If you’re looking for a list of the top five winningest teams, you won’t find it here, but if you’re looking for a typically idiosyncratic VeloVoices list that blends big-win teams and big-heart teams, here are our five nominees for Team of the Year.
Previous winners: 2012 – Sky. 2013 – Dutch women’s Road World Championships team. 2014 – BMC.
This year’s nominees are:
Astana: Notched up 34 wins this year, including five stages in the Giro and two podium places, a Tour de France stage and fourth overall for Vincenzo Nibali, overall victory in the Vuelta for Fabio Aru, and Il Lombardia for Nibali. There’s been a lot of ill feeling around this team for all kinds of reasons but you can’t ignore the fact that they’ve had an excellent year.
MTN-Qhubeka: A decent total of 18 wins but this also included wins at each of the grand tours they entered: Steve Cummings at the Tour de France and Kristian Sbaragli at the Vuelta, as well as the resurgence of Edvald Boasson Hagen at the Tour of Britain. Add to that the devotion of Eritrean fans, the whole ethos around the team and the charity that benefits from them, and this team have punched above their weight this year and proven to be one of the great feel-good stories of the season.
Etixx-Quick Step: The juggernaut of the WorldTour – 54 wins, more than anyone else, including Strade Bianche (Zdenek Stybar), Amstel Gold (Michal Kwiatkowski) and GP Quebec (Rigoberto Uran), plus four grand tour stages by four different riders: Iljo Keisse on the Giro’s final stage, then Tony Martin (including a stint in the yellow jersey), Stybar and Mark Cavendish at the Tour.
Giant-Alpecin: 19 victories this year, including The Mighty Degs winning two monuments: Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix and the final stage of the Vuelta; a stage win for Simon Geschke at the Tour de France; and Tom Dumoulin winning two stages in the Vuelta and nearly the whole thing. They are a team who were left without their superstar sprinter, Marcel Kittel, for almost all of the season (and then for good with his transfer to Etixx next season) but have gained a grand tour prospect in Dumoulin.
Lotto-Soudal: 40 victories throughout the entire season. Without doubt Andre Greipel has been on fire with 16 victories just by himself, a testament to the rather brilliant leadout train including Greg Henderson, Adam Hansen, Lars Bak and Marcel Sieberg. But they’re no one-trick pony. Tony Gallopin was top ten at Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo, GP Quebec and Il Lombardia, and nine other riders stood on the top step of the podium including Tim Wellens at the Eneco Tour and in a monsoon at GP Montreal.
Let us know your choice and the reasons for it – or if we have missed out your personal favourite – in the comments below.
You can hear us discussing the shortlists for all our 2015 awards on the latest edition of the podcast.
Polls will close at 2359 GMT (UK time) on Friday 4th December.
Next: Breakthrough Rider of the Year