World Tour Review (part 1)

UCI World Tour Review

It’s getting darker, colder and most people start to get a bit more depressed. For me it definitely does not help there are no interesting road races left to watch :sob:. And no; I’m not a replay kind of guy ;) The upside is I got some time to spare to look at the data of the 2018 worldtour. Keep on reading and discover which rider alone outperforms Colombia and which rider is more efficient that the one and only Peter Sagan.

First things first - in this UCI world tour review we only look at the UCI points earned during one (1.UWT) and multi day (2.UWT) world tour races. Points scored during e.g. national / world championships are ignored.

Top 10 UCI points

Table 1 below shows the top 10 scoring riders during the 2018 UCI world tour. Even if you just occasionally watch a race, there should be no surprises in the names. Some interesting observations are:

  • The top 10 is divided about 50/50 between GC riders and the traditional classics enthousiasts
  • Although Sagan earns most points, Michael Matthews collects more points a race and could be considered a bit more efficient. By the way, if you are interested in Peter Sagan, check out an earlier post with Peter Sagan’s performance through the years.
  • Unlike the Giro or Tour de France, Tom Dumoulin comes out in front of Froome in this classification!

Top 10 average UCI points

If the focus is fully on the average number of UCI points per race, shown in Table 2 we see two new names: Wout van Aert is the new leader, although he only participated in a handful races. Matthews follows at the second place, and an interesting new name in the top 5 is Primoz Roglic.

Month to month performance

Check out the bubble plot in Figure 1, pretty cool huh 😎! Let’s walk through. On the horizontal axis is the month of the season. The vertical axis shows the number of top 20 classifications (excluding general classifications). For the rest the plot shows bubbles in all sorts of colors and sizes!

First the colors. These indicate how frequently a rider ended up in a monthly top 10. The most consistent riders are Valverde and Viviani. They both end up in the top 10 in four months. It’s also interesting to take a look at those who just enter a top 10 in a single month. A perfect example of this is Daryl Impey in January. He collected most points of all riders in January (790) and took the first spot in the general classification of the Tour Down Under.

In May this are the Giro contenders Pozzovivo, Carapaz, Bilbao and Bennett. Carapaz really had his breakthrough this Giro. He won a stage, took second for the white jersey, fourth in the general classification and a respectable fifth place in the king of the mountains competition.

June is clearly a month of recovery and preparatation for the Tour de France in July. Less points are scored, and by different riders. Around the edges of the season we find more ‘exotic’ names. Take October. It is clear that for most top riders the world championship marked the end of the season. Most points are scored by Alexey Lutsenko and Eduard Prades. It is very well possible we may see much more of Eduard Prades next season as he leaves the continental team Euskadi-Murias for Movistar. However, this will most likely mean he will ride most races in a supporting role.

Figure 1: Top 10 riders based on UCI points earned each month

Country level

Finally lets see how the UCI world tour 2018 ended up at the country level. The top 15 countries is provided in Table 3. Despite the lack of GC success Belgium is by far the most successful country (only 18% of the Belgium UCI points result from general classifications). Not bad at all for a country with a population of about 11.5 million. Italy follows at the second place, almost 14k points, of which a third stems from GC’s. Also note that:

  • Each grand tour was won by a Brit, but overall the UK did not end up in the top 5, and the gap with the number 5 (The Netherlands) is about 1k points.
  • Road cycling is a very European sport. The only non European countries in the top 15 are Australia (#7) and Colombia (#8).
  • Peter Sagan is Slovakia, and collected personally more points than all riders from Poland, Norway or Ireland.

What’s next?

This was part 1 of the 2018 UCI World tour review. Stay tuned for more. Next up we will do some historical comparisons to find out the biggest differences compared to earlier seasons.