The 2021 CQ Ranking Manager Thread

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This was incredibly hard, in the end I thought this year could become a lottery anyway, so I just went with my feeling and picked my guys. Dumoulin was never on my team, but Evenepoel was set, so I had to reshuffle when I took him out.
Surprised to see Alaphilippe on so many teams. I really thought about including him, but then I thought I was being too brave if I did... Just too afraid to pick anybody above 1000 points in case that someone crashes in his first race of the season...
Instead I picked Schachmann, who's only on two teams!! What did I think! Probably some German bias in there.

So, these are my picks:

SCHACHMANN Maximilian
Won Paris-Nice, even if a slightly miserable edition, got 3rd in Strade, was hit by a car in Lombardia and still managed a very good result. After that, I think, his season was impacted by that crash and far-from-perfect preparations. At least that's my consideration and reason why I dared to take this way too expensive rider... Also seems extremely stable mentally, so I think the only thing that can bring him down is a physical problem.

HIRSCHI Marc
After an amazing year I think there's still room for more points. I see two possible directions for him, 1, he has way too many races, burns out and isn't able to be at his best in the most important ones, 2, that's what I can only hope for, he does amazing things race after race after race... there really are a lot of big races on his calendar...

KÄMNA Lennard
I just like the guy. I trust him. He crashed a few times, minor things, but still, and I think most of the races he could shine in did not even take place last year or were too close... If those Spanish one-week races and similar stuff goes ahead, he could do something there.

HIGUITA GARCIA Sergio Andres
Sure there's room for way more points, if EF does well, which I'm not sure they will, but with Martinez gone Higuita should get even better opportunities. I just thought his ceiling is much higher.

BERNAL GOMEZ Egan Arley
Yeah. Obvious pick.

KUSS Sepp
I would have slapped myself if he did well this year and I had not picked him. After all this talk about him it would not be a sneak success if he did really well. Maybe he's going to pick up a lot of points. Maybe he's going to be a silent worker all the time.

THOMAS Geraint
Ehm - obvious pick? I thought. With the Tour route next year he should be able to get some points. And I don't think 2020 had anything to do with age, just a bad crash and a lack of ambition, which he then seemed to have gained back, after that wake-up call of being left out...

LUTSENKO Alexey
I just love the guy. Don't know why. Maybe it's because when he does well he looks so very convincing. Lopez gone, Fuglsang ending his GC days, so I can only hope he's not just going to be Vlasov's helper all the time. Besides he does not seem like a loyal helper.

GAVIRIA RENDON Fernando
Was on my list from the start and stayed there. Sprinter of that quality for that price, couldn't leave him out.

SIVAKOV Pavel
Yes, I think he can do better. Ceiling and all.

BARDET Romain
Obvious pick.....?

MOLLEMA Bauke
Steady as ***. The one guy on my list who I don't expect to become any better, just do what he does.

JAKOBSEN Fabio
I just couldn't resist.

HAMILTON Lucas
Well, someone needs to get the points at Bike Exchange.

POWLESS Neilson
Still in development, obviously, so why not develop into a points-earning direction?

TEUNISSEN Mike
Ehm. Don't know. Looked cheap.

BUCHMANN Emanuel
Yeah, one of the first three guys on my list.

VINGEGAARD RASMUSSEN Jonas
He looked hot in his last race-days.

POLITT Nils
Sure can do better, way better, than 89 points?

TEJADA Harold
Late addition. Why not?

ARENSMAN Thymen
Oh, he looked like a promise...

KRUIJSWIJK Steven
Cheap, real cheap, wasn't he?

PIDCOCK Thomas
Had him in all the time, than took him out, than took him in again. I reckoned all the English speaking guys would pick him and than I'd be really sorry if he broke out completely...

LATOUR Pierre
Hm, TDE, who I don't trust at all. But he has a lot of races on his schedule, and he was not exactly expensive, so he was steadily on my list...

GALLOPIN Tony
I wanted to put Alaphilippe and Gallopin on my team together, but then... well. Gallopin stayed. Slightly cheaper.

FROOME Chris
Case of "too sorry if he does well".

VANSEVENANT Mauri
Like a breeze of fresh air, that's what he was...

LEEMREIZE Gijs
Hm. Ever since he broke his finger, I wanted him on my list, don't know if that makes sense to anyone but me.

MILAN Jonathan
Like, 8 points left, or something... Also I wanted a Bahrain rider, just to spread things a bit.

BRENNER Marco
How could I not pick the new Evenepoel is the new Eddie?

AYUSO Juan
Heard they can be good with young riders, UAE, so... Yes, he's only going to be there for the second half, but are we going to have any races before that, anyway?

ROMO Javier
Had a spot left.

GARCIA PIERNA Raul
And another one. Last year I left these places free, and then I regretted it. And hey, I saw, he's going to start today!

Guys I'm going to regret to have left out:
Alaphilippe, Evenepoel, Valgren, Trentin, Pedersen (Mads).
 
Reactions: postmanhat
All right this is going to be a fun year. Putting a team together was much harder than I thought, there were a gazillion very solid picks in the 250-500something price range (I counted 16 in my longlist). On paper you could include most of these guys in a 7500 point team. I actually tried it and it looked incredibly... uninspiring.

So I went for a top heavy, "no risk-it no biscuit" strategy. This meant I had to find a lot of very cheap guys to fill my team. It seemed kind of easy at first, but most of them had a ton of question marks attached.
Don't know if this strategy is going to pay, but I'll be entertained, that's for sure.

VAN DER POEL Mathieu (1264): he represents my strategy for 2021. I don’t wanna worry the whole year about which small .1 will be cancelled or postponed. I want big WT riders who can win big WT races. And MvdP is one of them. Last year he came back from the lockdown undercooked and it took him some time to find his shape. I’m pretty confident he’ll come out guns blazing in 2021. Debut in the Tour and PR are also a potential big boost for his score.

ALAPHILIPPE Julian (1247): I mean last year he crashed out of RVV while in good position to podium it, threw away a possible win at LBL, dropped the yellow jersey in the most stupid way I can think of, punctured a gazillion times at Strade Bianche and yet he scored 1200 points. I like his new focus on the cobble classics. Bodes well for the WC.

EVENEPOEL Remco (918): a shot in the dark considering his setback, but there’s too much talent to pass at that price. As I said last year, what’s his ceiling in a healthy, fully raced season? 4000-5000 points? I’m pretty sure he can score 3000 if he comes back in 2 months and finds his shape during the Giro. Spring won’t matter much anyway with COVID related cancellations/postponements.

SAGAN Peter (767): I had Simon Yates in this slot for a long time, but I really hate his schedule. So I’m giving Sagan a chance. His stage win in the Giro convinced me he still has the level to win major races.

HIGUITA GARCIA Sergio Andres (503): super punchy mega talent who scored 900+ points at age 22 in his very first WT season. Terrible luck in 2020, but he’s primed for a breakthrough this year.

BERNAL GOMEZ Egan Arley (450): looks recovered from his back problems and he’s another one of those riders who only scores in big WT races.

BARDET Romain (358): as stated, the 250-500 price range was a nightmare for me. Ultimately I chose to avoid this tier of riders almost entirely and made an exception for Bardet. I love the new setting for him. Hopefully he will ride the Giro and focus on one day races.

MOLLEMA Bauke (310): I know, he’s the epitome of a solid, uninspiring pick in that price range I said I wanted to avoid, but he’s also Mr. Consistency and will likely stop chasing elusive top5 in GTs, which would make him a fantastic stage hunter. He’s also someone you can count on from March to October.

SIMMONS Quinn (205): comes with a lot of baggage and I’m worried about his obsession with the cobbles (I think he might be better suited for the hilly classics), but man he’s got a monster engine. And he’s eager to prove it. All the red flags in the world couldn’t scare me away.

TEUNISSEN Mike (172): I had the budget for 2 picks around the 200 points mark, and for a long time Leknessund and Lucas Hamilton fought for these spots with Simmons. Then I checked Teunissen’s 2020 calendar and realized he scored 172 points in 16 racing days. Jumbo loves him, he'll get chances to ride for himself.

BUCHMANN Emanuel (157): probably the first real no brainer for me.

JUNGELS Bob (136): going from DQS to Ag2r isn’t much of change for him. He’ll have a chance to lead the team in selected one week WT races, considering how thin their climbers department is. Plus he can always score big in some Classics.

LAPORTE Christophe (136): he was magnanimous enough to go a whole year without wins. Won’t happen again.

ARU Fabio (124): I’ve been following Aru on social media the past few months and he looks genuinely happy for the first time in many months. I don’t know whether this will translate to better results on the road but he won’t lack opportunities.

CHAMPOUSSIN Clément (111): hard to find a young talent with a better environment. Even at 22 he’s arguably the best climber in Ag2r roster. Will be captain in a number of one week races, possibly even a GT.

POLITT Nils (89): looked ready to challenge the top guys in the cobble classics before COVID-19 hit. Will probably improve at Bora. No brainer for me.

VANMARCKE Sep (70): not a winner, but he’s the unquestioned leader for all things cobble at ISN. I can’t see him score less than 400 point unless most classics are cancelled.

MOSCON Gianni (69): yeah, I know, this looks more and more like the all racist team. But the Ineos classic roster is truly dreadful. If he can get back to his normal level there will be plenty of opportunities.

SOSA CUERVO Ivan Ramiro (68): I’m not 100% sold on this pick. His inability to perform at WT level + the abundance of GC riders at Ineos make it very risky. He can still be one of the top climbers in the world though.

ARENSMAN Thymen (65): impressive debut in last year’s Vuelta. He joined the right breaks and was very solid in the third week. Could be the next big thing for Sunweb/DSM.

PIDCOCK Thomas (57): I’m ready for fireworks.

KRUIJSWIJK Steven (57): no brainer.

LATOUR Pierre (49): my first non WT rider. It’s been a rough couple of years for Latour, but he’s still young and he’s a fighter. Hopefully the French calendar won’t be as affected as the Spanish one has been thus far.

GALLOPIN Tony (33): Ag2r had a dozen viable cheap picks (Sarreau and Calmejane were on my shortlist). Gallopin probably has the highest pedigree and can still win some races if he’s not too washed out.

FROOME Chris (30): I have no idea what I’m getting.

LAWLESS Christopher (25): lacked opportunities in the past, will have plenty here.

MODOLO Sacha (15): he’s been hampered by so many injuries and crashes lately. I’m a bit scared because he couldn’t train for a whole month this winter due to a bad knee. I considered Carlos Rodriguez, Taaramae, Debusschere and Camilo Ardila in this price range, but none of them gave me confidence.

GESBERT Elie (6): skipped almost the entire 2020 season with a broken rotula. As with Latour, I’ll probably need the French calendar to go through in order to profit from this pick.

DE PLUS Laurens (5): easiest pick in the game.

BRENNER Marco (0): I had Evenepoel in 2019 and Simmons in 2020. I won’t pass on the next big talent coming straight from the juniors.

HERMANS Quinten (0): very curious to see what he can do with a full road calendar in a WT team.

UMBA LOPEZ Abner Santiago (0): big over reaction after his ride in Tachira, but this kid was recommended by Quintana, signed with Savio for 4 years and rumors out of Androni’s camp talk about an exceptional talent. Probably a year away but more exciting than the Geniez and Jules of the world.

WALLS Matthew (0): taking a flyer on the track super talent. Bora really knows how to work with sprinters.


Riders I really really wanted but couldn't fit in the budget: Andreas Leknessund, Lucas Hamilton, Marc Sarreau, Lilian Calmejane, Ilan Van Wilder, Alessandro Covi.
 
Reactions: postmanhat
Jan 8, 2020
197
198
1,030
My team this year. Maybe One of the teams with the most popular riders on it!?

I can’t remember if that is a good or bad thing looking back at the previous years...

....
You are number 1 on the popularity ranking.

Normally there's been broadly good correlation between the popularity ranking and the overall ranking. This year will definitely be interesting in that respect with so many feasible good teams.

I gambled on no Remco, despite his latest setback he is obviously one of those guys that could split the overall table between has and has-nots. I'm happy to have not missed too many obvious boys - I left out Jungels based on too-many-chiefs at AG2R - the proof will be in the pudding...

Always nice to sneak a couple of low-choice picks in there that I have some confidence in: Dennis is another gamble based on the Olympics actually happening, and him keeping his head on his shoulders. Most pleased with Anthony Turgis with 2 picks - available at half his 2019 score, with a fast-finishing classics specialist with hopefully a lot more Classics about to be finished this year!


SAGAN Peter
LOPEZ MORENO Miguel Angel
VAN AVERMAET Greg
DENNIS Rohan
BERNAL GOMEZ Egan Arley
THOMAS Geraint
LUTSENKO Alexey
GAVIRIA RENDON Fernando
TRENTIN Matteo
BARDET Romain
NAESEN Oliver
MOLLEMA Bauke
TURGIS Anthony
FORMOLO Davide
BOL Cees
GILBERT Philippe
TEUNISSEN Mike
BUCHMANN Emanuel
HODEG CHAGUI Alvaro Jose
RIVERA SERRANO Kevin
POLITT Nils
SARREAU Marc
VANMARCKE Sep
NEILANDS Krists
KRUIJSWIJK Steven
PIDCOCK Thomas
BEVIN Patrick
LATOUR Pierre
JANSEN Amund Grøndahl
FROOME Chris
LAWLESS Christopher
CEPEDA ORTIZ Jefferson Alexander
ARCHIBALD John
 
I have to say I'm thrilled to see Kristoff only being picked by 14 teams. A guy who could triple his score from 500 if he just does what he usually does (and also has a good Worlds course) was a no-brainer to me, yet here we are.

Also Matthews on under half of the teams is really good to see and a big surprise.

I have 15 of the top 18 popular picks. The most popular I don't have is Jungels so he needs to continue his 2020 level.

I am not even close to having a unique pick with my least popular being Mathias Norsgaard and Sebastian Langeveld at 5 picks. I don't expect them to make huge amounts of points, though, so I think may co-captains this year will be Alberto Bettiol (7 picks) and Kristoff. I'll settle for a repeat podium of the 2019 Flanders.
 
Jan 8, 2020
197
198
1,030
I should just have picked the top 33 riders on the current table. They have 446 points combined. That would have given me a nice head start and some glorious weeks in front.
Good point... there is one pick for Roniel Campos Lucena. DJ Sprtsch is out in front already. Ten teams already off the mark.
 
I have to say I'm thrilled to see Kristoff only being picked by 14 teams. A guy who could triple his score from 500 if he just does what he usually does (and also has a good Worlds course) was a no-brainer to me, yet here we are.
My main argument against Kristoff is that he tends to score a lot points in .1 and HC races, and I'm really not sure how many of them will go through.

I don't think Trentin and Hirschi being in the team lower his chances in the cobble classics as some argue. Quite the opposite. But you're betting on the full calendar being raced to triple his score.

He's a very solid pick nonetheless. Just too boring for my liking.
 
I chose Hirschi over Evenepoel and Pinot over Bernal in the end.

Wonder if I will regret that or not.

Some riders that will probably be key to a higher finishing place for me:
Hirschi (19 picks)
Valverde (4 picks)
Pinot (20 picks)
Kristoff (14 picks)
Uran (8 picks)
Simmons (22 picks)
Oomen (13 picks)
Bissegger (19 picks)
De Buyst (1 pick)
Aru (14 picks)
Lawless (21 picks)
Gesbert (8 picks)
 
So, who's the most important and decisive riders to look out for? I decided to come up with an approach to study this, and while the approach probably isn't methodically sound, I still thought it was be fun to share it with you.

What I did was that I looked at the popularity table and the 2020 score. The higher the 2020 price, the more important it is to have that particular rider perform well. Regarding the popularity score, I figured that if all teams have picked a certain rider, he has no impact on the game - and the same is true if noone picked that rider. Hence, the closer the rider is to have been picked by half the teams, the more impact he will have on the game.

Therefore I substracted the number of times each rider was picked by 46,5 (half the teams: 93/2 = 46,5) and divided the rider's price with this number. The higher the result, the more impactful the rider is.
An example: Miguel Angel Lopez was picked by 15 teams and had a price of 655. His "impact value" is then 655 / (46,5 - 15) = 20,8 (he just didn't make cut to the top 20 most impactful riders).

With 47 picks (and hence 46 non-picks), Bardet perfectly divides the cq gamers in two equally large camps and is by far the most crucial pick using this method. Not surprisingly, Evenepoel and Sagan are next, while Naesen and Alaphilippe round off the top 5. Surprising for me is that Pogacar and Demare makes the list, having been picked by only two and one teams respectively.

This is the top 20:

Bardet: 716
Evenepoel: 122,4
Sagan: 90,2
Naesen: 76,4
Alaphilippe: 64
Pogacar: 45,9
Van Aert: 41
Van Avermaet: 37,3
Trentin: 35,2
Van der Poel: 33,1
Higuita: 30,5
Hirschi: 30
Thomas: 28,1
Gaviria: 27,6
Mattews: 27,2
Demare: 27,2
Vlasov: 26,1
Lutsenko: 25,6
Pinot: 23,8
Sivakov: 23,7

Again, a different (and likely better) approach could have been used as well, but this was what I came up with - take it for what it is :)
 
Last edited:
Jan 3, 2018
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Among the 33 most chosen I have 21 cyclists. Which is pretty cool.
On the other hand, I have no exclusives. And among the least chosen I have these:

IZAGIRRE INSAUSTI Ion
8​
WALLS Matthew
7​
BOUDAT Thomas
5​
HAVIK Piotr
5​
JULES Justin
5​
BARBIER Pierre
3​
They can give me victory :cool:
 
So, who's the most important and decisive riders to look out for? I decided to come up with an approach to study this, and while the approach probably isn't methodically sound, I still thought it was be fun to share it with you.

What I did was that I looked at the popularity table and the 2020 score. The higher the 2020 price, the more important it is to have that particular rider perform well. Regarding the popularity score, I figured that if all teams have picked a certain rider, he has no impact on the game - and the same is true if noone picked that rider. Hence, the closer the rider is to have been picked by half the teams, the more impact he will have on the game.

Therefore I substracted the number of times each rider was picked by 46,5 (half the teams: 93/2 = 46,5) and divided the rider's price with this number. The higher the result, the more impactful the rider is.
An example: Miguel Angel Lopez was picked by 15 teams and had a price of 655. His "impact value" is then 655 / (46,5 - 15) = 20,8 (he just didn't make cut to the top 20 most impactful riders).

With 47 picks (and hence 46 non-picks), Bardet perfectly divides the cq gamers in two equally large camps and is by far the most crucial pick using this method. Not surprisingly, Evenepoel and Sagan are next, while Naesen and Alaphilippe round off the top 5. Surprising for me is that Pogacar and Demare makes the list, having been picked by only two and one teams respectively.

This is the top 20:

Bardet: 716
Evenepoel: 122,4
Sagan: 90,2
Naesen: 76,4
Alaphilippe: 64
Pogacar: 45,9
Van Aert: 41
Van Avermaet: 37,3
Trentin: 35,2
Van der Poel: 33,1
Higuita: 30,5
Hirschi: 30
Thomas: 28,1
Gaviria: 27,6
Mattews: 27,2
Demare: 27,2
Vlasov: 26,1
Lutsenko: 25,6
Pinot: 23,8
Sivakov: 23,7

Again, a different (and likely better) approach could have been used as well, but this was what I came up with - take it for what it is :)
Interesting approach. However, it is much too sensitive with riders picked very close to half of the teams (as you can see with Bardet). If another rider had been picked just one more time than him, he would have had to have a cost of three times that of Bardet to get as high a score as him through this formula (and what would we have done if there had been an even number of teams and one was chosen by exactly half of the teams)?

Something needs to be done with the denominator.

Maybe we can take a random number, let's try with 2, and add it to the numerical difference of 46.5 and the number of picks:

So it would go like this: price tag/(2+|46.5-number of picks|).

In this way we wouldn't see such a weird pattern for riders picked close to half of the time, because the denominator is kept firmly away from 0.

This way, Bardet gets 143.2 points, Evenepoel 96.6, Sagan 73.0 and Naesen 52.9, while all others of course lose a few points through being divided by a number which is 2 higher than before.
 
Time to present my team and thoughts.

ALAPHILIPPE Julian: 1247 points, 27 teams
Absolute must pick in my opinion. Having the option to pick a 1200 points rider who's very likely to double his points next season is very rare and having a 1200 points rider double his points is much more valuable than having a 600 points rider double his points. I'm very happy that he's selected by relatively few teams.

SAGAN Peter: 767 points, 55 teams
I'm a bit surprised he's picked by this many teams to be honest as he's a bit of a gamble in my opinion as he has been on the decline the last two seasons. However, I just couldn't resist picking a rider who has averaged more than 2000 points the last 10 seasons and lost a good chunk of points deciding not to do the classics campaign last season. He has become a slow starter who needs a lot of kilometres in his legs, so I'm happy to see that he's doing a lot of races this year, including two Grand Tours.

YATES Adam: 592 points, 13 teams
Probably the biggest gamble on my team, and you could argue that there were better options in his price range. However, my hope is that he's focusing on one day races and week long stage races this season, as he has shown that he's one of the absolute best one week stage racers in the peloton and he has also shown that he's a great classics rider. Fingers crossed!

KRISTOFF Alexander: 519 points, 14 teams
Originally not in my team, Kristoff made his way into it when I decided to ditch Evenepoel, but now I'm quite happy that I picked him. He has averaged more than 1700 points the last 7 seasons, and he hasn't really shown signs of decline yet. His schedule is absolutely insane for a massive points haul.

VAN AVERMAET Greg: 503 points, 3 teams
Quite a similar story to that of Kristoff. He also only made it to the team when I dropped Evenepoel; he has averaged 1600 points the last 8 seasons, and his schedule is crazy good. I think he's past his peak, but he should still be able to improve his 2020 score a lot.

BERNAL GOMEZ Egan Arley: 450 points, 83 teams
Not much to say here. A must have.

WELLENS Tim: 431 points, 18 teams
I'm absolutely shocked that he's only picked 18 times. One of the best picks in the game this year in my opinion and one of the first riders to make it onto my team. He's only been improving the last couple of seasons and is entering his prime. Could easily tripple his score.

LUTSENKO Alexey: 397 points, 31 teams
Lutsenko was also one of the first riders on my team. However, I'm actually not sure that he's such a no-brainer pick that I initially thought, as I think I might be overemphasizing his 2019-season. He was just so strong that year though, that I just auto-included him in my team without really thinking twice about it.

TRENTIN Matteo: 370 points, 36 teams
Also one of the no-brainer picks for me this year and another rider I just put onto my team and never thought about it again. Should be able to tripple his 2020 score.

NAESEN Oliver: 344 points, 42 teams
Quite a similar story to that of Trentin and should also be able to tripple his score from last year. He's quite an underrated classics rider in my opinion, but he's just below the very best as one of the most reliable hardmen out there.

TEUNISSEN Mike: 172 points, 34 teams
I've been following Teunissen for quite some time, so I was happy to see him break through two years ago (despite him not being on my team then). His 2019 season might have been a fluke, but he wasn't actually that bad last year - he just didn't race much. I'd be very happy to see him back at his best in 2021 but less will do as well.

BUCHMANN Emanuel: 157 points, 79 teams
No-brainer pick.

DAINESE Alberto: 137 points, 19 teams
One of the most promising young sprinters in the peloton. Already last year he was given a lot of support and that won't change this season. I think he could have a "Jakobsen 2018"-kinda year. He's also one of the riders I'm looking forward to be following the most.

JUNGELS Bob: 136 points, 61 teams
I've never really been a fan of Jungels, but he improved on me when he started focusing on other goals than stage races, and with his win in Liege, he showed that that was the right decision. He will get a lot of freedom at Ag2r, and I expect him to bounce back into the 500-600 points range.

LAPORTE Christophe: 136 points, 32 teams
He had two good years in 2018 and 2019 and he should be able to score a lot of points on the French cycling scene in which many races suit him well. He's also fun to have on the team for memes.

HODEG CHAGUI Alvaro Jose: 129 points, 25 teams
I actually think that Hodeg is pretty overrated although he has shown some good sprinting skills once in a while. With Jakobsen likely out, he will have much more room to make results and I expect him to improve his score quite a bit even though he won't set the world on fire.

DUPONT Timothy: 114 points, 13 teams
Very boring pick. I don't even know what the guy looks like. He's just here because he's consistently been scoring a lot of points in smaller Belgian races and should do so again this year. Of course the big question mark is which races will get cancelled, but if the season is more or less back to normal, he should be a good pick.

POLITT Nils: 89 points, 65 teams
Had a massive 2019 and a very bad 2020. He's still a big talent with a huge engine and the move to Bora should benefit him I feel like. I don't expect another 2019 but less will do as well.

PLANCKAERT Baptiste: 86 points, 4 teams
Another boring pick and another rider I don't know what looks like. He's also my most unique pick which I kinda had expected. He's definitely not gonna set the world on fire but a solid points haul is what I expect instead. I probably should have picked another rider instead though - Calmejane or Groves perhaps.

DEKKER David: 70 points, 10 teams
Finally a rider I'm very excited about and really look forward to follow the next year. He's very talented as his performance and result in Le Samyn showed. 2021 might be a tad too early for him to really break through, but I would be kicking myself had I left him out and he scored 500 points.

SARREAU Marc: 70 points, 43 teams
As other have mentioned, he was involved in the Jakobsen crash which ended his season. I've not read up on him so I just hope he's fine and able to compete again. If so, his move to Ag2r should be good and a lot of the smaller French races suit him very well.

VANMARCKE Sep: 70 points, 62 teams
I don't actually expect that much from Vanmarcke, but at 70 points he was too cheap to leave out. More like a defensive pick than anything else.

SOSA CUERVO Ivan Ramiro: 68 points, 42 teams
Hailed as the next Bernal, Sosa had a horrible 2020. He's not on a good team to be able to ride his own chances, but on the other hand, Ineos is very good at nurturing their young riders. He did show some glimpes of his talent in 2020, so here's to hoping he'll show a lot more of that this year.

TEJADA CANACUE Harold Alfonso: 67 points, 12 teams
Tejada impressed me quite a bit in 2020 with his performances in the Mount Ventoux Challenge and the Tour. I had never heard of him before, so he was a revelation for me. I think he'll get some chances to ride for himself in 2021, but I don't expect the big breakthrough, just a solid points improvement.

ARENSMAN Thymen: 65 points, 24 teams
Speaking of riders who impressed me in Grand Tours. Arensman was really impressive in the Vuelta last year, getting into the right breaks and riding very well on the Covatilla stage. Many young riders experience a massive increase in performances after their first Grand Tour, so I can't wait to see what he's capable of in 2021. DSM is also one of the best teams for young riders to improve and get their own chance.

BOUDAT Thomas: 61 points, 5 teams
Only 5 teams picked Boudat? Maybe I'm missing something here, but if not, he should be a pretty solid choice, picking up some points in French races.

PIDCOCK Thomas: 57 points, 76 teams
Arguably the biggest talent out there (not withcounting Evenepoel, of course) - and almost everyone else thinks the same. Not much to add here.

KRUIJSWIJK Steven: 57 points, 72 teams
Another must have. He's likely to not reach his 2018-2019 level again, but much less will also do. Not much to add here either.

LATOUR Pierre: 49 points, 61 teams
Yet another very obvious pick. His progression seems to have stalled, but at 49 points he should still be profitable. The move to Direct Energie is a good one for him, I think.

VAN WILDER Ilan: 26 points, 18 teams
Van Wilder was actually pretty decent in 2020, but had some bad luck. A very big prospect, but 2021 could be a season or two too son for him to break through. I have hopes for a good season, though.

VANSEVENANT Mauri: 15 points, 28 teams
This pick is solely based on his amazing performance in Fleche Wallone, where I instantly became a huge fan of this young kid. I'm looking forward to following him the next many season and I think something big is awaiting for him in the future.

DE PLUS Laurens: 5 points, 56 teams
A pretty boring pick. He won't do much, but likely he'll do some and be worth his 5 points.

BRENNER Marco: 0 points, 31 teams
Another huge talent. Too cheap to risk miss out on as he could have a break through season already this year.

Some of the most popular riders that I left out include Evenepoel, who was the first rider on my team - and the last to get the axe. I really wanted him as he's by far the most exciting rider out there, and it might turn out to be a mistake ditching him. I was just scared to include him because of the recent news regarding his injury. If he does score 3000+ points, I'll still be happy though, as I'm a big fan of his. Froome I completely forgot about, which will probably come back to haunt me, but I'm pretty confident that he won't be anywhere near his peak level. He could still score a good chunk of points though, of course. Bardet is really dividing the waters here. I'm not a big fan of him, and I don't think he's that good anymore. There were several other riders I would have picked over him in his price range like Thomas and Sivakov.
 
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My team this year. Maybe One of the teams with the most popular riders on it!?

I can’t remember if that is a good or bad thing looking back at the previous years...

EVENEPOEL Remco
SAGAN Peter
THOMAS Geraint
BERNAL GOMEZ Egan Arley
WELLENS Tim
LUTSENKO Alexey
TEUNS Dylan
GAVIRIA RENDON Fernando
TRENTIN Matteo
SIVAKOV Pavel
HAIG Jack
BARDET Romain
LEKNESSUND Andreas
MOLLEMA Bauke
TEUNISSEN Mike
BUCHMANN Emanuel
LAPORTE Christophe
JUNGELS Bob
VINGEGAARD RASMUSSEN Jonas
POLITT Nils
BJERG Mikkel
VANMARCKE Sep
MOSCON Gianni
SOSA CUERVO Ivan Ramiro
PIDCOCK Thomas
KRUIJSWIJK Steven
LATOUR Pierre
TERPSTRA Niki
FROOME Chris
CAVENDISH Mark
VANSEVENANT Mauri
DE PLUS Laurens
UMBA LOPEZ Abner Santiago
That's a very solid team (although I suspect there are a lot of teams I'd say that about this year when looking at them!) I mentioned that I strongly considered going the Sagan route, and of course I had to take a hard look at Geraint Thomas before deciding that the consistency of the classics old guys I was looking at (GvA and Kristoff) were the route I wanted to go vs the 'he will be solid but with some good luck for once his score will be huge' feeling of the old guy Geraint Thomas.

Two other guys to highlight - I really tried to fit Tim Wellens into my team. I think by summer if things are a bit better on the virus front he will have a wealth of races to tear into, and if the Canadian races go ahead, he's the type of rider who can score a few hundred there. He's gone from a rider who can do great on second tier races, to a rider who can win a 'secondary' WT stage race in bad weather conditions, to a rider that can hang at the top races in the world. So he can score anywhere.

I also strongly considered Jack Haig. Very solid results at the base of it, and had a very good year in 2019. Ultimately I wanted a bit more value than that 2019 haul at his price, but he's never really fully been thrust into a leadership role, so if he's the type of guy who shines with that opportunity he can sail beyond it.

There is going to be a LOT of scoring this year (provided we get a relatively full season of races, of course).
 
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Interesting approach. However, it is much too sensitive with riders picked very close to half of the teams (as you can see with Bardet). If another rider had been picked just one more time than him, he would have had to have a cost of three times that of Bardet to get as high a score as him through this formula (and what would we have done if there had been an even number of teams and one was chosen by exactly half of the teams)?

Something needs to be done with the denominator.

Maybe we can take a random number, let's try with 2, and add it to the numerical difference of 46.5 and the number of picks:

So it would go like this: price tag/(2+|46.5-number of picks|).

In this way we wouldn't see such a weird pattern for riders picked close to half of the time, because the denominator is kept firmly away from 0.

This way, Bardet gets 143.2 points, Evenepoel 96.6, Sagan 73.0 and Naesen 52.9, while all others of course lose a few points through being divided by a number which is 2 higher than before.
Yeah, for sure the approach can be improved upon and yours seems good! It was honestly just an idea I quickly came up with to have some sort of method in determining the most crucial picks.
 
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Time to present my team and thoughts.

ALAPHILIPPE Julian: 1247 points, 27 teams
Absolute must pick in my opinion. Having the option to pick a 1200 points rider who's very likely to double his points next season is very rare and having a 1200 points rider double his points is much more valuable than having a 600 points rider double his points. I'm very happy that he's selected by relatively few teams.

SAGAN Peter: 767 points, 55 teams
I'm a bit surprised he's picked by this many teams to be honest as he's a bit of a gamble in my opinion as he has been on the decline the last two seasons. However, I just couldn't resist picking a rider who has averaged more than 2000 points the last 10 seasons and lost a good chunk of points deciding not to do the classics campaign last season. He has become a slow starter who needs a lot of kilometres in his legs, so I'm happy to see that he's doing a lot of races this year, including two Grand Tours.

YATES Adam: 592 points, 13 teams
Probably the biggest gamble on my team, and you could argue that there were better options in his price range. However, my hope is that he's focusing on one day races and week long stage races this season, as he has shown that he's one of the absolute best one week stage racers in the peloton and he has also shown that he's a great classics rider. Fingers crossed!

KRISTOFF Alexander: 519 points, 14 teams
Originally not in my team, Kristoff made his way into it when I decided to ditch Evenepoel, but now I'm quite happy that I picked him. He has averaged more than 1700 points the last 7 seasons, and he hasn't really shown signs of decline yet. His schedule is absolutely insane for a massive points haul.

VAN AVERMAET Greg: 503 points, 3 teams
Quite a similar story to that of Kristoff. He also only made it to the team when I dropped Evenepoel; he has averaged 1600 points the last 8 seasons, and his schedule is crazy good. I think he's past his peak, but he should still be able to improve his 2020 score a lot.

BERNAL GOMEZ Egan Arley: 450 points, 83 teams
Not much to say here. A must have.

WELLENS Tim: 431 points, 18 teams
I'm absolutely shocked that he's only picked 18 times. One of the best picks in the game this year in my opinion and one of the first riders to make it onto my team. He's only been improving the last couple of seasons and is intering his prime. Could easily tripple his score.

LUTSENKO Alexey: 397 points, 31 teams
Lutsenko was also one of the first riders on my team. However, I'm actually not sure that he's such a no-brainer pick that I initially thought, as I think I might be overemphasizing his 2019-season. He was just so strong that year though, that I just auto-included him in my team without really thinking twice about it.

TRENTIN Matteo: 370 points, 36 teams
Also one of the no-brainer picks for me this year and another rider I just put onto my team and never thought about it again. Should pretty easily be able to tripple his 2019 score, although I might overestimate him.

NAESEN Oliver: 344 points, 42 teams
Quite a similar story to that of Trentin and should also be able to tripple his score from last year. He's quite an underrated classics rider in my opinion, but he's just below the very best as one of the most reliable hardmen out there.

TEUNISSEN Mike: 172 points, 34 teams
I've been following Teunissen for quite some time, so I was happy to see him break through two years ago (despite him not being on my team then). His 2019 season might have been a fluke, but he wasn't actually that bad last year - he just didn't race much. I'd be very happy to see him back at his best in 2021 but less will do as well.

BUCHMANN Emanuel: 157 points, 79 teams
No-brainer pick.

DAINESE Alberto: 137 points, 19 teams
One of the most promising young sprinters in the peloton. Already last year he was given a lot of support and that won't change this season. I think he could have a "Jakobsen 2018"-kinda year. He's also one of the riders I'm looking forward to be following the most.

JUNGELS Bob: 136 points, 61 teams
I've never really been a fan of Jungels, but he improved on me when he started focusing on other goals than stage races, and with his win in Liege, he showed that that was the right decision. He will get a lot of freedom at Ag2r, and I expect him to bounce back into the 500-600 points range.

LAPORTE Christophe: 136 points, 32 teams
He had two good years in 2018 and 2019 and he should be able to score a lot of points on the French cycling scene in which many races suit him well. He's also fun to have on the team for memes.

HODEG CHAGUI Alvaro Jose: 129 points, 25 teams
I actually think that Hodeg is pretty overrated although he has shown some good sprinting skills once in a while. With Jakobsen likely out, he will have much more room to make results and I expect him to improve his score quite a bit even though he won't set the world on fire.

DUPONT Timothy: 114 points, 13 teams
Very boring pick. I don't even know what the guy looks like. He's just here because he's consistently been scoring a lot of points in smaller Belgian races and should do so again this year. Of course the big question mark is which races will get cancelled, but if the season is more or less back to normal, he should be a good pick.

POLITT Nils: 89 points, 65 teams
Had a massive 2019 and a very bad 2020. He's still a big talent with a huge engine and the move to Bora should benefit him I feel like. I don't expect another 2019 but less will do as well.

PLANCKAERT Baptiste: 86 points, 4 teams
Another boring pick and another rider I don't know what looks like. He's also my most unique pick which I kinda had expected. He's definitely not gonna set the world on fire but a solid points haul is what I expect instead. I probably should have picked another rider instead though - Calmejane or Groves perhaps.

DEKKER David: 70 points, 10 teams
Finally a rider I'm very excited about and really look forward to follow the next year. He's very talented as his performance and result in Le Samyn showed. 2021 might be a tad too early for him to really break through, but I would be kicking myself had I left him out and he scored 500 points.

SARREAU Marc: 70 points, 43 teams
As other have mentioned, he was involved in the Jakobsen crash which ended his season. I've not read up on him so I just hope he's fine and able to compete again. If so, his move to Ag2r should be good and a lot of the smaller French races suit him very well.

VANMARCKE Sep: 70 points, 62 teams
I don't actually expect that much from Vanmarcke, but at 70 points he was too cheap to leave out. More like a defensive pick than anything else.

SOSA CUERVO Ivan Ramiro: 68 points, 42 teams
Hailed as the next Bernal, Sosa had a horrible 2020. He's not on a good team to be able to ride his own chances, but on the other hand, Ineos is very good at nurturing their young riders. He did show some glimpes of his talent in 2020, so here's to hoping he'll show a lot more of that this year.

TEJADA CANACUE Harold Alfonso: 67 points, 12 teams
Tejada impressed me quite a bit in 2020 with his performances in the Mount Ventoux Challenge and the Tour. I had never heard of him before, so he was a revelation for me. I think he'll get some chances to ride for himself in 2021, but I don't expect the big breakthrough, just a solid points improvement.

ARENSMAN Thymen: 65 points, 24 teams
Speaking of riders who impressed me in Grand Tours. Arensman was really impressive in the Vuelta last year, getting into the right breaks and riding very well on the Covatilla stage. Many young riders experience a massive increase in performances after their first Grand Tour, so I can't wait to see what he's capable of in 2021. DSM is also one of the best teams for young riders to improve and get their own chance.

BOUDAT Thomas: 61 points, 5 teams
Only 5 teams picked Boudat? Maybe I'm missing something here, but if not, he should be a pretty solid choice, picking up some points in French races.

PIDCOCK Thomas: 57 points, 76 teams
Arguably the biggest talent out there (not withcounting Evenepoel, of course) - and almost everyone else thinks the same. Not much to add here.

KRUIJSWIJK Steven: 57 points, 72 teams
Another must have. He's likely to not reach his 2018-2019 level again, but much less will also do. Not much to add here either.

LATOUR Pierre: 49 points, 61 teams
Yet another very obvious pick. His progression seems to have stalled, but at 49 points he should still be profitable. The move to Direct Energie is a good one for him, I think.

VAN WILDER Ilan: 26 points, 18 teams
Van Wilder was actually pretty decent in 2020, but had some bad luck. A very big prospect, but 2021 could be a season or two too son for him to break through. I have hopes for a good season, though.

VANSEVENANT Mauri: 15 points, 28 teams
This pick is solely based on his amazing performance in Fleche Wallone, where I instantly became a huge fan of this young kid. I'm looking forward to following him the next many season and I think something big is awaiting for him in the future.

DE PLUS Laurens: 5 points, 56 teams
A pretty boring pick. He won't do much, but likely he'll do some and be worth his 5 points.

BRENNER Marco: 0 points, 31 teams
Another huge talent. Too cheap to risk miss out on as he could have a break through season already this year.

Some of the most popular riders that I left out include Evenepoel, who was the first rider on my team - and the last to get the axe. I really wanted him as he's by far the most exciting rider out there, and it might turn out to be a mistake ditching him. I was just scared to include him because of the recent news regarding his injury. If he does score 3000+ points, I'll still be happy though, as I'm a big fan of his. Froome I completely forgot about, which will probably come back to haunt me, but I'm pretty confident that he won't be anywhere near his peak level. He could still score a good chunk of points though, of course. Bardet is really dividing the waters here. I'm not a big fan of him, and I don't think he's that good anymore. There were several other riders I would have picked over him in his price range like Thomas and Sivakov.
I strongly disagree with the assessment that Wellens has only been improving the last couple of years. In 2014 and 2015, he won the BinckBank Tour and in 2016, he won the Tour de Pologne. He has kept posting similar performances throughou the years until 2019 but last he was pretty bad until he won a couple of breakaway stages in a Vuelta where I think many riders were pretty fatigued. I'm not saying he is bad now but I just can't see anything that should suggest him being on an upwards trajectory. I didn't consider him for a second.
 
@skidmark maybe I am extremely blind but I cant find my team in the "rank popularity" tab. If it still under work, then no worries.
Yeah I mentioned it in a post but there were dozens of posts yesterday - only the Rankings, Popularity and individual team tabs are accurate in the sheet. I had all my time taken processing teams so all the other tabs are based off of a prior year's setup and won't be relevant.

I hope to get it up to date by the first update on Monday - it's pretty easy to do, but I've put off all my regular life work the last few days and have a big deadline tomorrow so I have to turn my focus there for the next couple of days. If anyone felt like updating that tab and posting a version of the spreadsheet so people can see popularity scores, definitely feel free!

Edit: I realized I could update just that tab in a matter of minutes so I've done so. I'll get to the other tabs this week, I forgot this one would be relevant pre-game. The old link should bring you to the update page, but here it is again since the old one is buried upthread.
 
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I strongly disagree with the assessment that Wellens has only been improving the last couple of years. In 2014 and 2015, he won the BinckBank Tour and in 2016, he won the Tour de Pologne. He has kept posting similar performances throughou the years until 2019 but last he was pretty bad until he won a couple of breakaway stages in a Vuelta where I think many riders were pretty fatigued. I'm not saying he is bad now but I just can't see anything that should suggest him being on an upwards trajectory. I didn't consider him for a second.
He did score some impressive results earlier in his career, yes, but looking at him ride, I've only seen him become stronger and also more versatile. His 2020 wasn't good, I'll admit, and he's very good at training himself into shape and usually starts his season with a blast, so on paper he should have been one of the riders benefiting the most from the covid-lockdown but 2020 was just such a weird season that I don't read too much into that.
 
He did score some impressive results earlier in his career, yes, but looking at him ride, I've only seen him become stronger and also more versatile. His 2020 wasn't good, I'll admit, and he's very good at training himself into shape and usually starts his season with a blast, so on paper he should have been one of the riders benefiting the most from the covid-lockdown but 2020 was just such a weird season that I don't read too much into that.
He also usually gets a lot of points in the Spanish late winter but he won't do that this year.
 
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Time to present my team and thoughts.


WELLENS Tim: 431 points, 18 teams
I'm absolutely shocked that he's only picked 18 times. One of the best picks in the game this year in my opinion and one of the first riders to make it onto my team. He's only been improving the last couple of seasons and is entering his prime. Could easily tripple his score.


PLANCKAERT Baptiste: 86 points, 4 teams
Another boring pick and another rider I don't know what looks like. He's also my most unique pick which I kinda had expected. He's definitely not gonna set the world on fire but a solid points haul is what I expect instead. I probably should have picked another rider instead though - Calmejane or Groves perhaps.
A couple of things to touch on here... first, I have some unfortunate news regarding Planckaert - he just had knee surgery last week and will miss the whole spring. He could still pick up a ton of points in summer and fall of course, and if some spring races get pushed back that could be to his advantage.

Regarding Wellens, your comment on tripling his score is definitely true, and the problem I had with riders around that price was that it seemed like so many of them could triple their scores. I decided that as a starting point for sorting this year, for established riders I'd take their 4 years average prior to 2020, divide by their cost, and use that 'leverage' number. Then I dug a bit deeper into their circumstances, like their variance in that time (guys like Thomas or Lutsenko who had one big year and several decent vs Trentin who's up and down vs. GvA or Mollema who are just solid).

Anyway, Wellens had a leverage score of 2.77. Without any reason to doubt he could get back to his old form, tripling his score seems reasonable by that metric.

I just couldn't pick him because there were so many good options in that range. To pull back the curtain a bit, here's what I found for a bunch of riders in the 300+ point range (ranked from highest cost):

Sagan - 3.08 leverage: by this metric, I should have picked him. But that average hides a 3300 point season in 2016, two 2200 following, and a 1500 in 2019. Soooo it all depends on how you read those tea leaves. Still, 1500 would be alright at his cost. At some point for me it was him or Evenepoel, so we'll see how that turns out.

Pinot - 2.03 leverage: this was almost enough to have me take him as you need less of a multiplier at higher cost, as you've said.

A. Yates - 1.62 didn't pick

Kristoff - 3.27 and GvA - 3.98 left no doubt for me

G. Thomas - 2.67 with high variance and one giant year upping that, ultimately decided not to go with him

Lutsenko - 1.96 didn't pick (although he made a leap in 2019 so you could make a case on that)

Teuns - 2.39 (last 3 years instead of 4) didn't pick

Gaviria - 2.30 didn't pick

Trentin - 2.73 I hesitated because he's been up and down, but ultimately decided he's worth it

Bardet - 3.53

Colbrelli - 3.20

Naesen - 2.82 I hemmed and hawed, but figured with GvA as a foil, he could get the Devolder opportunity of going up the road when his teammate is marked out, and even if not his baseline is high.

Izagirre - 3.39

Mollema - 3.74

Viviani - 5.32

So ultimately, Wellens and his 2.77 was right on the borderline. I definitely think more people should have taken him.
 
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I'm amazed at how mathematically many of you approach this game. Okay, I'm definitely not someone who should rely on their math skills here, since I didn't even manage to add my rider's worth right (I thought I was on the edge of 7500 points which, well, turns out I'm not...), but anyway I did not look at it that way. My reasoning goes more like this:
A) Has the rider had a specific reason to underperform last year and is this problem, probably, solved? This is a really important point for me, so I end up with a lot of riders who simply crashed badly last year. B) Has the status of the rider within the team improved or has he switched to a team which I consider to work better in general? C) Have I seen sparks in a young rider which let me hope for much more? D) If he goes for a GT, do I think the route fits him better this year, or does he target a GT he's better suited for? ... and so on.

I thought about Wellens, had him in, threw him out. He was a case of "could triple his points, but nothing went seriously wrong last year except, well, Lotto, and he's still at Lotto, so -"
One thought about him was that he might finally be on his way of channeling his potential into results, but then that was nothing more than a mild hunch, not enough to pick him in the end.

Last year, when I played for the first time and hardly knew anything about where riders actually get their points, I definitely made the mistake to take too many time trialers and I did not take any sprinters, simply because I'm often not interested in sprinters, especially these guys who score points in lower rated races in Belgium or Eastern Europe. This year I did not pick them (because I know nothing about them) because I reckoned those races will mostly be cancelled. But I would have liked to try to do better in this regard, this just didn't seem like the year for that.

By the way, seems my decisive riders will be Schachmann and Powless. :confused:
 
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