Over- and underachievers during the last 20 years

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As a classics rider he probably underarchieved. As a gt rider he's an obvious overachiever. It levels each other out IMHO.
As a GT rider, I think he slightly underachieved. I think he had a quality for one more overall win, but stars didn't align.
As a classic rider, I don't know, it's a tough call. 4xLiege, 5xFleche, Worlds + 6 medals, 2xSan Sebastian, Lombardia podiums, Amstel, Strade Bianche podiums, Ronde and MSR top 10's... It's a hell of a palmares. Had he been only a classic rider, like Bettini and Gilbert for example, I would say that he was been capable of even more , but we must take into consideration that he rode everything and everywhere and had other priorities as well, so he couldn't time his form perfectly for those races every time.
 
2014 Tour. Podium: Nibali, Jean-Christopeh Péraud, and Thibaut Pinto with Valverde finishing 4th and Tejay Van Garderen finishing 5th.
With the largest margin from first to second since 1997, Contador and Froome crashing out, and Quintana at the Giro...

If you look at Péraud in the 2013 TDF prior to crashing out, it makes sense that he'd be the best of the rest along with Pinot.
 
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So here is an intriguing question. Did Valverde achieve what he is/was capable of achieving or even with his insanely impressive palmares did he actually underachieve? Should he have won another Grand Tour? He didn't win Lombardia or Amstel. His Olympics record is poor at best. He only has 4 stage wins at the Tour and only 1 podium there. He never won Paris-Nice. On the other hand, he has records for most wins at several Spanish races plus Fleche Wallone. He has the Vuelta podium record and is tied for the green jersey record there.
Underachiever clearly. His mind prevented him from winning more and bigger. His team didnt help too.
 
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German Underachievers:

Ullrich
Klöden
Jacksche
Martin
Sinkewitz
Kittel
Haussler
Degenkolb
Hondo
Ampler
Gerdemann

German Overachievers:

Zabel
Voigt
Greipel
Bölts
Wesemann
Haussler is Australian, and was never quite the same after Cav ran him over at the 2010 TDS.

Voigt was probably an underachiver in the first half of his career. Voigt was so ridiculously strong in the 2004 TDF that he could have finished top 10-15 in Paris if he wasn't riding like an escaped lunatic the entire first week. He was a monster day after day that year, and was still able chase down Ullrich for Basso - shredding Landis and the rest of the Postal train - late in the second week and finish 7th in the final TT.

Because the peloton were happy to indulge the Jens show in his last few years so many people forget just how good Voigt actually was at his peak.
 
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Haussler is Australian, and was never quite the same after Cav ran him over at the 2010 TDS.

Voigt was probably an underachiver in the first half of his career. Voigt was so ridiculously strong in the 2004 TDF that he could have finished top 10-15 in Paris if he wasn't riding like an escaped lunatic the entire first week. He was a monster day after day that year, and was still able chase down Ullrich for Basso - shredding Landis and the rest of the Postal train - late in the second week and finish 7th in the final TT.

Because the peloton were happy to indulge the Jens show in his last few years so many people forget just how good Voigt actually was at his peak.
Hausler was a German Citizen and raced with a German liscene for a good Junk If His Carreer. Voigt is an Overachiever as nobody would have imagined the kind of career he gad well unto his mid 20s. He was a very late bloomer.
 
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German Underachievers:

Ullrich
Klöden
Jacksche
Martin
Sinkewitz
Kittel
Haussler
Degenkolb
Hondo
Ampler
Gerdemann

German Overachievers:

Zabel
Voigt
Greipel
Bölts
Wesemann
If Kittel's an underachiever, so is Greipel. Greipel could have gotten more out of his career, if he hadn't been behind Cavendish in the pecking order at T-Mobile/High Road/Columbia/HTC.

Yes, Kittel's career was unfortunately cut short, but by then I think he had done quite alright for himself.

Fothen was definitely an underachiever.
 
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If Kittel's an underachiever, so is Greipel. Greipel could have gotten more out of his career, if he hadn't been behind Cavendish in the pecking order at T-Mobile/High Road/Columbia/HTC.
That's debatable. He was absolutely the number 2 best sprinter but his positioning sucks for his whole career. Cav stopped him from racing the same races and Grand Tours. This allowed him to still win a lot of races and even at the 3 GTs he raced without Cav, he wasn't blowing up the win column besides 09 Vuelta. Would Renshaw be even on the team because Cav is the one that wanted him. HTC was able to work the whole day by themselves with Cav and still win. I don't think they could do that with Greipel and without Renshaw. Heck, Quickstep couldn't even do what HTC did and work the whole day by themselves because they kept getting swarmed, specifically Shimano.
 
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That's debatable. He was absolutely the number 2 best sprinter but his positioning sucks for his whole career. Cav stopped him from racing the same races and Grand Tours. This allowed him to still win a lot of races and even at the 3 GTs he raced without Cav, he wasn't blowing up the win column besides 09 Vuelta. Would Renshaw be even on the team because Cav is the one that wanted him. HTC was able to work the whole day by themselves with Cav and still win. I don't think they could do that with Greipel and without Renshaw. Heck, Quickstep couldn't even do what HTC did and work the whole day by themselves because they kept getting swarmed, specifically Shimano.
He wasn't as good as Cav overall, but if he had been their main sprinter, he would at least have won some of the TdF stages, that Cav has on his palmares, especially if Renshaw had been his leadout man. But I didn't say, that I think Greipel has been an underachiever, cause he is one of the most winning riders of all time, but if Kittel should be regarded as one, a similar case could also be made on Greipel's behalf.

Kittel had a different approach to sprint finishes. and he wasn't comfortable with the same kind of leadout train as Cav and Greipel is/was, but with all the wins he bagged, I just don't see him as someone who underachieved.
Ciolek on the other hand was someone, who I expected to see winning multiple GT stages, but despite a Vuelta stage and the impressive/unbelievable MSR win, he never established himself at the top unlike Greipel and Kittel.
 
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He wasn't as good as Cav overall, but if he had been their main sprinter, he would at least have won some of the TdF stages, that Cav has on his palmares, especially if Renshaw had been his leadout man. But I didn't say, that I think Greipel has been an underachiever, cause he is one of the most winning riders of all time, but if Kittel should be regarded as one, a similar case could also be made on Greipel's behalf.

Kittel had a different approach to sprint finishes. and he wasn't comfortable with the same kind of leadout train as Cav and Greipel is/was, but with all the wins he bagged, I just don't see him as someone who underachieved.
Ciolek on the other hand was someone, who I expected to see winning multiple GT stages, but despite a Vuelta stage and the impressive/unbelievable MSR win, he never established himself at the top unlike Greipel and Kittel.
He would have more GT stages win from 5-10. Now it would be even crazier with Greipel gone too and if Farrar or Petacchi would load up in the sprints with Hushovd getting some more wins.
 
That was a whole group of riders who underachieved though. Part of it likely had to do with the doping-related fallout from T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner, but also the fallout from that resulting in an almost total loss of funding for the sport in Germany, hugely reduced domestic calendar, and only the one German pro team which was underfunded and treated itself as a placeholder team really hurt. Ciolek was just coming through at that time, and obviously became part of Cav's leadout but was superseded as the last man by Renshaw (Ciolek had the role in 2008) so became something of an anonymous leadout man rather than developing himself as HTC became the hateful scum that they were, and by the time he had his fluke win at MSR his star had faded somewhat. All the Germans at HTC other than Tony Martin and André Greipel were subsumed as nothing men just to be part of the leadout or pull breaks back, because that was all the team was interested in and if that wasn't your strength you were better off getting out of there like Burghardt did. Linus Gerdemann had looked like a promising breakout talent in 2007 but a bad injury in 2008 and losing his spot at HTC meant he wound up floundering on Milram and never became anything more than his initial promise, how much each factor plays in that is open to debate. Fabian Wegmann kind of tails away there as well, again how much of it is Gerolsteiner being dodgy and how much of it is Milram being a pretty rotten place to develop is open to debate, but he was also demonstrably Milram's best performer, it's just he was picking up a lot of his results from semi-classics and smaller races than the days when he was up there at the business end of La Flèche Wallonne and the Giro di Lombardia.
 
I've always wondered how much that NC and its fallout has hampered Cioleks career. Everyone was trying to find the next Zabel and suddenly that kid was the choice (rated was higher than Greipel by his team, the media and Germand federation for years).
Maybe, if he hadn't trained to become a pure sprinter, he might have had a succesful career as a classics guy that excels in bad weather. I'm not just thinking of MSR but mainly of stage 5 of the 2008 Deutschland Tour to Winterberg. Sort of a hilly/light mountain stage with an uphill finish in horrid conditions.
 

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