<> Fantasy Cycling Teams - 2001 <>

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, show the usual mixture of returning faces and new signings for both our teams. Lisa's Ready Steady Riders' roster is headed up this year by team newcomer Jan Ullrich. She's also recruited Oscar Camenzind, Tom Steels, Jeroen Blijlevens, and Beat Zberg to ride alongside Andrea Tafi, José María Jimenez Sastre, Kevin Livingston, and Stuart O'Grady who return from last year's squad.  Steve's keeping hold of Erik Zabel as the leader of his Nightowlers and has splashed out on Fernando Escartin Coti to do some climbing. He retains the services of David Millar, Robert Hunter, Massimilio Mori, and (with some trepidation) his ever-present sprinter Mario Cipollini, and rounds out his team with newcomers Marco Velo, Kai Hundertmark, and British rider Rob Hayles.

* Period One for Steve's Nightowlers was dominated by Zabel & Cipollini's 1-2 in Milan-San Remo which gave the team their best start since 1998.  Lisa's Ready Steady Riders had Camenzind & Zberg's placings in the Tirreno-Adriatico overall standings to thank for the bulk of their points.

* Steve's Nightowlers failed to show up for Period Two. Camenzind won Liege-Bastogne-Liege for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders and Blijlevens & Zberg also showed some form in the spring classics to leapfrog her team to the front.

* The Lion King roared for Steve's Nightowlers in Period Three, taking four stages of the Giro, while Velo in the Giro and Miller in the Quatre jours de Dunkirque and Bicicleta Vasca helped out ably.  For Lisa's Ready Steady Riders it was Camenzind in the Tour de Romandie and the Giro and Blijlevens in Dunkirque who registered best to leave our two teams neck-and-neck.

* In Period Four Escartin put in an appearance for Steve's Nightowlers in the Volta a Catalunya and Zabel warmed up for Le Tour in the Tour de Suisse.  In the National Championships, Zabel took second in Germany as did Hayles in Britain whilst Ullrich took the German title for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders. In the Tour de Suisse, Cammenzind & Zberg showed well for Lisa to leave our teams very closely matched as we went into Le Tour...

* Period Five. Le Tour de France. For Lisa's Ready Steady Riders Ullrich took second in the overall, second in the mountains, and placed second on three stages while O'Grady took a stage and second in the points competition after being denied on the final stage by Zabel of Steve's Nightowlers who took three stage wins on his way to his sixth consecutive green jersey.  All this gave Lisa a definite lead going into the remainder of the season.

* Two rounds of the World Cup accounted for most of the action in Period Six. Zabel took the HEW Cyclassics race for Steve's Nightowlers and Escartin was third in the Meisterschaft von Zürich where Ullrich took second for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders. This helped Steve close the gap quite a bit.

* The main event in Period Seven was the Vuelta a España. For Lisa's Ready Steady Riders Jimenez came out of nowhere to win three stages and both the mountain and points competitions while Zberg won one stage. Steve's Nightowlers gained three stage wins from Zabel, two from Millar and one from Hunter plus second placings in the points (Zabel) and mountains (Escartin). With now just three points between the teams, Ullrich wrapped up the period with a win in the Giro dell'Emilia to re-establish Lisa's overall lead.

* Rounding off the season, Period Eight was dominated by the World Champioships in Lisbon. For Steve's Nightowlers Zabel warmed up with third place in Paris-Tours but could only manage fourth in the Worlds Road Race. Millar looked to have the Worlds Time Trial won but was topped in the closing kilometers by Ullrich who scored a few more points for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders by finishing 13th in the Road Race. Lisa's overall victory was enhanced by Zberg's tenth place in the Worlds Road Race and sixth place in the final counting event of the season: the Giro di Lombardia.

* Looking back over the season as a whole, Zabel had another stellar year for Steve's Nightowlers and Millar is clearly emerging as a force to be reckoned with. Cipollini's season ended with the Giro but even so his contribution was significant as was Escartin's very sporadic showing while Hunter had a quiet year.

Lisa's decision to splash out on Ullrich for her Ready Steady Riders was totally vindicated as he dominated the team's scoring. Camenzind and Blijlevens made the early-season running with Zberg who also returned to form at the end of the year. Jimenez was invisible except in the Vuelta but he earned his crust in that one race. O'Grady was also effectively a one-race rider but his tour contribution was more exciting than especially high-scoring.

* Looking forward to next season, Steve is hoping to be able to hang onto Zabel, Millar and the venerable Cipollini for his Nightowlers and would hope to be able to accomodate Hayles and Hunterin the team again. Escartin's outlook seems uncertain so Steve may look elsewhere for the big tour climbing talent that always seems to elude him.

Doubtless Lisa will again build her Ready Steady Riders around Ullrich and his attempts on Le Tour and the World Championships. Camenzind, Zberg and maybe Blijlevens will likely be retained for their early-season performances as will O'Grady (finances permitting) while Jimenez is a difficult one to decide. 

* See below for Ready Steady Riders' results.

@ N i g h t o w l e r s @
Rider Period Scores Total
Cost Score
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Fernando Escartin Coti       16   18 11    45 90 0.50 
Erik Zabel 30 2   9 39 20 25 23 148 200 0.74 
Kai Hundertmark                 0 20 0.00 
Mario Cipollini 18   34           52 35 1.49 
Robert Hunter     1   2 6 5   14 45 0.31 
Rob Hayles       2         2 20 0.10 
Massimilio Mori     1           1 20 0.05 
Marco Velo     7           7 30 0.23 
David Millar 2   11 4     19 18 54 40 1.35 
Total  50 2 54 31 41 44 60 41 323 500 0.65

@ R e a d y   S t e a d y   R i d e r s @
Rider Period Scores Total
Cost Score
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Andrea Tafi           3     3 40 0.08
José María Jimenez Sastre             45   45 65 0.69
Jan Ullrich     4 6 70 14 15 28 137 165 0.83
Stuart O'Grady 3   4   22       29 40 0.73
Oscar Camenzind 9 25 12 8         54 70 0.77
Tom Steels                 0 40 0.00
Jeroen Blijlevens   14 8           22 30 0.73
Beat Zberg 9 6 2 15      6 14 52 25 2.08
Kevin Livingston                 0 20 0.00
Total 21 45 30 29 92 17 66 42 342 500 0.68

* See above for Nightowlers' results.

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