<> Fantasy Cycling Teams - 2007 <>

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.

[ Period One | Period Two | Period Three | Period Four | Period Five | Period Six | Period Seven | Period Eight | Season Review | Looking Forward ]

* Unsurprisingly, this season's line-up of Steve's Nightowlers looks fairly familiar compared to last year. The team is spearheaded for the third year runnning by the trio of Erik Zabel, Alexandre Vinokourov and Ivan Basso. Thor Hushovd returns for a second season and David Millar and Bradley Wiggins are also retained. Unable to afford to retain the services of superstar Alejandro Valverde, the team line-up is completed by new domestiques Mark Cavendish, Nicholas Roche and Steve Cummings.

Lisa has also held on to the mainstays of last season's Ready Steady Riders in the shape of Alessandro Petacchi, Tom Boonen and Robbie McEwan and (as is her wont) has secured the services of the new World Champion, Paolo Bettini. Brad McGee and Roger Hammond return alongside Iban Mayo Diez, Thomas Voeckler and Salvatore Comesso.

Having lasted the entire season last year, I'll again maintain a blog to record blow-by-blow details of our riders' successes throughout the season.

* In Period One Tom Boonen alone outscored the whole of Steve's Nightowlers to hand Lisa's Ready Steady Riders a score almost double their rivals. Boonen took third place in the opening race of the season (Omloop Het Volk) and went on to take second in a stage of Paris-Nice and third in Milano-Sanremo before winning the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen. Support came from Robbie McEwan (ninth in Omloop Het Volk, winner of a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico and fourth in Milano-Sanremo) and Alessandro Petacchi (eighth in Milano-Sanremo). For Steve, Alexandre Vinokourov took second overall (anda couple of minor stage places) in Tirreno-Adriatico, Zabel was sixth in Milano-Sanremo, David Millar won the prologue and took thirteenth overall in Paris-Nice and took second in the time trial stage of the Driedaagse van De Panne and Thor Hoshovd was second in a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.

* Period Two was another successful period for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders: Petacchi popped up in third place in the Rund um Köln, Roger Hammond took second in Gent-Wevelgem and seventh in Paris-Roubaix to open his account for the year, McEwan was sixth in Gent-Wevelgem and second in the Scheldprijs Vlaanderen, Boonen came twelfth in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Sixth in the "Hell of the North" and at the end of the period Paolo Bettini chimed in with seventh in the Amstel Gold Race and fourth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. For Steve's Nightowlers it was another quiet time: the biggest highlight was rookie Mark Cavendish's win in the Scheldprijs Vlaanderen where Zabel came seventh, the only other contribution came from Hushovd's eleventh place in Gent-Wevelgem.

* Lisa's Ready Steady Riders forged further ahead in Period Three: McEwan took a stage of the Tour de Romandie and Hammond placed third on a stage in the 4 Jours de Dunkerque but it was in the Giro d'Italia that the real damage was done. Petacchi was the heaviest hitter, racking up five stage wins, three third places and victory in the points competion; Bettini chipped in with six minor stage placings and third in the points competition; McEwan won a stage and had three minor placings before dropping out; and even Iban Mayo took a stage. Steve's gamble on Ivan Basso failed totally as his doping past caught up with him. This left Steve's Nightowlers dreadfully light in the first of the season's Grands Tours where they registered just three minor placings thanks to Hushovd. Elsewhere, Cavendish continued to impress with a brace of wins in both the 4 Jours de Dunkerque (where Bradley Wiggins won the prologue and Zabel was second on one stage) and the Volta a Catalunya (where Vinokourov took a couple of minor placings). Zabel wrapped up the scoring with two stage wins and a second place in the Bayern-Rundfahrt.

* Period Four is generally the quitest of the season, and this year it was quieter than usual. Wiggins won the prologue and Vinokourov had two stage wins and a second place for Steve's Nightowlers in the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré while Zabel won one stage and was third on another in the Tour du Suisse and Hushovd placed second in the Norwegian National Championships. After three storming opening periods, Lisa's Ready Steady Riders barely registered: Boonen was third on a stage of the Dauphiné and second in the Belgian National Championships while McEwan won a stage in Switzerland.

* Period Five, aka Le Tour de France, began beautifully with a prologue in London and a stage to Canterbury that passed through the centre of Steve's home town. It finished in chaos and shame as Vinokourov and Mayo were among several riders revealed as drugs cheats. For what it's worth, our riders "results" were as follows: for Steve's Nightowlers Zabel scored two stage second places, two thirds and a fourth and finished third in the points competition, Hushovd matched this with a stage win and two second places plus fourth in the points, Wiggins was fourth in the London prologue and Vinokourov appeared to have two stage wins before being thrown out; for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders Mayo Diez was credited with second on a stage and sixteenth overall before his EPO habit caught up with him, McEwan won the stage into Canterbury while Boonen won two stages, had one each of second, third and fourth on stages, and took the Green jersey as overall winner of the points competition.

* Cavendish topped and tailed Period Six for Steve's Nightowlers, taking a win, second and third in the Post Danmark Rundt and a win and second in the Eneco Tour of Benelux. Millar won the postponed British Championship, came eleventh in the Vattenfall Cyclassics and was second overall in the Benelux. Zabel had a win, two seconds and a third in the Deutschland Tour and was fifth in the Cyclassics. Hushovd contributed a second and third place in the Benelux to give Steve another strong period. In spite of a weak showing, Lisa's Ready Steady Riders still have a large overall lead. McGee had a third place in the Deutschland Tour, Bettini was seventh in the Cyclassics and Robbie McEwan won a stage in the Benelux.

* Lisa's Ready Steady Riders scored heavily in Period Seven with Voeckler coming out of nowhere to win the GP Ouest France and take tenth overall in the Tour of Poland, while McEwan won Paris-Bruxelles. For Steve's Nightowlers, Hushovd was second in the GP Ouest France and eighth in Paris-Bruxelles. The rest of the scoring action was in the final Grand Tour of the season, the Vuelta a España, where, again, Lisa came out well on top. Zabel, Steve's only rider in the race, won a stage, had a third and a fourth place and was sixth in the points competition, whereas Lisa had contributions from Boonen (fourth on a stage), Bettini (a stage win, three second places and two thirds) and Petacchi (two wins, a second place, two thirds and fourth in the points competition). Lisa thus takes an unassailable lead into the last period and could be on course for a record victory margin as Steve struggles to avoid registering his lowest ever season score.

* In spite of two races (the Züri Metzgete and the Giro del Piemonte) being cancelled in Period Eight, Lisa's Ready Steady Riders managed a strong finish to the season thanks to Bettini retaining his World Championship Road Race title and Petacchi winning Paris-Tours (with McEwan sixth). Steve's Nightowlers finished a lacklustre season with their lowest period score of the year thanks to Wiggins' tenth place in the World Championship Time Trial and Hushovd and Zabel placing eighth and elventh in Paris-Tours.

* The season as a whole was a lopsided affair: while Steve's Nightowlers narrowly avoided recording their lowest ever season total, Lisa's Ready Steady Riders compiled their second highest ever total and recorded a record victory margin. Lisa's riders started the season with three periods of strong performances and finished strongly too; Petacchi was back to his best sprinting form to score over a huundred points and take top honours but Bettini, Boonen and McEwan weren't far behind while Hammond and Voeckler made more modest contributions. Steve's gamble on Basso backfired spectacularly and yet again it was the veteran Zabel who was the backbone of the team with support from fellow sprinters Hushovd and the supremely talented rookie Cavendish while Miller and (until outed as a doper) Vinokourov also put points on the board.

* Next year Steve will be shopping for one or two top riders to replace Basso and Vinokourov, hanging on to Zabel, Hushovd, Millar and Cavendish and scouting out some new blood to round out the team. On the other hand Lisa looks set to retain the bulk of her riders in the reasonable expectation that they'll deliver another solid year.

* 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
Ivan Basso                 0 140 0.00
Erik Zabel 8 4 10 4 21 18 10 2 77 65 1.18
Steve Cummings                 0 20


Thor Hushovd 1 2 7 2 20 3 21 5 61 125 0.49
Mark Cavendish   20 13     11     44 20 2.20
Bradley Wiggins     3 3 1     3 10 20 0.50
David Millar 8         27     35 20 1.75
Nicholas Roche                 0 20 0.00
Alexandre Vinokourov 21   3 8 12       44 120 0.37
Total 38 26 36 17 54 59 31 10 271 550 0.49

@ 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
Alessandro Petacchi 5 11 43       21 25 105 70 1.50
Robbie McEwan 17 22 14 3 6 3 20 8 93 75 1.24
Bradley McGee           1     1 20 0.05
Roger Hammond   24 1           25 20 1.25
Tom Boonen


9   5 34   1   97 155 0.63
Paolo Bettini   18 19     6 18 35 96 145 0.66
Iban Mayo Diez     5   7       12 20 0.60
Thomas Voekler             31   31 20 1.55
Salvatore Comesso                 0 20 0.00


84 82 8 47 10 91 68 460 545 0.84

* See above for Nightowlers' results.

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