oktober 23, 2023
Who Won the Most in the 2023 Pro Cycling Season, and Why It Matters
Three teams ruled pro cycling in 2023, and you probably don’t need to see stats to know who they are.
That top trio won all three grand tours and three of the five monuments for a total of 181 wins this year. That’s more than one-third of all the victories earned by the 18 teams in the WorldTour.
Digging through the end-of-season data shows the discrepancy between pro cycling’s haves and have-nots in 2023.
Jumbo-Visma’s table-topping tally of 69 victories for 2023 is three times that of their less lustrous rivals.
Similarly, UAE Team Emirates led the WorldTour rankings at the end of the season with a points haul more than four times that of some of those that spent the last 10 months chasing their wheels.
Ag2r-Citroën heads into the off-season with the ugly infamy of the least-winning team this year. The French stalwarts won just nine times in 2023 and ended the year way off the back in the chase for WorldTour points.
Lowest scorer in the WorldTour rankings for 2023?
That’s the newly Mark Cavendish-centric Astana-Qazaqstan, which scored only 20 percent of the points awarded to Poga?ar and Co. at UAE Emirates.
Here are some headline numbers that show the extent of the feast and famine in the WorldTour:
Wins in 2023:
- Jumbo-Visma: 69
- UAE Emirates: 57
- Soudal Quick-Step: 55
- [Least wins: Arkéa-Samsic: 10; Ag2r-Citroën: 9]
UCI points in 2023:
- UAE Emirates: 30,944
- Jumbo-Visma: 29,471
- Soudal Quick-Step: 18,698
- [Fewest UCI points: Ag2r-Citroën: 8,941; Astana Qazaqstan: 6,960]
Most victories in 2023:
- Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck): 19
- Tadej Poga?ar (UAE Emirates): 17
- Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Rogli? (both Jumbo-Visma): 15 each
Most UCI points in 2023:
- Tadej Poga?ar (UAE Emirates): 7,696
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma): 6,304
- Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step): 5,632
But beneath the top-level tables, there are some interesting insights to be had.
Let’s dive in …
You can check the chart at the bottom of the post to see the full breakdowns of victories, WorldTour victories, and WorldTour points.
Jumbo-Visma dominates with depth, UAE Emirates pins hopes on Poga?ar
Jumbo-Visma heavyweights Vingegaard and Rogli? both won 15 times this season, and Olav Kooij added a further 13 to the supersquad’s total of 69 victories.
With 14 unique winners for 2023 and three of those cracking into double-digit victories, Jumbo-Visma was blessed with big winners.
Interestingly, all of Vingegaard, Rogli?, Kooij are Jumbo-Visma long-timers. The Dutch team plucked them from obscurity and was able to wield its impressive backroom resources in the following seasons to take them to the top.
That contrasts starkly with Jumbo-Visma’s archrivals UAE Team Emirates.
Poga?ar was by far UAE’s top player in both quantity and quality – the Slovenian’s 17 victories across monuments, stage-races, and everything in between dwarves that of next-best Marc Hirschi (7) and Adam Yates (5).
“Pogi” also crushed the UCI individual rankings with 7,696 points. That’s more than the haul of all of team Astana Qazaqstan put together.
In short, Jumbo-Visma spread its bets wide in 2023, and it brought bounty. It won the most times and won all three grand tours with three different riders.
Poga?ar continues to be the center of the UAE Emirates universe, even with riders like Yates, João Almeida, and Juan Ayuso on the bus. No surprise then that Poga?ar is reportedly the highest-salaried road rider in the world.
The sprinter gamble
Soudal Quick-Step’s 55 wins for 2023 are distributed like Jumbo-Visma’s – among a handful of aces rather than piled into one trump card.
Evenepoel brought the “Wolf Pack” a dozen trips to the podium, with sprinter pair Tim Merlier and Fabio Jakobsen next-best on 11 and 7 respectively.
And speaking of sprinters – Jasper Philipsen alone towed Alpecin-Deceuninck to fifth in the overall charts as it dug an elbow into the ribs of its more monied-up rivals.
With 19 victories, the Belgian speedster won the most times in 2023, but he only ended up 9th in the WorldTour rankings. How come? Stage-race and championship results matter most in the UCI league.
Having a dialed-in sprinter guarantees a team time on victory podiums.
Arnaud De Lie almost singlehandedly dragged second-division Lotto-Dstny toward the middle of the league for wins – but unfortunately for his Belgian team, those mostly lower-ranked race victories don’t count for much in the WorldTour equation.
But a team focused on fast-finishers is taking a gamble.
Astana Qazaqstan was the 15th least prolific of the 18 WorldTour teams and groveling at the bottom of the WorldTour league this season.
Cavendish won only once, while many of his rivals took the tape at least a half-dozen times. That’s a discrepancy that could change the entire tone of a whole team’s season.
Feast, famine, and the spiral of success
There’s no surprise that there’s a strong correlation between budgets and success in the 2023 tables.
Big budgets bring big riders, and big riders bring big wins. And with big wins comes bigger sponsorship opportunities and investments, and the security to invest long-term in riders, staff, and R&D.
Jumbo-Visma and UAE Emirates are among the most monied in the sport in 2023, and they command palmarès that reflect the fact.
Soudal Quick-Step isn’t the most wealthy team out there, but its canny scouting strategy and tight grip on budgets allows the “Wolf Pack” to snarl beyond its collective weight.
With a handful of teams crushing the whole calendar, the squads with less in the coffer find it even more difficult to hop onto the upward spiral of success.
And that cycle doesn’t slow down.
The huge discrepancies in wins and WorldTour points for 2023 between Jumbo-Visma and UAE Emirates, and Astana Qazaqstan and Ag2r-Citroën paint the picture.
What happens next season?
Expect to see the same names toward the top of the winsheet in 2024, but perhaps with some tweaks.
Rogli?’s exit from Jumbo-Visma to Bora-Hansgrohe could put a significant dent into the Dutch team’s records for wins and WorldTour points. Sepp Kuss – the highest WorldTour points accumulator from the U.S. – could fill some of the gap if his Vuelta a España victory earns him more leader roles in 2024.
It will be interesting to see if Jumbo-Visma has to tweak its winning backroom operations next year as it braces for the exit of longtime sponsor Jumbo.
Meanwhile, Bora-Hansgrohe might just boot the door down on the hierarchy with Rogli?’s arrival.
The German-based team has been just outside of the very top tier since Jai Hindley won the 2022 Giro d’Italia and could be in the frame for some big gains with the entry of its Slovenian grand tour superstar.
Lower down the tables, Lidl-Trek, EF Education-EasyPost, and Jayco AlUla are all poised to make gains after this trio scored big in the transfer market. Lidl-Trek in particular was able to make hay with several marquee signings thanks to the cash injection provided by its new supermarket sponsor.
And what of the WorldTour underachievers DSM-Firmenich, Ag2r-Citroën, and Arkéa-Samsic?
DSM will be pinning its hopes on new recruits Fabio Jakobsen and Warren Barguil to reverse the trend of 2023.
Arkéa-Samsic will center around sprinter Arnaud Démare and its newly assembled leadout unit, while its French rivals Ag2r-Citroën will be praying for Ben O’Connor to regain his grand tour mojo of the turn of this decade.
The awesome ProTeam foursome of Uno-X, Lotto-Dstny, Israel Premier-Tech, and Total Energies won’t be totally consumed in the 2024-26 relegation-promotion battle next year.
But the race for a lucrative WorldTour spot will most certainly be playing on their minds – expect to see some strange calendar selections and race strategies as a result.
Breakdown: Total victories, WorldTour victories, WorldTour points
|2||UAE Team Emirates||57||28||30,944|
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