Teams & Riders He's coming home!!!! Alejandro Valverde comeback thread.

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What will Valverde's impact be the cycling world in 2012

  • Nuclear Holocoust

    Votes: 14 100.0%

  • Total voters
    14
Yeah, he is en route to get his 15th top 10 in the year-long CQ ranking (of which he has 11 placings in the top 4), so it's hard to get past him. Of course, you could say that a few riders have shined more brightly for a season or two but he is impossible to outrank if you take all races into consideration. The fact that the same guy has the record for most Grand Tour top 10s and most WCRR podiums is just ridiculous and says it all frankly.
 
Disclaimer: This is a long post and a bit of a tangent. I didn't want to make it its own thread though because there is already a thread on Valverde. This is also by no means a dig against him. Valverde has been very, very good but I don't think he is 1.5x as good as the other 'hall-of-famers' of the 21st century.

Due to his massive consistency Alejandro Valverde tends to dominate all-time ranking lists among recent cyclists. In a similar manner to Peter Sagan but to a much higher degree. This stands in contrast with a rider like Fabian Cancellara who does not do well here.

e.g. CQRanking (since 1999)
  1. Alejandro Valverde - 35459 points
  2. Peter Sagan - 21841 points
  3. Vincenzo Nibali - 20767 points
  4. Davide Rebellin - 20224 points
  5. Philippe Gilbert - 20102 points
e.g. Procyclingstats (filtered to only count cyclists that are under 50 years old atm in order to only look at 'recent' cyclists)
  1. Alejandro Valverde - 1788 points
  2. Erik Zabel - 1273 points
  3. Peter Sagan - 1270 points
  4. Tom Boonen - 1123 points
  5. Davide Rebellin - 1104 points
Both of those rankings don't only show Valverde being ahead but also show him being ahead by an absolutely massive margin. But do you think this is an accurate representation of what Valverde has actually accomplished? Valverde is for sure (one of) the best cyclist(s) in the last few decades but this margin seems absurd to me.

Why is it so large? I see three reasons. The first is that Valverde has won a lot of small races that these rankings tend to value more than winning a few big ones like Cancellara did. The Vuelta a Mallorca in particular is an example of this because this race is classified as a series of one-day races instead of a stage race. Therefore each 'stage win' is valued like winning a small one-day race and is worth much more than a stage win in the Volta ao Algarve or Paris-Nice. In fact on CQRanking and PCS it is valued similarly to a stage at the Tour de France. Therefore it also gives good points for even being top-10 while a stage at Volta ao Algarve would only reward the podium. On CQRanking Valverde has about 1000 points due to Volta a Mallorca. It's difficult to say how much this would be if it was classified as Volta ao Algarve though because then he would have been granted some points for the GC. It's very doubtful that it would have been as much as 1000 seeing as how even a GC win would only give 150 points. Nevertheless Valverde also scored a lot of points by winning races such as Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Vuelta a Murcia etc. . It is similar to how you'll sometimes see French, Italian or Belgian riders rack up a whole lot of points by winning a ton of small races in their own country. But imo by the general public those points are not valued as much as winning a classic.
As an illustration: on CQRanking Valverde got about as much points for winning 2 stages in Mallorca (+ 2 top-10 finishes) in 2005 as he did for winning Flèche Wallonne in 2006.
Reason 1: The format favors cyclists like Valverde who can consistently rack up wins and podiums in smaller races and are willing to do so.

The second is that Valverde is very versatile and very consistent. He was able to rack up podiums and top-10's in GT's as well as tons of wins and podiums in the classics. All of this consistency translates to points because a podium and a top-10 is also valued. But when we look at a palmares there is still a big difference between winning and coming close. If you were to look at the points gained from GT GC's then Valverde would have a strong bid for 1st among recent cyclists. In fact if you use the CQRanking system then Valverde has 6.209 points in this category which is not that far behind what the 1st place Eddy Merckx would have (7.025 points). And ahead of Froome (5.691), Nibali (5.967) and Quintana (3.960). Only Contador is ahead if you grant him TDF 2010, Giro 2011 and 5th place Tour 2011 (6.432) otherwise he ends at 5.042 points.
In the classics we get a similar story with Valverde being on the same level as the other great classics riders of his era (Boonen, Cancellara, Gilbert). Using CQRanking and only counting monuments, WC and Olympics (to avoid discussion about what other classics to include) we get scores like this: Valverde (4.828), Boonen (4.879), Cancellara (4.724), Gilbert (4.549), Sagan (4.282). Most of this comes from him having by far the best scores in LBL and WC.
So Valverde seems to be absolutely top-tier in both GT's and Classics. Not to mention his impressive record in one-week races (winning Dauphiné 2x, winning PV, winning Catalunya 3x).
Reason 2: Valverde is versatile and above-all very consistent.

Lastly there is of course his longevity which I don't think I really need to go into. While there are other top cyclists that come close in terms of seasons raced none of them have managed to keep their level so consistently high. This reason can actually be ignored because in terms of how good a career has been it doesn't matter how long it was imo.
Reason 3: Valverde has been racing for a long time and the signs of wear and tear are limited.

So in essence my question becomes this. Do you think that these all-time rankings overrate Valverde or is he really the GOAT of this era (by such a margin)? Because it looks like many points that Valverde scored where found in smaller races and by finishing on the podium or in the top-10. Valverde has 7 WC medals but only one of them is gold. He has been on a GT podium 9 times but only once on the highest spot.
How do you value this?
Not intending to belittle Valverde, but the points comparison would be also useful (imo) to divide by the amount of years since becoming pro, in order to get his average and compare with others.
 
Not intending to belittle Valverde, but the points comparison would be also useful (imo) to divide by the amount of years since becoming pro, in order to get his average and compare with others.
I thought about something like that but Valverde does not have that much more seasons ridden than other riders where het gets points because he lost 2010 and 2011 due to a suspension. I'm also not sure whether I would value someone higher simply because he scored a better average but the difference wouldn't be there anyway. Because even Valverde's bad seasons were far better points-wise than most of the other top riders.

In general I just feel that while he definitely has been versatile as well as a master of consistency his palmares could really have benefited from a Lombardia or AGR or more wins outside of Spain generally. But I think he already expressed regret at not trying RVV earlier. It's a good thing he did grab the WC though.
I would be more comfortable considering him the best of his era if he had won even more big races or a greater variety of them.
 
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I thought about something like that but Valverde does not have that much more seasons ridden than other riders where het gets points because he lost 2010 and 2011 due to a suspension. I'm also not sure whether I would value someone higher simply because he scored a better average but the difference wouldn't be there anyway. Because even Valverde's bad seasons were far better points-wise than most of the other top riders.

In general I just feel that while he definitely has been versatile as well as a master of consistency his palmares could really have benefited from a Lombardia or AGR or more wins outside of Spain generally. But I think he already expressed regret at not trying RVV earlier. It's a good thing he did grab the WC though.
I would be more comfortable considering him the best of his era if he had won even more big races or a greater variety of them.
He does like a comfortable calendar as well. One other thing to note is he prefers racing in warm weather than in cold weather.
 
Not intending to belittle Valverde, but the points comparison would be also useful (imo) to divide by the amount of years since becoming pro, in order to get his average and compare with others.

CyclingRanking does that. Taking only 10 best years.
And as expected Valverde ranked 6th all-time and miles ahead of , Jalabert(10), Contador(16), Armstrong(17), ,Nibali(24), Froome (25), Zabel (28), Sagan(29) Evans(30), etc
 
Sagan too, I would say.
Nibali would probably be in the discussion as well. 9 GT podiums with 3 wins and 3 monuments for starters.
In general I just feel that while he definitely has been versatile as well as a master of consistency his palmares could really have benefited from a Lombardia or AGR or more wins outside of Spain generally. But I think he already expressed regret at not trying RVV earlier. It's a good thing he did grab the WC though.
I would be more comfortable considering him the best of his era if he had won even more big races or a greater variety of them.
Finally getting the WC was huge. And, yeah, wins in big one days where he podiumed more than once but missed out on a win like Amstel and Strade Bianche would have been nice but the biggie for me is Lombardia. It's always stuck out like a sore thumb as a race that really should be on his palmares. Not racing it from 2006-2012 obviously didn't help. And yeah, he probably should have given Flanders a go much earlier.

The argument on where to place Valverde in all-time rankings is always going to come down to what you value. I'm not one of them, but some people just don't value podiums and placings all that much and mostly focus on wins, primarily those in the top tier (GTs, monuments, and WC RR) and to a lesser extent those in the other major classics and stage races like Paris-Nice, G-W, FW, etc...

In any case, this is an ongoing debate that won't go away and will likely get more heated once he retires.
 
It meant a lot to him, you could see in his eyes in the finish interview. The passion is still there and so is the joy derived from victory.
Yeah, I really enjoyed seeing that and the embrace with Mas. Obviously I can only see what’s on the screen and don’t know what riders are really feeling—but watching Bala all these years I get the impression, more than just about anyone else in current peloton, that this guy just loves racing.
 
Some really nice words from Tao Geoghegan Hart:
"Chapeau to him, he’s pure class in the bunch. To be honest, I think you’d be very hard pressed to find a rider who doesn’t see that class in how he moves around the bunch, how he treats others, how he respects people in the race".
And also Michael Rasmussen posted on twitter that Valverde is by far the best rider of this millennium.
 

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