Prediction - best rider of the 2020s

Who will in 10 years be considered as the best rider of the 2020s?

  • Wout Van Aert

    Votes: 3 5.3%
  • Mathieu Van der Poel

    Votes: 3 5.3%
  • Egan Bernal

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Tadej Pogacar

    Votes: 45 78.9%
  • Julian Alaphillipe

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Primoz Roglic

    Votes: 1 1.8%
  • Remco Evenepoel

    Votes: 2 3.5%
  • Tom Pidcock

    Votes: 2 3.5%
  • Jose Almeida

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 1 1.8%

  • Total voters
    57
I've followed cycling for about 20 years, but I can't ever remember there being anything close to the amount of talent. Both in classics and in GTs, but especially that there is so many great young riders in almost all types of races (perhaps except more pure sprinters) than it has been the last couple of decades. But who is the greatest talent and who will dominate the most in the coming years? Below I've divided some of the biggest talents into two levels. The top level is the riders I believe have the potential to win 5-6-7 GTs or monuments or more. That is at least on par with riders like Gilbert, Boonen, Cancellara, Contador and Froome which are some of the greatest after 2000. The second level I also believe can win a lot, but doesn't have the talent IMO of the top four guys.

Level 1:
  1. Tadej Pogacar
  2. Mathieu van der Poel
  3. Wout van Aert
  4. Remco Evenepoel
Here Pogacar is the obvious choice. I'm not sure if he is a bigger talent then for example Van der Poel or Remco, but he seems like a more safe choice. The two Vans probably need to drop or downplay their CX (and MTB) racing to achieve their full potential in road racing. In addition Van der Poel needs to improve tactically and Van Aert should probably not try to win all kind of races. Pogacar on the other hand seems to have it all. He already wins GTs in an impressive manner. He is good tactically, has sharper priorites than the two Vans and wins almos every type of race he aims for. Remco is the dark horse here. This season has been hampered due to the crash in Lombardia last fall, and it's possible that I already next summer will place him higher in this ranking.

Level 2:
  1. Egan Bernal
  2. Tom Pidcock
  3. Jose Almeida
  4. Marc Hirschi
Bernal have already won 2 GTs, and might end up with several more. But I think he well have trouble repeating the TDF victory against Pogacar (and Roglic the first few years) and perhaps also Evenepoel in not . Pidcock is a great and versatile talent, but I can't see that he has the same maximum potential as Van Aert and Van der Poel in the classiscs. And Almeida will/could win both GTs and monuments, but probably not in as great numbers as the riders on "level 1" could do.

And of course you have Alaphillipe..........
 
Hirschi could struggle to rack up the wins as he would have likely gone to UAE with the hopes/promise of being their hilly classics leader only to see Pogacar win both hilly monuments this year. I find it hard to see him winning a huge amount of races and will at best end up with a Greg Van Avermaet level palmares of always being in the mix but rarely the outright strongest.
 
I'll give it

90% Pogacar
5% Evenepoel
1% Ayuso
4% Someone not really on the big stage yet.
This was probably not the ideal time to start this kind of discussion. Or maybe I've should have limited to the best in one day races.........

Btw, It will be very interesting to see the developement of especially Remco and Pidcock. Both how good they will be in addition to what type of rider they will be.
 
It will be nearly impossible for anyone to beat a head start of 2 Tours and 2 Monuments, especially when that rider will be the heavy favorite in the next few Tours. The only thing that can change that is if he doesn't race.

Edit to add: LOL at including Roglic and Alaphilippe. They're too old / limited in effective years to possibly catch up.
 
Roglic has 2 GTs, a monument and Olympic gold TT and loads of smaller victories in the 2020s. He hardly has to 'catch up'
The 2 GTs are in the least important GT. Maybe if he wins 6 more Vueltas he'd equal Pogacar's 2 Tours.
Or does Roberta Heras rank equal to Contador for the decade 2000-2009?

He's far behind Pogacar and already 32. Some younger rider has a shot to pass Pogacar but Roglic has no chance.
 
I would be really curious to see what names would be there if someone made a poll for the 2010's in 2010. I guess Contador, Andy Schleck and maybe Peter Sagan or Nibali, likely even someone like Gesink, but certainly not Froome.

For me there's too big of a risk that it will be someone who has not revealed himself, yet, thus I always take such threads with a huge pinch of salt.
 
I am surprised that Remco is tier one and Hirschi is tier two - Time will tell if Olaf is a genius.
What Remco did at a age of 19 and 20 was more unique than what Hirschi did at the age of 22. And Remco has dominated junior cycling more than any other cyclist did. So it shouldn't be very controversial that I put him near the top on this list. If I did the list the day before Lombardia last year, most people would probably put him on top.
 
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I would be really curious to see what names would be there if someone made a poll for the 2010's in 2010. I guess Contador, Andy Schleck and maybe Peter Sagan or Nibali, likely even someone like Gesink, but certainly not Froome.

For me there's too big of a risk that it will be someone who has not revealed himself, yet, thus I always take such threads with a huge pinch of salt.
Definitely Schleck and Contador. Kreuziger perhaps. He too was a really big talent around 2010.

There will certainly be other top riders. But I feel that at least Pogacar, Van der Poel and Remco are so unique that if something doesn't go too wrong, it will be difficult to beat these.
 
I would be really curious to see what names would be there if someone made a poll for the 2010's in 2010. I guess Contador, Andy Schleck and maybe Peter Sagan or Nibali, likely even someone like Gesink, but certainly not Froome.
Exactly, nobody would have predicted Contador and Schleck to win so little (relatively) over the next decade. So let's not hand Pogacar everything just yet.
 
Reactions: OlavEH
This is an interesting topic but the poll results will be absolutely one-sided.

Pogacar is a natural favourite but it's interesting to speculate who will rival him.

Roglic still has a fair number of victories in him (mostly in the first half of the decade) so him being top3 of the decade is realistic.

I don't think MVP, WVA or Ala are able to challenge the very top (as long as road cycling is concerned) but they will likely be in top10.

Remco still has a lot of time to win races so him being in top3 is also realistic.

Let's not forget about Bernal, who still could win a few more GTs placing him among the best.

Almeida is already a very good rider and can win a GT or a monument but challenging the absolute top will be difficult (but maybe I'm underestimating him cause he joined UAE meaning no leadership for the Tour and some monuments).

Not sure what to think about Pidcock, he definitely has a big potential but will not fully devote to road cycling (GT + classics) for a few more years it seems.

And last but not least: rider X who we don't know yeat or who isn't riding on a WT level yet. A strong top3 contender. And a few others (rider Y, rider Z)

My ranking:

Pogacar
Roglic/Evenepoel/rider X
Bernal/rider Y
WVA/MVP/Ala/rider Z
Almeida/rider ZZ
 
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But I feel that at least Pogacar, Van der Poel and Remco are so unique that if something doesn't go too wrong, it will be difficult to beat these.
Contador or Sagan felt no less unique at the time, yet Alberto had hist last TdF podium at the age of 27 and Sagan only won 2 monuments (as many as Terpstra, for example).

Of course the riders you mentioned might turn out to be much better at winning big things for multiple years in row but we simply can't know for sure. The career of a cyclist is so fragile. One crash of the many that happen every year and you might get an injury you'll never be able to recover from fully. And new yet bigger talents pop out out seemingly of nowhere all the time.
 
Contador or Sagan felt no less unique at the time, yet Alberto had hist last TdF podium at the age of 27 and Sagan only won 2 monuments (as many as Terpstra, for example).

Of course the riders you mentioned might turn out to be much better at winning big things for multiple years in row but we simply can't know for sure. The career of a cyclist is so fragile. One crash of the many that happen every year and you might get an injury you'll never be able to recover from fully. And new yet bigger talents pop out out seemingly of nowhere all the time.
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Well, Contador won his first GT the year he turned 25. Pogacar is now 23 and has won 2 Tours and 2 monuments already. And as stated on Remco. What he did in junior level is almost unheard of. And he also looked like a million before Lombardia last year. So both of these feels more unique than Contador.

Btw, you're right about crashes, etc., but I don't take that into consideration here. This is a predicition based on the status in October 2021 and if nothing exceptional happens.

Edit: Or, to elaborate some more. My ranking was based on the potential abillity of the riders and how big they could be if they avoid serious accidents and/or go all in for road racing. That means that I assume that Remco will fully recover from the Lombardia crash and that Van der Poel and Van Aert will downplay their CX racing.

Of course they could have accidents, bad form, punctures, etc., but not that something exceptional happens. Pogacar and Remco are the only two I can see equalize and perhaps top the number of GT wins of Froome and Contador, and Van Aert and/or Van der Poel the number of monument wins by Boonen and Cancellara.
 
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What Remco did at a age of 19 and 20 was more unique than what Hirschi did at the age of 22. And Remco has dominated junior cycling more than any other cyclist did. So it shouldn't be very controversial that I put him near the top on this list. If I did the list the day before Lombardia last year, most people would probably put him on top.
Except, Remco has not beaten the best, and currently is nowhere near the same level as Roglic or Pogacar,; while Hirshi is a one year wonder.
 
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Except, Remco has not beaten the best, and currently is nowhere near the same level as Roglic or Pogacar; while at the moment, Hirshi is a one year wonder.
That is correct. And that is also why I ranked Remco only as number 4 while Pogacar was at the top. But Remco is only 21, Roglic is 11 years older. During the 2020s I think Remco will have a bigger career than Roglic.
 

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