could have returned because of the work-load. Anyway, it wont be easy for Ardila to manifest himself within this UAE squad, but he is one a 3- year deal and the recent comments from Yeyo Corral makes ground for optimism, so maybe Ardila could become a super climbng-domestique in 2021?
I always appreciate your willingness to see a rider score a breakout year and double down that they'll once again be able to improve on their impressive CQ haul. That was a strategy I didn't think of for years until I saw you do it and have it work. Last year it would have won you the game if Remco and Higuita hadn't crashed, as them and Pogacar were owning the season before then. This year you've got Vlasov and Hirschi, which are picks that my naturally conservative style just doesn't let me pick, but I think they can do well.

Pedersen is another pick that despite coming off a career high in points could still double. I realized when making my team that the cobbles riders stand the most to benefit this year - of the big races cancelled, Roubaix, E3, DDV and a bunch of smaller races falling by the wayside really depressed some scores, much more than stuff like Romandie and Itzulia being shelved as riders that target those had a full calendar of stage races in the summer/fall. Add the Worlds being a northern classics type route and cobbles guys become pretty good picks.

I definitely considered Bissegger until the potential to focus on track made me step back, and I definitely considered Hamilton before deciding to go with Leknessund at 2 points more. Groves could be a very good pick for you, only a few teams have him - the second last spot on my squad was between Groves, Dainese, Calmejane and Hodeg before I finally decided on Hodeg.

I forgot Vervaeke existed! I think I've had him twice in this game, and that was long enough ago that I don't remember if I had him once or twice. Hope he shows some progress, he's still young.
 
Thanks fir making me stay up way past regular bed time just to read these...

I myself opted for the Skidmark-like strategy with mainly going for proven riders, avoiding newcoming talents. Also we saw last year what Covid did to the calendar and which riders were best able to get something from the compromised calendar.
And yes, I steered clear of Remco (even though he's an amazing athlete) due to injury concerns, and the irritating Moscon, who'll actually irritate me even more if he suddenly scores big this year and hides his childish behaviour. Will post team later on.
 
Yes I love that somebody rolled the dice on Alaphilippe. I almost had him in there too. Honestly at that price, I would have picked him in any other year. Just couldn't justify dropping 1200 points on a single rider this year even if it's one of the two or three best rider in the world.

I also consider keeping Groves for this year and like him more than Dainese for the purpose of this game. Could definitely see a breakthrough with a year to get stronger and get to the tail end of more one day races.

Enjoyed your team, you're certainly not afraid to pick expensive riders. It's definitely a situation where I like the riders a lot more than their prices (Hirschi and Vlasov), but there's no doubting the talent and hopefully it'll work out as well as Pogacar last year.


Ok guess I'll have to explain some of my picks then. Cool that I have a unique pick. No idea who that is, McNulty maybe.


I'm guessing Bernal is the "expensive" popular pick. Froome probably in there somewhere too.
I preface this post by noting that I'm referring to popularity scores that only I currently have access to. Apologies, spreadsheet is too much of a mess to post at the moment. I'll try to have a popularity table up in the next hour or two.

But I will say that I was surprised by how many people picked Alaphilippe - he's on 25 teams!

EITB, your rarest riders are:

5 teams - Havik and Kooij
4 teams - Palzer
3 teams - Hailu (or is it Girmay? I never can tell)
2 teams - Valter
unique pick - Andreas Kron!

And yes, you guessed two of the top 10 correctly. Updated list in case anyone else wants to have a guess:
  1. Egan Bernal - 81 teams
  2. 77
  3. 74
  4. Chris Froome - 71
  5. 71
  6. 64
  7. 60
  8. 60
  9. 60
  10. 56
Anyone wanna guess who they are? 4 team Ineos in the top 10, only one rider over 200 points cost in there, 7/10 riders on new teams this year.
 
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My team:
Peter Sagan (767)
Given that ride at the Giro and his return to a proper schedule, there's no reason to assume he won't return to getting really big scores this year.
Also, that means no Evenepoel in my team. Between the lingering uncertainty of when he will return to form and the distinct chance of him netting another bad crash later in the season, I think I'm more likely to get more points by investing elsewhere. Big risk though, of course.

Thibaut Pinot (631)
Hoping that a return to a 2018-style calendar can give way to 2018-style results. Perhaps a bit of a heart-over-head pick, though.

Greg van Avermaet (503)
Covid and an ill-timed crash conspired against his calendar last year. He won't return to 2017 levels, but should still have another big haul left. Could have picked Kristoff here, but I'm somewhat worried he and Trentin are going to get in each other's way.

David Gaudu (484)
A bit of a risk, but the way in which he took those Vuelta stage wins tells me he's ready to truly show why he's so highly rated.

Egan Bernal (450)
Self-explanatory pick, really.

Sepp Kuss (434)
With a bit more freedom, he should start turning his climbing capabilities into some GC points this year. Could turn out to be nothing, could also win Catalonia and podium the Vuelta.

Geraint Thomas (408)
Was finally looking good last year until his crash. There's a lot of competition in the team obviously, but he's still the best time trialist among their GC riders. Which is a major advantage considering the Tour route.

Pavel Sivakov (368)
Will have to earn the right to get enough freedom to merit his inclusion. Not ruining the second half of the season by crashing at the Tour should help with that, at least.

Romain Bardet (358)
Not expecting him to get back to Tour de France podiums, but a change of scenery shouldn't hurt and with no Hirschi, I expect him to net quite a few points from the classics too.

Sonny Colbrelli (347)
Not spending his sole Grand Tour as a domestique would help him immensely, and he should also be able to up his haul from the one-day races. Especially with a more normal Italian fall calendar.

Oliver Naesen (344)
Capable of so much more than he managed last year. He's also finally part of a strong team now.

Bauke Mollema (310)
Considering he missed most of the post-lockdown season, there's no reason not to expect a much bigger haul this year.

Davide Formolo (291)
The last rider to make the cut. Another victim of an unfavourable calendar last year, so little doubt about him improving that score by a margin - the question being whether that margin will be big enough.

Quinn Simmons (205)
Including him should lessen the pain of him undoubtedly starting to get big results this year.

Cees Bol (178)
A sprinter of his level, combined with the support Sunweb have been giving him, should be netting a lot more points this year.

Emanuel Buchmann (157)
Like Bernal, no need for any explanation here.

Stefan Bissegger (145)
Managed a lot of points last year considering how limited his calendar was. His first full year at the highest level should see him take the next step.

Bob Jungels (136)
Surely he can't do worse than last season?

Alessandro Covi (131)
Really impressed me at Brabantse Pijl, then missing out on the Vuelta helped keep his score low enough to merit inclusion.

Jake Stewart (122)
Between the French calendar and Groupama not signing a replacement for Sarreau, the stage is set for a decent amount of points.

Mikkel Bjerg (105)
His Giro shows that he can perform outside the U23 category too, and with the amount of potential he's proven to have, I couldn't leave him out.

Gerben Thijssen (103)
Proved that he's fully recovered at the Vuelta, actually riding a full season should net a lot of points all by itself.

Nils Politt (89)
Too good to have another year like 2020.

Sep Vanmarcke (70)
See above.

David Dekker (70)
With Van Aert focusing on the classics and Groenewegen banned, he will spend the first half of the season getting an insane amount of chances to sprint for a neo-pro at Jumbo-Visma.

Thymen Arensman (65)
So many teams were throwing eggs against the wall at the Vuelta, and he was one of the few riders his age who did well. That should be a sign for what's to come.

Krists Neilands (59)
Another rider with an unfavourable programme last year, I'm expecting him to fly under the radar while netting a fair amount of points once more.

Steven Kruijswijk (57)
Similar to Bernal and Buchmann, too obvious to leave out.

Thomas Pidcock (57)
Probably the most anticipated neo-pro this season... another very obvious pick.

Pierre Latour (49)
He needs to get his act back together, mixing in some smaller races at Total shouldn't hurt, at least.

Laurens De Plus (5)
Probably won't be reaching his 2019 score given that he's at Ineos now, but too good to omit for this cost.

Quinten Hermans (0)
As long as he doesn't have a season-ending crash on his third day of the season, he should be getting a fair share of points at a weak team like Wanty.

I also managed to mess up the numbering on my spreadsheet meaning I only have 32 riders, oh well.
 
Yes I love that somebody rolled the dice on Alaphilippe. I almost had him in there too. Honestly at that price, I would have picked him in any other year. Just couldn't justify dropping 1200 points on a single rider this year even if it's one of the two or three best rider in the world.

I also consider keeping Groves for this year and like him more than Dainese for the purpose of this game. Could definitely see a breakthrough with a year to get stronger and get to the tail end of more one day races.

Enjoyed your team, you're certainly not afraid to pick expensive riders. It's definitely a situation where I like the riders a lot more than their prices (Hirschi and Vlasov), but there's no doubting the talent and hopefully it'll work out as well as Pogacar last year.


Ok guess I'll have to explain some of my picks then. Cool that I have a unique pick. No idea who that is, McNulty maybe.


I'm guessing Bernal is the "expensive" popular pick. Froome probably in there somewhere too.

Thanks, man i appreciate it.

I like your team as well - you have gone young and thrown all the conservative choices out the pram. ha.ha.

This year I don't roll with Remco - Lets see how that plays out, I was just too insecure of him coming back from a serious injury and having to spend hours and hours every day in practically the same position.

Degenkolb said Vermeersch was going like a train during training camp, I see the value honestly. I had him myself for a long time, but I went with Simmons in the end.

Ethan Hayter is a monster talent, just his track commitments left me wondering if he rides a full spring program though (if that's even an issue in this strange year) he is a super pick! he could theoretically win Etoile de Bessèges already in a week or so.

Kooij beat Groenewegen in a sprint doing training-camp already last year I heard. it could work out I guess even if he first joins the big leagues in July.

Andreas Kron is also pretty interesting. he impressed on the Lotto training-camp a few days ago I think. Third best time up the hill-climb test behind De Gendt and Wellens. Kron is my live outsider for Sunday.
 
I preface this post by noting that I'm referring to popularity scores that only I currently have access to. Apologies, spreadsheet is too much of a mess to post at the moment. I'll try to have a popularity table up in the next hour or two.

But I will say that I was surprised by how many people picked Alaphilippe - he's on 25 teams!

EITB, your rarest riders are:

5 teams - Havik and Kooij
4 teams - Palzer
3 teams - Hailu (or is it Girmay? I never can tell)
2 teams - Valter
unique pick - Andreas Kron!

And yes, you guessed two of the top 10 correctly. Updated list in case anyone else wants to have a guess:
  1. Egan Bernal - 81 teams
  2. 77
  3. 74
  4. Chris Froome - 71
  5. 71
  6. 64
  7. 60
  8. 60
  9. 60
  10. 56
Anyone wanna guess who they are? 4 team Ineos in the top 10, only one rider over 200 points cost in there, 7/10 riders on new teams this year.
Okay, I'll try to guess.

Bernal, Froome, bam!

Pidcock, De Plus, Moscon, Kruijswijk, Vanmarcke, Politt, Jungels, Latour.

But, honestly, I see many other options. Maybe Sosa instead of Moscon (hopefully, actually).
 
I was also close to picking Alaphilippe. Lots and lots of certain points, there.

And a guy I did consider briefly was Anthony Turgis (wo hasn't appeared in the discussion so far) as he was 4th in Flanders in 2020 (which was why I didn't pick him as that made him too expensive) and 2nd in Dwars the year before. I just have a hard time believing that that is his actual level. But the comment about the cobbled classics riders being the most valuable made me consider if he was a hidden gem. Probably not, though. He didn't even make my list of feared, omitted riders.
 
Oh no, the injury trouble didn't dissuade more people from picking Remco. Now I'm worried.

When the news about his persisting injury broke, I though, he has the talent to score loads anyway. But when I read he had been off the bike for weeks, he became too uncertain for me. Also rumours of cancelled Olympics played a part in me deciding to ditch both him and Dumoulin (obviously).

But CQ wasn't really on my mind for the last week or so...

So when I realised today that the submission deadline had passed, I had to make huge changes to my team, finding replacements for 1800 worth of points (Izagirre was also out once the early-season Spanish stage races were off). So it all got a bit rushed.

Anyway, here it is:

SAGAN Peter
MATTHEWS Michael
KRISTOFF Alexander
GAUDU David
BERNAL GOMEZ Egan Arley
LUTSENKO Alexey
TEUNS Dylan
TRENTIN Matteo
BARDET Romain
COLBRELLI Sonny
NAESEN Oliver
MOLLEMA Bauke
VALGREN HUNDAHL (ANDERSEN) Michael
BOL Cees
TEUNISSEN Mike
BUCHMANN Emanuel
MEEUS Jordi
LAPORTE Christophe
JUNGELS Bob
HODEG CHAGUI Alvaro Jose
STEWART Jake
DUPONT Timothy
THIJSSEN Gerben
SARREAU Marc
VANMARCKE Sep
MOSCON Gianni
SOSA CUERVO Ivan Ramiro
HALVORSEN Kristoffer
KRUIJSWIJK Steven
PIDCOCK Thomas
LATOUR Pierre
JANSEN Amund Grøndahl
HERMANS Quinten
As usual your team looks very strong to me and also not so far away from my own, and we had the same thoughts about Evenepoel (and Froome).

I also like the Kristoff pick, though I never really considdered him much, I actually think I just cut him of to early and forgot about him, though I should have remembered him again with all the latest talk of Trentin helping him in the Classics and such he could well have ended up with Higuitas spot on my team also.

Teuns was also on my approved pick-list but I just prefered Geraint Thomas over him so he never got relevant fitting the points. Colbrelli was one of those I wanted to pick but were it just did not match in the end. Gaudu, Valgren, Dupont, Jansen and Hermans was also riders I seriously considdered and included in different combinations in the process.

And then Meuss, Halvorsen and Stewart are obviously all also interesting picks that could be very good, there were just so many good options in that pricerange that I naver considdered them so much. For Meuss I was especially also worried he might be used as leadout too often given his past as Daineses regular leadoutman.
 
Last edited:
Oct 5, 2018
39
9
1,595
I preface this post by noting that I'm referring to popularity scores that only I currently have access to. Apologies, spreadsheet is too much of a mess to post at the moment. I'll try to have a popularity table up in the next hour or two.

But I will say that I was surprised by how many people picked Alaphilippe - he's on 25 teams!

EITB, your rarest riders are:

5 teams - Havik and Kooij
4 teams - Palzer
3 teams - Hailu (or is it Girmay? I never can tell)
2 teams - Valter
unique pick - Andreas Kron!

And yes, you guessed two of the top 10 correctly. Updated list in case anyone else wants to have a guess:
  1. Egan Bernal - 81 teams
  2. 77
  3. 74
  4. Chris Froome - 71
  5. 71
  6. 64
  7. 60
  8. 60
  9. 60
  10. 56
Anyone wanna guess who they are? 4 team Ineos in the top 10, only one rider over 200 points cost in there, 7/10 riders on new teams this year.
Kruijswijk, Buchmann, Pidcock, De Plus, Latour, Vanmarcke, Politt, Grondahl Jansen?
 
Okay, I'll try to guess.

Bernal, Froome, bam!

Pidcock, De Plus, Moscon, Kruijswijk, Vanmarcke, Politt, Jungels, Latour.

But, honestly, I see many other options. Maybe Sosa instead of Moscon (hopefully, actually).
I just found the two teams that I had missed before (they were new teams that I didn't properly link to on the main page), but that only changed the order by breaking the three way tie for 7th. Second-most popular rider still not guessed!

  1. Egan Bernal - 83 teams
  2. ??? - 79
  3. Tom Pidcock - 76
  4. Chris Froome - 72
  5. Steven Kruijswijk - 72
  6. Nils Politt - 65
  7. Sep Vanmarcke - 62
  8. Bob Jungels - 61
  9. Pierre Latour - 61
  10. Laurens De Plus - 56
Moscon only on 39 squads.

Hint for #2: Carton Kirby tends to annoyingly shorten his first name.
 
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