What was the first half of the 2008 season like for the 18 ProTour teams? Who can be satisfied with their performance and who needs improvement? Or, as the Cyclingnews staff asked, 'What went right and what went wrong?'
Here is part one of a team-by-team analysis of the first half of the year. The teams are listed in no particular order.
Française des Jeux
By Hedwig Kröner
What went right: The team's star rider, Philippe Gilbert, did not miss out on a successful early season, winning races as soon as in February at the Challenge of Mallorca. He travelled back to his beloved Northern Europe in March to win the Belgian season opener, Omloop Het Volk, as well as the less famous GP Le Samyn in an almost untouchable manner. In May, Sébastien Chavanel - not to be confused with his brother, Sylvain, at Cofidis - secured a stage and the overall win of the Tour de Picardie, which, in addition to the rest of the team's performances, put the squad to the top of the teams classification of the French Cup and the eighth spot on the ProTour team ranking.
What went wrong: After a great start, Gilbert failed to deliver on his home turf in the Ardennes Classics. Since the month of March, the team directed by Marc Madiot is fuelled by good placings, but no major victories. Frédéric Guesdon and Christophe Mengin, the team's veterans, were unable to shine in the Spring Classics, even though Guesdon finished 11th in Paris-Roubaix and won the Tro Bro Leon later in April. One of the team's young promises, Jelle Vanendert, will be out of action for a long time after a heavy crash in the Dauphiné injured his hip.
Read full review.