Over- and underachievers durning the last 20 years

The title says it all, name some of the biggest over- and underachivers of the last 20 years.
Underachivers:
  • Andy Schleck, only cared about 2 races per season and never had the killer instinct of the actually great gc riders.
  • Pippo Pozzato, he cared more about his image than about actually working hard, talent wise he wasn't far behind Boonen and Cancellara. Just watch the 2017 RVV, he never fights for position, misses every importamt move and still manages to finish inside the top 10.
-Cunego, yes, the only Italians who have a clearly better palmares than him post 2000 are Nibali and Bettini, but he could have won a lot more if he actually focussed more on one day races, his 2008 AGR win came when the team finally didn't force him to ride the Giro for the gc, so he was able to focus on the Ardennes classics.

Overachievers:
-Devolder, I hate to say it, but being on the same team as Boonen played a huge part in him winning the RVV twice (take notes, Pippo!)
 
Among GT riders in the 2000s I have Klöden as the biggest underachiever. Talent wise he should have won multiple GTs but injuries, focus on the Tour and lack of killer instinct prevented him from winning a single one. Obviously clinic reasons and terrible team strategies played a role as well. Looking back at the Tour 2006 I will never understand how a guy that finished 10th in the previous year is gifted 30 minutes. Allowing him to take the lead with only 7 stages remaining.
I guess Klöden was happier in a helper role but watching him work for clearly worse teammates like Ullrich (2004, 2005), Vinokourov (2007) or Armstrong (2009) just felt wrong.
 
Have always felt Nibali is someone whose palmares outweighs his talent. He has certainly maxed out his ability which is a compliment to him.

Same as Devolder mentioned above is Niki Terpstra who has picked up a lot of wins through the depth of talent at Quickstep and everyone being scared of dragging Boonen to the lead.

Impossible to argue with the Andy Schleck pick for Grand Tour GC guys but another I would add in is Roman Kreuziger, coming through at Liquigas along with Nibali they seemed comparable talents but their careers went very different paths.

Betancur is a big what if as in if you allied his physical talent with the mindset of a Hinault etc he would have won many classics and possibly a couple of grand tours.
 
Seeing the title, I immediately thought Gerrans, so good on you for covering him.

I would lean on putting Kwiatkowski as an underachiever. As a guy who has been world champion, won Strade twice, E3, Amstel, MSR, Clásica San Sebastián and Tirreno-Adriatico, he does have a pretty palmarès but, ugh, watching him slaving as a Skybot is killing me, considering he could have been on a strive for five quest.

Oh, and Rein Taaramäe. He was incredibly good as a neo-pro and then just disappeared into almost nothingness.
 
Cunego is a weird one man. I just have trouble rating his potential, and he fell off rather quickly. I have trouble calling him an underachiever tbh when you're not good enough for GTs but you only find out after winning one.

I think Andy Schleck is the most obvious underperformer. Quintana is a decent underperformer as well. Joaquim Rodriguez is another really big one. Maybe not in terms of performance, but definitely in big results. Dumoulin so far is also an underperformer in my book. Richie Porte is one if you compare his best climbing performances and his GT results. Many Dutch are seen as underperformers but in reality I think they're just overhyped often.

Agree on Wiggins. Dan Martin, Simon Gerrans, Philippe Gilbert and Michal Kwiatkowski are overperformers imo. Maybe throw in Bettini and Freire there. Romain Bardet, Rigoberto Uran, Cuddles, Geraint Thomas and CancellAru on the GT side. Scarponi maybe too.

Sagan is weird, he's never won what probably should be his best monument, and he's overperformed a LOT in winning 3 consecutive WCRR and a PR.

I don't think Nibali is an overperformer or underperformer. He's arguably been really lucky a few times, but he's also had his share of freak losses and bad luck. Only really overperformed in winning Sanremo imo.
 
Klöden was definitely a big underperform and he never seemed to want to lead. 06 was affected from being short teammates and the 30' gift. 07 he could have top 5 or better but had to withdraw because of Vino. 08 Giro was sitting well in 6th and could have podiumed if he didn't get sick. 09 could have finished higher than 6th if no Armstrong. 10 was a bad year but he thought he would be supporting Armstrong. 11 was a devastating TdF injury after a great spring and left many on the forum sad. Who knows how well he could have did but he never recovered from the back injury. Without it he could have done better in 12 especially with all the TTs.

Kreuziger for his hype underperformed, some thought more of him compared to Nibali. Perhaps he should have focused more on classics, GT stages, and week stage races over GC. 12 he disappointed with 13 supporting Contador in his best shape. After the time off for the clinic side he wasn't the same though snuck a 10th in the tour. Definitely could have better classic results.

Cunego underperformed to the hypebut maybe the hype was too much. Andy could have had better. Kwiatkowski definitely a better career if not at Sky/Ineos. EBH as well, Sky ruined him making him a climber dom, if he went to Quickstep who knows his results. Demare I feel could have had better results as well.

Overachievers I'm suprised no one has said Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, or Fugslang.
Edit. And Ryder Hesjedal as an overachiever.
 
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I see him as a jack of all trades and master of none that isn't particularly suited to any of the monuments, so winning a monument and a WC is pretty darn big.
I think Kwiatkowski is an outstanding all-rounder. As well as his Worlds and San Remo win, he's won on gravel (Strade x2), cobbles (E3), hills (San Sebastian) and a bunch sprint (AGR). Throw in a couple of week-long stage races, and I think that shows he's a rider who can win anywhere. He's not a Benoot or Vanmarcke who's been there-or-thereabouts without getting a big one; he has a couple of very big ones, that he's earned.

I think the big gap in his palmares is that he doesn't have an individual GT stage win. And he'll never get that riding the Tour for Ineos.


Incidentally, Vanmarcke; big underachiever. 1 Omloop, 8 years ago, and the Bretagne Classic. And that's it.
 
Matti Breschel was also a hell of an underachiever. Apart from his four good showings at the WCRR, he really didn't have that impact he could have had. Especially on the cobbles, although I think he would have won at least a Gent-Wevelgem (in 2010) without his puncture. But boy, did that guy get screwed by crashes.
 
Reactions: Red Rick
I considered Vanmarcke but then decided that although he is outstanding particularly on flat cobbles he does not seem to have the engine to sustain the gaps he creates when it comes to the asphalt sections and he has a weak sprint so he just doesn’t have that big move that could net him a monument. Thus his talent makes him a frequent protagonist but in not winning I don’t think he is actually hugely underachieving.

Re Mick Rogers I actually think in terms of Grand Tours he was an unfulfilled talent and underachiever. The time he went out on a long raid in the Tour and was looking a million dollars only to then crash out without getting the chance to see how high his firm could have taken him was a real pity. He never really had the level after that to be team leader in the big races.
 
If we mean by this question who most overachieved their physical talents, we are mostly talking about the riders who had the greatest mental talents.

There’s something a bit strange about the way in which cycling fans tend to value the physical capacities of riders over their mental ones.
 
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I considered Vanmarcke but then decided that although he is outstanding particularly on flat cobbles he does not seem to have the engine to sustain the gaps he creates when it comes to the asphalt sections and he has a weak sprint so he just doesn’t have that big move that could net him a monument. Thus his talent makes him a frequent protagonist but in not winning I don’t think he is actually hugely underachieving.
Agree. I think Boogerd is a similar case. Just the Ardennes version. Great engine. Good climber. Bad sprinter. Always among the best and maybe even the strongest but never getting the big win. Not a single monument win. 2x 2nd in Liege, 2x 2nd in Lombardia. Only one big one day win (Amstel 99). Including his annulled results from 2005-2007 he has a total of 6 monument podiums without winning once. Also five more Amstel podiums.
 
I agree with the person who mentioned Nibali as overachiever. None of his 4 GTs were won against a top GT talent in his prime. He never beat a prime Froome, Contador, Andy Schleck, Quintana etc. To win as many GTs without beating this caliber of riders definetely can be seen as an unusual tendency to be in the right place at the right time. The same goes for his MSR win as riders of his speciality can't really win this race without hesitation in the peloton.

Speaking of Andy Schleck, I find him an underachiever, mainly because he was just 26 when he scored the last result of any significance in his career and seemed by far the most talented GT rider of his generation at that point so it feels he was destined to do so much more.

I find Thomas de Gendt a bit of an overachiever. It's amusing that a rider with his level of sprint and punch could've taken so many big wins from breakaways.

Lachlan Morton seemed like a rider who had potential to achieve so much more if he was willing to put more dedication into his career. I saw him as a future GT podium contender when he was 19-21.

Kwiatkowski not having a GT stage win yet is such a great underachievement.

Sagan having won just 2 monuments doesn't look like what he was capable of either.

Hugh Carthy is an underdog underachiever for me. Not that I would've expected him to have top results but the number of times he lost a chance for a better GC place in stage races due to a mechanical, a bad day or working for a guy who turned out to be weaker than him is just so overwhelming compared to what he has actually achieved.
 

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