Which team has won more races than any other? No, this is not a trick question, though you might be surprised by the answer – Cofidis. Yes, the boys in red and white have 11 victories to their name. HTC-Columbia are in 2nd place with 10 and Androni-Diquigiovanni in 3rd with 7.
Clearly, still smarting from last season’s relegation to the ranks of Continental-Pro, the boys of Cofidis feel that they have a point to prove. While their place in the Grand Tours is assured, for this season, invitations to some events: most notably, Tour of the Basque Country, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Flanders have gone missing in the post.
Cofidis have been sponsoring a cycling team since 1996 and are reflecting on whether they’ll continue. An answer is anticipated at the end of the month. The boys have done their best. In any event, if Cofidis bow out, they’ll all be looking for new posts and will not have done their case any harm.
To be fair, Cofidis also had a reasonably successful start to the 2009 season, so this is nothing new, but maybe it better reflects the depth and spirit in the squad since Leornardo Duque, Amael Moinard, the diminutive Samuel Dumoulin, Jens Keukeleire and Julien el Fares have all recently graced the podium. It would be a great shame to see this new self-belief crushed. I for one will be keeping my fingers crossed for them.
Postscript: Strictly speaking HTC-Columbia are now on level pegging with Cofidis, as Cavendish today recorded his maiden vistory of the season.
Post-postscript: Cofidis have renewed their sponsorship for a further two years – hurrah!