<> Fantasy Cycling Teams - 2002 <>


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 550 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 season's line-ups show quite different approaches. Lisa has made wholesale changes to her Ready Steady Riders: building a whole new team around Jan Ullrich and adding big names Laurent Jalabert and Michele Bartoli to the line-up. George Hincapie succeeds Kevin Livingston as the US interest and Andrea Tafi and Jeroen Blijlevens are retained becasue they're cheap enough to count among the otherwise all-new roster of domestiques that sees Christian Vandervelde, Ludo Dierckxsens and Ivan Gotti joining her team.

On the other hand, Steve has mainly stuck by the Nightowlers team that he had last year; built around the trio of Erik Zabel, the ever-present Mario Cipollini and David Millar. Angel Casero is brought in to replace the fading Escartin and two new domistiques arrive in the shapes of young British pro Charlie Wegelius and Nicki Sorensen. Marco Velo, Rob Hayles and Robert Hunter retain their supporting roles.

* Mario Cipollini's dream of winning Milan-Sanremo finally came true this year, leaving Erik Zabel to depend on first and second stage placings in the Tirreno-Adriatico and the Setmana Catalana for his points for Steve's Nightowlers in Period One. Lisa's Ready Steady Riders, meanwhile depended for all their points on Laurent Jalabert's exploits (taking a stage, placing second on another and claiming third overall) in Paris-Nice.

* Andrea Tafi always seems to win one big race each year. This year he got in early by storming to a gleeful solo victory in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Tafi rode away from a group including George Hincapie who finished fourth, so Period Two got off to a great start for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders! George was third in Ghent-Wevelgem and scored in Paris-Roubaix, while fellow new boy Michele Bartoli placed third in La Fèche Wallone and took Amstel Gold to round off a very strong period. For Steve's Nightowlers, Zabel continued to contribute with a series of minor placings while Cipollini ran out winner of Ghent-Wevelgem and even scored in Vlaanderen to demonstrate again that he's still got plenty of fire in his belly and strength in his legs.

* Mario Cipollini lit up the Giro d'Italia in Period Three for Steve's Nightowlers, while Zabel won the Rund um den Henniger Turm. Lisa's Ready Steady Riders, on the other hand, registered nil points.

* Period Four was a quiet time for both teams: just a handful of points in the Volta a Catalunya for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders, and (almost all from Zabel) in the Tour de Suisse for Steve's Nightowlers.

*As always Le Tour de France had Period Five all to itself. Although he didn't extend his record run of Green Jersey wins, Zabel scored nicely for Steve's Nightowlers: a stage win and a day in the Yellow Jersey adding to his second overall in the Points competition. Returning from illness, David Millar managed a stage win too. For Lisa's Ready Steady Riders, Laurent Jalabert was the man: taking the Polka Dot Jersey.

* Apart from a glimpse of Zabel in the Ronde van Nederland, Steve's Nightowlers had a very quiet Period Six. Lisa's Ready Steady Riders fared rather better: especially in the Summer classics, where Jalabert won the Classica San Sebastien and Hincapie and Bartoli had placings in the HEW Cyclassics and Miesterschaft von Zürich respectively.

* The Vuelta a España was the biggest race of Period Seven, but success for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders was to be found elsewhere: Laurent Jalabert took second in the GP des Fourmies and Michele Bartoli won the Giro dell'Emilia. In contrast, Steve's Nightowlers concentrated on the main event with Mario Cipollini coming out of retirement to take his first three ever stage wins, Zabel gaining the points jersey (in spite of not winning a stage) and Angel Casero finally getting off the mark for the season by taking 6th place overall.

* Michele Bartoli continued his fine end of the season by winning Milano-Torino and the season-closing Giro di Lombardia for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders. But, for Steve's Nightowlers, Period Eight was all about the World Championship Road Race. Proving himself indisputably sprint king of the world, Cipollini powered home at the head of a class field to earn the rainbow jersey. Zabel was well-beaten in third (a placing he also gained in Paris-Tours).

* Looking back over the season as a whole, two things stand out in particular: the Erik & Mario Show and the Ullrich no-show. The superlative sprinting performances of Zabel and Cipollini were everything to Steve's Nightowlers with nobody else making a contribution of note; Millar in particular was an expensive failure this year. Lisa's Ready Steady Riders were badly handicapped by the total absence of the costly Ullrich. Bartoli was strong in the spring and autumn classics, Jalabert had a successful final season and Hincapie and Tafi provided sporadic support.

* The big question next season for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders will be whether to gamble again on Big Jan. Bartoli looks set to be selected again and, possibly, Hincapie likewise but with Jalabert and Tafi retiring there will doubtless be wholesale changes in the team's line-up. Steve will be keen to field Zabel and Cipollini again in his Nightowlers but the expense of doing so will likely mean that the rest of the team will be composed of low-cost riders.

* 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
Angel Luis Casero Moreno             18   18 65 0.28
Erik Zabel 17 10 15 7 32 6 31 33 151 200 0.76
Marco Velo             1   1 20 0.05
Mario Cipollini 28 24 50       15 35 152 75

2.03

Rob Hayles                 0 20 0.00
Charlie Wegelius       1         1 20 0.05
Nicki Sorensen   2             2 20 0.10
Robert Hunter   6 1           7 25 0.28
David Millar     1   7   3 8 19 105 0.18
Total 45 42 67 8 39 6

68

76

351

550 0.64

@ 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   25   1   1     27 20 1.35
Laurent Jalabert 23       19 27 10  

79

95 0.83
Jan Ullrich                 0 170 0.00
Michele Bartoli   36       11 16 40 103 90 1.14
Christan Vandevelde       3    

3

  6 20 0.30
Ludo Dierckxsens         3       3 30 0.10
George Hincapie   31   3   10     44 70 0.63
Jeroen Blijlevens                 0 30 0.00
Ivan Gotti                 0 25 0.00
Total 23 92 0 7 22 49 29 40 262 550

0.48

* See above for Nightowlers' results.

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