Ag2r Citroën Team 7 / 10
Given the team’s new emphasis on the Classics over stage races, Ag2r Citroën would have dearly liked to have landed a win this spring. They didn’t manage to, but Greg Van Avermaet justified the team’s decision to sign him, looking his old self throughout the spring and ending it with a podium finish at the Tour of Flanders.
Alpecin-Fenix 9 / 10
They might not be in the WorldTour, but Mathieu van der Poel’s presence alone made Alpecin-Fenix one of the box office teams, and he produced some sensational attacks to win Strade Bianche and podium at the Tour of Flanders and E3 Saxo Bank Classic. Far from being a one-man team, Tim Merlier also sprinted to wins at three of the Belgian semi-Classics, and Jasper Philipsen was second at the Classic Brugge-De Panne.
Astana Premier Tech 3 / 10
The cobbled classics are more of an afterthought for Astana Premier Tech, who have a squad composed mostly of climbers. Alex Aranburu had a good start with sixth at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and seventh at Milan-San Remo, but didn’t appear in any of the following classics, while the rest of the team were largely anonymous.
Bahrain Victorious 6 / 10
There always seemed to be one of Bahrain-Victorious red jerseys in the business end of each of the Classics, whether it was Heinrich Haussler sprinting for fourth at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Marco Haller attacking at E3 Saxo Bank Classic, or Sonny Colbrelli finishing in the top ten at Ghent-Wevelgem, Milan-San Remo and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. They were however missing a killer instinct, and failed to land a podium finish.
Team BikeExchange 5 / 10
When Michael Matthews didn’t ride, the team lacked a leader to rally behind. But on the occasions the Australian did ride, he often played a starring role, making the selection and finishing sixth at Milan-San Remo, then fifth at Ghent-Wevelgem — and might have gone better had he not suffered from cramp in the finale.
Bora-Hansgrohe 2 / 10
Star rider Peter Sagan opted to skip most of the Classics after a Covid positive compromised his start to the season, and was still off the pace at the Tour of Flanders, where he finished 15th. In his absence, veterans Marcus Burghardt and Daniel Oss looked their age, and Nils Politt’s form from a few years ago continues to elude him.
Cofidis 6 / 10
Not known for their prowess over the cobbles, Cofidis can’t have expected much this spring, so will have been pleasantly surprised by the form of Christophe Laporte. Despite being known as a sprinter, the Frenchman proved adept on both the cobbled and the bergs, and managed to finish second at Dwars door Vlaanderen and only just missed out on a top 10 at the Tour of Flanders.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step 10 / 10
The rise of Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel has done little to curb the supremacy of Deceuninck-Quick-Step in the Classics, as the team won exactly half of the eight WorldTour classics this spring. Despite the hype surrounding world champion Julian Alaphilippe, Kasper Asgreen turned out to be the team’s ace card, pulling-off the esteemed double of the Tour of Flanders and E3 Saxo Bank Classic, while Sam Bennett and Davide Ballerini were revelations on the cobbles, winning Classic Brugge-De Panne and Omloop Het Nieuwsbald respectively.
Team DSM 3 / 10
DSM might have expected more from their promising roster this spring, which in theory looked primed for some big results, but in practice failed to cohere. Søren Kragh Andersen failed to deliver on the promising form he showed earlier in the spring, while Tiesj Benoot appears better suited to the climbs than the cobbles these days.
EF Education-Nippo 2 / 10
This was a spring of underperforming Classics specialists for EF Education-Nippo. Age appears to be catching up on Jens Keukeleire and Sebastian Langeveld, but more of a mystery was the form of Alberto Bettiol, who looked nothing like the man who won the Tour of Flanders two years ago.
Groupama-FDJ 4 / 10
Stefan Küng failed to make an impression beyond finishing sixth at Ghent-Wevelgem, and Arnaud Démare was missing his climbing legs. But the Groupama-FDJ’s young British sprinter Jake Stewart was a revelation at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, where he sprinted to second place — easily the team’s best result of the spring.
Ineos Grenadiers 8 / 10
The team’s great new hope Tom Pidcock took to the Classics like a duck to water in the first week weeks of the spring campaign, sprinting for a podium finish at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and finishing fifth at Strade Bianche, but looked fatigued in the following Classics. He lost his form just as Dylan van Baarle was coming into it, and the Dutchman won his first-ever Classic with a memorable long-range attack at Dwars door Vlaanderen.
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux 3 / 10
As a Belgian team featuring plenty of rouleurs, this newly-inducted team’s best hope of proving they belong during their first season in the WorldTour was the cobbled Classics, so they’ll be disappointed at how the spring went. The Van Poppel brothers had their moments, and Andrea Pasqualon was third at Le Samyn, but altogether the team looked out of their depth.
Israel Start-Up Nation 6 / 10
Ever the bridesmaid and never the bride, this spring told a familiar story for Sep Vanmarcke, who rode impressively to finish fifth at Flanders and make the podium at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but failed to take a win. Still, while they might be frustrating for Vanmarcke himself, these are good results for a team that is adapting to WorldTour level.
Jumbo-Visma 8 / 10
Wout van Aert was once again one of the stars of the spring, a major protagonist in all the major classics, and winner of Ghent-Wevelgem. His defences of the Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo titles he earned last August might have ended in near misses, but repeating the extremely high standards he set then was always going to be a big ask, and Jumbo-Visma will still be happy with his return.
Lotto-Soudal 5 / 10
John Degenkolb couldn’t keep up on the climbs, Tim Wellens only impressed sporadically, and Philippe Gilbert continued to struggle with the physical and mental fallout from a knee injury sustained last year, in what was altogether a disappointing spring campaign for Lotto-Soudal. They’re biggest success came not on the cobbles, but in Italy at Milan-Semo, where Caleb Ewan defied all expectations on the Poggio and finished second.
Movistar 2 / 10
Spanish riders and cobbled Classics are rarely a happy match, and few of Movistar’s roster embrace the Flemish Classics. Iván Garcia was their leader for most of the spring, and was consistent without ever breaking into the top 10 of a race.
Qhubeka-Assos 6 / 10
The superior sprint of Wout van Aert was all that stood between Giacomo Nizzolo and victory at Ghent-Wevelgem, a result that would have been huge for a team that struggled for survival last year. Dimitri Claeys was subtly consistent without attracting much attention, and Michael Gogl featured in the stellar selection at Strade Bianche to finish sixth.
Total Direct Energie 7 / 10
These French underdogs transcended their non-WorldTour status to be one of the surprise performers of the spring. Anthony Turgis was their star man, quietly riding perhaps the most consistent spring of anyone; his excellent legs merited a higher finish than eighth at the Tour of Flanders. Besides him, veteran Damian Gaudin also delivered a podium finish at Nokere Koerse.
Trek-Segafredo 9 / 10
The team’s star duo of Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven continued to deliver the goods, with the former using his sprint to win Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and finish second at Bredene Koksijde Classic, and the latter winning his first-ever monument at Milan-San Remo, as well consistently collecting high finishes in the major cobbled Classics. Now one of the outstanding teams in the Classics, their Covid-enforced absence at Ghent-Wevelgem was keenly felt.
UAE Team Emirates 5 / 10
Matteo Trentin was hired to bolster the team’s Classics line-up for 2021, and delivered his usual run of consistent results, with a best finish of third at Ghent-Wevelgem. It was hoped he’d form a lethal partnership with Alexander Kristoff, but the 33-year-old’s star appears to be fading — this was the first spring in nine years that he failed to make the top five of a Monument.
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Stephen Puddicombe is a freelance journalist for Cycling Weekly, who regularly contributes to our World Tour racing coverage with race reports, news stories, interviews and features. Outside of cycling, he also enjoys writing about film and TV - but you won't find much of that content embedded into his CW articles.
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