By Susan Westemeyer
Everyone knows that Cadel Evans won the ProTour overall rankings and that CSC took the team rankings, but who had the most kilometres this year? Who was the best climber and best sprinter? Which rider and team had the most drop-outs during ProTour races? These and enough other statistics to warm the cycling-crazed fan's heart have been put gathered and published by the Belgian website, cqranking.com.
The rider with the most ProTour wins was Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) with eight, followed by Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto) with six. The team with the most ProTour wins was not CSC, which finished tied for second with Rabobank with 13, but Lampre, which had 15. And, not surprisingly, Italy overwhelmingly won the nation's ranking, with 43 victories, followed by Spain with 29 and Germany with 21. No other nation was in double figures.
The most ProTour race days were ridden by Thomas Lövkvist of Française de Jeux with 84, closely followed by Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre) with 82 and Mario Aerts (Predictor) with 80. Eight riders on ProTour teams did not have a single day of ProTour racing (much of that due to injuries) and nine riders had exactly one ProTour racing day.
Aerts may have finished third in the days category, but took the title in most ProTour kilometres, with 13,212. Not surprisingly, Bruseghin and Lövkvist were in the following positions.
Vladimir Gusev of Discovery rode the most one-day ProTour races with 11, followed by Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval) and Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), with ten each. Theo Eltink of Rabobank started the most ProTour stage races with eight. He was followed by 13 riders who started seven races. Of them, only four riders finished seven races: Bruseghin, Eltink, Gustav Erik Larsson of Unibet, and Benoît Poilvet of Crédit Agricole.
Aerts was the only rider to do all three Grand Tours, finishing 20th in the Giro d'Italia, 78th in the Tour de France and 28th in the Vuelta a España.
On a more negative note, Tomas Vaitkus of Discovery Channel dropped out of the most ProTour races, with seven. Seven riders dropped out of six races each, including three Gerolsteiner riders (Heinrich Haussler, Tim Klinger and Marcus Zberg). Discovery Channel won the team ranking, with 69 drop-outs. Gerolsteiner followed with 66.
The best ProTour time trialist was, unsurprisingly, Fabian Cancellara, (CSC) followed by two Astana riders, Alexander Vinokourov and Paolo Savoldelli. Equally unsurprising was the best sprinter: Petacchi, ahead of Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Erik Zabel (Milram). CQrankings said that the best climber was Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval), followed rather distantly by Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) and Alberto Contador (Discovery).
In a final orgy of statistics, CQrankings noted that there were 13 one-day races (including one team time trial). Three Grand Tours and ten other stage races combined for 138 stages, including three team trials and 15 individual time trials. Those 13 stage races included 13 points classifications and 12 mountains classifications -- none were in the flat Eneco Tour.
All of the ProTour races together went for a total of 23,991 km, with 2,950 km in one-day races, 10,297 in the three Grand Tours and 10,744 in the other stage races.
There were 91 different winners, from 25 different teams and 19 different lands. 817 riders took part in the ProTour races in 2007. There were 1,198 drop-outs by 601 riders from 41 teams.