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The 2023 CQ Ranking Manager Thread

Page 61 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Let's see how some of my predictions fared:
I actually believe picking Roglic is objectively the best strategy, but I just liked my team so much more without him. Giro, Vuelta, Italian classics and a few other races inbetween are more than enough for a normal Roglic to score 2000 points

As a continuation of this, I just did some calculations which made me quite relieved.

At the start of this season, when I learnt that Hugo Koblet was not going to participate, I had my first ever pre-reveal discussion about picks for this game. I'm way too stubborn for that discussion to have impacted my decisions, I think, but at least I sent him my team when it still had Roglic in it. Having added up the scores for that team, I'm very relieved to see that I wouldn't have won anyway. And not on the podium either, luckily. My pre-getting-rid-of-Roglic team would have scored 14946 points it seems, good enough for 5th place.
 
As a continuation of this, I just did some calculations which made me quite relieved.

At the start of this season, when I learnt that Hugo Koblet was not going to participate, I had my first ever pre-reveal discussion about picks for this game. I'm way too stubborn for that discussion to have impacted my decisions, I think, but at least I sent him my team when it still had Roglic in it. Having added up the scores for that team, I'm very relieved to see that I wouldn't have won anyway. And not on the podium either, luckily. My pre-getting-rid-of-Roglic team would have scored 14946 points it seems, good enough for 5th place.
Why DID the game founder not participate this year?
 
As a continuation of this, I just did some calculations which made me quite relieved.

At the start of this season, when I learnt that Hugo Koblet was not going to participate, I had my first ever pre-reveal discussion about picks for this game. I'm way too stubborn for that discussion to have impacted my decisions, I think, but at least I sent him my team when it still had Roglic in it. Having added up the scores for that team, I'm very relieved to see that I wouldn't have won anyway. And not on the podium either, luckily. My pre-getting-rid-of-Roglic team would have scored 14946 points it seems, good enough for 5th place.
Well I ran some calculation too and if I had reentered my 2022 team in 2023 I would have scored 20262 points good for the best score all time (*). Now sure that team was technically more than 11000 points over budget but we don't need to mention that.

(*) Funnily enough, if we had all re-entered our 2022 teams, my team would still have finished comfortably in first since Hugo Koblet is closest with 19064 points in that scenario.

This is a just a bunch of words to say I miss my 2022 team (eventhe picks like Bagioli, Van Wilder and Vermeersch that broke out a year late). It had good riders. Not like my 2023 vintage.
 
Well I ran some calculation too and if I had reentered my 2022 team in 2023 I would have scored 20262 points good for the best score all time (*). Now sure that team was technically more than 11000 points over budget but we don't need to mention that.

(*) Funnily enough, if we had all re-entered our 2022 teams, my team would still have finished comfortably in first since Hugo Koblet is closest with 19064 points in that scenario.

This is a just a bunch of words to say I miss my 2022 team (eventhe picks like Bagioli, Van Wilder and Vermeersch that broke out a year late). It had good riders. Not like my 2023 vintage.
Unless your winning team had tons of old bounce back types (which it didn't), I guess it makes sense that the most improved team in 2022 continued to improve in 2023.

I was gonna say that I don't miss my 2022 team, because even though I left Roglic out this year, I'm somewhat happy with quite a few of my other picks. My main memory from 2022 is cursing the decision to not take Evenepoel and having my most expensive pick (Pidcock) not breaking even and my 3rd most expensive (Moscon) bombing completely. Then I checked the 2022 standings and was reminded that I actually finished 6th! I guess that's what having De Lie as a rare pick does to your team! ;)

As for the team with Roglic that I sent to Hugo, it looked like this (see spoiler). Then, in my somewhat usual fashion, I got too clever and found all sorts of reasons to get rid of a lot of obvious picks that ended up doing well and replaced them with a bunch of expensive has-beens.

Name
Points 2022
Points 2023
Primoz Roglic​
1240​
2744​
Thomas Pidcock​
599​
891​
Caleb Ewan​
576​
542​
Julian Alaphilippe​
489​
618​
Jasper Stuyven​
444​
657​
Jack Haig​
364​
472​
Rohan Dennis​
331​
182​
Andrea Bagioli​
321​
765​
Mikkel Honore​
320​
169​
Mike Teunissen​
292​
541​
Kasper Asgreen​
267​
565​
Cian Uijtdebroeks​
253​
574​
Ilan Van Wilder​
232​
933​
Maximilian Schachmann​
187​
159​
Casper Van Uden​
160​
177​
Lucas Hamilton​
150​
150​
Lennert Van Eetvelt​
139​
437​
Paul Penhoet​
132​
591​
Lenny Martinez​
121​
530​
Romain Gregoire​
108​
784​
Mattia Cattaneo​
101​
383​
Nathan Earle​
95​
157​
Rudy Barbier​
90​
15​
Matteo Malucelli​
82​
130​
Damien Howson​
62​
341​
Gianni Moscon​
61​
68​
Cees Bol​
57​
381​
Alexander Salby​
53​
69​
Ide Schelling​
46​
206​
Matteo Badilatti​
44​
217​
Finn Fisher-Black​
37​
218​
Santiago Umba​
35​
18​
Egan Bernal​
5​
262​
7493​
14946​

Why DID the game founder not participate this year?
He explained why here. Hopefully he'll be back next year. Always fun to have long-time players taking part, especially when they participate in the discussion quite frequently as well.

On that note, it's nice to see @ingsve back again!
 
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Unless your winning team had tons of old bounce back types (which it didn't), I guess it makes sense that the most improved team in 2022 continued to improve in 2023.
Yeah I lean far too much in the direction of picking young up and coming riders versus solid, obvious bounce back veterans. There's nothing wrong with picking young guys of course but there's only so many guys like Grégoire or Martinez in a given year that are basically free money. The deeper you go in the neo pro class the less likely those guys are going to turn out well. At a certain point, it's just hard to hit on enough of those picks to justify passing on the safer older riders (see pretty much all of my teams). But when you hit, you really hit (my 2022 team).

Still you need so many outlier performances and so many guys to stay healthy and productive to win this game that it'sunlikely to hold the following season and it's a bit more complicated than just saying on the whole they are young so they should improve. For every Skjelmose or Vermeersch that makes a huge Year 2 leap, there's a Higuita or a Martinez that comes crashing back to earth.
 
Yeah I lean far too much in the direction of picking young up and coming riders versus solid, obvious bounce back veterans. There's nothing wrong with picking young guys of course but there's only so many guys like Grégoire or Martinez in a given year that are basically free money. The deeper you go in the neo pro class the less likely those guys are going to turn out well. At a certain point, it's just hard to hit on enough of those picks to justify passing on the safer older riders (see pretty much all of my teams). But when you hit, you really hit (my 2022 team).

Still you need so many outlier performances and so many guys to stay healthy and productive to win this game that it'sunlikely to hold the following season and it's a bit more complicated than just saying on the whole they are young so they should improve. For every Skjelmose or Vermeersch that makes a huge Year 2 leap, there's a Higuita or a Martinez that comes crashing back to earth.
Usually it is about picking the cream and knowledge about what U23s races that may be a good indicator. See if they done some pro races as well. Some luck that they are good straight-away. It is not a given, as you mention. Sometimes they breakout in their second or even third year instead.
 
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First of all, a huge thanks to @skidmark for his amazing work continuing the game. It makes me very happy to see! Also thanks to @Squire and @EvansIsTheBest for their great statistics. I love stuff like this. Second of all, congratulations @Blues in the bottle . Great win!

I didn't participate this year because I had a very busy winter (buying a house, exams for my students and a few more real life related things) and I wanted to focus on two other cycling games instead. Knowing myself, I spend way too much time thinking of and nerding these games when I decide to enter, and I didn't want to just send in a "random" team here. From a real life perspective it was probably a good decision, but I surely missed the game, the updates and following my team throughout the year - both the ups and the unevitable downs as well.

I missed it so much that I've decided to participate again next year, and I'm really looking forward to that!

Regarding Quintana, I'm of the opinion that he should be available for his 2023 cost if he wasn't officially suspended (which I don't believe he was, right?). I know he'll probably just be on every single team, but for continuity sake I personally I like to do these kind of things "by the rules", instead of bending the rules - even if that has a non-desirable impact on the game in the case of a single rider. If not, then where do we draw the line? What if he had scored 200 points? 400 points?

Anyway, I hope that skidmark will run the game again next year and then it should be his decision in the end.
 
Still you need so many outlier performances and so many guys to stay healthy and productive to win this game
Either this or you can be opportunistic and win the first year before a lot of people understood the strategies needed to win the game and where a lot of people blanked by picking riders like Riccardo Ricco who got suspended for doping and scored 0. Some people in the first year treated it like other fantasy games where you pick some expensive riders that give good returns but in this game that is a loss because they are likely to just break even while this game is won by riders outperforming their cost.

Speaking of Riccardo Ricco. His 12-year ban is apparently over in 2024 so is it time for a comeback? Francisco Mancebo and Oscar Sevilla need some competition.
 
Either this or you can be opportunistic and win the first year before a lot of people understood the strategies needed to win the game and where a lot of people blanked by picking riders like Riccardo Ricco who got suspended for doping and scored 0. Some people in the first year treated it like other fantasy games where you pick some expensive riders that give good returns but in this game that is a loss because they are likely to just break even while this game is won by riders outperforming their cost.

Speaking of Riccardo Ricco. His 12-year ban is apparently over in 2024 so is it time for a comeback? Francisco Mancebo and Oscar Sevilla need some competition.
His 12 year ban was upgraded to a ban for life in 2020 so we won't see him make a comeback unfortunately. In any case, he's moved on to selling ice cream apparently: https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/riccardo-ricco-handed-lifetime-doping-ban/
 
I've been going through the original CQ manager thread from 2011 just for fun to see what people were saying ahead of the first season of the game. Apparently at some point I had done a prediction of the 2011 score for every rider in the 2010 top 100 ranking. I don't remember ever going back and evaluating those guesses but the google docs sheet for it was still online so I went through it today to see how well my predictions matched.

The idea was that any prediction I got within 10% of the 2011 score would count as a hit. My optimistic guess was that I could get perhaps 20-30% correct.

Going through the results my actual hit rate turned out to be 17%

I made a graph of all the guesses:


The two horizontal lines represents the +10% and -10% lines.

From this it's pretty clear that the more a rider increased or decreased their points the harder it was to guess, though some increases were slightly easier to get right than decreases it appears.
 
That actually makes a lot of sense.
People who picked Bernal for last year's game probably couldn't have predicted he'd suffer such a severe decrease in points.
Also in general if a rider is on an upward trajectory it's easy to guess that they will continue increasing in points but when people lose points it's usually something that happens to them which was unforseen rather than a natural decline.

When I looked through all my guesses it was clear that most of them were rather conservative guesses in that I tended to guess that people would remain roughly around where they were the year before and either shifting them up or down a few hundred points rather than guessing att massive shifts.

Could be fun to try guessing again for next year to see if I can beat my 17% successrate from 2011.
 
No one actually selected Bernal for the 2022 game, which I assume was because he had a pretty good 2021 and was likely to be a risky pick even if the crash hadn't destroyed his season.
Ya, at 1736 points I wouldn't expect anyone serious about the game to pick them. The upside is too small compared to using that budget on other riders who have greater margins of improvement.

When looking through the original thread for the 2011 game that was a hot topic of discussion because several people were adamant that picking riders who costs like 1200-1400 at the time would be a good pick for the game. Mainly Gesink at 1443 and Cavendish at 1241 had many proponents.

It would be interesting to go back and see if any winning team has featured a really expensive pick that ended up giving say a 40% positive return. r even what the most expensive rider a winning team has ever had. I guess Roglic this year is a good bet.
 
I guess Roglic this year is a good bet.
Also Evenepoel last year. But really, the only times riders in that price range are worth it is if they are (expected to be) one of the best in the world in the coming season. With that in mind, IMO taking Cavendish in 2011 is still halfway reasonable even from a 2023 perspective - scored 500 points fewer in 2010 than in 2009 and had the perfect WC route for him in 2011.
 
It would be interesting to go back and see if any winning team has featured a really expensive pick that ended up giving say a 40% positive return. r even what the most expensive rider a winning team has ever had. I guess Roglic this year is a good bet.

As I have all the winning teams in one tab in my statistics spreadsheet, that's an easy exercise for me. :D

Most expensive rider on a winning team was Peter Sagan in 2013. He scored 2673 points for a cost of 1963. Remco last year is the second most expensive, Roglic this year in 3rd, and Contador 2014 in 4th.

As for expensive picks not doing well, there haven't been many of those on winning teams.

Both in 2011 (Boonen for ingsve) and 2012 (Modolo for skidmark) the most expensive rider on the winning team failed to make a profit, but not by a huge margin.

In 2015, Cykeltyven won with Betancur (his 3rd most expensive pick) scoring 149 at a cost of 616, but Bananito hampered a lot of players that year, so it wasn't that relevant.

Ya, at 1736 points I wouldn't expect anyone serious about the game to pick them. The upside is too small compared to using that budget on other riders who have greater margins of improvement.

A couple of years ago there was a discussion about this, and I made some calculations that showed that an expensive rider hardly had to make a profit for you to win the game, provided that the rest of your team was of a 'normal' game-winning quality. You can read it here.

When looking through the original thread for the 2011 game that was a hot topic of discussion because several people were adamant that picking riders who costs like 1200-1400 at the time would be a good pick for the game. Mainly Gesink at 1443 and Cavendish at 1241 had many proponents.

This I actually don't remember, but what I do remember is that there was quite a lot of weird theories making the rounds. One of them, which made absolutely no sense, was that the best strategy was to pick as many riders as possible near the average cost of a rider on your team. A team mostly consisting of riders priced 200-300 was the way to go, according to this theory. I also remember that the perceived 'super picks', i.e. returning dopers, were vastly overrated pre-game. Some people thought that if you didn't have all of Schumacher, Kashechkin, Di Luca etc. you could just give up.
 
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Update #41: Never say Nevs: Weekly win comes at the end of the season


This Week's Top Scorers


RankTeamPoints this week
1Nevs550
2Googolplex505
3triley36434
4laarsland420
4postmanhat420

The season may have been rapidly winding down, with a good chunk of everyone's team done racing for the year, but a few teams had enough juice left from their riders to top 500 points. Winning the week is Nevs, getting their team's first weekly win this season with a strong 550 points. This is largely thanks to Alexey Lutsenko (170 points, 23 teams) for his win in Turkey, and Dorion Godon (130, 4) for his unexpected win in Veneto. Josh Tarling (80, 45) contributes too, capping off an astounding season by winning Chrono des Nations, while Ben Hermans (78, 39) and Tobias Johannessen (78, 20) put Nevs over the top.


Well, knock me down with a feather!
 
A couple of years ago there was a discussion about this, and I made some calculations that showed that an expensive rider hardly had to make a profit for you to win the game, provided that the rest of your team was of a 'normal' game-winning quality. You can read it here.
Interesting analysis. My counter to that theory would be to ask whether that ratio between 7500 and 5672 teams which was based on optimal teams also holds water for a typical team. The optimal team would have all the best cheap picks that went astronomical whereas most typical teams will miss at least some of them bringing the ratio between cheap huge risers and midlevel good picks down in my mind.

The other huge factor is risk management. By picking an expensive rider who will need to perform well you are putting a lot of eggs in one basket. Cavendish in the 2011 ended up as a decent pick giving a 228 point gain while Gesink ended up being a dud losing 570 points. Then again I didn't need 15000 points to win that year.

My gut feeling is still that if people were forced to always have at least one rider who costs over say 1200 each year then that would more often than not turn out to score less than if they were not forced to have an expensive rider. Then again that would skew reality a bit because the debate is only relevant if there is an expensive rider that people think is undervalued which is not always the case.
 
Another thing that was debated in the 2011 thread was the idea of solid riders who had had a bad year vs young developing riders who could have a break out year by greatly increasing their previous best performances. I was mainly focused on finding good bargains who had a proven track record and a hope that they could bounce back to where they once were.

Over the years I think it has become more and more clear that finding the right developing riders who make big strides forward is an even more crucial part of the game. Not the least because many of the obvious picks who had a bad year are easy to find whereas picking the right developing rider can often be much more of a differential in the game.
 
Interesting analysis. My counter to that theory would be to ask whether that ratio between 7500 and 5672 teams which was based on optimal teams also holds water for a typical team. The optimal team would have all the best cheap picks that went astronomical whereas most typical teams will miss at least some of them bringing the ratio between cheap huge risers and midlevel good picks down in my mind.
But this is what I was trying to factor in by scaling the optimal team ratio down to 'if the 7500 team is good enough to double, what is the % return of an equally strong 5672 team' and then seeing what the expensive rider had to make up to reach 15000. By scaling both teams' % return down based on the ratio between the respective optimal teams for both budgets, I factored in the assumption that none of those teams are likely to find all the best picks. There are mid-level picks who also increase massively and who could be missed, so at least in my mind, this calculations holds water. But I'd be interested in hearing a different take. It's a bit hard to understand exactly what you mean here though.

The other huge factor is risk management. By picking an expensive rider who will need to perform well you are putting a lot of eggs in one basket. Cavendish in the 2011 ended up as a decent pick giving a 228 point gain while Gesink ended up being a dud losing 570 points. Then again I didn't need 15000 points to win that year.

My gut feeling is still that if people were forced to always have at least one rider who costs over say 1200 each year then that would more often than not turn out to score less than if they were not forced to have an expensive rider. Then again that would skew reality a bit because the debate is only relevant if there is an expensive rider that people think is undervalued which is not always the case.
What some people have argued (notably skidmark and EitB), and what I tend to somewhat agree with, is that one expensive rider might even be less risky.

If you have two sets of three riders priced as follows:
Set 1: 1500, 50, 50.
Set 2: 600, 500, 500.

And if the 'expected score' for both sets is equal, then for set 2 to be a success, you can't tolerate any of the picks to really bomb. But for set 1, you mainly need the one expensive rider to perform as you expect. If the two cheapos bomb, it's much less of an impact. So it comes down to getting only one expensive rider right vs getting three mid-level ones right at the same time.

Of course, if the expensive rider bombs completely, you're screwed. But how bad that is depends on if you put any value on finishing 30th vs 70th, as that could maybe be the difference between 1/3 mid-level picks boming vs expensive rider bombing. One thing to remember is that expensive riders also often have a good chance of making up points elsewhere in the season if they brake their collarbone or get ill at some point. Maybe they'll add a Vuelta and Italian classics if their Tour bid fails etc.
 
His 12 year ban was upgraded to a ban for life in 2020 so we won't see him make a comeback unfortunately. In any case, he's moved on to selling ice cream apparently: https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/riccardo-ricco-handed-lifetime-doping-ban/
Sinkewitz could theoretically return mid-season, though, but at 370pt he's hardly worth a shot, I guess.

But how would Alarcon be treated, in case of a comeback? Looks like he basically lost all points he ever achieved.
 
Since we are discussing the 2011 teams so much, I'd thought we could look at how those teams would perform in the present, just for laughs.

Rank
Team
Points
1​
3717​
2​
3641​
3​
3474​
4​
3095​
5​
2544​

Scattered thoughts:
- Some of the riders from those teams that still scored a lot in 2023: Caruso, Landa, Kristoff, Thomas, Pinot, Ulissi, Matthews, Herrada.
- Ingsve would be 29th by that measure with only Kristoff, Viviani and Uran still going but that doesn't take anything away from their win since nobody is trying to optimize their team for 12 years down the road.
- As noted in the table a couple teams hold up pretty well but more than half the teams scored less than 1000 points in 2023.
- A single team didn't register a point in 2023 (a few others come awfully close).
- I wonder how many years it would take for every teams to go to zero.
 
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Sinkewitz could theoretically return mid-season, though, but at 370pt he's hardly worth a shot, I guess.

But how would Alarcon be treated, in case of a comeback? Looks like he basically lost all points he ever achieved.
I'd reckon Alarcon would be available at 0 points, as that was what he scored in his last season unaffected by suspension/disqualification (and none of the subsequent seasons are listed with more points). Which says quite a lot about his level without doping! :laughing:
 
Interesting analysis. My counter to that theory would be to ask whether that ratio between 7500 and 5672 teams which was based on optimal teams also holds water for a typical team. The optimal team would have all the best cheap picks that went astronomical whereas most typical teams will miss at least some of them bringing the ratio between cheap huge risers and midlevel good picks down in my mind.

The other huge factor is risk management. By picking an expensive rider who will need to perform well you are putting a lot of eggs in one basket. Cavendish in the 2011 ended up as a decent pick giving a 228 point gain while Gesink ended up being a dud losing 570 points. Then again I didn't need 15000 points to win that year.

My gut feeling is still that if people were forced to always have at least one rider who costs over say 1200 each year then that would more often than not turn out to score less than if they were not forced to have an expensive rider. Then again that would skew reality a bit because the debate is only relevant if there is an expensive rider that people think is undervalued which is not always the case.
If expected value is the same, I think it's rational to be risk seeking in this game. So the more eggs you can fit in one bag, the better.

EDIT: To a point of course, but for all practical purposes I think it holds. Whether you end up 30th or 90th makes much less of a difference than between 5th and 1st.
 
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