In the world of professional cycling, success often hinges on the collective effort of a team. Riders work together to strategize, protect their leaders, and pursue victories. However, some teams rely more heavily on a single rider's performance than others.
Let's take a look at a comparison between the teams. Which teams are more dependant of a single star than others?
Certain squads have a standout rider who consistently contributes a significant percentage of their total team points. Topping the list is Jasper Philipsen. The sprinter from Alpecin-Deceuninck has achieved a significant milestone, contributing an impressive 25% of the total points for the Belgian team. Noteworthy is the combination of both quantity and quality, with 19 victories, including 8 WorldTour wins, during the past season. It is particularly interesting to observe that, in tandem with World Champion Mathieu van der Poel, this dynamic duo accounted for 45% of Alpecin-Deceuninck's total points, a figure that surpasses the collective contributions of key riders Pello Bilbao, Mikel Landa, and Matej Mohorič at Bahrain-Merida.
In the entire men's professional peloton, only one team relies more heavily on a single rider than Alpecin-Deceuninck does: Tudor Pro Cycling Team. This Swiss team attributes a substantial 28.5% of its total points for the 2023 season to Arvid de Kleijn. Despite being 29 years old, the Dutch sprinter experienced a real breakout season, contributing significantly to Tudor's success with 6 out of their 10 victories, all on .Pro-level.
In the women's peloton, the distribution of points is even more interesting. Seven teams had their top rider responsible for nearly or over a third of the team's total points in 2023.
Annemiek van Vleuten stands out in this list, as she has consistently been in the spotlight throughout the past years. Her Movistar Team Women was entirely centered around their illustrious champion for a final season before the accomplished athlete retired. The big question for the upcoming year is: who can step into the shoes of the legend who achieved every possible victory? Is that a responsibility that is bearable for a single pair of shoulders?
Another observation: the remarkable contribution of Demi Vollering within the star-studded Team SD-Worx. Despite having superstars like Lorena Wiebes, Lotte Kopecky, and Marlen Reusser as teammates, Vollering remains responsible for a significant third of the team's points.
It's worth noting that the one-rider dominance strategy can yield significant success, but it also carries its risks. Injuries or an off-day from the key rider can have a substantial impact on the team's overall performance. For example, where would FDJ-SUEZ rank with a fully fit and competitive Marta Cavalli? Where would Miguel Angel Lopez rank if he won his 27 (!) races this year on pro level instead of national and UCI .2-races?
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