<> Fantasy Cycling Teams - 2000 <>


Last modified: Sunday, 14 August, 2016
 

* As has become our custom, Lisa & I will be adding to our interest in this year's professional cycling season by following the fortunes of our own fantasy cycling teams. We've been doing this since 1997. We select our teams on the basis of each rider "costing" his total UCI ranking points earned last season divided by ten and rounded to the nearest five, with a minimum cost of twenty points and a maximum of 200.  We allow each team 500 points on this basis, with nine riders to be selected. No more than two riders in each team can be selected from the same real life trade team.  Throughout the season we score our riders performances in all the major races according to the points system adapted from one used by Roger Hughes in his Fantasy Cycling League. The tables below summarise the fortunes of our teams throughout the season.

* This year's line-ups, as ever, are a product of a desire to capitalise on last year's successes and replace last year's underperformers with more promising prospects balanced against the need to keep within the defined spending limit.

Lisa was delighted to add Jann Kirsipuu to the Ready Steady Riders' roster as her team has always lacked a top sprinter.  She was also glad to welcome back Bo Hamburger after a year's absence when he was too expensive. Her other new names are: Stuart O'Grady, Magnus Backstedt, and some guy named Oscar Freire Gomez.  Andrea Tafi, José María Jimenez Sastre, Kevin Livingston, and Tyler Hamilton return from last year's squad.

Steve is seriously concerned at the stiff competition this line-up is likely to provide to his Nightowlers.  Unable to retain the services of Erik Dekker for cost reasons, Steve is depending heavily on his trio of big-hitters from last year: Zülle, Zabel, and the ever-present Cipollini to come up with the goods again, and has his fingers crossed that new signing Pavel Tonkov will have a good enough season to justify his price.  Keeping faith with Britain's David Millar for a second year, Steve cleared out the rest of his lower ranks in favour of Robert Hunter, Henk Vogels, Jimmy Caspar, and Massimilio Mori.

So, the dice are cast. Let battle commence!

* Erik Zabel's win in Milan-San Remo provided the bulk of the Nightowlers' Period One points, while for the Ready Steady Riders it was Oscar Freire Gomez (also placing well in San Remo and snatching three stage wins in Tirreno-Adriatico) who scored best.

* In Period Two, it was again Zabel who was the star.  Only he scored for the Nightowlers, winning the Amstel Gold race and placing highly in Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, while the Ready Steady Riders had a very quiet time of things.

* The action in Period Three for the Nightowlers centred around Cipollini & Tonkov in the Giro and Robert Hunter in the Quatre jours de Dunkerque, while for the Ready Steady Riders it was Jimenez in the Classique des Alpes and Backstedt in Dunkerque who did the business.

* On to Period Four and it was the Ready Steady Riders who came out tops, thanks to Tyler Hamilton's storming win in the Dauphiné Libéré and Jimenez taking top honours in the Volta a Catalunya, while for the Nightowlers Zülle showed some pre-Tour form in the Dauphiné.

* And so to the Tour, which had Period Five all to itself.  With Cipollini unable to start and Zülle seemingly out of sorts Steve's Nightowlers relied on the established dominance of "Mr Green Jersey" Zabel and the rising star of Millar for all their points, well below their strong showing last year.  Four of Lisa's Ready Steady Riders contributed modest scores, leaving the team (as last year) with little to show for their efforts.

* In Period Six Zabel came fourth in the HEW Cyclassics and Hunter won two stages and took second overall in the Ronde van Nederland for Steve's Nightowlers, with a stage win and fourth overall in the latter race going to Hamilton for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders for whom Freire Gomez began to make something of a comeback with placings in the GP Suisse and Classica San Sebastian.

* The Vuelta a España was the most important race in Period Seven.  It began well with Zülle taking the opening time trial for Steve's Nightowlers and Freire Gomez showing brightly for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders but Zülle slumped back into mediocrity and Freire Gomez was forced out by injury.  Luckily for Steve, Tonkov put in a solid performance to take third overall.

* Period Eight, the season finale, featured the climax of the World Cup series, the World Championships, and (this year) the Olympic Games.  Lisa's Ready Steady Riders had a late surge as Andrea Tafi roared home to win Paris-Tours and Oscar Freire Gomez gained a creditible bronze in the Worlds Road Race.  Steve's Nightowlers, on the other hand, seemed to have finished their season early.

* Looking back over the season as a whole, Steve's Nightowlers owed the bulk of their results to just one man: Erik Zabel.  Without him their efforts would have been woeful indeed.  Zülle and Cipollini peformed well below par and Tonkov's contribution was worthy but dull.  In the lower ranks, Robert Hunter was good value for money and David Miller began to repay the team's loyalty but Mori, Vogels and Casper were invisible all year.

For Lisa's Ready Steady Riders, Jaan Kirsipuu was an expensive mistake and injury and team politics restricted the contributions of O'Grady and Tafi.  Jimenez scored reasonably but in value for money was eclipsed by the efforts of Oscar Freire Gomez and Tyler Hamilton.  Among the domestiques Backstedt and Hamburger made solid contributions while Livingston's score was more modest.

* Looking forward to next season, Steve considers Zabel, Hunter, and Miller sure of retaining their places on the Nightowlers roster but will be looking carefully at the potential of Zülle, Cipollini, and Tonkov to justify retention.  One name that's certain to feature next year is that of 1999 Nightowler Erik Dekker: in retrospect, dropping him on grounds of cost was a big mistake!

* See below for Ready Steady Riders' results.
 

@ N i g h t o w l e r s @
Rider Period Scores Total
Score
Cost Score
/Cost
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Allex Zülle     4 17   1 12   34 90 0.38 
Erik Zabel 38 47   6 39 9   2 141 115 1.23 
Pavel Tonkov     18 6     25   49 70 0.70 
Mario Cipollini 4   19           23 110 0.21 
Robert Hunter     16     24     40 20 2.00 
Henk Vogels                 0 20 0.00 
Jimmy Caspar                 0 20 0.00 
Massimilio Mori           3     3 20 0.15 
David Millar        1 13 3     17 30 0.57 
Total 42 47 57 30 52 40 37 2 307 500 0.61

@ R e a d y   S t e a d y   R i d e r s @
Rider Period Scores Total
Score
Cost Score
/Cost
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Andrea Tafi   3           20 23 65 0.35
José María Jimenez Sastre     15 37 6       58 95 0.61
Jann Kirsipuu 7   5         2 14 120 0.12
Stuart O'Grady 1   7   4       12 60 0.20
Bo Hamburger 6     6   3     15 20 0.75
Magnus Backstedt     12     2     14 20 0.70
Oscar Freire Gomez 24 3       12 13 18 70 50 1.40
Tyler Hamilton       37 6 15 4 3 65 45 1.44
Kevin Livingston         5 2     7 20 0.35
Total 38 6 39 80 21 34 17 43 278 500 0.56

* See above for Nightowlers' results.

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