With the 2018 race season well and truly over for British teams, it is time to look back on the year. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be taking a look at some of the stats from the year, as well as offering more subjective takes on some of the season’s best performances.
First up, team victories. Which domestic teams had the most wins? Which didn’t cross the line first once?
UCI race wins
Looking at wins from UCI races first, JLT Condor topped the table with 9 wins. John Herety’s men had the most extensive UCI race programme of all the British Continental teams, and they took full advantage. Their wins came from 6 different riders, showing their strength in depth. And they were consistent too, winning as early as January in New Zealand, through to August in France.
Next up, on 5 wins, was Great Britain. Of course, Great Britain is not a Continental team as such, but they have an impressive race programme and some of the most talented young British prospects out there. Matt Walls took 3 of their wins, Fred Wright another, whilst Matt Gibson’s Tour de L’Avenir stage win also counted as a win for the team.
In third place with 4 wins, Team Wiggins took victories at home (Rutland – Melton Cicle Classic) and abroad (Portugal, Italy). Like Great Britain, they had a rider that claimed 3 of their wins: Gabriel Cullaigh. For the other win, Mark Donovan took a daring stage win in the Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Aosta Mont Blanc.
Moving further along the graph axis, two Elite teams also took a UCI win apiece: Julian Varley from Team KTM won a stage of the Ras in Ireland; whilst Ribble Pro Cycling rider Gruff Lewis won the succinctly named Grand Prix International de la Pharmacie Centrale de Tunisie. Both of these teams are planning to step up to Continental level in 2019 (Team KTM will morph into Swift Carbon Pro Cycling).
You may have noticed that one Continental team is not listed in the graph above: Vitus Pro Cycling. Of course, 2018 was always dubbed a transition year for them, and with a bolstered line-up in 2019, they will have a genuine opportunity to pick up wins.
National A road race wins
Looking at Elite level road races in the UK (i.e. Spring Cup and Grand Prix Series races, but not criteriums), JLT Condor was once again the dominant team, taking 6 victories. Team Wiggins picked up two wins, whilst One Pro Cycling took one. Madison Genesis, Canyon Eisberg, Vitus Pro Cycling and Holdsworth Pro Racing all missed out.
And who was the Independent rider? Alex Richardson, who left One Pro Cycling towards the beginning of the season, took a storming victory at the Lincoln Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious races on the Elite calendar. He is joining Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes in 2019.
Combined race wins
Combining the win tallies from UCI and National A road races, and you get a similar story: on wins alone, JLT Condor was by far and away the most dominant domestic team in 2018.
All told, JLT Condor won the same amount of UCI and National A road races – 15 – as the rest of the British Continental teams combined.
Despite this domination, and the worldwide exposure their wins and race programme would have gained, they failed to find a sponsor for 2019 and will close at the of the year. The debate about cycling’s funding model is one for another day. But many of the winners from JLT Condor’s successful 2018 squad will now be spread across the other British Continental teams. It will be interesting to see whether this results in a more even spread of wins next season too.
Methodology. Wins were counted from UCI classified races or National A road races only. Wins were not counted in cases where riders won wearing non-trade team colours. So Matt Gibson’s Tour de L’Avenir stage wins counted for Great Britain, not JLT Condor, for example. It’s the jersey they wore when the crossed the line that mattered. Wins for secondary competitions (points, king of the mountains) were not counted.
Acknowledgements. The idea for this piece was taken from the Inner Ring’s regular posts on Team Victory Rankings. And then applied to the world of British racing. All the analysis and graphs in this piece are our own.
Featured photo: Tour of Britain