Rank 1-4: Boonen, Cancellara, Contador & Valverde

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Is there an argument to say that GT's in recent years are not all they are cracked up to be, if the most talented cyclists stand very little chance of winning them?

Prior to the mid-1980s the most talented cyclists in the world were winning them - multiple times and convincingly. Perhaps we should re-evaluate how much of an achievement it is to win a GT from 1990 onwards.
 
With "talent" you mean versatility, surely? Contador could very well be the most talented of the 4 even though he can't sprint.
I don't think we can say who is the most talented without any inside information like test data, for example.

By the way, do finishes like Huy and Monte Berico (2015 Giro) not count as explosive efforts?
 
Re:

Fernandez said:
Contador: one the GREATEST stage racer ever.
Boonen: GREAT one day racer and good sprinter.
Cancellara: GREAT time trialist, GREAT one day racer and good domestique.
Valverde: very good stage racer, GREAT one day racer.
Although the most consistent of them is Valverde, and my favourite rider of the moment; Contador is the one who will be REMEMBER in 50 and more years, meanwhile the other three will be forgotten sooner or later.
My list would be:

1-Contador
2-Valverde
3-Cancellara
4-Boonen

I dont even think that Cancellara and Boonen should be compared with Valverde and Contador, because they are almost non factors in Grand Tours, which are the most important races of the year, especially Le Tour, although Im sure a lot of people wont agree with me.
Thats a highly subject statement. Yes there are July fans but I don't consider them true hard core cycling fans.
 
Re:

LaFlorecita said:
With "talent" you mean versatility, surely? Contador could very well be the most talented of the 4 even though he can't sprint.
I don't think we can say who is the most talented without any inside information like test data, for example.

By the way, do finishes like Huy and Monte Berico (2015 Giro) not count as explosive efforts?
You could make a case that Contador is the most aerboically talented, and perhaps in terms of day-to-day recovery as well. But he's got a much more narrow power profile than the other three. He can only win a race in one way - putting out high aerobic threshold power - that combines with either low weight (mountains) or low CDA (TTs) to give him his wins and high results. The other three can win with long range aerobic attacks, short range anaerobic attacks and sprints - it takes insane talent to be able to do that.
 
Call me back when any rider wins 50+ races in a row as a youngster. Maybe we can't, in reference to determine who is the most talented, but this is surely remarkable, Valverde's win streak. No matter how you look at it. And it transitioned right from the start at Kelme in 2003 to Movistar in 2016, still at the highest level, in various terrains. I think you can make the biggest case for Valverde. Versatility and consistency is also a great talent.
 
Re:

DFA123 said:
Is there an argument to say that GT's in recent years are not all they are cracked up to be, if the most talented cyclists stand very little chance of winning them?

Prior to the mid-1980s the most talented cyclists in the world were winning them - multiple times and convincingly. Perhaps we should re-evaluate how much of an achievement it is to win a GT from 1990 onwards.
Define "most talented". It seems it would be dependent upon the value you put on each particular talent. That's a matter of opinion of course and open to debate. Like every other sport, cycling has evolved. To put greater value on accomplishments of the past than the present doesn't really seem fair. The riders competed against and in the eras and riders that were there.
 
Mar 13, 2015
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I must say these four are the best riders of the last 10 or more years by some margin. I would divide best cyclists of the past 10-12 years into three groups. In the first group are four mentioned above. In the second Nibali alone. And in the third we have Cavendish, Gilbert, Purito, Froome, Wiggins, Cunego, and certain Davide Rebellin.

As for the ranking of the best four concerns, that is a really hard task. The margins are very slim, and although I am a huge fan of Valverde I must give slight advantage to Alberto Contador, one of the greatest GT riders of all-time. His 7 Grand Tours (although I actually count 9) speaks for themselves. He stands right next to Merckx, Coppi, Hinault, Anquetil and Indurain. It's not just his wins, but the way he won them, legendary stuff!

From 2-4 are tiniest of margins I could imagine. Cancellara is my no.2 although I like both Boonen and Valverde more. He's very complete, his palmares is more than impressive! All that Monument wins, WC Time-Trial titles, yellow jerseys tips the balance in his favor.

Third is my favorite rider, one and only Don Alejandro "The Great"! What a talent, what class on the bike, what variety of different skills, not seen in the peloton for a long, long time. He would definitely be my first pick with only one or two really big wins. That's the only thing missing, and that could change in the next few years, given the way he's riding at the moment.

And at the end there's Tommeke, maybe the best cobbles rider of all-times. In top form he's an unbeatable force, you can't drop him and you can't beat him in the sprint either. He can win just as he likes, and he did just that, many times. Without that cocaine episode and unfortunate injuries he would stand even higher. Greatest talent after Valverde in the last 15-20 years in my opinion.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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1. Contador
2. Cancellara
3. Boonen
4. Valverde

Valverde has the worst palmares out of these four, and that is a fact.

3 Monuments (all LBL), 4 FW , one Vuelta and four Tour stages... Boonen has 7 monuments (4 times Roubaix, 3 times Ronde), 1 WC RR, 3 G-W, 5 E3 Harelbeke, 6 Tour stages and the green jersey.

Nibali once said the WC RR is a bigger win than the Vuelta and I agree with him on that.
 
Almost impossible to compare. Valverde has the least amount of important wins and worst palmares respective to talent, while Contador is one of the best GT racers ever, Boonen and Cancellara some of the greatest cobbled riders and Valverde the most versatile and consistent in the more specialised era.

Had Boonen won this year's Paris Roubaix, I'd have put him first. 5 of them would've been unreal. Cancellara has the record for Tour of Flanders with Boonen and a few others, but lacks another Paris Roubaix. However, he makes up for it in WC ITT titles. Boonen though, could also sprint to stage victories in the Tour and has what Cancellara so dearly wants: the rainbow jersey. But Cancellara has what Boonen so dearly misses: a Milano Sanremo. Almost equal for me. Valverde's consistency is unreal, but he lacks some big wins. He has only 3 different truly big wins (Liege, Fleche, Vuelta). Contador with a monument would be first.

1,2,3 (any order, I can't choose): Boonen, Cancellara and Contador
4. Valverde - due to lack of really big wins.
 
Asero, nice try, you want to contribute. Props. But tbh, how about Moser, Fignon, Maertens, and Saronni. Or Bobet, Van Looy, Gaul, and Van Steenbergen? Or banana, apple, pineapple, and orange? Not a good thread imo. But keep going. My first thread was in The Clinic, "all things being equal, the best climber" :D .
 
Oct 10, 2015
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Lord Stanley said:
I just made this, what do you think?

A small mistake in this, Cavendish has worn the yellow at the Tour :)
Also a quick question, you rate GT stage wins as equal over the 3 GTs yet only award points for wearing the leaders jersey at then TDF and not the other GTs. What was the reasoning behind this?
 
The most surprising thing to me about that chart was how few stages at week long WT races Cavendish has won. I realise that while there are short stage races with lots of sprints, most are not WT and that the "condensed GT" format of a lot of WT stage races means that there aren't an enormous number of sprint stages, but I would still have guessed that he'd have won more than 7 stages.
 
Honestly, you could go a bunch of ways with this. I'd probably say:
The consensus so farseems to be:
Contador
Valverde
Cancellara
Boonen

with Bala-Canc being really close. I could be talked into that.
Valverde definitely the most talented but I'd have to go with AC as he had higher highs. Bala needed to win one of those 6 WC podiums to top this list. Damn, 6. When I think about that...it's just insane.
 
Hard to compare GT riders to one day riders but contador is 1st by a country mile"with valverde 2nd.then cancellara over boonen because for about 5 years no-one could beat him in tts..But contador is the best Grand tour rider i will probably ever see in real..
 
Jul 8, 2016
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If we understand talent as an innate ability to excel over everyone else then the most talented rider I've ever seen is probably Valverde. I like to criticize him quite a bit, but he "has it". Contador on the other hand is a different type of talent, a force of nature, like Cancellara.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Also to further illustrate how Valverde lacks big wins compared to the other 3:

Gilbert has won:

World Championship Road Race in 2012
Giro di Lombardia in 2009 and 2010
Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2011
Flèche Wallone in 2011
Amstel Gold Race in 2010, 2011 and 2014
Clasica San Sebastian in 2011
Grand Prix de Quebec in 2011
Brabantse Pijl in 2011 and 2014
Omloop het Volk in 2006 and 2008
Paris-Tours in 2008 and 2009
Strade Bianche in 2011 (not a WT race, but I think everyone can agree that this race is rated highly by the peloton)
Belgian National Road Race Championships (unlike the Spanish one, this one is prestigious): 2011 and 2016
5 Vuelta stages, 3 Giro stages and one Tour stage (here he lacks a bit admittedly)
Tour of Beijing in 2014 (well, it's World Tour I suppose... lol)

He also podiumed Milan-San Remo and the Ronde van Vlaanderen, which means he was on the podium for 4 of the five Monuments. No other active cyclist has done this.
 
I'm not a fan of points systems, but I do apreciate the effort, Stanley. Things I'd change would be

- Scrap one Vuelta/Giro podium, he only has the one
- Get rid of track altogether
- If you're awarding points for days in yellow, award points for pink and red (amarillo) too, same thing with points and mountain jerseys
- Give fewer points for TTs than RR at WC and OG
- Give points for classics podium
- Give fewer points for WT stage races and WT classics
- Change amount of points for minor placings. I'd really go 100-30-20-10-5 (% of full points for the race).
- More points for Giro Vuelta
- Differentiate between stage wins in the Tour, Giro and Vuelta.
- Then, in case the ranking is not as I like, I need to be biased and rig, so that the ranking is as I like.
 
Apr 27, 2014
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Re:

El Pistolero said:
Also to further illustrate how Valverde lacks big wins compared to the other 3:

Gilbert has won:

World Championship Road Race in 2012
Giro di Lombardia in 2009 and 2010
Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2011
Flèche Wallone in 2011
Amstel Gold Race in 2010, 2011 and 2014
Clasica San Sebastian in 2011
Grand Prix de Quebec in 2011
Brabantse Pijl in 2011 and 2014
Omloop het Volk in 2006 and 2008
Paris-Tours in 2008 and 2009
Strade Bianche in 2011 (not a WT race, but I think everyone can agree that this race is rated highly by the peloton)
Belgian National Road Race Championships (unlike the Spanish one, this one is prestigious): 2011 and 2016
5 Vuelta stages, 3 Giro stages and one Tour stage (here he lacks a bit admittedly)
Tour of Beijing in 2014 (well, it's World Tour I suppose... lol)

He also podiumed Milan-San Remo and the Ronde van Vlaanderen, which means he was on the podium for 4 of the five Monuments. No other active cyclist has done this.
And even with all that wins he will never have that God-talent-aura that Valverde has. And Id say that inside the peloton they wouldnt even compare them.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Re: Re:

Fernandez said:
El Pistolero said:
Also to further illustrate how Valverde lacks big wins compared to the other 3:

Gilbert has won:

World Championship Road Race in 2012
Giro di Lombardia in 2009 and 2010
Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2011
Flèche Wallone in 2011
Amstel Gold Race in 2010, 2011 and 2014
Clasica San Sebastian in 2011
Grand Prix de Quebec in 2011
Brabantse Pijl in 2011 and 2014
Omloop het Volk in 2006 and 2008
Paris-Tours in 2008 and 2009
Strade Bianche in 2011 (not a WT race, but I think everyone can agree that this race is rated highly by the peloton)
Belgian National Road Race Championships (unlike the Spanish one, this one is prestigious): 2011 and 2016
5 Vuelta stages, 3 Giro stages and one Tour stage (here he lacks a bit admittedly)
Tour of Beijing in 2014 (well, it's World Tour I suppose... lol)

He also podiumed Milan-San Remo and the Ronde van Vlaanderen, which means he was on the podium for 4 of the five Monuments. No other active cyclist has done this.
And even with all that wins he will never have that God-talent-aura that Valverde has. And Id say that inside the peloton they wouldnt even compare them.
Edit by mod: drop the clinic talk

Says more about Valverde that he won so few big races if he has that much talent. He's clearly out of his league. Nibali is also better than Valverde.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Re: Re:

Valv.Piti said:
El Pistolero said:
Fernandez said:
El Pistolero said:
Also to further illustrate how Valverde lacks big wins compared to the other 3:

Gilbert has won:

World Championship Road Race in 2012
Giro di Lombardia in 2009 and 2010
Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2011
Flèche Wallone in 2011
Amstel Gold Race in 2010, 2011 and 2014
Clasica San Sebastian in 2011
Grand Prix de Quebec in 2011
Brabantse Pijl in 2011 and 2014
Omloop het Volk in 2006 and 2008
Paris-Tours in 2008 and 2009
Strade Bianche in 2011 (not a WT race, but I think everyone can agree that this race is rated highly by the peloton)
Belgian National Road Race Championships (unlike the Spanish one, this one is prestigious): 2011 and 2016
5 Vuelta stages, 3 Giro stages and one Tour stage (here he lacks a bit admittedly)
Tour of Beijing in 2014 (well, it's World Tour I suppose... lol)

He also podiumed Milan-San Remo and the Ronde van Vlaanderen, which means he was on the podium for 4 of the five Monuments. No other active cyclist has done this.
And even with all that wins he will never have that God-talent-aura that Valverde has. And Id say that inside the peloton they wouldnt even compare them.
So much talent that he had to go to Fuentes, lol.

Says more about Valverde that he won so few big races if he has that much talent. He's clearly out of his league. Nibali is also better than Valverde.
I never said Contador has godlike talent. Valverde doesn't either though. The fact is that when it comes to big wins, Gilbert can match Valverde blow per blow. Boonen, Cancellara and Contador all have more big wins than Gilbert though, so they are rightfully a level above.
 

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