Garmin hits rock bottom in team wins.

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Garmin going down or maybe up?

Life ain’t real sunny in the Land of Argyle, home of Jonathan Vaughters and the Cannonade-garmin squad. A Team Victory Ranking on InnerRing shows them second to last with less wins than FDJ and IAM Cycling.

This was a shocker. FDJ is routinely described as a messed up operation ruled by the imperious and unpredictable Marc Madiot. By the same token, what has IAM Cycling down that you can remember — IAMPATHETIC, IAMINVISIBLE.

No question it was an unlucky year for the WorldTour team and that happens. Look at Marcel Kittel — the man dominated the Tour de France sprints in 2014 but has barely even raced his bike this year with assorted, endless illness.

Look at what happened to Vincenzo Nibali and Tejay van Gardener this season. Shit happens and it’s a wild, unpredictable sport.

Cannondale-Garmin’s two big guns Dan Martin and Andrew Tolansky failed to deliver due to crashes, illness, allergies and plain bad luck. FDJ-strength bad luck, IAM Cycling level misfortune.

Possessing an MBA degree, Vaughters can do simple math and 11 wins is not a number to brag about over dinner in Boulder, Colorado. He wouldn’t want to go wine tasting with Etixx-Quickstep boss Patrick Lefevere, who’d be sure to drop his 51 wins into the conversation between sips of Barolo.

A few years ago, DS Charlie Wegelius looked like the new genius in town. Results improved, tactics became more aggressive, Martin and Talansky looked on the verge of bigger things. What happened?

Sure, the disruption caused by the merger with Cannondale didn’t help the matter. Things certainly didn’t jell as quickly as hoped and then Ted King retired and took all the maple syrup with him. That’s the kind of hit few teams survive.

The team is now in full reload mode with Pierre Rolland, Rigoberto Uran, Lawson Craddock and 25 year old sprinter Wouter Wippert. Even in an international sport like pro cycling, this feels like a grab-bag, scattergun approach to rebuilding the roster. (That said, Vaughters and Wegelius have won a few more races than we have.)

Rolland and Uran generally post a top ten or podium in a grand tour every year but there’s no win. They’re going to put Rolland and Uran in the wind tunnel and see what they can pick up in time.

That may help Rolland and his aerodynamics (no baguette in back jersey pocket, Pierre!) but we figure Specialized has already done that work at a very high level with Uran. Other than trimming the mullet, he’s not getting faster, right?

Only three or four years ago Vaughters challenged his riders to get into the top five or six in the WorldTour. In terms of wins, they’re now ranked at the bottom. Here’s hoping that 2016 is a return to power and good fortune.

 

 

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