The CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta squad was crowned cyclingweekly.co.uk Super Team Challenge winners for the second year running.
We caught up with the table-toppers at the Bike Show in London's Earls Court to present them with their fabulous prizes - a car sticker and a round of coffee and cakes. Yes, we really pushed the boat out with this one. (Have you bought coffee and cakes at Earls Court lately?).
Russell Downing expressed equal satisfaction with the chocolate fudge brownie - this is a man who knows his way around a cake shop - and the team's performance over the season as he leaves for pastures new with Team Sky.
"It's brilliant to win. It shows what a great year we have had as a team," said the Tour of Ireland winner. "Last year everybody was talking about Russ Downing, but this year we have all been winning."
Well said, Russell, although he did contribute a whacking 170 of his team's 278 points.
But it could have been a very different story had Downing's team-mate Graham Briggs not won the final counting event in the competition, the Preston GP. Just a handful of points separated CandiTV and Halfords Bikehut at the finish after a close-fought battle between the two outfits.
Elliott, Williams, Downing, Briggs, Sampson
SCORES ON THE DOORS
How did we find our top team? CW's master of graphs, tables and cycling-related information, Mr Lionel Birnie, devised a fiendishly complicated scoring system encompassing all the major UK road events of the season, from the Premier Calendar to the Tour Series and everything in between.
In fact, it was so complicated that only Birnie himself and, possibly, Stephen Hawking, know how it works. Suffice to say that independent auditors were brought in to ensure fair play and the right team won.
Rapha Condor were never really in the hunt, but their big hitters did spend a large part of the year racing abroad, while Madison clung grimly to the coat tails of the top three.
Sport Beans put in a very respectable performance for fifth spot. A special mention has to go to Le Col-Colnago: one-man-band Yanto Barker came back to racing this season after a couple of years out and put in some classy rides when not too busy with his new clothing company.
CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta 278
Halfords Bikehut 270
Sport Beans-Wilier 40
100% ME 24
Le Col-Colnago 18
Sigma Sport 18
Kinesis UK 10
Ashfield RC 8
Corley Cycles 6
See here for a full breakdown of the counting races and scores.
"Is this how it goes?": Downing struggles with the sticker, Elliott assists
So there you have it. Another road season is over. It will be all-change in 2010 as teams disband, reform and sort out new sponsors. Cyclingweekly.co.uk will bring you all the transfer news as it happens over the coming months.
Super Team Challenge will be back next year, bigger, better and more complicated than ever.
And we may even stretch to a bottle of bubbly to go with the winner's coffee and cake.
2009 Premier Calendar hub
2009 Tour of Britain hub
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