It's often a tough task to tell at a glance which teams are doing well at the Tour de France, there are 22 of them going around France, each with their own objectives and strengths.
So borrowing a tool from other sports, Cycling Central ran a Power Rankings during the 2018 Tour de France. It's an easy-to-follow summary of how each team excelled or fared poorly during the 2018 edition.
1. Team Sky
The squad with the best climbing talent coming into the race duly delivered the result that they were striving for. It was perhaps not in the way that many expected, with Geraint Thomas rather than Chris Froome taking the lead in Stage 10 and holding it all the way through to Paris.
Thomas was the strongest he's ever been in his career. He was the most consistent on the climbs, didn't lose time anywhere silly and had plenty of time in hand by the end of the race.
The team were strong throughout. It wasn't quite the attack-stifling ride of yesteryear, there were a number of opportunities for teams to attack and win, but Team Sky were always able to counter the most dangerous moves.
Froome fought back to reclaim the final podium spot off Primoz Roglic in the Stage 20 time trial, the four-time winner having to settle for the consolation prize, just missing out on four Grand Tour wins in a row.
Best Results: 1st (Stages 11,12), 2nd (Stage 18), 3rd (Stages 17,20), Yellow Jersey - Geraint Thomas
2nd (Stage 20), 3rd (Stage 11), 3rd GC - Chris Froome
2nd Team Time Trial
2. Quick-Step Floors
The Belgian squad excelled in every facet of the race. While most teams had one or two ways that they were going to do well in the Tour, Quick-Step Floors had a sprinter, a GC rider, puncheurs and climbers all up there with the best in each discipline.
Fernando Gaviria got things off to a flying start with the yellow jersey on Stage 1. It was a very impressive debut Tour from the Colombian sprinter, with very able assistance from star leadout man Max Richeze to claim two stage wins.
They also took a strong result in the team time trial and populated the breakaways on the intermediate stages. Philippe Gilbert and Yves Lampaert even tried some final kilometre flyers on bunch sprint finishes.
Come the high mountains and it was time for Julian Alaphilippe's time to shine. The Frenchman was the key animator of the mountains, taking two stages, then beating off the challenge of others to claim the King of the Mountains polka dots.
Best Results: 1st (Stages 1,4), 2nd (Stage 7), 1 day in Yellow - Fernando Gaviria
1st (Stage 10, 16), 2nd (Stage 14), KOM jersey - Julian Alaphilippe
3rd (Stage 5) - Philippe Gilbert
3rd (Stage 9) - Yves Lampaert
11th GC - Bob Jungels
3rd Team Time Trial
The team is Peter Sagan.
The way he uses his leadout in sprints is different from any other rider in the peloton. The last few BORA-hansgrohe leadout men are often on the front of the race with Sagan surfing wheels behind, looking for the fastest sprinter to follow. He'll tell them to ramp up the pace if he likes his position, or drop off if he doesn't, but it's rare you see him on a teammate's wheel.
He's a master of positioning and bike handling - to top it off he's arguably the best all-round athlete in the sport.
Despite suffering a rare crash, the world champion was able to battle his way to Paris, in the process breaking his own record for most sprint points in a Tour de France, raising the bar from 470 to 476.
Rafal Majka was on the attack a number of times throughout the mountains, he crested the top of the final climb on the stage a number of times, but kept on getting brought back on the descent or on the flat.
Best Results: 1st (Stages 2,5,13), 2nd (Stages 1,4,8), 3rd (Stage 7), 1 day in Yellow, Green Jersey - Peter Sagan
Things began to click for LottoNL-Jumbo once Dylan Groenewegen got into gear. His sprint performances saw him start from well back on each occasion and mop up the field with his tremendous power.
After the Dutch sprinter abandoned the team became all about their push for the general classification. Primož Roglič and Steven Kruijswijk were consistent in the early mountains, with Kruijswijk's long-range assault on the Alpe d'Huez.
Roglič got stronger as the race went on, with the Slovenian looking the strongest of all the contenders on the final few mountain stages. He faded in the time trial to fall off the podium, but it was still a strong fourth and fifth for the Dutch team on GC.
Best Results: 1st (Stages 7+8) - Dylan Groenewegen
1st (Stage 19), 4th GC - Primož Roglič
5th GC - Steven Kruijswijk
5. Team Sunweb
The German squad was all about Tom Dumoulin for this race after Michael Matthews dropped out with a virus before he could make much of an impact.
Dumoulin looked like he barely had a Giro d'Italia in his legs as he cruised up the mountains with the best of the climbers. His bad day came with a late broken wheel on the finish to Mur de Bretagne, then getting slugged with an additional 20 second penalty for drafting. If you take away that time loss, it's a lot closer race between the top two finishers on GC.
For a team not expected to be too adept in Dumoulin's support, riders like Simon Geschke and Soren Kragh Andersen performed well above expectations.
Best Results: 1st (Stage 20), 2nd (Stages 11,12), 2nd GC - Tom Dumoulin
5th Team Time Trial
6. UAE Team Emirates
If there was one rider one the general classification that was prepared to take a few risks to move himself up and create some interest, it was Dan Martin. When others were content to simply follow the pace of Team Sky it was often the Irishman who started the first move off the front, which in turn encouraged more attacks from behind.
A stage win, second on the showpiece 65km mountain stage, eighth on GC and the super combativity award as the most attacking rider shapes as a nice pile of accolades for Martin, who copped bad luck early in the race, as well as losing a bunch of time in the team time trial.
Alexander Kristoff was the main man on the flat stages, his leadout was a bit inconsistent and he couldn't match it with the pace of the faster sprinters at the start of the Tour. He came into his own once the top sprinters had been eliminated, looking like one of the fastest left in the race.
He eventually claimed his reward on the Champs Elysees, one of the prestige wins of any Tour de France.
Best Results: 1st (Stage 6), 2nd (Stage 17), 8th GC, Super Combativity Award - Dan Martin
1st (Stage 21), 2nd (Stage 13), 3rd (Stage 18) - Alexander Kristoff
You can't criticise Movistar for lack of attacking intent. All of their major GC riders went on long-range assaults at some point during the race. Alejandro Valverde was particularly prolific in the break and was used as a bridge for later Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana late on a number of occasions.
The stage win to the summit of the Col du Portet by Quintana saved the race for the team, a few decent positions on GC wouldn't have been nearly enough of a return for the Spanish squad.
They did win the teams classification, which let the team get up onto the final podium in Paris, but it's probably the least noticed of the final classifications.
Best Results: 1st (Stage 17), 10th GC - Nairo Quintana
7th GC - Mikel Landa
3rd (Stage 6), 14th GC - Alejandro Valverde
1st Team Standings
They came into the race hoping Jakob Fuglsang would reproduce some of his good form from the Dauphine, maybe even snag a podium position, but it wasn't to be for the Danish GC rider. It was a fairly anonymous performance from Fuglsang and he only ended up with 12th overall.
Where the team excelled was in the intermediate mountains, with two stage wins on the trot being what they'll remember from the 2018 Tour. They didn't have the most active race of any team, but with well-timed attacks by Omar Fraile and Magnus Cort (both of whom provided stage wins) and Tanel Kangert (who was the last man caught in the break twice), they showed their team sponsors to the world.
Best Results: 1st (Stage 14) - Omar Fraile
1st (Stage 15) Magnus Cort
12th GC - Jakob Fuglsang
9. Bahrain Merida
A fan's camera strap brought Vincenzo Nibali down on the Alpe d'Huez, fracturing one of his vertebrae and that was the end of his Tour de France. The team had to find new purpose and they managed the transition superbly with their strong climbing cohort sent out to look for stage wins.
They didn't manage to take a win, but five second-place finishes illuminated the race. Sonny Colbrelli's battles with Sagan and the Izagirre brothers' mountain excursions were part of what made the race great, even if they grabbed only limited glory in the process.
Best Results: 2nd (Stages 2+5) - Sonny Colbrelli
2nd (Stages 10+15) - Ion Izagirre
2nd (Stage 16) - Gorka Izagirre
10. AG2R-La Mondiale
It's not what they signed up for at the start of the race, but the French squad managed to salvage something of the 2018 Tour. Romain Bardet's GC bid was in trouble early on as he had a mechanical failure on the stage to Mur de Bretagne and then weathered puncture after puncture on the Roubaix stage.
He wasn't out of it until he again lost time in the mountains, slipping out of the yellow jersey battle entirely. Bardet rallied over the final stages to move up to sixth, but he was almost seven minutes behind Geraint Thomas and the top step of the podium that is demanded by the French.
Pierre Latour claimed a lightly contested young rider's classification, he fought off the earnest challenge of Guillame Martin and even then nearly lost it to Egan Bernal, who wasn't even trying for it. Nonetheless, it's a nice jersey to have in the team's possession.
Best Results: 6th GC - Romain Bardet
2nd (Stage 6), 13th GC, White Jersey - Pierre Latour
Trek-Segafredo came into the race with a mixed squad, similar to Quick-Step Floors, they could do a lot of things. They didn't reach the same heights as their Belgian counterparts, but they had their moments.
John Degenkolb's emotional Roubaix win was one of the poster moments of the race, and he continued to try hard in the sprints all the way up to his second place finish in Paris.
Bauke Mollema's GC campaign didn't really go anywhere, but he backed up to have a good go at the breakaways along with Jasper Stuyven.
Tom Skuijns was an impressive performer at the race, fighting for a nice stay in the KOM jersey early, then performing well as a teammate for the rest of the race.
Best Results: 1st (Stage 9), 2nd (Stage 21) - John Degenkolb
3rd (Stage 14) - Jasper Stuyven
3rd (Stage 15) Bauke Mollema
5 days in KOM jersey - Tom Skuijns
It was a superb start to the race for BMC, and they were long-time fixtures in the top three after winning the team time trial. Eight days in the yellow jersey for Greg van Avermaet were the highlight for the squad, who had picked themselves up after team leader Richie Porte had been caught up behind a fall on the opening day.
The team did a much better job of having the Aussie climber in safe places at important stages of the race from then on, but Porte was brought down in a crash early on Stage 9. Van Garderen went backwards on the same stage and the team's GC hopes were foiled.
It was a bit of a non-race for the team for then on, Damiano Caruso and van Avermaet tried hard in the breakaways, but never looked like recapturing the glory of the early spell in yellow.
Best Results: 1st - Team Time Trial
2nd (Stage 9), 8 days in Yellow Jersey - Greg van Avermaet
13. Groupama- FDJ
The team were all-in for their French sprinter, Arnaud Demare, but it was lean pickings for the fast man until the the top sprinters went home. The squad took on the role of the main sprint team, with the team taking responsibility for the chase on the bunch sprint finishes.
They also gave Demare a good chance at claiming a number of wins, if a few things had gone slightly differently, it would have been considered a really good Tour for the French World Tour squad.
Best Result: 1st (Stage 18), 3rd (Stages 2,13,21) - Arnaud Demare
A bit of an anonymous Tour de France for the Russian-sponsored squad. Ilnur Zakarin was never at the pointy end of the General Classification fight and only came out to fight late in the piece to climb some late placings on the list.
Marcel Kittel's relationship with sprint train was a long-distance one, and he was often way out of position when it came to the final sprint. He managed to surge late for some placings on the early stages, but the soap opera of dissent between him and the team meant it was no surprise when the big German powerhouse finished behind the time cut in the mountains.
Best Results: 3rd - Marcel Kittel - Stage 1
10th GC Ilnur Zakarin
It was looking ok for Mitchelton-Scott, they had Adam Yates in a nice position on GC after recovering from a few early crashes and heading into the first mountain stages all looked good for a Yates' tilt at the yellow jersey. He had a few bad days and after haemorrhaging time it was clear that squad would have to change goals.
With so much of the squad sent to protect Yates on the opening nine days of racing, it wasn't well adapted to changing to a stage-hunting focus. Mikel Nieve and Yates tried hard, and both looked like they might win a stage. Nieve was mowed down by Thomas in the final few hundred metres and ended up fifth on the day, while Yates crashed on the descent to Bagneres du Luchon when in the lead, finishing third.
It wasn't for lack of effort, but it was a poor return for a squad with high ambitions.
Best Results: 4th - Team Time Trial
3rd (Stage 16) Adam Yates
16. Direct Energie
If a team was to win a prize for being the most aggressive in the race, it would go to Direct Energie. They made sure they were present in almost every break, animating the race through the likes of Sylvain Chavanel, Fabien Grellier, Rein Taaramae and Damien Gaudin in particular.
They would have been hoping for more from star track specialist Thomas Boudat, he didn't really fire in the sprints.
Best Result: 3rd (Stage 10) - Rein Taaramae
Christophe Laporte came as close as anyone has in the past few years to breaking Cofidis' 10-year drought of stage wins. They tried hard in the mountains and intermediate stages, with Jesus Herrada and Daniel Navarro their main attackers over the ascents.
The team was mostly there in service of their French sprinter though, and he performed consistently over the course of the race.
Best Results: 2nd (Stage 18) Christophe Laporte
18. Lotto Soudal
Lotto Soudal got hit hard by injuries and abandons throughout the race, with only three riders finishing on the Champs Elysees. Without Tiesj Benoot, they looked without a rider for the intermediate mountains stages. Then without Andre Greipel, they had noone for the flat stages.
They were competitive with Greipel at times, and would be even lower on the standings if Thomas de Gendt hadn't been his usual self in the breakaways.
Best Result: 3rd - Andre Greipel - Stage 4
19. Wanty-Groupe Gobert
The Belgian underdogs started the Tour so well, they had been on the attack in almost every stage, took the mountains jersey and were even consistently putting riders in the top ten on the sprint finishes.
Guillame Martin broke a rib on the Roubaix stage and despite him having lost a lot of time, Wanty-Groupe Gobert still went all-in for their young French GC rider in the mountains. They barely went in any breakaways and while Martin ended up in bringing some fight to Latour for the white jersey, it wasn't a very exciting fight and didn't end up being very close, leaving the squad with little to show for their Tour.
Best Results: 3 days in KOM jersey - Dion Smith
6th (Stage 2) Timothy Dupont
6th (Stage 4) Andrea Pasqualon
21st GC - Guillame Martin
20. Dimension Data
The team came in with a clear goal of pursuing stage wins with Mark Cavendish, despite up and down form coming into the race. Cavendish never really got going in the sprints, and was eliminated once he got into the mountains. From there, Dimension Data really toiled to get their way back into the race, and the effort was clear as they made sure they got in a number of moves.
Nothing really worked for them, but once the main sprinters had gone home, there were a few opportunities for Edvald Boasson Hagen and he reclaimed some respectability.
The squad continues to impress off-the-bike with their commitment to their charity partners Qhubeka providing bikes to needy children.
Best Result: 4th (Stages 18,21) - Edvald Boasson Hagen
Warren Barguil ends up in 17th position overall for the Tour. It didn't seem like any of the strategies for their star rider really worked at this year's race, and it will be back to the drawing board to see if they can replicate the Frenchman's 2017 showing.
Their most memorable moment came when the team was well represented in the breakaway and managed to drop King of the Mountains jersey wearer (and eventual winner) Julian Alaphilippe on Stage 11 and looked to be putting Barguil in a good position to challenge for the polka dots.
That bid fell away and with it, any interest in Fortuneo-Samsic's campaign.
Best Result: 1 day in KOM jersey - Kevan Ledanois
14th (Stage 4), 17th GC Warren Barguil
22. EF Education First-Drapac
The American team got beaten up in a more spectacular fashion than any other team, with Lawson Craddock and Taylor Phinney both battling through to the finish after suffering dramatic falls.
The entire focus for the squad was Rigoberto Uran, and they got off to a very good start, doing a decent job in the team time trial and avoiding any unnecessary time loss for Uran early. The Colombian fell on the Roubaix stage and lost time on the first stages in the mountains. He then abandoned the race.
For a team that didn't have a sprinter, or another top-tier climber, it was a bitter blow and the team wasn't able to recover. They kept on trying new ideas, even lining up Taylor Phinney as an ad-hoc sprinter.
Best Result: 9th (Stage 18) Taylor Phinney