The 2015 UCI WorldTour - season in review

Expert road bike reviews and the latest road bike news, features and advice. Find rides & events, training articles and participate in our forums

Share

Racing

The 2015 UCI WorldTour end-of-season report card

Every WorldTour team ranked and rated

Two hundred and fifty seven days after Jack Bobridge won the opening stage of the Tour Down Under in January, Vincenzo Nibali won the Giro di Lombardia to draw the 2015 WorldTour season to a close.

Another action-packed campaign saw Alberto Contador, Chris Froome and Fabio Aru emerge as winners of the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana respectively, while John Degenkolb secured a Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix double, and Alexander Kristoff won the Tour of Flanders – just a selection of highlights from the 27 events that make up the UCI WorldTour.

Movistar topped the WorldTour team rankings for the third successive season, while their Spanish rider, Alejandro Valverde, moved to the top of the individual rankings with Liege-Bastogne-Liege victory in April and stayed there until the end of the season, being crowned the world’s number one rider for the second year in a row.

Our end of term report card casts a look back at how each term has fared this season, from the top to the bottom of the WorldTour rankings, and because results don’t always tell the full story, we’ve handed each team our own ranking, and picked out some of the star performers and highlights along the way.

Movistar

Movistar, the Spanish super team, have had a fantastic year on the road, bringing home the win in the UCI WorldTour’s team classification for the third year running, plus their man Alejandro Valverde has, for the second year in a row, placed top of the individual points table. Nairo Quintana has also been magnificent, winning at Tirreno-Adriatico and placing second in the Tour de France. While he’ll be disappointed not to have added another Grand Tour title to his palmares, he did push Chris Froome all the way and win this year’s young rider competition at the Tour – showing not only his ability, but just how much more of his career he has ahead of him. On the track, Britain’s Alex Dowsett broke the hour record (and won his first stage race title on the road at Bayern-Rundfahrt), though Sir Bradley Wiggins soon took it off him.

Season highlight
Winning the UCI team classification? Breaking the hour record? Finishing second and third at the Tour de France? Winning the team classification in two Grand Tours? Take your pick.

Lowlight
Despite the fact most riders would give anything for a podium placing at a Grand Tour, Movistar may feel they could have done one better than their two-three placing at the Tour de France.

Star performer
An even split between the two co-leaders, Valverde and Quintana. Winner Anacona deserves a mention too for valiant services as domestique on the Tour’s Alpe d’Huez as Quintana – ultimately unsuccessfully – tried to unseat Froome at the top of the GC.

Must do better
It’s difficult to pick a duff rider from a squad which topped both team and individual WorldTour classifications in 2015.

WorldTour ranking (from 1 to 17)
1

RCUK rating (out of 10)
10

Katusha

The Russian team started the season brilliantly, with Alexander Kristoff winning virtually any race he chose to ride in. Victories at the gloriously gritty Three Days of De Panne and Scheldeprijs were the bread in a truly tasty sandwich, of which a Tour of Flanders victory for Kristoff was the filling. With the Classics wrapped up, it was over to the mountain men to try and bring some further glory. Joaquim Rodriguez, the punchy Spanish climber, played true to type, duking it out whenever the road got steep enough that us mere mortals would probably have to get off and push. He wore red in the Vuelta and took the overall at the Tour of the Basque Country. Not bad for a 36-year-old.

Season highlight
To see Purito Rodriguez win a summit finish in Spain is always magical, especially as he approaches the ‘twilight’ of his career – so the stage 15 victory in the Vuelta a Espana has to be up there. That said, they don’t come much bigger than a cobbled Classic victory. Chapeau, Alexander.

Lowlight
Katusha’s road captain, Luca Paolini, was thrown out of the Tour de France in disgrace after testing positive for cocaine use. It doesn’t come much lower than that. 

Star performer
Alexander Kristoff. The Norwegian powerhouse won Flanders, Scheldeprijs and the Three Days of De Panne, proving he’s a true Flandrien. He also added stages at Paris-Nice, the Arctic Race of Norway and the Tours of Oman and Switzerland. 

Must do better
Luca Paolini. Silly, silly Luca. The Italian’s disqualification does nothing to dispel a general air of skullduggery and subterfuge that has dogged Katusha’s rep for a while.

WorldTour ranking
2

Overall rating
8

Team Sky

What can we say about Team Sky that hasn’t been said already? The team won a third Tour de France in four years and its super-domestiques – Thomas and Porte– pitched in with their own wins throughout the year, at the Volta ao Algarve and E3 Harelbeke, and the Volta a Catalunya, Paris-Nice and Giro del Trentino respectively.

Season highlight
They won the Tour de France. Which is impressive. If you like that sort of thing… If Classics are more your bag, what about Ian Yogi Bear Stannard outfoxing three Etixx-Quickstep riders in the finale of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Lowlight
The downside of all of Team Sky’s success was plain to see during the Tour de France. Not everybody likes a winner, and Froome and the rest of the Sky team had to put up with a huge amount of hostility throughout the race, with portions of the European media accusing them outright of doping – and Froome even having urine thrown on him. It remains to be seen how crowds will respond to the British team next season. Here’s hoping we’ve left all that behind. 

Star performer
Froomedog didn’t get his historic Grand Tour double, crashing out of the Vuelta a Espana, but he did win the Tour de France, of course. Geraint Thomas proved he really is hard as nails when he headbutted a telegraph pole for looking at him funny, and also shone with victories of his own, as well as holding a top ten position at the Tour until stage 19, despite working tirelessly for Froome. 

Must do better
Sky’s squad have performed amazingly this season so it’s hard to pick someone who has really let the side down. Instead, looking to 2016, expect to see new boys Michal Kwiatkowski and Mikel Landa trying to make a claim for leadership roles.

WorldTour ranking
3 

RCUK rating
9

Etixx-QuickStep

The opening of Etixx-Quick Step’s season was characterised by near-misses and ‘should have won’ moments. Despite getting plenty of backing from the team, their Colombian climber, Rigoberto Uran, never really looked like threatening the GC at the Giro d’Italia, capping a fairly miserable start to the year.  Still, the team has won plenty of races in 2015, with more than 50 victories, but many of those have come away from the spotlight of the WorldTour. However, a misfiring Mark Cavendish was visibly relieved when he finally grabbed his elusive stage win in France in July, and Etixx also picked up two more stage wins at the Tour from Tony Martin and Zdenek Stybar.

Season highlight
Matteo Trentin giving Tony Martin his bike on the cobbles of stage four of the Tour de France, for the German to then go on and win the day, taking yellow in the process. It was the first time Martin had worn yellow. Sadly it was soon followed by… 

Lowlight
Tony Martin crashing out of the Tour while wearing the maillot jaune was something nobody wanted to see. especially after the high profile crash of Fabian Cancellara (also wearing the jersey) they day before. Three Etixx riders being outfoxed by Ian Stannard on home turf at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will have hurt, too.

Star performer
Nobody at Etixx has really excelled on a consistent basis this year. Niki Terpstra took the overall in the Tours of Wallonie and Qatar though, plus he snagged himself a Dutch champion’s jersey for next season. But Martin’s pure persistence paid off at the Tour de France. Having narrowly missed out on the yellow jersey on each of the first three stages, Martin’s solo stage four win gave him a well-deserved maillot jaune to the delight of cycling fans everywhere. 

Must do better
Given what manager Patrick Lefévère expects from his top guys, we’re tempted to say everybody at Etixx should be doubling their efforts next season. That Pat’s never pleased.

WorldTour ranking
4

RCUK rating
6

Astana

Kicking things off in May at the Giro d’Italia, the boys in blue looked scarily dominant for most of the opening fortnight, but Fabio Aru couldn’t quite deliver the knockout blow to beat Alberto Contador in the high mountains. Aru clearly didn’t take the setback to heart though. His fortunes were reversed completely by the time we reached the last Grand Tour of the season, with the Italian taking the Vuelta.

All this is to say nothing of Vicenzo Nibali, who failed to defend his Tour de France title by quite some margin, got himself chucked out of the Vuelta for illegally clinging onto a team car and letting it tow him for about a bazillion miles, then popped up this weekend to snatch the win at Il Lombardia with some of the most hair-raising descending we’ve seen for years. The man is an enigma. 

Season highlight
Aru in red on the way into Madrid will take some beating. While most neutrals were shouting for the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, it has to be conceded that Aru was good value for his overall win. 

Lowlight
Almost losing their World Tour license probably put a bit of a dampener on things at the start of the season.

Star performer
Aru has been good, but Landa, perhaps, has outshone him. The Spaniard, on his way to Sky for 2016, lost a big chunk of time early in the Vuelta, enabling him to hunt for a stage win, which he duly got in Andorra – the hardest Grand Tour stage ever by some accounts. 

Must do better
Team boss Alexandre Vinokourov. At generally being a decent human being.

WorldTour ranking
5

RCUK rating
8

BMC Racing

BMC’s season got off to a flyer with overall victory in the Tour Down Under, courtesy of Rohan Dennis. It was book-ended just as positively with a victory in the team time trial at last month’s worlds. While he performed valiantly in the Tour de France, sticking to his game plan of riding consistently and within himself, Tejay van Garderen was found wanting at the very final moment. He’ll be disappointed to have abandoned on stage 17 due to illness, with Paris almost in sight. 

Season highlight
The return of Taylor Phinney was a great feel-good story for the sport of cycling after the American took a really horrible crash in 2014, while Rohan Dennis pummeled the opening stage of the Tour de France into submission by recording the fastest ever average speed in an individual time trial in the race’s history – an astonishing 55.446 km/h – to pull on the first yellow jersey.

Lowlight
Greg van Avermaet endured heartbreak in Italy when he was pipped at the line by Zdenek Stybar of Etixx-Quick Step in the finale of the Strade Bianche. 

Star performer
Dennis was at the heart of much that was good about BMC’s season. As well as getting the season off to a winning start at the Town Down Under, the time trial specialist held the hour record (briefly) this season and also took the overall at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge – and that’s not to mention the Tour de France. 

Must do better
Classics specialist Philippe Gilbert simply didn’t deliver this season. Big Phil is going to have to dig deep if he wants to stay on the right side of his bosses in 2016.

WorldTour ranking
6

RCUK rating
6

Tinkoff-Saxo

Team owner Oleg Tinkov continued to be generally quite loud and abrasive for much of the season, with the high-profile departure of team founder and former owner, Bjarne Riis, coming in March after significant ‘personality differences’. On the road and out of the headlines Tinkoff-Saxo did well, with Alberto Contador’s victory in the Giro setting things up nicely for a season of success. Rafael Majka grabbed a stage at the Tour, while Jesper Hansen won the Tour of Norway.

New signing Peter Sagan struggled to get things going in the early races of the year, but dominated the Tour de France’s green jersey competition with an astonishing 12 top ten finishes, before eventually snagging his first stage win in a Grand Tour for more than two years at the Vuelta a Espana. The Slovakian then delivered the huge one-day win he’s been waiting for at the World Championships. He’ll be relieved to have old Oleg off his back. 

Season highlight
Winning a Grand Tour is usually the high-point of a team’s season and Tinkoff are one of three teams that can boast of that achievement. Sagan has, as ever, continued to entertain with his antics both on and off the bike, and is now a world champion to boot.

Lowlight
Ivan Basso was diagnosed with cancer in July and was forced to withdraw from the Tour de France. It was a sobering moment that drew the cycling world together in support of the old Italian warhorse. In September the team announced Basso had been given the ‘all clear’. 

Star performer
Alberto Contador proved there’s life in the old dog yet this season with his Giro win. Next year, in his final season, he’ll target the Tour and the Vuelta. Sagan has been the measure of consistency throughout the season, though his worlds win came in the colours of Slovakia and not Tinkoff-Saxo. 

Must do better
We would’ve said Bjarne Riis, but it’s a bit late for that now.

WorldTour ranking
7

RCUK rating
9

Orica-GreenEDGE

Australian team Orica-GreenEDGE are still finding their feet in the World Tour, with no out-and-out GC contenders to ride for. This gives them a sort of swashbuckling appeal, with a squad of guys who could all nick a win on the day. They’re always a strong favourite in a team time trial and duly delivered on their potential with a victory in the opening stage of the Giro d’Italia. The emergence of Esteban Chavez and Caleb Ewan has been exciting to see – both young men look like they have bright futures.

Season highlight
Adam Yates’ win at the Clasica de San Sebastian was a delight to behold, especially as he seemed fairly surprised to have won himself.

Lowlight
The first week of the Tour de France was an absolute stinker for a lot of teams, but Orica were perhaps worst hit. By the time they got to the TTT, the Aussies only had six of their riders left, and they shipped nearly five minutes to eventual stage winners BMC. 

Star performer
Adam Yates. Or was it Simon? In truth, both the brothers performed admirably in the Tour de France when they bravely went off stage-hunting after the loss of their leaders. The two are so well-matched, there are just two points separating them in the UCI individual rankings. Adam’s Clasica de San Sebastian, at the tender age of 23, shows just how far he (and Simon) can go.

Must do better
As this video shows, one of the guys in the Orica team car could do with brushing up on his conversational skills (skip to 3:30).

WorldTour ranking
8

RCUK rating
6

Lotto-Soudal

The team relied heavily on Andre Greipel for big wins this year, but the German has been more than up to the task. He had some great support from leadout men like Greg Henderson. Elsewhere in the squad, Adam Hansen continued his stunning run of consecutive Grand Tours, breaking a 68-year-old record when he crossed the finish of the Vuelta Espana. The Australian has now finished 13 in a row and shows no sign of stopping. Remarkable.

Season highlight
Probably our favourite moment from Lotto Soudal was this rest day photo, with Greipel and Hansen doing a spot of ‘motor-pacing’ training. Greipel’s win on the Champs-Elysees was good as well, of course.

Lowlight
Kris Boeckmans’ crash at the Vuelta a Espana brought into sharp focus the dangers of cycling and the risks professional cyclists take for our entertainment. Boeckmans was kept in a medically-induced coma before eventually being discharged from hospital after four weeks. Get well soon, Kris.

Star performer
Greipel really has been the main man for Soudal this year, taking no fewer than five Grand Tour stage wins, with other victories at the Volta ao Algarve, Paris-Nice, the Tour of Tukey and two in Luxembourg.

Must do better
The squad has lost Jurgen van den Broeck to Katusha for next season. While they’re definitely a sprint team, it’ll be interesting to see who (if anyone) takes up the GC role.

WorldTour ranking
9

RCUK rating
7

Giant-Alpecin

There was a a lot of potential in the Giant-Alpecin roster this year, with German sprinting aces Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb leading the charge. Unfortunately, Kittel struggled all season and hasn’t had chance to show off the blistering speed that made him so dominant in 2014. Now he’s off, buying out the final year of his contract and switching to Etixx-QuickStep, following Mark Cavendish’s move to MTN-Qhubeka.

Degenkolb started the season very, very well indeed, with victory at Milan-San Remo and then Paris-Roubaix. Tom Dumoulin finished Giant-Alpecin’s season in style. The lanky Dutchman’s heroics in the final week of the Vuelta Espana, when he held onto the red jersey until the final mountain stage, were nothing short of remarkable. He will doubtless return and win before too long.

Season highlight
Dumoulin’s barnstorming performance in the ITT on stage 17 of the Vuelta. He took enough time from Aru to go back into the red jersey for the third time.

Lowlight
Kittel’s poor fitness really threw off Giant-Alpecin’s plan A for this season. Fortunately, John Degenkolb and Tom Dumoulin make for a pretty sweet plan B.

Star performer
Degenkolb, whose stunning Monument double of Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix hadn’t been completed since Sean Kelly in 1986. It was also the first time a German had won Roubaix since the first edition in 1896.

Must do better
Whoever is in charge of making the TV adverts for Alpecin needs to be stopped immediately.

WorldTour ranking
10

Overall rating
9

Ag2r La Mondiale

This season, AG2R chalked up a win for the little guys, with Romain Bardet leading the charge for the team at the Tour de France. The 24-year-old grabbed a stage win, wore the polka dot jersey and was also awarded the overall prize for combativity. Alexis Vuillermoz also bagged himself a stage. At the other end of the age range, Jean-Christophe Peraud, who turned 38 last month, won the overall classification at the Criterium International.

Season highlight
Romain Bardet won stage 18 of this year’s Tour, a stage that included the stunningly beautiful Lacets de Montvernier (pictured above). Watching the young Frenchman solo to victory was a sure sign of great things to come.

Lowlight
Lloyd Mondory was fired by AG2R’s management after testing positive for EPO.

Star performer
Bardet has proved this year that he is a force for the future. A stage win, ninth place overall, plus the prize for combativity, would be impressive for a seasoned journeyman at the Tour de France. From a 24-year-old it’s simply superb. 

Must do better
Their kit designer.

WorldTour ranking
11

RCUK rating
7

Lampre-Merida

Lampre-Merida continued to wander in the cycling wilderness this year, with the first part of the season overshadowed by a row with the Movement for Credible Cycling. That said, the men in pink did grab a handful of notable victories with Ruben Plaza and Sacha Modolo proving to be the best performers with stage wins at both the Tour and Vuelta for Plaza, and  a brace of wins for Modolo at the Giro.

Season highlight
Filippo Pozzato’s Instagram account is usually good for a laugh and our favourite post of the year was this jubilant snap after the penultimate stage of the Tour de France on Alpe d’Huez.

Lowlight
Rui Costa was forced to quit the Tour de France for the second year, abandoning ahead of stage 16 with pneumonia. The Portuguese rider arrived at the Tour in great form, having won a stage of the Criterium du Dauphine and his country’s national championships, so it was a blow for the team at the time. Plaza proved there’s more to the team than Costa, though, by winning stage 16.

Star performer
Ruben Plaza had a great year, with stage wins in both the Tour and Vuelta – proof that sometimes the break does get away. 

Must do better
The enigma that is Pozzato failed to register a podium finish in 2015, but then it’s hard to have a dig at old Pippo, isn’t it?

WorldTour ranking
12

RCUK rating
6

Trek Factory Racing

It’s been a difficult year for Trek, with a serious crash involving their strongest rider the most ‘memorable’ event of their season. The loss of Fabian Cancellara after stage three of the Tour de France was a big blow and while Bauke Mollema valiantly took up the mantle of team leadership, Trek didn’t challenge seriously again. Cancellara had been wearing yellow at the time, which made his withdrawal all the more unfortunate. Things began picking up towards the end of the year for the Trek boys though. At the Vuelta, Sky-bound Danny van Poppel won stage 12, before veteran Frank Schleck took another victory on stage 16.

Season highlight
Cancellara in yellow.

Lowlight

Cancellara in the ambulance, for the second time in the season after earlier crashing out of E3-Harelbeke to curtail his Classics season before it had even begun.

Star performer
Cancellara, Mollema, van Poppel and Schleck all did well to save some semblance of success for their team, but the management should think long and hard about how they can strengthen the team in key areas to support the strongest guys. 

Must do better
With six riders out already this transfer season and seven new faces coming in there’ll be plenty of new blood to (hopefully) reinvigorate the team next year and drive Trek on to better things.

WorldTour ranking
13

RCUK rating
4

LottoNL-Jumbo

Dutch side LottoNL-Jumbo failed to shine as a unit this season, with most of their successes coming from a couple of standout performers. The team that used to be Belkin would have been hoping to see a bit more from Sep Vanmarcke, given the 26-year-old’s obvious aptitude for the Classics.

Season highlight
Robert Gesink will be very pleased indeed with his sixth place at the Tour de France this year.

Lowlight
Being outshone by the ‘other’ Lotto team. And failing to win a major Classic. 

Star performer
Steven Kruijswijk put in some big performances at the first two Grand Tours of the season, placing seventh in Italy, before finishing a respectable 21st at the Tour de France. At the Giro d’Italia, Kruijswijk was one of the star performers on the Mortirolo, a performance overlooked because of Alberto Contador’s own climbing masterclass the same day.

Must do better
Sep Vanmarcke will be hoping for some improved results in the Classics next year. His best finish was a fourth in the Strade Bianche – a fine result in its own right but well below what he has the potential to achieve after podiums at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in 2014 and 2013 respectively.

WorldTour ranking
14

RCUK rating
5

FDJ

FDJ will have gone into this season with high hopes. Their French climber Thibaut Pinot is one of the new wave of gallic riders who look set to light up the cycling world again, after many years of French cycling dolrums. Unfortunately, Thibaut cracked early in the Tour de France, and while one rider can’t necessarily define a whole team’s season, his bosses will have been hoping for much, much more from him. Still, the 25-year-old did  rise to the occasion to deliver a French win on Alpe d’Huez.

Season highlight
Pinot’s stage 20 win in the Tour de France will have just done enough to keep him in FDJ boss Marc Madiot’s good graces. The 25-year-old failed to mount a serious GC challenge, finishing 16th overall after his third place in 2014, but Alpe d’Huez is the sport’s greatest arena.

Lowlight
To say Pinot didn’t enjoy the opening week of the Tour, with its crosswinds, cobbles and punchy finishes, would be a grave understatement. He seemed to spend more time off his bike and cursing it than he did riding it.  His meltdown on stage four was the lowest point of a low first week.

Star performer
Hard to say. Whoever convinced a clearly incensed and unhappy Pinot not to abandon after stage three of the Tour probably had to dig quite deep into their suitcase of courage. Neo-pro Lorenzo Manzin also took a victory at UCI 1.1 RACE La Roue Tourangelle – not bad for a 20-year-old. 

Must do better
Alexandre Geniez will probably be doing a bit of extra descending practice this off-season after his slipshod journey down from Crosara in the Giro. Can Pinot challenge again at the Tour?

WorldTour ranking
15

RCUK rating
3

Cannondale-Garmin

A previous winner of the Giro, Ryder Hesjedal led his newly-merged Cannondale-Garmin team into the season with a lot of pressure on his shoulders. The Canadian didn’t quite recreate his 2012 form, but he did bag himself fifth overall with an aggressive display having lost nearly three minutes as early as stage two. At the Tour things weren’t quite so good for the American team, with an 11th for Andrew Talansky. Some dominant displays from Tom-Jelte Slagter at the Tour of Alberta and victory in the team classification at the Tour of Britain put a bit of pep into the end of season run-in.

Season highlight
Andrew Talanksy’S 11th place at the Tour de France CAME through sheer grit and determination. He might very well be capable of a higher placing, but when your team announces pre-start that they will only be hunting stage wins, 11th is pretty darn good.

Lowlight
Tom Danielson tested positive for synthetic testosterone this year, which is especially bad given the team’s strong anti-doping stance.

Star performer
Davide Formolo’s 2015 season included a solo stage win at the Giro d’Italia and second in the youth classification (albeit nearly two hours behind Fabrio Aru), as well as being the best young rider at Volta ao Algarve and also recording top tens at Tours of Poland and Alberta – all while still only 22.

Must do better
This one should be a ‘will do better’. Joe Dombrowski had a great season, winning the Tour of Utah, finishing fourth at the Tour of California and making his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta, but the youngster can do even better next year, mark our words.

WorldTour ranking
16

RCUK rating
4

IAM Cycling

IAM Cycling, bottom of the WorldTour team rankings, have had to settle for stage wins in second tier races this season, with their biggest successes coming in the Tours of Austria and Oman. Let’s hope Sylvain Chavanel, off to Europcar at the end of the season, has passed on some of his nous to the younger members of the IAM squad so they can keep on building towards the future.

Season highlight
Back-to-back stage wins at the Tour of Austria, delivered by David Tanner and Sondre Holst Enger.

Lowlight
Losing two riders on the same day of a race is unlucky, but doing so on the second stage of the Vuelta is downright miserable.

Star performer
Jerome Coppel won himself the French national time trial championships, then followed up that success with a TT silver medal at the worlds last month.

Must do better
The team has stated its intention to focus on sprint wins next season and will be expecting their trio of new signings, Leigh Howard, Vegard Laengen and Oliver Naesen, to help deliver that goal.

WorldTour ranking
17

RCUK rating
3

Share

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.

production