Dominance: Quickstep vs Sky

The QS team have seemingly picked up this year where they left off last year — keeping the win train a-rollin’ (15 thus far).

Over recent years there has been distain toward Team Sky for dominating certain races but that same ill will not applied to Quickstep for dominating the entire season.

I have my theories and opinions on the matter (all of which are correct! :grin:), what are your thoughts on the perceived difference in domination and subsequent scorn?

Team Sky races boring. QS fires off shot after shot.
Sky has had unlimited budget. QS has had to let riders go.
A British Team focusing all their effort on winning a race in France is going to be unpopular in France.
You don’t see a QS train out front grinding everyone down. The optics are bad.

When Alaphillipe went today, Stybar was waiting in the wings in case the peloton pulled them back – it’s tantamount to Sky tapping out an un-attackable pace in the Alps, but the optics are different.

In short, QS animates races, and Sky grinds them down.

Plus, Froome is an unlikeable character. So is Brailsford. I do really like Geraint Thomas, though.

My 2c.


I think it may partly about HOW they dominate.

Team Sky dominate in Grand Tours by sticking the whole team on the front and discouraging attacks (and if someone does attack, just riding steadily until they’re reeled in). QS dominate in one-day races by putting numbers in the front groups and attacking again and again until either their rivals give up the chase or give the designated QS sprinter an armchair ride to the finish.

Both are tactics with one aim: winning. But the QS method doesn’t work up the Tourmalet.

There’s probably also a Borg vs Wolf Pack consensus.

Emotionless, pre-programmed drones vs a pack of howling, romping individuals.

One is far more entertaining and associative.


I’ll second the optics of the teams being a big difference.

Quickstep have a great squad without one real standout and you get the sense that most of the team could win in a number of different ways - they have a Swiss Army knife team and they always have backup plan and tend to race smart.

I like em because I find one day races much more exciting and they liven up the peloton in those races.

It’s notable that when Kwiatkowski or Stannard win classics, there’s rarely any Death Star rhetoric floating around.

I get quite uncomfortable with the idea of who is “likable” or “unlikable”. Chris Froome may not give the most hilarious interview quotes, but he’s never humiliated a waitress or sexually assaulted a podium girl. Frankly, no-one knows the characters of the riders once they step inside the bus. Did Elia Viviani suddenly turn charming when he moved from Sky to QS? Did Kwiatkowski become a robotic dullard when he made the opposite journey?

(If there’s anyone on the Sky team I would single out, it’d be Moscon, but that’s for obvious reasons)


I find it interesting that a uber dominant grind 'em down rider from another era, Miguel Indurain, was as boring AF but unanimously liked, yet Froome, being of similar character is not as liked. :thinking:

The asthma medication certainly didn’t help :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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Sky fan here (have been with them since the formation though, want to point that out saying I’m not a front runner haha). Also I like a lot of the riders on QS so no anamocity.

I think it is the races, I would say your average cycling fan isn’t buying special cycling packages to watch every single race. They are just tuning into the grand tours, and really probably just the tour.

So they see sky dominate all the time and hate them, not understanding that QS is more dominant. Also I think it’s Sky’s attitude that they will be the best always, the thin line in their back representing margin of victory and what you have to do to win.

Yeah, I’m sure Indurain was squeaky clean when he won all those Tours in the early 90s.

Also, lol:

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Just assume everyone is on something – legal or “illegal” – and be done with it. :+1:

Now back to Styles of Domination…(no, not that podcast your weird neighbour listens to…)


Have any pros ever refused a contract with Team Sky? Serious question.

If the answer is no, are they just moving for the £€$? Or, do the pros really not care how Sky get the job done, they just get it done?

You’ve probably realised I don’t watch much televised cycling :rofl:

Horses for courses.
Their focus is completely different and couldn’t be at more opposite ends of the spectrum. In one case (QS) you have a team that dominates one day races, the other (sky) who goes after 3 week grand tours.

The way those races are won is so different, flats/punches vs. the mountains.

With that you get a team that play revolver, throwing guys off the front until one simply gets away, to dominate the one day classics, versus Sky which grinds down other teams in the mountains setting a relentless pace to stop/neutralize attacks and allows their climber (froome or thomas) to capitalize on either their TT prowess to gain a lead, or mountain top finish.

Keep in mind that you have a Belgian team winning in belgium, so there is a lot of home team fans. Paint that against a British team over in France/Italy dominating on visiting soil. Doesn’t go over well.


Fair enough, but I’m not uncomfortable with it at all. I think Froome is an utter hypocritical tosser.

Actually, you do. But when they are there, you know they are about to try to split the bunch to pieces in the cross-winds.

When you see QS up the front, you know it is time for your GC candidate, and designated TT guy to be at the front too.

Cavendish quit Sky after 1 year of a multi year deal because he felt they were too focused on winning yellow to help him get stages in the Tour. A couple of other guys (Warbasse?) have left after riding for Sky because they felt they didn’t get to show their talents. And of course they offered one Yates twin a contract (but not the other one) and they wanted to stay together, so they turned it down.

On Quickstep, they have been an uber team for years and years - sometimes they have dry seasons, and sometimes they get it right and have super seasons. They have always been a classics team (was it 96 when Mapei came 1,2,3 in Roubaix?) , but it’s clear where their priorities lie. I think to a certain extent that gets more respect from cycling fans - a Belgian team winning the Tour of Flanders because it’s what matters to a Belgian is different to a UK (or US) team winning the Tour because no-one in those countries has heard of or cares about any other races. Also, in the past they have tended to make the races exciting by attacking - this year they seem to have mostly been marking moves and if they do that all year then you might find people complaining. Though it’s glorious when the cross winds arrive and they just destroy the peleton. :slight_smile:
The other thing is the cultural aspect. Sky showed up with no pedigree, saying that they were going to win the TdF with a British rider, and they were going to do it clean. They essentially said to all the continental teams “when you were allowed to cheat we couldn’t compete, but now it’s harder to cheat we’re going to smoke you”. That doesn’t go down too well, especially when, after all the “marginal gains” publicity, there are a lot of questions about just how clean their riders are.


Sky is like the Army Rangers and QS is like Special Forces. Both bring the pain. Both have a team focus. One is designed for extended battle and the other for a snatch and grab. Both are exceedingly effective in their space. But Special Forces are way more fun to watch.


Edvald Boasson Hagen was said to have had a generous extention of contract offer on the table from Sky when he moved to Qhubeka

QS race totally differently to sky. They win by attacking in general, across the roster. Comparing the domination with the race styles is comparing apples and oranges imo.

A lot of the wins are semi classics/ pro conti races over the year too. Sky have most of their top guys doing laps of tenerife while QS are racing all year.

I think the single factor is this.

  1. Sky is set up to dominate a certain 3 week stage race
  2. Quickstep is set up to dominate one day races

When week two hits and Chris Froome is in yellow you have to watch Sky control the peloton for 5-7 hours a day for 14 days in a row. It gets old. It’s not about the how the teams race, it’s the fact that they are designed to do entirely different things in entirely different races.