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Heine's PCT Preview
This is a teaser to get those last race planners in.

The preview is already written, less in depth than PT as when I was finished with 22 teams there I didn't want to do as much.

I have given each rider an expected point score here as well, then I have ranked the teams according to that and made a small writeup for each.

Not decided on post order yet, so that will come later Smile Might do the same as I do for PT
2Iberia - Team Degenkolb
3Generali - EDF
4Repsol - Netflix
5Team Popo4Ever p/b Nemiroff
6Philips - Continental
7Meiji - JR East
8Indosat Ooredoo - ANZ
9Carlsberg - Danske Bank
10SPAR - Shimano - SCG
12Carrefour - ESPN
14Kulczyk - DMTEX
15Kraftwerk Man Machine
16Fablok - Bank BGZ
18Lierse SK - Pizza Ullo PCTeam
19World Cycling Centre
21Team Reddit
22Nordstrom - BioWare
23Euskaltel - Elior
24Xero Racing p/b Octagon
25Netia - VĂłnin
26Azteca - NBCSN

Edited by Heine on 12-08-2018 07:09

Expected top scorer: Monsalve
Surprise scorer: Rajapakshage
Expected position: 1

I expect Monsalve to be the top scorer, but Yates and McCarthy right behind him and all 3 of them within 100 points. The team that I expect to win it all with 3 good scorers, but also several other guys that should pick up nice points in specially Lander and Carthy. Some nice riders down the ranks as well and Rajapakshage (written it twice now!) with a nice hill stat to combine with his time trial. Kept a pretty good team after relegation from PT and that helps a lot

Azteca - NBCSN

Expected top scorer: Eastman
Surprise scorer: Uhm, Keough?
Expected position: 26

While Eastman, Granjel Cabrera, Chaves, Squire and Keough are nice riders it is simply not enough. Neither of them will score really big and behind them there are few surprise points gathered. Had to select Keough as the surprise scorer as I believe his prl stat will make him score better than the usual 79 sprinter. Unfortunately a likely relegation for a really likeable team, and to be honest I feel the team looks worse than last time they relegated

Carlsberg - Danske Bank

Expected top scorer: Vanspreybrouck
Surprise scorer: Hansen
Expected position: 9

The best cobble squad in the division, last year the best cobble rider scored 945, I don't expect anyone to score as much this year, but Vanspeybrouck should still score alot while fighting against Blythe for the title of best in PCT. I also expect Nolf and the other cobblers to be able to pick up extra points helping him. Juul-Jensen is an awesome rider with a fantastic acc to help his hill stat, and while I don't expect as many points as last year he should still score a good amount. The team is filled out with a lot of riders that can score, specially on the hills and against the clock. Riders like Hansen, stuyven, WĂĽrtz and Christensen should help Carlsberg get a higher position than last season, much against the expectations of BBL.

Carrefour - ESPN

Expected top scorer: Coppel
Surprise scorer: Castroviejo
Expected position: 12

Coppel might be the signing of the season in PCT, awesome rider and clearly the best TT riders. I expect him to be one of the top scorers in the division. Carrefour got some other good riders as well, and has to hope that Lo Cicero, Petit and Vanderbiest can score some good points from sprints, even though they have lower Acc than their best competitors. Might be a good idea to try to avoid the likes of Degenkolb, Cavendish and Ewan? Most of the backups on the team are leadout riders, but I think Palini will be really important and can pick up some points, other riders like Li, Gaudin and Castroviejo will have to score some points for the team to do well this year


Expected top scorer: Bellis
Surprise scorer: Kennaugh
Expected position: 17

First the elephant in the room, Meintjes is a nice rider, but damn is he overpayed. There, then that was over with. There are several good riders on this team, and a really nice TTT-squad that I have most likely undervalued. Bellis is a really good rider and will score points, but he is not the monster he used to be with many other riders surpassing him. Kennaugh is a former Avenir winner (fun fact), but not at the level of many other former winners, still can steal some points. I expect a hard season for CycleYorkshire but I believe they will survive.

Euskatel - Elior

Expected top scorer: Nazaret
Surprise scorer: Le Gac
Expected position: 23

It's pretty simple to see why they will relegate, spent too much money on talents and the leaders left are simply not good enough. Caruse is a nice puncheur, but far behind the best, Cornu is a nice time trialer but with riders like Zmorka and Coppel arriving his value dimishes, Nazaret is a good climber, but not among the very best and Bouhanni/Moser are ok sprinters but not close to the best. In addition Euskatel lack the big extra scorers, VDB are heavily declined and the talents are not good enough yet.

Fablok - Bank BGZ

Expected top scorer: Mohs
Surprise scorer: Polanski
Expected position: 16

Fablok is another team that are built up of several socrers instead of one or two big ones. Mohs, Froome, Ignatiev and Guardini will all score good points this year, while Roche and Polanski (and maybe even Goldstein) are riders that will chip in with good extra points. Still I feel the team lack that little extra to really take the next step. As a side comment I guess the team manager are not looking forward to next off season with Mohs, Froome, Ignatiev and Roche declining…

Generali - EDF

Expected top scorer: Roglic
Surprise scorer: Silva
Expected position: 3

Generali is one of my favorite teams this season, strong riders like Roglic, Ulissi and Theuns together with a lot of depth. One of, if not the strongest TTT train in the division as well. Should be able to score points on all terrains and I expect the puncheurs and time trialists to help with quite a lot of points. One of the strongest and deepest teams in the division. A weakness might be the support for Theuns. In himself he is a great rider with his backup stats, but the support is not that great. The team also lack spritners, but that is most likely a strategical choice that will lead to more breakaway tries.

Iberia - Team Degenkolb

Expected top scorer: Degenkolb (doh!)
Surprise scorer: Latour
Expected position: 2

Another strong relegating team keeping some of the best riders. Degenkolb is the number 1 sprinter in the division and I expect him to score a lot of points. Blythe is one of the two best cobble riders and he got awesome support from Domene, Kosic and Insausti. In addition to this we got Izagirre that might lack acc but makes up for it with a really interesting TT stat. Pierre Latour is a really interesting talent that with his good backup stats could score some good points already this year from breaks and lucky results.

Indosat Ooredoo - ANZ

Expected top scorer: Keizer
Surprise scorer: Russom
Expected position: 8

A team that jumped up and down my rankings as I gave points, it is a really strong squad, but apart from Keizer there are weaknesses in all the leaders (and even Keizer could've used a bit more hill) that made me put them lower than I initially though. I will not be surprised if they end up much higher than where I have set them. Goss is a good sprinter, but lacks a bit of acc. Aziz a good puncheur, but lacks just a bit to be the best. Maes with his awesome flat and cobble stat has always been interesting for me, but I've always felt his lack of sprint, acc and hill has kept him from being among the best. On the other hand the team is deep, a rider like Brenes could surprise. Russom and Augustyn are great riders, might have to help Keizer a lot of the season? There are also several interesting puncheurs that can score extra points during the season. If their leaders overcome their weaknesses the might challenge for the win even.

Kraftwerk Man Machine

Expected top scorer: FlĂĽgel/Cavendish
Surprise scorer: Scheit
Expected position: 15

My PCT crush, and I put them this far down… Shows just how thight I believe the PCT is this year, for this is another team that wont surprise me if they end up much higher. Cavendish and Flügel are great riders, and there are some really good depth behind them, but I can't really see Haller/Willwohl/Schädlich/Mehr-Wenige picking up good points. On the other hand I could see Paulus, Shushemoin and Scheit picking up some extra points. If the riders I maybe underrate turns it around and Flügel and Cavendish does what I beleive they will do Kraftwerk could climb on the table, but all in all I just feel they didn't strenghten enough compared to last season and thus ends up close to last year, maybe even a bit lower. Still love the team though!

Kulczyk - DMTEX

Expected top scorer: Valls
Surprise scorer: Mullen
Expected position: 14

An interesting squad that in my opinion is 1 or 2 top riders away from challenging the best, in this thigh division that puts them square in the middle. Valls and Penasa are great riders, just lacking that tiny bit of main skill to really challenge the best. Baugnies is a good rider, with good support but with Blythe and Vanspeybrouck in the division he will battle for top 3 and not the win. Barbin, Pavarin, Eyob, Venendert is a good hilly squad, but still lacking a bit to be among the best. As an extra note I really like Ryan Mullen, he got a very good stat combo and will score more points than many expect.

Lierse SK - Pizza Ullo PCTeam

Expected top scorer: Vanbilsen/Waeytens
Surprise scorer: Dall'Oste
Expected position: 18

A team that goes all in on talents, and it shows. That also means that while the talents develop they take up a lot of wage cap. Van Asbroeck is a nice sprinter, but way behind the best. Vanbilsen is a nice cobbler, but will fight for top 3 like Baugnies and not for the win in most races. Gaviria is still one season away, even though he should start chipping in some nice points, and while Waeytens is a nice rider he lacks a bit in support stats. I still expect him to score more than last year after his training! There are some good depth, and riders like Dall'Oste, Moscon and Cerny will be important riders for the team. If I undervalue the leaders here they could be in for a much stronger season, just can't see them climbing too much and finishing right around where they ended last season.

Meji - JR East

Expected top scorer: Kinoshita
Surprise scorer: Arashiro
Expected position: 7

A pure asian team with many good riders. Kinoshita is one of the best puncheurs in the division and will be a strong point scorer once again. Choi and Chikai is pretty much the same rider… Both are good climbers, good time trialists, good backup stats EXCEPT for Acc. I expect both to have nice season, but not supergood. Itami is an interesting sprinter who should give Meji some points this year, but he lacks a tiny bit to be elite. Watch out for riders like Hatanaka and Arashiro. Arashiro's flat could give him some really nice results if he goes in breaks


Expected top scorer: Uran
Surprise scorer: Selander
Expected position: 20

Even when adding riders like Zepuntke and Quevedo the Minions team lack some top top leaders. Uran is a great rider but he can't do everything by himself. There are some good depth in the team, and I believe that is what will barely keep them out of relegation spots, and riders like Haga and Selander could get some results over the season. Drapac looks like a nice sprinter at your first sight, but he hides in fear of speed bumps.

Netia - VĂłnin

Expected top scorer: Kwiatkowski
Surprise scorer: Bernas
Expected position: 25

There are 3 riders who can realy score here in Kwiatkowski, Vantomme and Dyrnes, but only Kwiatkovski is a real elite rider in my eyes. There are other nice riders of course, like Hansen, Bernas, Konovalovas and rabottini but it will just not be enough to keep the team afloat. I expect the team to fight for relegation and loose out. But I need to add a disclaimed, the division is tight and with just the right amount of luck they can suddenly find themself safe.

Nordstrom - BioWare

Expected top scorer: Pichon
Surprise scorer: Durasek
Expected position: 22

Another team fighting against relegation, and I see them just missing out on another season in PCT. The main part of the team is a crazy hilly depth and we know from earlier seasons that it could lead to the team scoring much better in PPRD than it looks. Norstrom will have to hope for that this year. De la Cruz is a nice climber, GVK a nice cobbler and Boivin an ok sprinter but everything relies on the hilly squad getting a lot of top 10/15. I believe it wont be enough this year.


Expected top scorer: Holloway
Surprise scorer: Ford
Expected position: 13

Novatek when looking at the team looks really strong with several 80 riders, and there are several of them that are really good. Holloway is a good sprinter, Schreurs is a good puncheur and Duarte is a good climber, they also got a great time trial pair in Sergent and Ford. If everything goes the rigth way Novatek can fight for promotion, but why do I believe they wont make it? 1) There is always someone better, in all terrains. 2) Weaknesses, Duarte lacks hill, Klemme lacks acc, Ford lacks everything except for TT, sergent lack acc etc 3) Depth of the squad, after the leaders I can't find a lot of points in this squad. On the other hand, it is another squad that wouldn't really surprise me if it suddenly found itself promoting, there is a lot of talent here if they can just overcome the weaknesses.

Philips - Continental

Expected top scorer: Henago Montoya
Surprise scorer: Pantano GĂłmez
Expected position: 6

One of the promoting squads and a bit turnover. The 3 leaders (Saber/Henao/Costa) looks really good and should give some good results, then it is just up to the rest of the squad to push the team that tiny bit extra. Some of the riders, like Navaradauskas, Ruijgh, Pantano GĂłmez and J. Costa could do just that and that makes me palce them as one of the potential promotion candidates. On the other hand I expect Te Brake and Krieger to dissapoint, and I am afraid that riders like Per, Mai, Poels, Petrus and Jung just aint good enough to score those tiny extra points to secure a top 5

Repsol - Netflix

Expected top scorer: Kudus
Surprise scorer: Duchesne
Expected position: 4

Newly promoted team, and I expect them to continue the upwards trend and fly straight into PT. A team with good leaders, but even more a team with awesome depth. Kudus is a good climber and stage racer, Roelandts is an ok sprinter and Vanmarcke is a good cobbler, but more importantly they got an awesome hilly squad lead by Bystrom with help from Barrio, Levarlet, Duchesne, Ndayisenga and Sanchez Gil. Should be able to keep a really good PPRD in all hilly races. Also got good support for Kudus in the mountains and even though Taillefour is the only help for Vanmarcke he is a really good helper. All in all a very good squad that I believe will end up right outside the PCT podium.

Spar - Shimano - SCG

Expected top scorer: Guerao
Surprise scorer: Denifl (any point is a surprise…)
Expected position: 10

Spar Shimano is a hard team to predict in my opinion. Finished 10th last season, and does in my opinion not look any weaker, I am just afraid that their big leader in Denifl and Guerao could have much worse seasons than last year, and I am a big Guerao fan (though not Denifl fan…). Bilbao and Brändle are very good additions, and Moazemi, David, Nepom and Jang will all score nice points. There are also several other potential point socrers down the rooster that will give Spar - Shimano - SCG alot of fun this season.

Team Popo4Ever p/b Nemiroff

Expected top scorer: Pluchkin
Surprise scorer: Golovash
Expected position: 5

This is a team based around 1 rider, luckily that rider is the best in the division and one of the best in the game. He should win the PCT individual score award. Then the big question is where the rest of the points should come from. Nepom and Prevar should both be able to score well, and both will have good support from different riders down the squad. Ulanowski could score some points, not based on him being a better sprinter than many, but because he could be well placed after a prologue. All in all I expect Popo4Ever to nab the last sure promotion spot, while Pluchkin wins the individual standings

Team Reddit

Expected top scorer: Lutsenko
Surprise scorer: Smit
Expected position: 21

Reddit got 2 big strenghts, named Lutsenko and Zmorka. After that the weaknesses start… Meyer can score points based of his sprint+prologue stats, and there are some ok puncheurs behind Lutsenko and an ok TTT squad. Except for that Reddit is lacking points, and will find themself fighting against relegation unless Zmorka and Lutsenko do even better than I expect. If they manage to survive I can see the start of a good spine here with many close to maxing riders, but this season will be hard

World Cycling Centre

Expected top scorer: Betancourt
Surprise scorer: Bush
Expected position: 19

Betancourt and Berhane would be awesome as number 2s in a squad, here they are 1a and 1b and even thought they should score good points they will not be among the very best point scorers. Riders like Boily, Ji and Bush will also chip in some points, while I expect Harrison, Casteñeda and Lay to unfortunately be dissapointments for WCC. In general there are also some nice support riders here, but none I can see scoring very much, if any that should be De Luna.

Xero Racing p/b Octagon

Expected top scorer: Velits
Surprise scorer: Bazhkou
Expected position: 24

My first though when I saw where Xero had ended up after everything was counted was that I couldn't really believe it, but this talks alot about how many good teams there are in the division, and that Xero except for Velits lack top scorers, and even Velits got a big weakness with a low acc. Riders like Rowe, Van der Sande, Bennet and Roux will score points, but they will struggle to score enough. And after them I can only see Gilanipoor, Bazhkou and Debesay scoring any points that will matter. Thats much less than most other teams, simply too many riders with minimal scoring potential.

Edited by Heine on 12-08-2018 07:09
A short preview, but now all except Podium Ambition is posted
I wonder who is predicted to finish 11th Pfft

A very nice read, and it is good to get a full preview in one go. Looks like it should be an interesting year of PCT racing.
Nice read indeed. Agreeing with a lot of those predictions.

Probably would rank Carlsberg like 5 lower but still safe from relegation and Generali like 5-10 lower. Sorry Matt but not convinced you can promote. Frown Even though without EBH I think Ulissi is one to profit a lot from this.

Other than that spot on really with my thinking even though I hope Xero somehow getting lucky to stay in as I like the team a lot and actually think Velits in PCT can work well to possibly help them.
Similar for Lierse. A really nice team that can end everywhere from mid table to very last but this position is what I hope for them as well.
Good preview! I agree a lot with seveal teams youve predicted to finish higher/lower than their manager apparently sees them like Carlsberg having decent odds to finish upper table and Minions to be a (surprise) candidate to slip into the relegation battle. Thanks a lot!
A Big Thank You To All MG And ICL Reporters!
And To All Who Organize Something On Daily As Well!

I like how our team comes back more or less the same every season (even slightly better) but we’re always told we’ll finish right at the bottom. Pfft 2nd last this time is a huge step up though! Grin

Very interesting analysis though, personally think Fablok and Xero will be higher and Nemiroff and Repsol will fall a little lower but I can generally see how you got them there.

Thanks for the read! Grin

"What done is, is one." - Benji Naesen
What's this? A PCT preview that doesn't see us relegate?

I think I agree with your prediction. Each year I think it will be my season on the cobbles and each year there's a new 82 rider coming in the league destroying my plans. And Gaviria will be two years sadly. Only thing I don't agree with is my top scorer, that's going to be Van Asbroeck again. Not the highest speed, but his backup stats have given him great results in the past.
Changed my sig, this was getting absurd.
Alright guys, can we just end the season now and use the preview as final rankings? Thanks Smile

Great "first thought"-preview Heine, a lot of the teams I agree with, though I feel like Popo4ever is your shock prediction here (too high). But predictions are there to be bold, so we'll see how it works out Wink
Great preview Heine, but I think you shouldn't allow your dislike for a rider cloud your oppinion on a team. Denifl will rock this season. Pfft
However I agree on Guerao not scoring as much as last season. I doubt he'll win as much. I hope the addition of Brändle and Bilbao, as well as Denifl's additional race days will compensate for that.
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Great work Heine, thoroughly enjoyed your preview and your finally ranking looks similar to my "lazy" prediction so guess I won't be the only one proved wrong at the end of the season Pfft

Have to say I don't like the pressure being placed on my team to win the division though, I'll know who to blame if we don't promote Pfft
This looks about right - really well done Heine!

The write-ups are very clear; I like the format.

Hopefully your prediction pans out, we had to weasel and worm our way into a solid roster this year, and next offseason leaders will be the focus. If you're right, hopefully it will be a boring season of consolidation and going out for the big guns next year.

I have to say, looking at all these teams and some of the top riders around the PCT, it's going to be a tough year.
Thank you for the write up Heine!

Obviously I'd be absolutely ecstatic with 9th place. As you mentioned, I rate my team far lower than that. I think it' interesting you mention my hills and TT depth. Those are parts of my team I kind of glossed over, only make a couple of additions that didn't seem too significant. If they can get some surprise minor points like you say, that would be really awesome.

Overall, awesome read! Smile
RIP Exxon Duke, David Veilleux, Double Feature, and Monster Energy



Thanks for the preview Heine. It is a great read Smile

As far as my team is concerned, I believe the crux of where we end up will depend on how Rui Costa goes this season rather than on higher rated Henao and Saber. I'm mostly sure what I'm going to get from the latter two and just that with Costa failing won't be enough to get us into the top 10. If Costa has a decent season, we'll get close to where you've placed us, maybe a couple of spots lower. Costa needs to have an outstanding season for us to have a chance at promotion. And also, don't underestimate Per on evidence of how his first season went. Sure, he's a division higher now, but he's also better in terms of ability, so I'm hopeful. On the contrary, I'm not as hopeful as you about Ruijgh or Jaoa Costa's contributions. The rest I'd pretty much agree with.
Please Heine, don't get drunk when doing the preview, because then you go and put my team as a promoting team in 4th place :lol: :lol:

I think i lack a 77/78 HIL Kudus to really be a team that is around those places. With that training, from being a Top5 rider in those kind of MON/HIL stage races, he would become the main favourite. That is my plan for 2019 if i stay in PCT, to train Kudus in hills
Manager of [MG] Repsol - Netflix

Thanks for the kind words Heine, great read and good reasoning for the placings. It's pretty tight in PCT this year so a few good results could make a difference, that's what I am telling myself to hope for my goal top 10 finish Smile
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