With another WorldTour season again behind us and with the International Cycling Union having totted up the points from each rider, nation and team, Telegraph Sport casts its eyes across the numbers and wonders: what do they all mean?
From the Tour Down Under back in January through to the spring classics in northern Europe we were there – in spirit at least, if not in person – before the action drifted south, to the warmer climes of Italy for the opening grand tour of the season. The summer, of course, was dominated by the La Grande Boucle before Chris Froome made a small, but memorable, piece of British cycling history at the Vuelta a España.
Inbetween these pillars of the cycling calendar, a number of smaller – though perfectly formed in most cases – races peppered the landscape allowing riders and teams to chip away, often far from the glare of the mainstream media, and add a few points to their respective tallies.
But how did each team fare throughout the long season, where did each squad pick up their points and what is our verdict on the performances of each team? Let Telegraph Sport talk you through ...
18. Dimension Data
Bringing up the rear for a second successive season Data Dimension finished some distance behind their closest rivals with 2,575 points. Just two riders – Nathan Haas and Edvald Boasson Hagen – managed to earn over 500 points with the former's fourth-placed finish at Amstel Gold going some way to his tally of 775, while a consistent Tour de France saw the popular Norwegian earn 561.
The South African team had to cope with Mark Cavendish missing much of the season through injury and although the sprinter returned just in time for the Tour, the Briton crashed out in the opening week in France before soft-pedalling to his final race of the season, Paris-Tours.
Verdict: Will feel slightly disappointed at finishing last in the rankings for the second year running and although they won two grand tour stages, Dimension Data will go into next year significantly weaker having lost the improving Omar Fraile and Haas to Astana and Katusha-Alpecin. Will be fascinating to see how South African climber and general classification rider Louis Meintjes fits into a squad that has, thus far, focused its resources on stage wins and backing Cavendish.
Abu Dhabi Tour stage one – Mark Cavendish; Giro d'Italia stage 11 – Omar Fraile; Tour de France stage 19 – Edvald Boasson Hagen.
Just two riders – Thibaut Pinot and Arnaud Démare – managed to earn over 1,000 points with the pair scooping up over two thirds of FDJ's final tally. Pinot, who finished fourth at the Giro d'Italia after also winning a stage at the opening grand tour of the season, in fact won all but 24 of his 1,317 points on Italian soil. Démare managed to win his first Tour stage which gave his 120 points, but it was the EuroEyes Cyclassics where the sprinter benefited most. After finishing second on general classification in Germany, the then 25-year-old won 320pts which would have been enough to place him third in the overall FDJ standings, 73pts ahead of third-placed Rudy Molard.
Verdict: Despite finishing second from last, FDJ will go into the close season buoyed by grand tour stage wins and the fact that Pinot produced some strong rides – and the best results of his career – away from the glare of the French media. As a team, will be interesting to see if the addition of Georg Preidler, a two-time Austrian time trial champion, from Sunweb helps improve FDJ's races against the clock.
Paris-Nice stage one – Arnaud Démare; Tour of Catalonia stage one – Davide Cimolai; Giro d'Italia stage 20 – Thibaut Pinot; Critérium du Dauphiné stage two – Démare; Tour de France stage four – Démare.
16. Lotto NL-Jumbo
The Dutch team may feature such talents as George Bennett, Lars Boom, Dylan Groenewegen, Robert Gesink and Steven Kruijswijk, but their biggest hitter – when it came to UCI points, at least – was a former ski-jumper from Slovenia who turned to cycling just five years ago. Primoz Roglic earned 1,191pts in only his second year at WorldTour level thanks to podium finishes at the Tour de Romandie, Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour of the Basque Country while a memorable stage win at the Tour de France earned the talented prospect a further 120pts.
Verdict: Will have been disappointed not to finish higher in the overall standings, but will start next season stronger following the additions of young US climber Neilson Powless and Dutch sprinter Danny van Poppel.
Tour of the Basque Country stage four and six (time trial) – Primoz Roglic; Tour de Romandie stage five (time trial) – Roglic; Tour of California general classification – George Bennett; Giro d'Italia stage 21 – Jos van Emden (time trial); Critérium du Dauphiné stage three – Koen Bouwman; Tour de France stage 17 – Roglic; Tour de France stage 21 – Dylan Groenewegen; BinckBank Tour stage five – Lars Boom; Tour of Guangxi stage five – Groenewegen.
Just Fabio Aru who finished the season ranked 25th overall earned more than 1,000 points, thanks mainly to his rides at the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de France. Jakob Fuglsang, meanwhile, was Astana's second most successful rider with 764 points.
The death of Michele Scarponi ahead of the Giro d'Italia, a race where the 38-year-old was going to lead the team, had a hugely devastating impact on the team.
Verdict: Difficult to assess the team's season without factoring in the immeasurable damage the death of Scarponi had on his team-mates. Looking ahead to next year, though, the departure of Aru who will join UAE Emirates is understood to have hurt Alexandre Vinokourov, though the general manager has bolstered his squad with the acquisitions of Italian climber Davide Villella and Omar Fraile of Spain.
Critérium du Dauphiné stage six, eight and general classification – Jakob Fuglsang; Tour de France stage five – Fabio Aru; Vuelta a España stage five – Alexey Lutsenko; Vuelta a España stage 11 and 15 – Miguel Ángel López.
Stage wins and podium finishes at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España along with a second Il Lombardia title ensured Vincenzo Nibali finished fifth overall in the individual standings while his paymasters finished above long established teams like Lotto-Soudal and FDJ.
Despite failing to win a single race, Ion Izagirre managed to break the 1,000 point mark thanks to top-10 finishes at the Tour of the Basque Country, Tour de Romandie, Tour de Suisse and Paris-Nice while sprinter Sonny Colbrelli chipped in with 887 points.
Verdict: While nobody would want to describe Bahrain-Merida as a one-rider team, if you took away the 2,196 points earned by Nibali then the team founded by Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa will have finished a lowly 17th in the end-of-season rankings. Must do better next season and will hope the arrivals of Gorka Izagirre, Matej Mohoric, Kristijan Koren and Domenico Pozzovivo can gel with their leader and launch a credible grand tour challenge.
Paris-Nice stage two – Sonny Colbrelli; Giro d'Italia stage 16 – Vincenzo Nibali; Vuelta a España stage three – Nibali; Il Lombardia – Nibali.
Despite winning five grand tour stages and the general classification in the final race of the season at the Tour of Guangxi, one of the oldest teams in the the peloton managed just 13th in the end-of-season rankings. Just one rider – Tim Wellens – earned more than 1,000 points and the Belgian had to wait until his final outing at the Tour of Guangxi to reach that milestone.
Verdict: Finished roughly where they normally finish. Nice kit.
Paris-Nice stage five – André Greipel; Giro d'Italia stage two– Greipel; Critérium du Dauphiné stage one – Thomas de Gendt; BinckBank Tour stage six – Tim Wellens; Vuelta a España stages six and 12 – Tomasz Marczynski; Vuelta a España stage 18 – Sander Armée; Vuelta a España stage 19 – De Gendt; Tour of Guangxi stage four and general classification – Wellens.
12. UAE Emirates
Jan Polanc and Matej Mohoric may have claimed the biggest wins of the season for the newly-named UAE Emirates team following their respective victories at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, but it was Diego Ulissi who ended the season as their most successful rider. It was the less than illustrious Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal and Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey where the Italian won the majority of his 1,569 points while Rui Costa, UAE Emirates's second placed rider in the standings, benefitted greatly through winning the Abu Dhabi Tour and finishing fifth at the Tour de Suisse.
Verdict: After evolving from Lampre-Merida, UAE Emirates managed a decent season but following the investment from the Emirates airlines will hope for much more next season. Much, much more. Which is probably why the team have lured Fabio Aru and Dan Martin into their cabal as they look to finally win a first grand tour.
Abu Dhabi Tour stage three and general classification – Rui Costa; Giro d'Italia stage four – Jan Polanc; Tour of Poland stage two – Sacha Modolo; Vuelta a España stage seven – Matej Mohoric; GP de Montréal – Diego Ulissi; Tour of Turkey stage four and general classification – Ulissi.
The Swiss team finished 11th overall with just two riders – Alexander Kristoff and Ilnur Zakarin – picking up over 1,000 points each. Consistent riding from the pair may have only resulted in two wins for the Norwegian and none for the Russian, but a sackful of top-10 finishes in the classics and grand tours was enough for the pair to earn over half of Katusha-Alpecin's 5,556 points for the year.
Verdict: A disappointing season by their standards after finishing in the top three in the past five years. Wholesale changes in the winter, though, will see Kristoff, Sven Erik Bystrom, Michael Morkov and Rein Taaramae depart while Alex Dowsett, Nathan Haas, Marcel Kittel and Ian Boswell will hopefully strengthen the squad.
Tour de Suisse stage seven and general classification – Simon Spilak; Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt – Alexander Kristoff; RideLondon-Surrey Classic – Kristoff.
A stage win and second on general classification at the Tour de France in July for Rigoberto Urán went an awful long way towards Cannondale-Drapac finishing the season in 10th spot. Despite winning a stage at the Giro d'Italia, Pierre Rolland earned just 187 points – Cannondale-Drapac's ninth most successful rider in terms of UCI points – while Sep Vanmarcke (912) and Tom-Jelte Slagter (589) were second and third respectively.
Verdict: After ending their two-year drought for a WorldTour win at the Tour of California, the future of Jonathan Vaughters's team was plunged into doubt after it was revealed it faced a sponsorship shortfall. Vaughters, however, subsequently secured funding to guarantee the team's future for the "next several years". The very fact that the team, who will be renamed EF Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale, will be on the starting line at the Tour Down Under in 2018 is probably a bigger success than any win on the road.
Tour of California stage five – Andrew Talansky; Giro d'Italia stage 17 – Pierre Rolland; Tour de France stage nine – Rigoberto Urán.
9. Ag2r-La Mondiale
Romain Bardet and Domenico Pozzovivo, the only Ag2r-La Mondiale riders to win grand tour stages this year, also happened to be the French squad's biggest earners of UCI points while the pair were the only riders to pick up over 1,000 points apiece. Oliver Naesen, meanwhile, enjoyed a decent spring classics campaign as the Belgian became Ag2r-La Mondiale's third-highest points earner (910) thanks to top-10 finishes at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke.
Verdict: Made July after taking the race to Team Sky at the Tour de France and for that we should be grateful. However, once again let themselves down with poor time trialing. Must do better and will hope the losses of Pozzovivo and Hugo Houle can be countered by the arrivals of Tony Gallopin from Lotto-Soudal and Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing).
Tour de Suisse stage six – Domenico Pozzovivo; Tour de France stage 13 – Romain Bardet.
It will surprise few to discover that Peter Sagan, the Slovak who in September became to first male rider to win three-back-to-back world road titles, picked up the majority Bora-Hansgrohe's points this year. Indeed, the rider who finished fourth overall earned more than twice of team-mate Rafal Majka (1,117pts) and almost five times as many points as sprinter Sam Bennett (548pts) who was the team's third highest points earner.
Verdict: A disappointing Tour de France for Majka and frustrating Giro d'Italia for Bennett. Plenty of room for improvement in a team bristling with talent – including the most exciting racer of a generation in Sagan.
Paris-Nice stage three – Sam Bennett; Tirreno-Adriatico stage three and five – Peter Sagan; Giro d'Italia stage one – Lukas Pöstlberger; Tour of California stage two – Rafal Majka; Tour of California stage three – Sagan; Tour de Suisse stage five – Sagan; Tour de France stage three – Sagan; Tour de France stage 20 (time trial) – Maciej Bodnar; Tour of Poland stage one – Sagan; BinckBank Tour stages one and three – Sagan; Vuelta a España stage 14 – Majka; GP de Québec – Sagan; Tour of Turkey stages one, two, three and five – Bennett.
Simon Yates, who finished seventh at the Tour de France in July, was the most successful Orica-Scott rider and was the Australian team's only rider to earn over 1,000 points while his twin brother was its third. Take away the Bury-born riders' points and Orica-Scott will have finished 14th. A decent campaign in the hilly classics saw Michael Albasini enjoy arguably his greatest ever season and finished as Orica-Scott's second most valuable rider of the year with 830 UCI points.
Verdict:A little underwhelming, but the Aussie squad has a strong pool of talent and experienced management team to ensure they can bounce back in 2018. Nothing to worry about here.
Tour Down Under stages one, three, four and six – Caleb Ewan; Abu Dhabi Tour stage four – Ewan; Paris-Nice stage six – Simon Yates; Tour of Catalonia stage six – Daryl Impey; Tour of the Basque Country stage two – Michael Albasini; Tour de Romandie stage one – Albasini; Tour de Romandie stage four – Simon Yates; Giro d'Italia stage seven – Ewan; Tour of Poland stage four– Ewan; Tour of Poland stage six – Jack Haig.
After Nairo Quintana failed to deliver on either part of a proposed Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double, the Colombian will have been disappointed to finish the season 13th overall. Fortunately for Movistar, a team who places a large emphasis on team classifications, Alejandro Valverde enjoyed a brilliant Ardennes campaign where he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne while overall wins in the Tours of Catalonia and Basque Country ensured the Spaniard was the most valuable rider for Eusebio Unzué's team. All at the tender age of 37.
Verdict:Definitely a season of two halves for Unzué's team. Will be fascinating to see how Mikel Landa fits in next season, a year in which Quintana really must kick on with a credible grand tour challenge.
Tirreno-Adriatico stage four and general classification – Nairo Quintana; Tour of Catalonia stages three, five, seven and general classification – Alejandro Valverde; Tour of the Basque Country stage five and general classification – Valverde; La Flèche Wallonne – Valverde; Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Valverde; Giro d'Italia stage eight – Gorka Izagirre; Giro d'Italia stage nine – Quintana.
He may have missed out on a grand tour podium spot in his final season before retiring, but Alberto Contador finished the season 10th overall while also being the most valuable rider to his Trek-Segafredo team having earned 1,987 points. Bauke Mollema, meanwhile, won a stage at the Tour de France en route to finishing the season with 1,259 points, 139 ahead of team-mate Jasper Stuyven whose biggest return came at Paris-Roubaix where the Belgian finished fourth to pick up 275 points.
Verdict:Other than their stage wins, largely disappointing.
Tour de Romandie prologue – Fabio Felline; Tour de France stage 15 – Bauke Mollema; BinckBank Tour stages four – Edward Theuns; BinckBank Tour stage seven– Jasper Stuyven; Vuelta a España stage 20 – Alberto Contador; Tour of Turkey stage six – Theuns.
They may not have topped the rankings, but Sunweb were, for many, one of the teams of the season thanks to some canny tactics in stage races. Whether chasing sprints with Michael Matthews or climbs with Warren Barguil, Sunweb had it covered. It was Tom Dumoulin's overall win at the Giro d'Italia, though, that saw the team claim its biggest triumph while the popular Dutchman ended the season fifth overall in the individual rankings. Consistent riding from Matthews, who finished the season in ninth spot, ensured Sunweb finished ahead of Trek-Segafredo.
Verdict:Managed the duel ambitions of Matthews and Barguil to perfection at the Tour and this just over month after winning the Giro. Brilliant work all round, more of same next year please.
Great Ocean Road Race – Nikias Arndt; Tour of the Basque Country stage one – Michael Matthews; Giro d'Italia stage 10 (time trial), 14 and general classification – Tom Dumoulin; Critérium du Dauphiné stage five – Phil Bauhaus; Tour de Suisse stage three – Matthews; Tour de France stages 13 and 18 – Warren Barguil; Tour de France stages 14 and 16 – Matthews; BinckBank Tour general classification – Dumoulin.
3. BMC Racing
Just two BMC Racing riders – Greg Van Avermaet and Richie Porte – managed to chalk up over 1,000 points throughout the season. However, given that Van Avermaet ended the season as the world No 1 ranked rider with 3,582 points it is little wonder that the American team finished third in the standings behind Team Sky and Quick-Step.
Wins at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, E3 Harelbeke, Ghent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix earned the Belgian 1,700 points while podium finishes at the Tour of Flanders and Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec added a further 800 points to the 32-year-old's tally.
Porte, meanwhile, collected just 15 points at the Tour de France, a race he started as one of the favourites before crashing out. Despite having his season cut agonisingly short as he recovered from the injuries sustained in the crash during stage nine of the Tour, the Australian still finished 12th overall thanks to general classification wins at the Tour Down Under and Tour de Romandie.
Verdict:Difficult to find fault in a team who, thanks to Van Avermaet, tore it up in the classics before suffering some terrible bad luck in the Tour.
Tour Down Under stages two, five and general classification – Richie Porte; Paris-Nice stage seven – Porte; Omloop Het Nieuwsblad – Greg van Avermaet; Tirreno-Adriatico stage one (team time trial) and stage seven – Rohan Dennis; Tour of Catalonia stage two (team time trial); E3 Harelbeke – Van Avermaet; Ghent-Wevelgem – Van Avermaet, Paris-Roubaix – Van Avermaet; Tour de Romandie stage two – Stefan Küng; Tour de Romandie general classification – Porte; Giro d'Italia stage six – Silvan Dillier, stage 18 – Tejay van Garderen; Critérium du Dauphiné stage four (time trial) – Porte; Tour de Suisse stages one and nine (time trials) – Rohan Dennis; Tour of Poland stage three and general classification – Dylan Teuns; BinckBank Tour stage two – Küng; Vuelta a España stage one – team time trial.
2. Quick-Step Floors
At one point during the spring it appeared that Quick-Step Floors, one of the mainstays of the peloton, were on the brink as the team struggled to secure sponsorship funding. While the Belgian team and its supporters wondered if there was life after Tom Boonen – the classics legend retired following Paris-Roubaix – they need not have worried.
Renaissance man Philippe Gilbert rolled back the years in the spring when he won the Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold while team-mate Julian Alaphilippe book-ended his season with podium finishes at Milan-Sanremo and Il Lombardia to bolster Quick-Step Floors's tally.
It was Dan Martin, though, who earned the lion's share of Quick-Step Floors's points in his final year with Patrick Lefevere's team thanks to podium finishes at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne while some consistent stage racing saw the Irishman cement his place as the team's most valuable rider of the season. Unfortunately for Quick-Step Floors the 31-year-old is heading off to UAE Emirates next season.
Verdict:Well balanced squad of riders paid dividends for the Belgian team. Delighted to say this is not the end of the road for Patrick Lefevere's team who appear in rude health for the future.
Abu Dhabi Tour stage two – Marcel Kittel; Paris-Nice stage four – Julian Alaphilippe; Paris-Nice stage eight – David de la Cruz; Tirreno-Adriatico stage six – Fernando Gaviria; Dwars door Vlaanderen – Yves Lampaert; Tour of Flanders – Philippe Gilbert; Tour of the Basque Country stage three – De la Cruz; Amstel Gold Race – Gilbert; Giro d'Italia stage three, five, 12 and 13 – Fernando Gaviria; Tour of California stage one – Marcel Kittel; Giro d'Italia stage 15 – Bob Jungels; Tour de Suisse stage two – Gilbert; Tour de France stages two, six, seven, 10 and 11 – Kittel; Vuelta a España stage two – Yves Lampaert; Vuelta a España stages four, 10, 13 and 21 – Matteo Trentin; Vuelta a España stage eight – Alaphilippe; Tour of Guangxi stages one, two, three and six – Gaviria.
1. Team Sky
It may come as a surprise to some that Team Sky, who are widely regarded as the biggest team in world cycling, have topped the end-of-season rankings just once in 2012, the year the British team first won the Tour de France while ending Movistar's dominance of the standings which the Spanish team has topped for the past four seasons.
This year, though, Team Sky did it again after Chris Froome won both the Tour de France and Vuelta a España to amass 3,452 points, over a quarter of the team's total, to beat second-placed Quick-Step Floors by just 154 points.
While Froome took most of the headlines following a historic season for the Kenya-born Briton, team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski chipped in with 2,171 points after a strong spring classics campaign. Wins at Strade Bianche and Milano-Sanremo and podium finishes at Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège was where most of the Pole's points were earned while the former world champion's solid ride at the Tour also proved fruitful.
While each and every member of the 27-man squad earned points throughout the season, just Sergio Henao and the departing Mikel Landa, who will join Movistar in 2018, and Elia Viviani, who is off to Quick-Step Floors, earned over a 1,000 points each.
Verdict: You get what you pay for, and Team Sky continue to recruit the best around. Somehow managed to juggle rider expectations and still win races and will have to do the same next year.
Strade Bianche – Michal Kwiatkowski; Paris-Nice general classification – Sergio Henao; Tirreno-Adriatico stage two – Geraint Thomas; Milan-Sanremo – Kwiatkowski; Tour de Romandie – Elia Viviani; Tour of California stage six (time trial) – Jon Dibben; Giro d'Italia stage 19 – Mikel Landa; Critérium du Dauphiné stage seven –Peter Kennaugh; Tour de France stage one (time trial) – Thomas; Tour de France general classification – Chris Froome; Clásica de San Sebastián – Kwiatkowski; Tour of Poland stage five – Danny van Poppel; Tour of Poland stage seven – Wout Poels; Vuelta a España stage nine, 16 (time trial) and general classification – Froome; EuroEyes Cyclassics – Viviani; Bretagne Classic Ouest–France – Viviani.