Ninja of the Tour (simplified version)

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An alternative ninja: Morkov got top ten in the green jersey without getting a top ten finish.
Trentin was 3rd in the green with 2 top 10s the whole race. Like Morkov, he picked up a lot of points at intermediates, but did all that back down the field. It'd be hard to call Morkov a ninja for the amount of times he led the race in the final km; he was literally the center of the race's attention for 5-10 seconds on every sprint stage.
 
The rule with the "no top 10 placings" is not doing it for me, because even though Mas finished inside the top 10 four times(!) you barely noticed he was there. So, that's SUPER ninja in my book.
Agreed. Once again, this is art, not science. Mas had a pretty darn good TDF in the end yet barely got any screen time. Every time I saw where he was on the GC I was flabbergasted, his ride was so stealthy.

Valverde probably got even less screen time again, but he misses out IMO because he didn't get so high in GC.
 
Nov 20, 2018
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Top placed riders without a stage top 10

23 23 JONATHAN CASTROVIEJO + 01h 06' 20''
29 104 XANDRO MEURISSE + 01h 40' 48''
33 72 EMANUEL BUCHMANN + 01h 51' 05''
34 7 RAFAL MAJKA + 01h 54' 04''
37 42 JULIEN BERNARD + 02h 03' 32''
42 87 VALENTIN MADOUAS + 02h 11' 39''
43 117 NEILSON POWLESS + 02h 13' 33''
44 4 DAVIDE FORMOLO + 02h 15' 56''
45 144 MARK DONOVAN + 02h 17' 40''
46 206 CRISTIAN RODRIGUEZ MARTIN + 02h 19' 31''
 
Top placed riders without a stage top 10

23 23 JONATHAN CASTROVIEJO + 01h 06' 20''
29 104 XANDRO MEURISSE + 01h 40' 48''
33 72 EMANUEL BUCHMANN + 01h 51' 05''
34 7 RAFAL MAJKA + 01h 54' 04''
37 42 JULIEN BERNARD + 02h 03' 32''
42 87 VALENTIN MADOUAS + 02h 11' 39''
43 117 NEILSON POWLESS + 02h 13' 33''
44 4 DAVIDE FORMOLO + 02h 15' 56''
45 144 MARK DONOVAN + 02h 17' 40''
46 206 CRISTIAN RODRIGUEZ MARTIN + 02h 19' 31''
There wasn't really a ninja in the Tour if we stick to these rules. (These guys were all visible as helpers or in unsuccessfull breakaways, apart from Cristian Rodriguez, but a 46th place with 2 hours 19 back isn't really a great result.) However Bilbao getting 9th ahead of Uran and Gaudu seems to be the ninja of this year's edition, at least for me.
 
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Even Meurisse was in a few breaks in the last week. The only one I can’t remember seeing much of is Rodriguez, but 46th on gc explains that.

Is the art of the ninja dying?

OTOH, I barely remember hearing Kelderman’s name in commentary , and he barely missed the podium. Is that a truer ninja?
I heard his name quite a lot, but that's probably because German ES were so rooting for him. :D
 
I believe Xandro Meurisse was in a break in the first week, but after that I can't remember seeing him once, so he is my choice, though I'm not sure I actually saw Rodriguez at all.

I didn't see Donovan that much either, but I heard Casper Pedersen say numerous times that DSM wanted him to end up in a break, so at least in spirit he wasn't a true ninja.
 
Even Meurisse was in a few breaks in the last week. The only one I can’t remember seeing much of is Rodriguez, but 46th on gc explains that.

Is the art of the ninja dying?

OTOH, I barely remember hearing Kelderman’s name in commentary , and he barely missed the podium. Is that a truer ninja?
Depend which commentary, I watched NOS, so no
 
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