Let the fun begin.
I bring you the professional peloton power rankings for the first time ever.
I'll be posting my rankings here for men and women at the start of each month. In addition to this I'll be breaking down power rankings for the best sprinters and climbers month by month.
For better or for worse, here are my rankings heading into the first month of proper racing.
Team SD Worx Headline 2024 Women's Teams
In the wake of Team SD Worx's dominant performance throughout 2024, I am sceptical as to whether any team has built their roster to stop them repeating their success in 2025. Their consistent success with a relatively young roster underscores the tremendous success of the Dutch cycling federation in developing the world's best cycling talent.
|Team SD Worx
|Heading into the 2024 season, Team SD Worx, a name synonymous with Women's WorldTour dominance, seeks to elevate their unparalleled success.
Having claimed seven world number 1 finishes in the last eight seasons, victories in major pretty much every major Classic, and a triumphant Tour de France Femmes campaign in 2023 taking 1 and 2 on General Classification, SD Worx enters 2024 with no question marks. Under the strategic guidance of former world champion turned Director Sportif, Anna van der Breggen, the team has outperformed Lidl-Trek, Canyon-SRAM and Visma-Lease a Bike with such consistency that they're hard to consider as true rivals. I would not be surprised to see them adding an Olympic Gold to their trophy cabinet in 2024.
|While second comes right after first, SD Worx have riders ranked 1, 2, 3 and 4 on their roster. So the gap to 2nd is larger than it appears.
That said, Canyon//SRAM head into the season with the only roster that looks capable of trying to compete with SD Worx.
Something to be said for the top two teams being dedicated women's teams I think.
Chloe Dygert's return to form in 2023 cannot be overlooked and I hope she continues to make strides. With an innate ability to inject life into races, Dygert's potential impact on CANYON//SRAM's performance in 2024 is immense. The pressure is on Team DS Ronny Lauke to leverage Dygert's strengths and propel the already formidable roster to victories. Anchored by a powerhouse lineup including Soraya Paladin, Tiffany Cromwell, Kasia Niewiadoma, Neve Bradbury, Zoe Bäckstedt, Elise Chabbey, and emerging talent Maike van der Duin, CANYON//SRAM stands poised for an exciting and competitive season ahead.
|Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL
After serving as Lorena Wiebes' final lead-out rider in the sprint train, Kool seized her moment to shine in the 2023 season. With Wiebes moving on to SD Worx, Kool was entrusted with the role of the team's primary sprinter, and she swiftly justified DSM's belief in her potential to surpass her predecessor. While displaying her rapid finishing skills during her time at NXTG, Kool has notably progressed since then. She made a statement by outpacing Wiebes in a head-to-head sprint on the season's opening day, culminating in an outstanding tally of 13 victories by the year's end.
In her solitary efforts, Charlotte Kool significantly raises DSM's profile, demanding attention and recognition for the team. Meanwhile, the newly rebranded Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL Women's Team landed in Australia at the start of 2024 in anticipation of the Women's Tour Down Under and they did not disappoint. With ascending star Nienke Vinke securing second on the final stage and second on General Classification with an incredible effort on the final climb.
|FDJ - SUEZ
|FDJ - SUEZ boasts a formidable lineup anchored by three of the cycling world's most accomplished riders: Grace Brown, Marta Cavalli, and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig. These exceptional athletes have consistently demonstrated their prowess on cycling's grandest stages, showcasing not only their ability to secure victories but also their knack for outperforming the world's elite riders. Remarkably, in recent years, there are only a handful of cyclists outside of the SD Worx team who can rival their impressive track record and claim similar success in high-profile competitions.
|Lidl - Trek
The high-profile women's team of Lidl-Trek experienced a relatively subdued 2023, despite being, financially, one of the better off teams. With only nine (9) professional wins, Charlotte Kool (best name in cycling right now) claimed more victories than the entire team. The team, laden with star power, faces the pressure of high expectations in 2024.
As the calendar flipped to 2024, Lidl-Trek encountered a challenging start. Their absence from the podium at the Women's Tour Down Under and the modest representation in the Deakin University Elite Women's Road Race, where only three riders crossed the finish line with the best placing at 18th, marked a rocky beginning.
The team will undoubtably collect points and finish the season somewhere in near the top of the table. Bouyed, no doubt, by the strong performances of their Italian riders at the Olympic Games and World Championship.
However, coming out of 2023, one thing was clear; Lidl-Trek do not have the 'it' factor needed to go head-to-head with SD Worx, and they made no discernible changes between 2023 and 2024 to suggest a shift in this dynamic.
Success for Lidl-Trek in 2024 has to be about bridging this competitive gap and making significant strides towards challenging SD Worx.
|Visma-Lease a Bike
|The 2023 season marked a historic triumph for the Visma-Lease a Bike organization in men's cycling, etching their name in the annals of the sport. Sepp Kuss's stellar victory in the Vuelta a España propelled the Dutch team to an unprecedented feat—the first-ever squad to conquer all three grand tours in a single season.
Apparently this remarkable achievement earned the mthe moniker 'Killer Bees,' aligning with the peculiar trend of nicknames emerging among men's teams. Killer Bees doesn't quite have the ring to it that Quickstep's 'Hound Dogs' (or something) does.
As the Visma-Lease a Bike men's team basks in the glory of their groundbreaking season, the women's team is gearing up for its own journey to success. While their achievements in 2023 were more modest, with ten wins and an eighth-place UCI ranking, the team has already made waves in the Australian summer races at the Women's Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Looking ahead to the spring classics, the women's team harbors ambitious aspirations. Armed with robust tactics and a roster of formidable riders, they aim to make a significant impact on the one-day races, with podium finishes looming on the horizon. The Visma-Lease a Bike women's team is poised for a season of challenges and triumphs, eager to etch their own chapter in cycling history.
|AG INSURANCE-SOUDAL QUICK-STEP
|AG INSURANCE-SOUDAL QUICK-STEP's promotion to World Tour status at the end of 2023 was notable.
The Dutch outfit adopts a progressive three-tier team structure, emphasizing a comprehensive development framework for women's cycling. Their strategic approach prioritizes talent retention and the overall strengthening of their riders. Rather than pursuing marquee names, the team places emphasis on nurturing young riders.
In a significant transfer move, Australian cyclist Sarah Gigante joined the outfit for 2024. Gigante, a multiple Australian national champion in both road and time trial disciplines signifies a pivotal juncture in her career.
AG Insurance-Soudal's proactive setup has already yielded success, with Gigante securing the final stage of the Women's Tour Down Under and claiming the General Classification victory. Additionally, Ally Wollaston contributed to the team's triumph with a Stage 1 victory.
Distinguishing themselves through ongoing investments in development, AG Insurance-Soudal operates with remarkable efficiency, witnessing tangible returns. This unique approach positions them as a formidable force in women's cycling, setting the stage for continued success in the seasons ahead.
|Team UAE ADQ
|Rumors are swirling that Team UAE ADFQ extended a jaw-dropping €1 million contract offer to Demi Vollering following her stellar performance in the Tour de France. It seems, in this case, money might just be able to buy happiness.
The allure of such an incredible offer showcases the team's unmistakable ambition to secure victory in the Tour de France. However, as the gossip goes, Demi Vollering remains committed to SD Worx.
I have confidence that Team UAE ADQ may find success in smaller races and contend at the finishes of major ones, but victory against the likes of Kool or Wiebes in 2024 would be a monumental upset. Looking to the hills, and I see no one who can match Demi, Kasia or the other world-class climbers in challenging terrain.
In essence, while I see the team's potential, and believe in their capability at the smaller races... I will not be betting on these sprinters to outshine Kool, Wiebes, or these climbers to match the prowess of Demi and Kasia in 2024.
This team needs a €1 million superstar. Kopecky mentioned she could leave SD Worx, perhaps it will be her? If that happened in 2024 it would change everything about this team's trajectory. If anyone snaps a photo of her talking to anyone official this week at UAE Tour, it might just happen.
|Human Powered Health
|It's fascinating to see the strategic shift made by Human Powered Health in focusing on women's cycling after the demise of their men's team. The commitment to growing the women's team in "scope, size, capability" for 2024 indicates a forward-thinking approach and recognition of the potential in women's cycling.
In 2023, the late signings of Marjolein van 't Geloof and Jesse Vandenbulcke, coming from Le Col Wahoo during a sponsorship crisis, and Audrey Cordon-Ragot from Zaaf after payment issues, highlight the team's ability to capitalize on opportunities and strengthen their roster.
The addition of Ruth Edwards (formerly Winder) further enhances the team's competitiveness. Her impressive performance after a 2-year hiatus, particularly standing out in the climbs during the summer of cycling in Australia, suggests a remarkable return to form. The statement that she has the potential to win any of the biggest races in the world adds significant anticipation and excitement for the upcoming season.
Human Powered Health seems to have strategically positioned itself to be a formidable force in women's cycling for 2024, and the combination of experienced riders and emerging talents could make them contenders in various races. It will be interesting to see how this investment and roster changes play out in the competitive cycling landscape.
In 2018, Movistar's women's team was a modest Spanish squad, but thanks to Annemiek van Vleuten, they became a powerhouse in the peloton. Van Vleuten's retirement in 2023 left a void, and the team's dynamics have shifted in 2024. While the win count might dip, Movistar still boasts talents like Liane Lippert and Emma Norsgaard, both stage winners at the Tour de France Femmes in 2023.
Visma Lease a Bike Hold Top Spot Despite Strong Competition
In 2023, Visma achieved a remarkable feat by winning all three Grand Tours. Despite some loss of strength, the team strategically made moves to bolster their position. However, formidable challenges are on the horizon as we delve into the heart of the racing season in February, March, and April.
Notably, Bora's significant acquisition of Red Bull as a sponsor and co-owner, coupled with sustained investments by UAE, suggests a formidable challenge to Visma's dominance. The hopeful absence of crashes and injuries further intensifies the competition for the top spot in the Power Rankings, promising an eagerly contested battle among these cycling giants.
|Visma-Lease a Bike
Heading into 2024, the team that truly stands as the best in the world is eyeing a historic third consecutive Tour de France victory, building on their impeccable clean sweep of Grand Tours in 2023.
Unveiling their revamped appearance at the team presentation in Amsterdam, the Dutch powerhouse showcased cycling luminaries like Jonas Vingegaard and Wout van Aert, both adorned in the iconic yellow jersey on stage. The team's commitment was further emphasized with Vingegaard and Sepp Kuss confirming contract extensions until 2028 and 2027, respectively.
New additions, including Per Strand Hagenes, Matteo Jorgensen, and Cian Uijtdebroeks, were introduced, with Uijtdebroeks expressing confidence in sporting the Visma-Lease a Bike yellow jersey despite prior drama with Bora-Hansgrohe.
As they uphold their unwavering sporting ambitions, the team is poised to leave a mark in the spring classics, target stage victories in the Giro d'Italia, strive for a historic third consecutive Tour de France triumph, and defend their esteemed position as reigning champions in the Vuelta a España. The upcoming season is primed for another captivating and ambitious chapter for this exceptional cycling team
|Team UAE ADQ
Amidst their contentment with this achievement, the reality check comes with Jumbo-Visma's dominant sweep of Grand Tours, reminding them and the rest of the world that title of "the best team in the world" is about the biggest races.
Tadej's setback at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, coupled with some dubious strategic decisions during the Tour de France, allowed Jumbo-Visma to secure a comfortable victory in the Tour. 2024 needs to be about executing perfectly on the grandest stage.
The focus for 2024 is clear - to return to the top step of the podium. Beyond the formidable duo of Yates and Pogacar, the team boasts a wealth of talent in Jay Vine, João Almeida, Marc Hirschi, Brandon McNulty, and Juan Ayuso, making them a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming season.
|BORA - Hansgrohe
Bora has undoubtedly experienced one of the most thrilling off-seasons in recent memory.
The headline-making move of Slovenian sensation Primož Roglič from Jumbo to Bora adds an electrifying dimension to the upcoming Tour de France. The team, Bora-Hansgrohe, has officially announced its focus on the 2024 Tour de France, with Roglič designated as the sole leader, and key supporting roles entrusted to Jai Hindley and Aleksandr Vlasov. Roglič, commencing his 2024 season in March after an altitude camp, will use the early part of the season for synergy-building and cohesion with his new teammates, creating a finely-tuned squad for the Tour.
This development significantly impacts Alpecin-Deceuninck, the defending Green Jersey champions at the Tour de France, who may now face a less challenging competition without the presence of Australian sprinter Sam Welsford, arguably one of the fastest men in the world.
Sam Welsford is poised for exceptional success in alternative sprint opportunities. HAving already dominated at the Tour Down Under in 2024. Bora's roster, recognised as one of the most stacked in professional cycling, features a wealth of talent including Jai Hindley, Vlasov, Matteo Sobrero, Nico Denz, and Danny van Poppel.
With these strategic moves, Bora is set to make a significant impact across various facets of professional cycling, leaving fans eagerly anticipating their performance in the upcoming season.
|Alpecin-Deceuninck proudly presents its complete 30-rider roster for the upcoming 2024 season, featuring three exciting new signings and the elevation of four talented riders from the development squad to the World Tour level. The seven additions include standout names such as U23 road race World Champion Axel Laurance, 2022 Zwift Academy victor Luca Vergallito, Henri Uhlig, Timo Kielich, Stan Van Tricht, Lars Boven, and Juri Hollmann, the latter three being recruited from other World Tour teams.
In their debut World Tour season, the Belgian team showcased brilliance, clinching an impressive 34 victories led by the outstanding performances of Classics maestro Mathieu van der Poel, versatile sprinter Kaden Groves, and Green Jersey winner Jasper Philipsen.
Heading into 2024 the teams focus remains on cycling monuments. The team's remarkable achievements in 2023, including triumphs in Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix courtesy of Van der Poel, along with a World Championships Road race victory, cement their reputation as the team to beat in any classic scenario. With two of the world's fastest male sprinters in their lineup, Alpecin-Deceuninck remains an imposing force.
As they set their sights on the Grand Tours, the team aims to replicate the success of 2023, with their sprinting prowess signaling a determined defense of their jersey and a commitment to providing formidable competition for any challenger.
|"Ineos Grenadiers shake up management for 2024 after departure of Ellingworth"
Steve Cummings new director of racing, Scott Drawer new performance director and John Allert named as CEO
The significant changes to this roster before we even start talking about the riders.
Despite their once unparalleled success, the team's incredibly successful legacy currently hangs in suspense. Fans eagerly await to see if their renewed ambition aligns with the heights they previously achieved. The British WorldTour team boasts an illustrious record, having clinched seven Tour de France titles, three Giro d'Italia victories, two Vuelta a España triumphs, and victories in three of the five Monuments—Paris-Roubaix, Milan-Sanremo, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
However, the emergence of riders like Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Jonas Vingegaard, and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) since 2020 has had a notable impact on Ineos Grenadiers' success in Grand Tours and other major races. This, coupled with their hesitation to make necessary strategic moves and challenges in identifying the right Grand Tour talents, has presented obstacles for the team. The stage is set for the Ineos Grenadiers to navigate these challenges and strive for a resurgence in their pursuit of cycling excellence.
|Soudal Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team
|The infamous "Dog Pound."
Undoubtedly the most successful active team in men's professional cycling, the squad experienced a remarkable 2023 season, with 47 wins. A relatively down year, compared with 65 in 2021 and 2022.
They were unable to repeat their extraordinary 2022 season, which would see Remco Evenepoel crowned Road World Champion, but it was impressive none-the-less.
The focus for 2024 must be on supporting Evenepoel's quest for more Grand Tour successes, alongside sprinters Fabio Jakobsen and Tim Merlier.
Despite these changes, the team retains formidable strength with world-class one-day racers Julian Alaphilippe, a two-time world champion, and Kasper Asgreen, a Tour of Flanders winner, ensuring they remain a force to be reckoned with.
|Trek's ambitions are clearly expansive, extending beyond the spring classics. With climbers of the caliber of Bauke Mollema, Giulio Ciccone, Kenny Elissonde, and Juan Pedro López, the team consistently ventures into the realm of Grand Tours. While they may have shifted focus from the General Classification, their prowess remains formidable in the pursuit of stage victories, notably through Mads Pedersen's strategic involvement in breakaways.
The signing of Tao Geoghegan Hart stands out as a marquee addition, injecting renewed vigor into their aspirations for General Classification leadership in the Grand Tours. Despite the notable reinforcements with Carlos Verona, Sam Oomen, Patrick Konrad, and Fabio Felline, there remains a degree of skepticism about their potential for Tour de France glory. Given the team's size and stature, capturing the prestigious title seems to be their ultimate aim.
Nevertheless, boasting a star-studded roster, Trek is poised to be a prominent contender at the conclusion of most races, stages, and tours, securing a significant number of victories along the way.
|Intermarche - Wanty
For the third consecutive year, Intermarché-Wanty has kicked off its racing season with resounding victories. On January 25, 2024, Biniam Girmay and the team secured an opening triumph in the sprint at the Surf Coast Classic in Australia. Merely three days later, Gerben Thijssen's newly-formed train propelled him to victory in the Trofeo Palma on Mallorca.
While the Surf Coast Classic win may not be considered a major triumph, it adds to the consistent success story of Intermarché, which began to flourish following the acquisition of the promising young talent Biniam Girmay in 2021. Despite being in his early 20s, the Eritrean cyclist has evolved into the team's talisman, notably clinching victories in Gent-Wevelgem and the Giro d'Italia just last year.
Girmay's pivotal role in the team's success is evident as the management has expressed their confidence in him by extending his contract through 2026. To bolster his ambitions, the team has strategically brought in new riders such as Mike Teunissen, Rui Costa, and Lilian Calmejane during the 2022/23 season. These additions are poised to provide crucial support for Girmay as he continues to chase his goals.
Intermarché-Wanty has undeniably become the darling of professional cycling, and their compelling narrative makes them impossible not to rally behind.
Bahrain, led by the prominent Matej Mohoric, stands out as a noteworthy presence on the cycling scene.
In 2023, the team achieved victories in all three Grand Tours, an impressive feat that included securing three stage wins in the prestigious Tour de France. Their consistent performance was underlined by having a rider finish in the top 10 of the General Classification in each of the three Grand Tours.
While their success in the Classics and other one-day races was relatively modest, the team enters 2024 with a strong position to sustain their triumphs in three of the sport's major events. Despite the setback of losing Mikel Landa, the team is well-equipped with talents such as Cam Scott, Wout Poels, Jack Haig, and Santiago Buitrago. This formidable lineup positions Bahrain for continued success in the upcoming season.
|Groupama - SUEZ
|In 2023, Groupama-FDJ found themselves grappling for recognition on the global stage, residing in the shadows of their more prominent female counterparts. The team's struggled beyond French borders, with limited successes to boast about. Worse yet, domestically, they fell short of securing triumphs on the grandest platforms, settling for a second-place finish at the prestigious 2023 Paris-Nice as the highlight of their campaign.
Despite the seasoned strength of riders like David Gaudu, Stefan Kung, and Valentin Madouas, potential for success in 2024 lies in the youthful talent within their ranks. Laurence Pithie, a 21-year-old kiwi, has already secured a World Tour victory in Australia, marking a significant milestone in his burgeoning career. Additionally, there's promise in the emergence of Romain Grégoire, a rising French rider who showcased notable achievements in both youth classifications and the general classification in various French professional races. As Groupama-FDJ looks to the future, these young talents could well be the key to steering the team towards a more prominent and successful position in the cycling world.
The shifting dynamics within teams and the ever-unpredictable nature of the sport make each ranking a snapshot of the current landscape. Don't miss out on the upcoming insights and updates. Follow us on social media to stay in the loop as we drop our next article at the beginning of March.