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Not a PT Preview
baseballlover312
Attention all! I have decided to write previews of each division. But I don't actually have time to write real previews right now. So I'm just gonna look at each team in te DB for 30 seconds and see if I can write a paragraph or something before I get bored or busy. We'll see if I finish it.
 
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baseballlover312
Aegon - Peroni

I have a soft spot for this kind of setup. Leader for every terrain except TT's, and all of them, even secondary leaders, are from focus regions. De Bie remains the top gun, but the addition of Wellens should have them very well covered for GT's as well. I always like to see multiple GC guys on PT teams personally. Groenewegen should be fine, though I worry Van Hooydonck may have dropped in the PT cobbles hierarchy this offseason.

Are they spread too thin because of their focus on breadth? Definitely maybe. I don't really know how PT scoring works so it's questionable why I'm writing anything about the division. Carrying Schädlich and especially Sergent (at 80k) another year seems a bit strange to me because there's no TTT focus here. I guess it was a GC move, but that money may have made more sense going to a secondary sprinter or TTT guys with a little more versatility.

My prediction: Pretty good


Aker - MOT

It's not super common for a promoting team to piece together what Aker have this season. Bringing in Wisniowski is enormous, and so is Mohoric, whose biggest asset is his age at this point. They're very well set up for now and the future. I'm a bit disappointed there was no training for Anderberg, but it seems that Wisniowski took that money and a claim to Anderberg's first born with it.

The depth is mostly taken up by the TTT team, but wow, what a TTT team it is. Almost too good, seeing as they have 9 riders >/=76 TT, and, unless I missed something, only 8 slots for those races. A few of those guys are versatile and will sub out, but even then, it will be interesting to see who their leaders are when the TTT team is needed for more mountainous stage races. Priedler's the best climber, but he's uh, not exactly an asset against the clock. The SKA addition is probably the biggest cause for celebration though. Not many guys who can outperform their OVL quite like Kragh.

My Prediction: Quite well


cycleYorkshire

Some big dealing sees Lacklan Morton join the team, so a nice big GC threat. Summerhill will still be a force too, though he's not much of a long term option and he won't have any support in the second half of races. Beyond that, Carthy is a good secondary leader, but not sure he'll do much in PT. I really like Fraile and Oliveira though, the latter being a major young building block. Same for Cullaigh I guess. Sprinters can be random, but he's on a very good wage right now.

On the other hand, some questionable choices further down the line in my opinion. For instance, is Jacob Hennessy a DS's nephew or something? He somehow ventured out of the local crits and ended up riding in the PT. I love a good flat beast too, but a guy like Atkins is questionable for that role since he is a powerhouse for about 6 seconds before cracking. All in all, the bottom half of the squad seems a little spotty to me, outside of the talents. If only Pidcock had 200 race days.

My prediction: Alright I guess


De Stijl Cycling

Today I learned this team is British. Huh. Adam Yates is at the head, so that tracks, and he's backed up by Louis Meintjes again. I was surprised to see them together on jph's team again. Not just because they're almost the exact same rider, but because they have reached the geriatric torment that is their 30's. Luckily they're the only ones, so it's not time to hit the panic button quite yet. In any case, they're back.

In fact, that's kind of the theme for De Stijl. This team looks the same as last year. Which I guess isn't a bad thing since they survived for once. But I can see things going wrong. Kemboi is awesome, but it's not difficult to see him falling off that pace in a sprint lottery. Cataford is still 29 and a great rider for a lot of interesting TT races, but he's a slight downgrade from Paillot. Wage and age are always factors, and they rhyme, but they don't give you bonus points to avoid relegation. As always though, the money saved is spent wisely in the depth department. Still a lot of talents finishing maturing down there, but most are already useful.

My prediction: Not so great


Duolingo

I respect the hustle of a good tax evasion scheme, but I fear Duolingo may be evading point scoring opportunities a little too much as well. It really all comes down to the investment in Debesay. I love the guy. Perfect leader for this era. But getting him for 900k from free agency as a promoter in this market took an effort that I'm not sure can ever be worth it given his age. His teammates may like how he orders them frequent steak dinners and fancy cocktails, but come renewals, they might find they would rather remain in PT next season.

Not to say there isn't any hope here. Eastman's somehow still only 30 and can be a good scorer. And Bobridge isn't among the best puncheurs anymore, but he can still do really well if he exploits his niche. Plus, the TTT communication never fails since riders are required to speak 30 languages interchangeably. But I worry there's just too much missing from both top leadership and depth to get them to stick it at this level.

My prediction: Better dig deep


EA Vesuvio

It really is something that Vesuvio can lose so much Luxembourgish talent in the Schlecks and Gausteur, and then poof, Tom Wirtgen is here now to end everyone's hopes and dreams. I'm very itnerested to see what his calendar looks like to maximize his skillset, but if it works out, he should be a top 5 scorer in the division and certainly a point/wage king.

Definitely not the strongest Vesuvio squad ever behind him though. Godoy is young and awesome, but still not a top PT guy. Valter is a future star but still developing. Van der Lijke will be fine, but he skillset is still not perfectly utilized in this engine. This is also yet another team to heavily invest in TTT's. That will likely be very important for Wirtgen, so it makes sense, but it's a lot of roster spots for one thing. With no puncheur or cobbles leader, they'll need their young guns to really prove their worth.

My prediction: Probably okay


ELCO - ABEA

The teardown of Festina has certainly been successful, although it's not entirely complete. Bryan Coquard sticks around for another season after all, though he better have learned some Greek by now if he wants to be able to communicate with his hotel roommates. Behind him and Koretzky, who also feels a little disoriented, ELCO's mostly an army of Greeks and Cypriots, which seemed unfathomable for a PT team some years ago. The investment in these talents has paid off, though it took Sotd spending the equivalent of Greece's entire GDP in training money to make it happen.

The upshot is that this ends up being more of a transitory year than a truly full rebuild since their two biggest point scorers remain French, but such a process was the smart one. Coquard is Coquard, and Koretzky has one more season before decline to show he wasn't a fluke last year. Farantakis, Vlatos, and the army of secondary stage racers should then be enough to ensure survival and develop the Greek aspect further next offseason. Not many teams could lose Lecuisinier, not replace him, and still survive. But when you got it, you got it.

My prediction: Very fun


Evonik - ELKO

This is not your grandpa's Evonik. The days of Van Stayen, GVA, and Skujins spitting at the very notion of a stage racer are over. What is left is startlingly becoming almost the exact opposite of their old archetype. You all know about Miguel Angel Lopez, the young hybrid turned best puncheur in the world, but now you have Pierri-Henri Lecuisinier, maybe the best stage racer in the world who somehow got better this year and is still in his 20's. No team with those guys can ever not be amaziing. Unless they put Lopez in Paris-Tours and PHL in Ronde, they will do just fine.

But the team isn't entirely empty behind those two anyway. Polanc is probably farther down the PT cobbles hierarchy than last year, but his versatility is still something of envy. And the Latvian contingent remains in place and in line for decent secondary scoring. The only vestige remaining of the old Evonik is the lack of time trialiing ability. Pretty terrible for a TTT setup, so PHL will look to avoid those. Looking it over, a young, cheap, Latvian time trialist would probably fill that hole pretty well. But alas, any owner of such a rider would undoubtedly value them very, very highly, making such an acquisition improbable.

My prediction: Lopez and Lecuisinier


Gazelle

It was a major shuffle in terms of exact personnel for Gazelle, but I think the outlook is probably quite similar to last year. Dombrowski will be a GT contender, but probably not a GT winner. I think Lutsenko is the biggest scorer though. Those two will carry the team, but behind them it's a setup of depth. Gazelle doesn't carry any true PT secondary leaders, but instead makes every roster spot count with useful riders. There are an insane amount of riders making between 85k-130k wages. PT scoring goes deeper, so I guess that's a good strategy.

Unlike their antelope namesakes, Gazelle shouldn't be endangered at all this year. I don't think they'll be near the top either though. They're very reliant on their two biggest leaders, and those leaders are great, but they're not "carry a team to the title themselves" great. Nevertheless, with some good scoring by Teunissen and planning that capitalizes on depth guys like Magic Malecki (TM), they're at least top half, I guess. I haven't even looked at like 15 teams though so not sure I should claim that.

My prediction: Should be content


Grieg-Maersk

I love this team's philosophy too much to make an objective assessment of them, but I'm going to try. Mads Pederson may as well be God. I worship him, and even if he finished 100th in Roubaix next year, I'd think it was somehow my fault as a fan rather than his own folly. The training to him and Wurtz is really awesome. I wish they decided to lead a PCT Danish team instead, but they are great guys to build around, and quite unique. Not many Cob/TT powerhouses out there. Grieg does it year after year.

That said, again, trying to be objective, I think Grieg probably got worse this offseason. I'm fully on board with the training choices for their long term project, but in terms of immediate scoring, I don't think they will make up for the loss of Wisniowski considering how effective the cobbles squad was last year. Additionally, I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of the Paret-Peintre and Van der Poel signings. Paret-Peintre at 450k is really tough. He's young and it will drop over time, but since he's an unlikely training project, it's still tough. And I love versatile guys like VDP for domestique roles, but I don't think he's good enough in anything specifically to score close to his near 300k salary. Again, both young and logn term investments, but not ideal imo.

My prediction: Really cool, but eh...


Huski Chocolate

There's no way around it really. The signing of Evenpoel made this team worse short term. It's an enormous chunk of wage for a guy who's not racing with Huski this year. And I have no doubt it will pay off in the end, cause it's Remco. If he led an expedition to Mars in 2026, I would be suprised he hadn't aimed to Jupiter. But for the time being, they're looking at a performance decline due to the cost cutting measures.

Gerts is really awesome, even better than last year, and I expect huge things from him. However, I would have liked to see him get a superdomestique who's also decent on hills since those are the races he really needs to win. Formolo is a really cool rider who should excel in his niche if planned well, though he won't replace Dombro's scoring. Grosu should be as good as usual. Not much depth scoring opportunities though. When I started this writeup 10 minutes ago, I didn't think Huski were in relegation danger, but now I'm starting to think they are. And that's not amazing for the Evenepoel situation. Potentially very costly sacrifices there.

My prediction: Fingers crossed


ISA - Hexacta

We should all know better than to question Scorchio's grand plans at this point. ISA often have unconventional setups, but extremely high levels of success. That's certainly more true than ever this year. Having both Ewan and Degenkolb on board is interesting to say the least. It could end up being spectacular or catastrophic, but I lean towards the former only because I'm pretty sure ISA wouldn't have done it if it could be the latter. Things will work out, even if it's something I wouldn't have done or even considered or even imagined.

Very similar roster besides the addition of Ewan and Bongiorno (who should do similar enough to Berhane), so we should expect similar scoring there. Vakoc may suffer from some puncheurs returning to PT, but not much I think. The insane depth and large roster size continue to be the philosophy at ISA, and again, why should I question something that continues to work. There will be quite a few declines this coming offseason that will lead to some more significant reshuffling I think. But for now, there shouldn't be any problems.

My prediction: Trusting this process


Isostar - Specialized

Isostar had a classic problem in front of them this offseason- too much success. They'd already reshuffled their entire core last offseason for a new challenge, but that didn't work. They still destroyed the top division. It was just too easy. Well, this time, their riders tried to help fix this issue themselves. You see, it turns out when riders perform better than expected, they like that to be reflected in their wages going forward. This is a perdicament when every rider you've ever had is planned to optimal efficiency. In a salary cap world, it will eventually catch up to you. The result for Isostar was the loss of Lutsenko without the ability to replace him completely.

And yet, Isostar will carry on. Phinney and Gaviria remain absolute tanks at the top of their disciplines who could be the only two riders on the team and still bring home a top 10 in the rankings. The biggest change behind them is that David Per gets some massive training to get to 81 cobble. That's a phenomenal investment for a 27 year old rider with top tier versatility. Geoghegan Hart looks to be a sneaky great scorer as well, but let's be honest. Every secondary leader or domestique on Isostar will be a sneaky great scorer. The master exists above the commoner's concerns about clashes and GT leadership. He is a transcendent force of point scoring.

My prediction: Continued omnipresence


King Power

In this era, it's hard to stay competitive and stay young, but King Power are full of youth without much compromise. Gidich, Kasperkiewicz, Sosa, Hsu - all leaders, all 28 or under. Gidich gets the training, and he is the perfect puncheur for this engine in my opinion. He should replace Mohoric's scoring, though of course not the scoring of both of them. Kasper is one of my favorite riders overall. He may have never quite learned what a finish line is or what to do when you see it, but it's very rarely a problem for him.

King Power are missing a true GC leader, but despite the efforts to sell Roglic failing, he'll still be a decent guy to mop up minor placings there. I love Mano as well as an underrated scorer - and another guy who's just 25. Hilly TT guys went for insane wages in FA, so he'll be an amazing value. Good role players all around too. I will say that I'm not extremely high on Sosa at the PT level yet, but if he's trained on mountains or hills in the future, he'll be an absolute beast. King Power have set themselves up very well for the next half decade.

My prediction: Rock solid


Los Pollos Hermanos

While I do question the nationality focuses a bit (I don't see anyone from Albuquerque???), Los Pollos Hermanos have certainly won over the hearts of MG fans the last couple of years. After impressive back-to-back promotions, the team philosophy from last year doesn't seem to have changed this time around either. Go fast against clock. Zmorkaberg continues to be the face of that movement, but he's joined by other lone wolves such as Sütterlin and Keizer this time around. And they are truly lone wolves, because despite the ITT domination ahead, the chicken brothers apparently did not see value in having too many low level dealers involved for TTT operations.

On other terrains, Nemolito has assembled capable, but perhaps not amazing PT leaders. Manninen has been tremendous for years now, so I wouldn't expect him to fall off despite his lack of top top speed. But Kelderman is a question mark I think. He's perfectly fine as your leader, but there's no way around it - he's a 96% purity kind of guy, and there are 99% purity puncheurs in PT this year. Zepuntke is the wildcard. He has so much potential, but it's always the intangibles and carelessness that get him into trouble. There's equal chances he could take the next step or be off(ed) come next season. Bottomline, Los Pollos have made it to the top, but it will be tough to compete with the muscle and manpower of the top cartels in cycling.

My prediction: Breaking PCT


MOL Cycling Team

It seems like MOL tend to get underrated by the "experts," so I'm not gonna make that mistake. This GC lineup is really great. Tenorio remains a GT win threat even after decline, and he will score mightily. But having Galta as a secondary leader to cover other stage races really rounds out the roster and seems like a great idea in the "PT so forced to ride GT's" landscape. Add onto that Inkelaar, who is one dimensional but a surefire white jersey threat anywhere he goes, and a lot of domestiques, including McNulty on loan, and this is a mountain machine.

The talent continues with Kwiatkowski, a huge factor in Aker's promotion last year. I don't think he'll be quite as great as he was in PT, but his mountain makes him a perfect hybrid, and he shouldn't have too many bad days. Then there's Theuns, who remains an amazingly versatile cobbles leader that I envy a whole lot. I'd like to see him get more support, but only so many roster spots to go around. And finally, MOL carry a few sprinters that won't be top dogs but should see their chances. I like that strategy in PT. Some of the domestiques are pretty one dimensional, but besides that, I really like how jaxika crafted this team.

My prediction: Up up up


Moser - Sygic

Well, the 80 main stat stockpile is surely going well for Moser. It may have taken some retirement home abductions some versatility, uh, compromises, but Moser somehow has a wopping 9 riders with an 80 main stat now. That should be enough for the 10 gold pack collection reward. Unfortunately, aestetically pleasing main stats don't matter on the road. I mean, they do, but for RP reasons I'll say they don't.

The good news is that their leaders aren't phonies. Kudus would be a generational talent if not for Herklotz, but he'll still get his chances to dominate if the planning lines up, and Hirt should easily be the best secondary GC guy this year, based me being too lazy to check the DB for anyone else. Sagan's reaching the end of his road at a top gun this year, but luckily he has Ponzi too back him up, who should have fallen off the road by now but is still chugging along. It will be interesting to see Appo and Swift as the sprinters this year too. They still have good enough speed for a sprint lottery, but combined they'll last about -10 seconds in the wind. The biggest flaw here is that the team still misses Sam Bewley. Tough to see the cobbles squad well, not exist.

My prediction: Perfectly satisfactory


Polar

Looking at 2022 Polar, I can't help but notice that I've already seen this team. What did it used to be called? 2021 Polar? I can't remember. Anyway, Polar promoted last year and have kept the core largely intact. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Bernal maxed out and has already started wearing white jerseys around the neighborhood to establish the look. He's set to be a force over the next decade, especially with those backups, though I worry he's still a couple of years of training and declines away from being a legit PT stud. He should continue to balance well with Latour, who's more of a pure climber with an awesome kick, but both of them will be fighting for GT top 5's at best.

The big addition was Altur, and I'm not sure I feel great about that for 600k. I really like the guy on paper, and he's still only 29, but if he couldn't perform in a lean PCT last year, I'm not sure he'll do it in a stacked PT now. Behind him, it's all TT guys. That's been a part of Polar's identity before, but Mullen is now finally vying to a be a top 5 TT guy in the world after training, so that helps. I think Polar need him to be that guy if they want to survive. Izagirre should still score too if he works his calendar right, though I think his decline will hurt more than the stat amounts let on. At least Polar will have plenty of road captains with guys like Fielder, Baugnies, and about 75 other geriatrics getting a last ride.

My prediction: Hope for the best


Team Puma - SAP

Yet another team that has jumped full on board with the TTT craze. Unfortunately, with how hard a few teams went this offseason, I don't think Puma quite makes it to that top echelon despite their efforts. Nevertheless, Ganna should be an awesome TT leader both this year and going forward. It will be interesting to see how his prologue stat helps him comparatively, but it at least makes him a prime training candidate. I really love Cavagna too. Great TTT guy. but also somone you can plug anywhere on a great wage.

Other than that, Puma is top heavy. But the top is Silvio Herklotz, so... The dude is still 28, so not much to worry about for a while. I would have expected a superdomestique or secondary climber somewhere, but I'm sure he'll be fine without it. Then there's Demare, the Puma stalwart, who should continue to do his thing. Not as well as in the days of the old engine, but more than well enough. There's no way around it, the leadership depth is very lacking at Puma. No pure puncheur (though Demare and Herklotz can), no cobbles leader, and no secondary leaders on any terrain. And yet, while that team structure may make some of the calendar quite boring for Puma fans, they won't be hurting for points.

My prediction: Herklotz is love, Herklotz is life.


Team UBS

I really admire the committment to keeping UBS a Swiss (and Swiss adjascent) project. It can't be easy with several other teams now having a Swiss focus too. Howeverm the two new leaders this year, both signed as FA's after Mapei's disband, are not Swiss, and they came at a cost. Buchmann was the big story. UBS needed a PT puncheur and they put out an extremely substantial offer early in transfers of 850k to get their guy. Unsurprisingly, Buchmann obliged and within one hour was seen purchasing his first private island. Then it was Barguil's turn to get the bag - a mere 700k for the lowly pauper.

Unfortunately, I think this strategy, while admirable, will backfire. Buchmann is being paid like he's "the guy," but in this competition I just don't see him performing up to that role. Barguil is a good guy to split GC duties with Schelling, but he's not a top leader on his terrain. I also love how much the team has invested in Spengler over the years. But while I'm hopeful he'll emerge in the top echelon of cobblers, I'm still not optimistic with his climbing faults. Dillier should be a good secondary scorer still, but at this point I don't have faith in any TTT sqad because there are too many around to split points with each other throughout the year. I think we may see this core do very well in PCT again.

My prediction: Not quite enough


Tinkoff - La Datcha Team

I'm kind of surprised at Tinkoff this year. There have been some tough declines and retirements in recent years, and I'm not sure they've been properly recouped. In the first place, they will need to hope Tom Skujins has a bounceback campaign. He wasn't enough to keep a PCT team with a better GC guy from relegation last year, so that's not a given. Sivakov will be in that top GC tier in a few years, but for now he's a significant downgrade from 2021 Kritskiy. Speaking of the latter, the efforts to resign him deep into free agency clearly left the team in a suboptimal position.

For Tinkoff to stay afloat, they mostly need Senechal and Kamyshev to step up as formidable cobbles leaders. They will have to prove that last year's disppointments were a fluke and not the new normal. They also need Samolenkov to at least earn his wage if not overperform when possible. They have yet another TTT team - a little more top heavy than most, so maybe they'll have success there, but I still don't trust it given the competition. Vlasov should score good minor placings, and the domestiques tend to have cool energy stats, but I think there's no getting around that this team is weakened compared to previous iterations, and vulnerable to relegation.

My prediction: Falling off the pace


Zwift Pro Cycling

The good news for all the above teams is that there are only four relegation spots up for grabs this year, as one has already been claimed. That's not a knock on Mresuperstar's management at all. He has a vision, and he's seeing it through. It just involves relegating. The astronomical FA price for Girmay basically ensured it. We saw with Evenepoel and Huski that signing a big talent requires sacrifice, but the Eritrean's price was even higher and Zwift was already barely above the relegation line last season. The financial difficulties of the signing and loan requirements have left Zwift with only a single legitimate PT leader and perhaps 3 legitimate scoring threats. It's not a recipe for immediate success.

But let's focus on the positives for a second because this is a long term vision. Firstly, Yates is still insanely fun to watch and will be an awesome leader this year. He'll be an even cooler leader or a valuable sale in PCT next year. I love Powless as well. Only 26, American, and perfect for a certain type of stage race - happy he's in PT this year. Girmay is obviously set to be a legend of the sport, and he gets to ride for Carlsberg this year, which is quite an honor. But there's other young talent to be excited for here too. For example, Bram Welten has a really cool skillset, and Jorgenson is going to be an awesome home nation stage race leader. The future is bright, but there will be storms in the meantime.

My prediction: Grupetto vibes
Edited by baseballlover312 on 26-09-2022 14:34
 
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Aegon - Peroni

I have a soft spot for this kind of setup. Leader for every terrain except TT's, and all of them, even secondary leaders, are from focus regions. De Bie remains the top gun, but the addition of Wellens should have them very well covered for GT's as well. I always like to see multiple GC guys on PT teams personally. Groenewegen should be fine, though I worry Van Hooydonck may have dropped in the PT cobbles hierarchy this offseason.

Are they spread too thin because of their focus on breadth? Definitely maybe. I don't really know how PT scoring works so it's questionable why I'm writing anything about the division. Carrying Schädlich and especially Sergent (at 80k) another year seems a bit strange to me because there's no TTT focus here. I guess it was a GC move, but that money may have made more sense going to a secondary sprinter or TTT guys with a little more versatility.

My prediction: Pretty good

Aker - MOT

It's not super common for a promoting team to piece together what Aker have this season. Bringing in Wisniowski is enormous, and so is Mohoric, whose biggest asset is his age at this point. They're very well set up for now and the future. I'm a bit disappointed there was no training for Anderberg, but it seems that Wisniowski took that money and a claim to Anderberg's first born with it.

The depth is mostly taken up by the TTT team, but wow, what a TTT team it is. Almost too good, seeing as they have 9 riders >/=76 TT, and, unless I missed something, only 8 slots for those races. A few of those guys are versatile and will sub out, but even then, it will be interesting to see who their leaders are when the TTT team is needed for more mountainous stage races. Priedler's the best climber, but he's uh, not exactly an asset against the clock. The SKA addition is probably the biggest cause for celebration though. Not many guys who can outperform their OVL quite like Kragh.

My Prediction: Quite well

cycleYorkshire

Some big dealing sees Lacklan Morton join the team, so a nice big GC threat. Summerhill will still be a force too, though he's not much of a long term option and he won't have any support in the second half of races. Beyond that, Carthy is a good secondary leader, but not sure he'll do much in PT. I really like Fraile and Oliveira though, the latter being a major young building block. Same for Cullaigh I guess. Sprinters can be random, but he's on a very good wage right now.

On the other hand, some questionable choices further down the line in my opinion. For instance, is Jacob Hennessy a DS's nephew or something? He somehow ventured out of the local crits and ended up riding in the PT. I love a good flat beast too, but a guy like Atkins is questionable for that role since he is a powerhouse for about 6 seconds before cracking. All in all, the bottom half of the squad seems a little spotty to me, outside of the talents. If only Pidcock had 200 race days.

My prediction: Alright I guess


De Stijl Cycling

Today I learned this team is British. Huh. Adam Yates is at the head, so that tracks, and he's backed up by Louis Meintjes again. I was surprised to see them together on jph's team again. Not just because they're almost the exact same rider, but because they have reached the geriatric torment that is their 30's. Luckily they're the only ones, so it's not time to hit the panic button quite yet. In any case, they're back.

In fact, that's kind of the theme for De Stijl. This team looks the same as last year. Which I guess isn't a bad thing since they survived for once. But I can see things going wrong. Kemboi is awesome, but it's not difficult to see him falling off that pace in a sprint lottery. Cataford is still 29 and a great rider for a lot of interesting TT races, but he's a slight downgrade from Paillot. Wage and age are always factors, and they rhyme, but they don't give you bonus points to avoid relegation. As always though, the money saved is spent wisely in the depth department. Still a lot of talents finishing maturing down there, but most are already useful.

My prediction: Not so great


Duolingo

I respect the hustle of a good tax evasion scheme, but I fear Duolingo may be evading point scoring opportunities a little too much as well. It really all comes down to the investment in Debesay. I love the guy. Perfect leader for this era. But getting him for 900k from free agency as a promoter in this market took an effort that I'm not sure can ever be worth it given his age. His teammates may like how he orders them frequent steak dinners and fancy cocktails, but come renewals, they might find they would rather remain in PT next season.

Not to say there isn't any hope here. Eastman's somehow still only 30 and can be a good scorer. And Bobridge isn't among the best puncheurs anymore, but he can still do really well if he exploits his niche. Plus, the TTT communication never fails since riders are required to speak 30 languages interchangeably. But I worry there's just too much missing from both top leadership and depth to get them to stick it at this level.

My prediction: Better dig deep


EA Vesuvio

It really is something that Vesuvio can lose so much Luxembourgish talent in the Schlecks and Gausteur, and then poof, Tom Wirtgen is here now to end everyone's hopes and dreams. I'm very itnerested to see what his calendar looks like to maximize his skillset, but if it works out, he should be a top 5 scorer in the division and certainly a point/wage king.

Definitely not the strongest Vesuvio squad ever behind him though. Godoy is young and awesome, but still not a top PT guy. Valter is a future star but still developing. Van der Lijke will be fine, but he skillset is still not perfectly utilized in this engine. This is also yet another team to heavily invest in TTT's. That will likely be very important for Wirtgen, so it makes sense, but it's a lot of roster spots for one thing. With no puncheur or cobbles leader, they'll need their young guns to really prove their worth.

My prediction: Probably okay
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ember
Very nice initiative, bbl!

Must say I enjoy your style as well, writing your first thoughts (I assume) on each team, but also in a funny way.

You're on point for Aker - MOT, I'd say. Nine TT riders due to a couple of them also having other races to do (especially Anderberg and Foss), assuring we've got a useful TTT team whereever there is a stage with it. The plan pre-transfers was indeed to train Anderberg to 80 cobbles, but with Wisniowski available, and then also Mohoric, I figured I had to let Anderberg's training go. For Mohoric, he'll have very few good race days, but thought it was a risk worth taking, as we should be able to make our race calendar more suited to him next season, and still survive this season.

For the mountain depth, you're very right. Preidler and Amezawa will be left to do stuff on their own. Hoping none of them rides GTs as GC riders, but more like stage hunters.

Looking forward to see what you've got in store for the teams to come!
 
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knockout
Short but very enterrtaining to read. I like it Smile
A Big Thank You To All MG Reporters!

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Croatia14
Enjoying the short reads!
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Gustavovskiy
We'll see. We're definitely not the best at staying in PT, but if thing go to plan we have enough niches to stay atop. Leaders for every terrain plus one of the best in TT/HIL. We'll see.

Anyway thanks for the preview!
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DubbelDekker
Short but sweet. Keep 'm coming
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roturn
Feels really weird to read a team preview without the name Olivier, who was one of the top scorers for me for years now.

Other than that though pretty accurate on my team. See it pretty similar with Van Hooydonck in especially. Had loved to train him but it was hardly possible this year without selling a big name.
 
baseballlover312
Thanks for the comments and feedback guys! I want to reiterate that I'm not an expert and I'm putting very little effort into these. So if my take on your team seems bizarre or inaccurate, it probably is. Pfft

roturn wrote:
Feels really weird to read a team preview without the name Olivier, who was one of the top scorers for me for years now.


I wasn't forgetting about Olivier, but you're right that I should have named him. He was who I was thinking about in saying that thr Wellens addition would leave you "very well covered for GT's," since you now have two worthy climbers.
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baseballlover312
ELCO - ABEA

The teardown of Festina has certainly been successful, although it's not entirely complete. Bryan Coquard sticks around for another season after all, though he better have learned some Greek by now if he wants to be able to communicate with his hotel roommates. Behind him and Koretzky, who also feels a little disoriented, ELCO's mostly an army of Greeks and Cypriots, which seemed unfathomable for a PT team some years ago. The investment in these talents has paid off, though it took Sotd spending the equivalent of Greece's entire GDP in training money to make it happen.

The upshot is that this ends up being more of a transitory year than a truly full rebuild since their two biggest point scorers remain French, but such a process was the smart one. Coquard is Coquard, and Koretzky has one more season before decline to show he wasn't a fluke last year. Farantakis, Vlatos, and the army of secondary stage racers should then be enough to ensure survival and develop the Greek aspect further next offseason. Not many teams could lose Lecuisinier, not replace him, and still survive. But when you got it, you got it.

My prediction: Very fun

Evonik - ELKO

This is not your grandpa's Evonik. The days of Van Stayen, GVA, and Skujins spitting at the very notion of a stage racer are over. What is left is startlingly becoming almost the exact opposite of their old archetype. You all know about Miguel Angel Lopez, the young hybrid turned best puncheur in the world, but now you have Pierri-Henri Lecuisinier, maybe the best stage racer in the world who somehow got better this year and is still in his 20's. No team with those guys can ever not be amaziing. Unless they put Lopez in Paris-Tours and PHL in Ronde, they will do just fine.

But the team isn't entirely empty behind those two anyway. Polanc is probably farther down the PT cobbles hierarchy than last year, but his versatility is still something of envy. And the Latvian contingent remains in place and in line for decent secondary scoring. The only vestige remaining of the old Evonik is the lack of time trialiing ability. Pretty terrible for a TTT setup, so PHL will look to avoid those. Looking it over, a young, cheap, Latvian time trialist would probably fill that hole pretty well. But alas, any owner of such a rider would undoubtedly value them very, very highly, making such an acquisition improbable.

My prediction: Lopez and Lecuisinier

Gazelle

It was a major shuffle in terms of exact personnel for Gazelle, but I think the outlook is probably quite similar to last year. Dombrowski will be a GT contender, but probably not a GT winner. I think Lutsenko is the biggest scorer though. Those two will carry the team, but behind them it's a setup of depth. Gazelle doesn't carry any true PT secondary leaders, but instead makes every roster spot count with useful riders. There are an insane amount of riders making between 85k-130k wages. PT scoring goes deeper, so I guess that's a good strategy.

Unlike their antelope namesakes, Gazelle shouldn't be endangered at all this year. I don't think they'll be near the top either though. They're very reliant on their two biggest leaders, and those leaders are great, but they're not "carry a team to the title themselves" great. Nevertheless, with some good scoring by Teunissen and planning that capitalizes on depth guys like Magic Malecki (TM), they're at least top half, I guess. I haven't even looked at like 15 teams though so not sure I should claim that.

My prediction: Should be content

Grieg-Maersk

I love this team's philosophy too much to make an objective assessment of them, but I'm going to try. Mads Pederson may as well be God. I worship him, and even if he finished 100th in Roubaix next year, I'd think it was somehow my fault as a fan rather than his own folly. The training to him and Wurtz is really awesome. I wish they decided to lead a PCT Danish team instead, but they are great guys to build around, and quite unique. Not many Cob/TT powerhouses out there. Grieg does it year after year.

That said, again, trying to be objective, I think Grieg probably got worse this offseason. I'm fully on board with the training choices for their long term project, but in terms of immediate scoring, I don't think they will make up for the loss of Wisniowski considering how effective the cobbles squad was last year. Additionally, I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of the Paret-Peintre and Van der Poel signings. Paret-Peintre at 450k is really tough. He's young and it will drop over time, but since he's an unlikely training project, it's still tough. And I love versatile guys like VDP for domestique roles, but I don't think he's good enough in anything specifically to score close to his near 300k salary. Again, both young and logn term investments, but not ideal imo.

My prediction: Really cool, but eh...

Huski Chocolate

There's no way around it really. The signing of Evenpoel made this team worse short term. It's an enormous chunk of wage for a guy who's not racing with Huski this year. And I have no doubt it will pay off in the end, cause it's Remco. If he led an expedition to Mars in 2026, I would be suprised he hadn't aimed to Jupiter. But for the time being, they're looking at a performance decline due to the cost cutting measures.

Gerts is really awesome, even better than last year, and I expect huge things from him. However, I would have liked to see him get a superdomestique who's also decent on hills since those are the races he really needs to win. Formolo is a really cool rider who should excel in his niche if planned well, though he won't replace Dombro's scoring. Grosu should be as good as usual. Not much depth scoring opportunities though. When I started this writeup 10 minutes ago, I didn't think Huski were in relegation danger, but now I'm starting to think they are. And that's not amazing for the Evenepoel situation. Potentially very costly sacrifices there.

My prediction: Fingers crossed

ISA - Hexacta

We should all know better than to question Scorchio's grand plans at this point. ISA often have unconventional setups, but extremely high levels of success. That's certainly more true than ever this year. Having both Ewan and Degenkolb on board is interesting to say the least. It could end up being spectacular or catastrophic, but I lean towards the former only because I'm pretty sure ISA wouldn't have done it if it could be the latter. Things will work out, even if it's something I wouldn't have done or even considered or even imagined.

Very similar roster besides the addition of Ewan and Bongiorno (who should do similar enough to Berhane), so we should expect similar scoring there. Vakoc may suffer from some puncheurs returning to PT, but not much I think. The insane depth and large roster size continue to be the philosophy at ISA, and again, why should I question something that continues to work. There will be quite a few declines this coming offseason that will lead to some more significant reshuffling I think. But for now, there shouldn't be any problems.

My prediction: Trusting this process
 
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alexkr00
Thanks for the writeups!

We are definitely weaker than last year and while we won't be far from the relegation line, I don't see being in danger of finishing under it with 3 very reliable top points scorers.
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Croatia14
I think it's the perfect year for the double sprinter approach, and in fact thought about adding Ewan to Gaviria myself. The GT sprinters line-up will be incredibly weak (thanks to the RD reduction) while still earning a lot of points and many sprint opportunities over the board, so this could be the time to shine. All in all I really like the write-ups.
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SotD
Very nice read mate. I always enjoy it when others take their time to evaluate on the rosters, the possibilities and limitations.

I'm not really sure this will be a good season for us - but like you say - if atleast should be fun Smile
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knockout
baseballlover312 wrote:
Looking it over, a young, cheap, Latvian time trialist would probably fill that hole pretty well. But alas, any owner of such a rider would undoubtedly value them very, very highly, making such an acquisition improbable.


We deny that we ever had any interest in him and we certainly won't be interested in him next year.


Nice read, hard to disagree with anything you wrote about my team. Enjoyed the read Smile
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baseballlover312
Isostar - Specialized

Isostar had a classic problem in front of them this offseason- too much success. They'd already reshuffled their entire core last offseason for a new challenge, but that didn't work. They still destroyed the top division. It was just too easy. Well, this time, their riders tried to help fix this issue themselves. You see, it turns out when riders perform better than expected, they like that to be reflected in their wages going forward. This is a perdicament when every rider you've ever had is planned to optimal efficiency. In a salary cap world, it will eventually catch up to you. The result for Isostar was the loss of Lutsenko without the ability to replace him completely.

And yet, Isostar will carry on. Phinney and Gaviria remain absolute tanks at the top of their disciplines who could be the only two riders on the team and still bring home a top 10 in the rankings. The biggest change behind them is that David Per gets some massive training to get to 81 cobble. That's a phenomenal investment for a 27 year old rider with top tier versatility. Geoghegan Hart looks to be a sneaky great scorer as well, but let's be honest. Every secondary leader or domestique on Isostar will be a sneaky great scorer. The master exists above the commoner's concerns about clashes and GT leadership. He is a transcendent force of point scoring.

My prediction: Continued omnipresence

King Power

In this era, it's hard to stay competitive and stay young, but King Power are full of youth without much compromise. Gidich, Kasperkiewicz, Sosa, Hsu - all leaders, all 28 or under. Gidich gets the training, and he is the perfect puncheur for this engine in my opinion. He should replace Mohoric's scoring, though of course not the scoring of both of them. Kasper is one of my favorite riders overall. He may have never quite learned what a finish line is or what to do when you see it, but it's very rarely a problem for him.

King Power are missing a true GC leader, but despite the efforts to sell Roglic failing, he'll still be a decent guy to mop up minor placings there. I love Mano as well as an underrated scorer - and another guy who's just 25. Hilly TT guys went for insane wages in FA, so he'll be an amazing value. Good role players all around too. I will say that I'm not extremely high on Sosa at the PT level yet, but if he's trained on mountains or hills in the future, he'll be an absolute beast. King Power have set themselves up very well for the next half decade.

My prediction: Rock solid

Los Pollos Hermanos

While I do question the nationality focuses a bit (I don't see anyone from Albuquerque???), Los Pollos Hermanos have certainly won over the hearts of MG fans the last couple of years. After impressive back-to-back promotions, the team philosophy from last year doesn't seem to have changed this time around either. Go fast against clock. Zmorkaberg continues to be the face of that movement, but he's joined by other lone wolves such as Sütterlin and Keizer this time around. And they are truly lone wolves, because despite the ITT domination ahead, the chicken brothers apparently did not see value in having too many low level dealers involved for TTT operations.

On other terrains, Nemolito has assembled capable, but perhaps not amazing PT leaders. Manninen has been tremendous for years now, so I wouldn't expect him to fall off despite his lack of top top speed. But Kelderman is a question mark I think. He's perfectly fine as your leader, but there's no way around it - he's a 96% purity kind of guy, and there are 99% purity puncheurs in PT this year. Zepuntke is the wildcard. He has so much potential, but it's always the intangibles and carelessness that get him into trouble. There's equal chances he could take the next step or be off(ed) come next season. Bottomline, Los Pollos have made it to the top, but it will be tough to compete with the muscle and manpower of the top cartels in cycling.

My prediction: Breaking PCT

MOL Cycling Team

It seems like MOL tend to get underrated by the "experts," so I'm not gonna make that mistake. This GC lineup is really great. Tenorio remains a GT win threat even after decline, and he will score mightily. But having Galta as a secondary leader to cover other stage races really rounds out the roster and seems like a great idea in the "PT so forced to ride GT's" landscape. Add onto that Inkelaar, who is one dimensional but a surefire white jersey threat anywhere he goes, and a lot of domestiques, including McNulty on loan, and this is a mountain machine.

The talent continues with Kwiatkowski, a huge factor in Aker's promotion last year. I don't think he'll be quite as great as he was in PT, but his mountain makes him a perfect hybrid, and he shouldn't have too many bad days. Then there's Theuns, who remains an amazingly versatile cobbles leader that I envy a whole lot. I'd like to see him get more support, but only so many roster spots to go around. And finally, MOL carry a few sprinters that won't be top dogs but should see their chances. I like that strategy in PT. Some of the domestiques are pretty one dimensional, but besides that, I really like how jaxika crafted this team.

My prediction: Up up up

Moser - Sygic

Well, the 80 main stat stockpile is surely going well for Moser. It may have taken some retirement home abductions some versatility, uh, compromises, but Moser somehow has a wopping 9 riders with an 80 main stat now. That should be enough for the 10 gold pack collection reward. Unfortunately, aestetically pleasing main stats don't matter on the road. I mean, they do, but for RP reasons I'll say they don't.

The good news is that their leaders aren't phonies. Kudus would be a generational talent if not for Herklotz, but he'll still get his chances to dominate if the planning lines up, and Hirt should easily be the best secondary GC guy this year, based me being too lazy to check the DB for anyone else. Sagan's reaching the end of his road at a top gun this year, but luckily he has Ponzi too back him up, who should have fallen off the road by now but is still chugging along. It will be interesting to see Appo and Swift as the sprinters this year too. They still have good enough speed for a sprint lottery, but combined they'll last about -10 seconds in the wind. The biggest flaw here is that the team still misses Sam Bewley. Tough to see the cobbles squad well, not exist.

My prediction: Perfectly satisfactory
Edited by baseballlover312 on 25-09-2022 18:30
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SportingNonsense
Thanks for the writeups BBL, all a good read!
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knockout
Really enjoy these pieces Smile
A Big Thank You To All MG Reporters!

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Croatia14
Same here, was a fun read!
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jaxika
Enjoyed all of them, especially ours. In the restropective i made a lot of mistakes and first impression things in transfer season, but in the final im happy with my team. Thanks to not underestimate my team, but now we need to live to the expectationsSmile
 
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