If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?Vince Lombardi
Winning is important in cycling. It’s what motivates riders and teams in their pursuit of racing goals. It’s an end to which cyclists strive. It’s a marker of success.
We don’t quite subscribe to ‘win at all costs mentality’ – this is where we enter into the murky world of doping and cheating. And there are unarguably other measures of success. Nonetheless, the purpose of a cycle race is to see who can cross the line first. And without this fundamental aspect of the sport, where would we be?
This piece reviews domestic team wins in both UCI and National A road races in 2019. In 2018, one domestic team dominated matters when it came to race wins: JLT Condor. All told, they won the same amount of UCI and National A road races – 15 – as the rest of the British Continental teams combined.
We’ve already reviewed domestic team performance in the UCI World Rankings. But who were the most winning teams this season? Let’s kick off with a look at domestic team wins in UCI races…
UCI race wins
UCI race wins – overall
In total there were 23 UCI road race wins for domestic teams in 2019, five fewer than the 28 victories domestic teams earned in 2018. Wins were more concentrated in 2019 too, with the 23 wins spread across just five teams. In 2018, nine teams took UCI race wins.
The Great Britain Cycling Team (aka the ‘seventh team‘) took the most UCI road race wins in 2019. Ethan Hayter and Matt Walls opened the team’s account at the end of May in the French stage race A Travers les Hauts de France (2.2). Hayter won stage 2 and the overall, whilst Walls won stage 3. Then came the team’s incredible Baby Giro (2.2U) performance, where the team won four of the race’s nine stages. Hayter won the prologue and stage 1, Walls won stage 2 and Fred Wright took stage 7. More stage race success then followed as Hayter and Wright won stages 3 and 4, respectively, of the Tour de L’Avenir (2.NC).
Team Wiggins Le Col also racked up the road race wins in their final season. Two of those wins came in early January as Kiwi James Fouché won both the elite road race and the U23 ITT at the New Zealand National Road Championships. Stage wins for Gabriel Cullaigh (Volta ao Alentejo, 2.2) and Tom Pidcock (Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux, 2.2U) followed before the team took their most prestigious win of the year: Tom Pidcock’s Paris-Roubaix Espoirs (1.2U) victory. Pidcock then cemented is status as one of the finest U23 all-rounders, by winning a stage up La Planches des Belles Filles at the Tour Alsace (2.2) in August. It was a win that also helped to seal him the overall win.
Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes had a very impressive season in 2019. With a large diet of ‘.1’ races, they were arguably racing at a level above most of the British Continental teams. They nonetheless took five UCI race wins in all. Alexandar Richardson took two of these, with a win in the Arno Wallard Memorial (1.2) and a stage win in the Tour de la Mirabelle (2.2) in June. The former helped Richardson to seal the Holland Cup. Dan Pearson also took a stage win at the Tour de la Mirabelle. Irishman Rory Townsend then capped off the team’s season with two stage wins at the recent Tour of Fuzhou (2.1).
Two other domestic teams won UCI road races this year. Ribble Pro Cycling won the GP des Marbriers (1.2) thanks to a solo win from Damien Clayton. And Holdsworth Zappi’s Charlie Quarterman won the U23 ITT at the National Road Championships, a win which helped seal his move to Trek-Segafredo. This win meant Holdsworth-Zappi were the only elite-level domestic team to win a UCI-classified race (an honour bestowed on Team KTM in 2018).
Three British Continental teams didn’t win a UCI race this season: Madison Genesis, SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling and Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK.
UCI race wins – ‘senior’ level races
If we look at ‘senior’ level UCI races only (i.e. UCI races that are not restricted to U23 riders only), then Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes top the rankings. All of their wins came in either .1 or .2 races. Unsurprisingly, Team Wiggins Le Col and the Great Britain Cycling Team, with their focus on developing U23 riders, won fewer races in these categories.
UCI race wins – ‘U23’ level races
By contrast, the Great Britain Cycling Team topped the ‘development’ race rankings, in no small part to their four wins in the Baby Giro.
National A race wins
National A road races are the highest classified non-UCI races in the UK. 10 of the 11 National A road races in 2019 formed part of the National Road Series, and most of those were critical Tour of Britain qualification races for the teams. This means that for most domestic teams – with the definite exception of the Great Britain Cycling Team, who chose not to compete regularly in the Series – performing well in National A road races was as important, if not more important, focus than UCI race success.
Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes took the most wins at this level. Rory Townsend won three National Road Series races: the East Cleveland Klondike Grand Prix, the Beaumont Trophy and the Circuit of the Mendips. Tom Stewart won the UK’s ‘monument’, the Lincoln Grand Prix, whilst Ollie Wood took stage 1 of the Tour of the Reservoir.
SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling and Madison Genesis took four wins apiece. James Shaw took three of SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling’s wins. He won stage 2 and the overall at the Tour of the Reservoir, as well as the Grasscrete Ryedale Grand Prix. Jacob Scott, meanwhile, won the inaugural South Coast Classic. Madison Genesis also had a three-time winner. Matt Holmes won stages 2 and 4, as well the overall, at the Manx International. Ian Bibby was their other race winner. He won the first-ever Lancaster Grand Prix.
Finally, Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother and Ribble Pro Cycling both took two wins each at this level. Ed Clancy’s two-stage victories at the Manx International provided Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother with their wins. Ribble Pro Cycling, meanwhile, enjoyed success at the Stockton Grand Prix thanks to John Archibald’s solo win, and at the Bourne CiCLE Classic with Damien Clayton.
Team Wiggins Le Col were, therefore, the only British Continental team not to win a National A race this season. However, with their focus on – and success in – development races abroad, and with enough National Road Series points to secure them Tour of Britain qualification, we don’t imagine this will have been too big a disappointment for them.
Combined race wins
Taking UCI and National A road race wins together who comes out on top?
Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes took the most wins overall, just ahead of the Great Britain Cycling Team, thanks to their combined success in both UCI and national racing calendars.
Team competition wins
In important domestic team competitions, Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes were also the most successful team. They took a clean sweep of the team competition standings, winning the National Road Series, the Tour of Britain qualification standings and the Tour Series. And their rider, Matt Bostock, won the National Circuit Series.
Methodology. These rankings include all races that took place in the 2019 calendar year (i.e. not the UCI’s 2019 season, which ran from October 2018 to October 2019). All UCI races included in the rankings are those classified as such in the UCI’s rankings system.
Wins were counted from UCI classified races or National A road races only (criterium races were not included). Wins were not counted in cases where riders won wearing non-trade team colours. Wins for secondary competitions (points, king of the mountains) were not counted.
Featured photo: SWpix.com. OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2019 – Stage 1: Glasgow to Kirkcudbright, Scotland -Team Canyon DHB at podium sign on