2018 spring classics

drc

Sep 2, 2015
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The most intense part of the cycling year, spring classics season from Strade till LBL, is over. What did we see/learn this year?

- 4 monuments ending with rather heroic solo efforts (I know in PR Sagan arrived with Dillier bur really Sagan owned this one from 50km to go)
- Surprising winners: Nibali (still a nice surprise for me), Valgren, Jungels
- Cyclists that delivered: Sagan, Alaphilippe, Wellens, Valgren, Bennot, Tepstra, Bardet, Vanendert, Nibali
- Cyclists that didn't not deliver: Kwiatkowski (by far), Valverde, Gilbert (I guess he can be easily excused by his team mate wins), Martin, Van Avermaet (almost as bad as Kwiato), Vanmarcke, Matthews, Naesen, Stuyven, all of the sprinters (Viviani, Damare, Kristoff etc...)
- Teams that delivered: Quickstep, Astana, Lotto-Soudal, Bora
- Teams that didn't deliver: Sky (just shockingly bad performances on cobbles and in Ardennes), Movistar, BMC
- Surprises/Discoveries: Pedersen, Valgren (the young Danes really impressed), Van Aert (this guy definitely has got a potential - time will tell)

All in all very good and exiting classic races. I missed a bit more of head to head action at the monuments - raw power if fine now and then but a small group finish sometimes can be even more exciting. Other thoughts?
 
It’s going back a bit, but I think of the sprinters you could argue Ewan delivered with a podium at MSR, comfortably beating all others for 2nd. As a highlight for MTS’s classics season it’s probably not what they would hope for, but it’s cause for optimism for them in the future.

By the same logic, Trentin must go down as a disappointment. After his stage wins at the Vuelta and dominant win at Paris Tours, this classics season was supposed to be a big one for him. Instead his most prominent contribution was a “what-if” in the finale at San Remo.
 
While Van Avermaet ccertainly did not have a great spring, he wasn't nearly as bad as Kwiatkowski.

E3: 3rd
GW: 14th
DDV: 8th
RvV: 5th
PR: 4th

That is still pretty good imo.

Anyway, I think overall the classics were a abit less entertaining than last year despite FW, Scheldeprijs and LBL being less dull than expected.
But my favorite race was E3 for sure. Action from 100km out, alot of attacks and the final kilometers were very tense. It could've done with a more popular winner but Terpstra really deserved that.
The Belgians were pretty underwhelming aswell.
 
May 10, 2017
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By that same token, I think it is a little harsh to be disappointed in Stuyven. Given he didn't enter the Classics as the leader, but from MSR onwards he took on the leadership role and excelled. 4th in Omloop, 10th MSR, 6th E3, 9th GW, 10th Dwars, 7th Flanders, 5th Roubaix and he is only 26. Arguably the best Classics campaign of all the Belgian guys I think given age, reputation, team strength and role within roster
 
drc said:
The most intense part of the cycling year, spring classics season from Strade till LBL, is over. What did we see/learn this year?

- Cyclists that didn't not deliver: Kwiatkowski (by far), Valverde, Gilbert (I guess he can be easily excused by his team mate wins), Martin, Van Avermaet (almost as bad as Kwiato), Vanmarcke, Matthews, Naesen, Stuyven, all of the sprinters (Viviani, Damare, Kristoff etc...)
Other thoughts?
It depends on what you mean by delivering. I think Stuyven delivered with top 10 results in nearly every classic worthy of note. He missed out on a podium, but was otherwise present in every cobbles race finale. Also, I wouldn't really say that Viviani didn't deliver. He was 2nd in G-W and won De Panne, and otherwise he was not part of QS classics squad. Van Avermaet was also ok - just not as strong, relatively speaking, as last year and certainly more marked this year, which made it almost impossible for him to win.

To me, the three biggest underperformers were Kristoff, Martin and Kwiatkowski. Martin might have gotten a top 10 result without the puncture in LBL yesterday, while Kristoff has nothing to show except a 4th place finish in MSR.
 
Seen pretty much all the big classics the last two years (Omloop, Strade, E-3, G-W, MSR, Flanders, Roubaix, AGR, FW, LBL and just add Kuurne, Pijl and Dwaars as well). The verdict is it has been a fine classics season, but nothing like last year and I doubt it will happen in a long time. Last year was a perfect storm of Kwiatkowski, Greg and Phil showing up and just being awesome, throw Sagan in there, and really wanting to make the races far out. A perfect storm. Then you obviously had the insane Valverde performances, but FW and Liege was both uninspiring.

I would probably rate it 6,5 or 7 out of 10 while last year would get around 9/10.
 
To me, the three biggest underperformers were Kristoff, Martin and Kwiatkowski. Martin might have gotten a top 10 result without the puncture in LBL yesterday, while Kristoff has nothing to show except a 4th place finish in MSR.
It’s a funny one with Martin, we say he had a disappointing “classics season,” when really, he had 2 bad races (3 if you count Amstel, where he’s never been a factor anyway). He was off the pace in stage races too, but isn’t that different from a classics season (Kwiatkowski has been good in stage races, but disappointing in classics, for example).

But certainly, we can say that UAE are just having a bad start to 2018. Kristoff has never got going. Martin has had bad luck but that doesn’t seem to be disguising signs of his bad form (if he could have held Wellens’ wheel in LBL the finale could have been very different), Rui Costa has been quiet at best, and Aru hasn’t impressed in his limited racing. Sooner or later their sponsor is going to insist that someone do something.
 
You know it's funny we're all talking about how Valverde had a disastrous classics season (and specifically Ardennes week). Yet how many riders in the peloton would LOVE to have his results from this year's classics season? I think if we put this in perspective we just expect a lot more from him than we do pretty much any other rider (other than maybe Sagan) in the entire peloton.

His classics results:
4th - Strade Bianche
11th - Dwars door Vlaanderen (was he actually supposed to be or expected to be that close in a cobbled race)
5th - Amstel
2nd - Fleche Wallone
13th - LBL

How many other riders would we call that disastrous for?

Yes I'm very guilty of saying he's had a disastrous classics season.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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RedheadDane said:
I thought Stuyven was co-leader with Degenkolb the entire time.
With Pedersen jumping in as a random wildcard.
I hope you don't believe they get paid the same. There are much higher expactions for Degenkolb to perform than Stuyven. He has underperformed for 3 years now. Maybe he would fit better in a pro conti team.
 
Re: Re:

El Pistolero said:
RedheadDane said:
I thought Stuyven was co-leader with Degenkolb the entire time.
With Pedersen jumping in as a random wildcard.
I hope you don't believe they get paid the same. There are much higher expactions for Degenkolb to perform than Stuyven. He has underperformed for 3 years now. Maybe he would fit better in a pro conti team.
I don`t think Degenkolb will ever get back to the level he had before the accident. He is just not looking the same and Trek should probably just change his role. Maybe he can show some results without any pressure.
 
Re: Re:

El Pistolero said:
RedheadDane said:
I thought Stuyven was co-leader with Degenkolb the entire time.
With Pedersen jumping in as a random wildcard.
I hope you don't believe they get paid the same. There are much higher expactions for Degenkolb to perform than Stuyven. He has underperformed for 3 years now. Maybe he would fit better in a pro conti team.
I wouldn't say Degenkolb underperformed in 2016 - and by "underperformed for 3 years now" I suppose you mean in terms of spring classics, so 2016-2018 - he simply didn't perform, for obvious reasons. The moment he was hit by that car expectations towards his performance sorta went down.
 
Re:

Koronin said:
You know it's funny we're all talking about how Valverde had a disastrous classics season (and specifically Ardennes week). Yet how many riders in the peloton would LOVE to have his results from this year's classics season? I think if we put this in perspective we just expect a lot more from him than we do pretty much any other rider (other than maybe Sagan) in the entire peloton.

His classics results:
4th - Strade Bianche
11th - Dwars door Vlaanderen (was he actually supposed to be or expected to be that close in a cobbled race)
5th - Amstel
2nd - Fleche Wallone
13th - LBL

How many other riders would we call that disastrous for?

Yes I'm very guilty of saying he's had a disastrous classics season.
He set the bar very high, so I would say it's a bad season, at least for him. For Landa, Amador, or anyone else in his team it would be a very succesful classics campaign.

Also for Van Avermaet not a bad season at all, but because of last year, it doesn't seem very good.

As for the racing itself, I would call this classic season pretty interesting.
 
Apr 1, 2013
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I guess judging van Avermaet's and Valverde's 2018 campaign as "not delivering" is comparing both to their best in the past (actually GvA had one good and one marvellous season and that's it) ... comparing "delivery" to potential purely based on end results would e.g. put Peter Sagan to the "non-delivery"-section every year (based on potential he should be winning two of the three monuments each and every year) ...
what I noticed though was GvA not airing much dominance this year, perhaps being able to win a race with a lucky punch, but not by active anticipation. whereas Alaphilippe, Benoot, Sagan, Terpstra or Valverde looked as being able to power themselves to a win ...
 
Re:

Leinster said:
It’s going back a bit, but I think of the sprinters you could argue Ewan delivered with a podium at MSR, comfortably beating all others for 2nd. As a highlight for MTS’s classics season it’s probably not what they would hope for, but it’s cause for optimism for them in the future.

By the same logic, Trentin must go down as a disappointment. After his stage wins at the Vuelta and dominant win at Paris Tours, this classics season was supposed to be a big one for him. Instead his most prominent contribution was a “what-if” in the finale at San Remo.
Trentin's form was fine - he made the final selection in all the lead up races - Crashed in Flanders and spent 40kms getting back to the peleton while he crashed out in PR - His form was OK but never tested himself in the final for a variety of reasons.
 
Re: Re:

Blanco said:
Koronin said:
You know it's funny we're all talking about how Valverde had a disastrous classics season (and specifically Ardennes week). Yet how many riders in the peloton would LOVE to have his results from this year's classics season? I think if we put this in perspective we just expect a lot more from him than we do pretty much any other rider (other than maybe Sagan) in the entire peloton.

His classics results:
4th - Strade Bianche
11th - Dwars door Vlaanderen (was he actually supposed to be or expected to be that close in a cobbled race)
5th - Amstel
2nd - Fleche Wallone
13th - LBL

How many other riders would we call that disastrous for?

Yes I'm very guilty of saying he's had a disastrous classics season.
He set the bar very high, so I would say it's a bad season, at least for him. For Landa, Amador, or anyone else in his team it would be a very succesful classics campaign.

Also for Van Avermaet not a bad season at all, but because of last year, it doesn't seem very good.

As for the racing itself, I would call this classic season pretty interesting.

That's actually my point. For him it's bad because we expect so much form him. Yet most any other rider in the peloton would LOVE to have those results.
 
Terpstra had the best cobbles campaign. Getting the lesser double of E3 and Flanders and taking third in Roubaix, the one race QS really seemed to play wrong. Full credit to Sagan for punishing their too early attacks. Two down, three to go.
 
Yeah, I think Terpstra was the dominant cobbled classics rider by quite a margin. Just looked so strong - the way he attacked that elite group for third at PR highlights something new he developed this year: a searing attack.

In the past he could obviously get away, and at times stay away - but it was more opportunistic/ exploiting QS numbers. But this year I think he truly arrived as champion of the cobbles in his own right.

The Ardennes have been such a let down in recent times, but this year was pretty cool. I enjoyed them more than the cobbled races.
 
Terpstra was stronger than sagan but I think most of us will agree that GW>E3 and PR>RVV so I have a hard time seeing how he had the better cobbled classics campaign than sagan.

All in all I'd say this classics season was mediocre. MSR as well as the Ardennes were above average (at least for modern standards) Strade Bianche was great, but the cobbles disappointed a bit. We had the first GW reduced bunch sprint in years, the most disappointing Omloop for years, a rather disappointing ronde and mediocre Paris Roubaix as well as DDV. The only really good one was E3.
In my opinion a worse classics season than in the last two years but clearly better than 2015.
 
Gigs_98 said:
Terpstra was stronger than sagan but I think most of us will agree that GW>E3 and PR>RVV so I have a hard time seeing how he had the better cobbled classics campaign than sagan.

All in all I'd say this classics season was mediocre. MSR as well as the Ardennes were above average (at least for modern standards) Strade Bianche was great, but the cobbles disappointed a bit. We had the first GW reduced bunch sprint in years, the most disappointing Omloop for years, a rather disappointing ronde and mediocre Paris Roubaix as well as DDV. The only really good one was E3.
In my opinion a worse classics season than in the last two years but clearly better than 2015.
Wow, I almost could not disagree more :) To me the Ardennes was rather bad, save for Amstel, which was great. Liege managed to be even duller than usual. And all this talk about Fleche being more exciting this year - I don't buy into that, as everybody knew it was going to be a sprint up the Mur. Kudos to Nibali, Schachmann etc, but their move was never going to stick. Brabrantse Pijl was also not very good compared to previous years.

From my point of view, almost every cobbled classics delivered in some ways. Perhaps only G-W was a little bit disappointing and the end of DDV was a bit meh, but I didn't expect too much of those races beforehand.
 
Cance > TheRest said:
Gigs_98 said:
Terpstra was stronger than sagan but I think most of us will agree that GW>E3 and PR>RVV so I have a hard time seeing how he had the better cobbled classics campaign than sagan.

All in all I'd say this classics season was mediocre. MSR as well as the Ardennes were above average (at least for modern standards) Strade Bianche was great, but the cobbles disappointed a bit. We had the first GW reduced bunch sprint in years, the most disappointing Omloop for years, a rather disappointing ronde and mediocre Paris Roubaix as well as DDV. The only really good one was E3.
In my opinion a worse classics season than in the last two years but clearly better than 2015.
Wow, I almost could not disagree more :) To me the Ardennes was rather bad, save for Amstel, which was great. Liege managed to be even duller than usual. And all this talk about Fleche being more exciting this year - I don't buy into that, as everybody knew it was going to be a sprint up the Mur. Kudos to Nibali, Schachmann etc, but their move was never going to stick. Brabrantse Pijl was also not very good compared to previous years.

From my point of view, almost every cobbled classics delivered in some ways. Perhaps only G-W was a little bit disappointing and the end of DDV was a bit meh, but I didn't expect too much of those races beforehand.
I don't get the FW thing either. It was set in stone that it would be an uphill sprint, and that's exactly what happened. Valverde didn't win, that's the only surprise.

GW was a bit disappointing, and winning a bunch sprint in GW < arriving solo in E3. So I rate Terpstra's results higher than Sagan's.

Liège was more interesting this year. Most favorites isolated after Roche aux Faucons, and not ending in someone that gets dragged to Ans. That's all one can hope for in Liège nowadays.

All in all, cobbled races started from ~50k, ardenne races started from ~25k. And I'm happy with that.

Impressed by the Danes and Van Aert.

A bit disappointed by Gilbert. Although he has done a lot for the team, a guy like him needs a victory. Is he getting too old?
Valverde obviously disappointed, he might finally be getting too old as well.
Disappointed by Van Avermaet? Not really ... he was strong again, but didn't win. Like almost always except for his one amazing year.
And I hope for Kwiatkowski he's having a completely different approach this year and completely forgetting about the spring.
 
Valanga said:
Cance > TheRest said:
I don't get the FW thing either. It was set in stone that it would be an uphill sprint, and that's exactly what happened. Valverde didn't win, that's the only surprise.
Why does this make it a bad race? Do you think it would have been a more entertaining race if Schachmann would have won by 500m, with the peloton all looking at each other while Landa toiled by himself and the gap went out to two minutes?

It was a superb edition of Fleche, imo. Lots of action and tension throughout the last hour of the race, but without sacrificing the entertainment of the final sprint up the Mur as well.
 
Gigs_98 said:
Terpstra was stronger than sagan but I think most of us will agree that GW>E3 and PR>RVV so I have a hard time seeing how he had the better cobbled classics campaign than sagan.

All in all I'd say this classics season was mediocre. MSR as well as the Ardennes were above average (at least for modern standards) Strade Bianche was great, but the cobbles disappointed a bit. We had the first GW reduced bunch sprint in years, the most disappointing Omloop for years, a rather disappointing ronde and mediocre Paris Roubaix as well as DDV. The only really good one was E3.
In my opinion a worse classics season than in the last two years but clearly better than 2015.
PR is maybe only slightly above Ronde, while I agree GW is more important than E3. But Terpstra also has a podium at PR, so I would say results wise they were pretty equal. Performance-wise Terpstra was ahead of Sagan and everybody else. I'll go with Alaphilippe as a 3rd best and best Ardennes rider.
 

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