Rough Attempt at an All-Time Ranking

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I think the PCS ranking does a pretty poor job at this actually, and if you filter retired riders it becomes clear why:

  1. Valverde 1805
  2. Sagan 1284
  3. Rebellin 1090
  4. Cavendish 1089
  5. Gilbert 1061
  6. Greipel 1003
  7. Nibali 943
  8. Froome 909
  9. Roglic 806
  10. Kristoff 788
  11. Van Avermaet 757
Very clearly biased towards sprinters and to an extent also cobbles specialists, which suggests GC results (and GC wins in particular) are being underrated, and stage wins (and maybe also classics placements) are being overrated. No ranking should have Greipel ahead of both Nibali and Froome. Valverde sitting at double of Froome's score is also very obviously wrong. In addition, the likes of Bouhanni and Wellens making the top 200 is hilarious to me.
No matter the point system, it's pretty crazy that the difference between Valverde in 1st and Sagan in 2nd is almost the same as between Sagan and GVA in 11th place.
 
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PCS actually makes an effort to use a different system for the all time list. Dividing points by a result is quite aggressive.

But then they proceed to count every race from .1 and up without any other adjustments. So that ranking will literally give Sagan more points for winning Okolo Slovenska than a Simon Yates gets for finishing 3rd in the Giro. And PCS gives a LOT of points for stage wins
Yep, i can agree with that. But i do think the system to subtract points exponentially going down isn't bad for determining or ranking all-time/career best. Looking back at a career, it shouldn't be determined by 6th or 9th places. But i agree about the race cat. should be much more decisive.
 
I'd honestly be very interested if we'd compose a top50(100?) cyclists of the 21st century.

Everyone with at least 150posts would be eligible to contribute their top50. We'd be able to compose a pretty cute list. No future results are to be included, only 2001 results onwards.
 
Yep, i can agree with that. But i do think the system to subtract points exponentially going down isn't bad for determining or ranking all-time/career best. Looking back at a career, it shouldn't be determined by 6th or 9th places. But i agree about the race cat. should be much more decisive.
I fully agree with that. I was just noting it's a lot more aggressive than most other systems do, but it works well considering on the rolling 12 month ranking 2nd place in a GT/monument is often like 75 or 80% of the winner.

And point systems in general are not nearly aggressive enough in scaling down points from big races to small races to me.
 
As a child in the late eighties I wondered why cycling, unlike tennis, didn't have a decent world ranking. So I started keeping my own list: 50 points for the Tour winner, 25 points for Paris-Roubaix etc. It was very incomplete, based on the results I found in newspapers. Later, in the late 1990s, I started doing it again. That time I started using books on cycling with old results to compile an all-time list. It's hard to decide which result is worth how many points. What's worth more: finishing third in the Tour, winning three sprint stages in the Giro, or winning Gent-Wevelgem? I came quite far back then, but I stopped keeping track in the following years.

Now with the Internet it's easier to look up old results, so after years of postponing I had a new attempt at compiling an all-time list based on points. The point system is just the one I've been using for myself; it has no official value. It's mostly about wins in big races. I'm too lazy to count every stage win in one-week races and all those places of honour. I'm sure I've also made a lot of mistakes, because I'm too lazy to check everything twice. So I made a top 150 which is, as the title says, only a rough attempt at an all-time list. It only gives a basic idea of what an all-time ranking of men's road cycling could look like if it was done properly.

This is the point system:
STAGE RACES:
*Tour de France: 50/25/10 points for the GC top three. 7 points for a stage win/points classification/King of the mountains.
*Giro & Vuelta: 40/20/8 points for the GC top three. 5 points for a stage win/points classification/King of the mountains.
*20 points for Paris-Nice/Tirreno/Basque Country/Dauphiné/Suisse.
*10 points for Romandie, Catalunya, Burgos, Dunkirk, Midi Libre, etc.
*5 points for smaller stage races.

ONE-DAY RACES
*Road race at World Championships or Olympics: 40/20/10 points for the top three.
*ITT at World Championships or Olympics: 25/10 points for the top two.
*European Championships: 15 points for road race, 10 points for ITT.
*National Championships: 10 points for France/Italy/Spain/Belgium/Netherlands. 5 points for other countries, 5 points for ITT.
*Monument: 25/10 points for top two.
*15 points for Amstel/Gent-Wevelgem/Flèche Wallonne/San Sebastian/Strade Bianche/Paris-Tours/Bordeaux-Paris/former world cup races.
*10 points for Omloop het Nieuwsblad/E3/Emilia/Milan-Turin/Plouay/etc.
*5 points for smaller one-day races, excluding criteriums.

Of course this could lead to endless discussions about what is worth how many points. This system was not designed to benefit certain riders. One specific problem for the current century are the many disqualifications and Green Table decisions. I decided to follow the official results, even if I disagree personally with certain decisions.

The result contains quite a few surprises: some riders finished much higher or lower than I expected myself. Hard workers with a long and steady career finish higher than cyclists with three fabulous seasons who faded afterwards. Some almost forgotten names finish higher than some of the big stars. All-round riders tend to do better than specialists of one discipline. I'm thinking of presenting the top 150 as a countdown in this thread. In spite of its obvious flaws I think the result is quite interesting and can lead to good discussions in the winter season.
Might as well state the obvious.

Categorization/value of races over time. Is there an actual case for Romandie being a tier lower than Pais Vasco? Has Burgos always been as important as Romandie?

Then obviously having races in the ranking that existed only for less than 30 years (ITT Worlds and ITT Olympics) or were open to pros for less than 30 years (Olympics RR). Or the Euros which only had 6 editions.

Then there are National Championships which are more likely to be about the team strength an size than any other race.

Strade Bianche is a different race in terms of field quality now compared to the early editions.

Plouay is a '15 points' race now and Paris-Tours is a '10 points'. Seems like Cyclassics is '15 points' purely because of it's WC heritage which does not really feel right.

I mean it's commendable attempt, but also comparing something not really comparable.
 
I'd honestly be very interested if we'd compose a top50(100?) cyclists of the 21st century.
Last year, with no sport to report, the Spanish sport newspaper Marca did a list of the top 100 Sportsmen (just men) of the 21st Century. There were 10 cyclists on the list. This is where they came.

17 Froome
29 Contador
35 Nibali
41 Wiggins (track obviously considered)
44 Cancellara
48 Valverde
57 Sagan
69 Freire
82 Booner
95 Cavendish

The full lists if you want to have a look
50-100: https://www.givemesport.com/1573631-the-100-greatest-sportsmen-of-the-21st-century-10051
1-50: https://www.givemesport.com/1573622-the-100-greatest-sportsmen-of-the-21st-century-501
 
I personally don't think anyone who has not won the Tour can be considered the best cyclist of his generation. And I'd have to rank GTs over monuments abd WC, because the type of engine required to win a grand tour, above all the Tour, is generally a rarer and hence more select specimen all clinical matters aside. It's no coincidence that, historically speaking, riders capable of winning multiple classics, but are not competative in GTs (mostly because they can't handle high mountains, at times TTs too) are rightly considered of a lesser caliber than riders who can win even just the Tour (I'm talking about a bona fide Tour winner, not the fluke one time yellow jersey in Paris) let alone the Tour and also some classics. Increased specialization since the 90s has resulted, most unfortunately, that often GT winners don't even race the classics, although the trend happily at least in part seems to be reversing. Then there are riders whose plamarès don't reflect the true quality and claliber of the engine they were born with, who thus failed to live up to their potential. Top on that list would have to be Greg Lemond in my opinion. Although to be fair he did have a near fatal accident arguably at the peak of his powers, which cost him greatly. That he wasn't French also didn't help early in his career.
 
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The first batch of the top 100 contains the greatest Norwegian, a Belgian who became a cycling commentator, and a German who has just retired last month.

100 Maurizio Fondriest 240
99 Gerrie Knetemann 241
98 Octave Lapize 242
97 Gianni Motta 245
96 Danilo Di Luca 245
95 Tony Martin 248
94 Robbie McEwen 249
93 Fred De Bruyne 252
92 Thor Hushovd 254
91 Pascal Richard 254

Because of Der Panzerwagen's retirement I can't put anyone in bold this time.

Might as well state the obvious.

Categorization/value of races over time. Is there an actual case for Romandie being a tier lower than Pais Vasco? Has Burgos always been as important as Romandie?

Then obviously having races in the ranking that existed only for less than 30 years (ITT Worlds and ITT Olympics) or were open to pros for less than 30 years (Olympics RR). Or the Euros which only had 6 editions.

I mean it's commendable attempt, but also comparing something not really comparable.
Yes, those are tough calls to make. For the one-week races I gave 20 points for two French races, one Swiss, one Italian and one Spanish. That seemed rather balanced, but it means indeed that Basque Country gets more points than Romandie.

Recent races like European Championships are hard to call. You can hardly treat them as a small race, so 15 points seems fair. The Olympics I only counted since 1996, when they turned professional for cycling.

Then there's the problem of races changing quality over time. I gave the same points to the same race, regardless of its official status that year. I realize that some races have gone up or down in official and unofficial status, but it would be too hard to draw the lines.

About new and old races: some new races have appeared on the calendar, but others have disappeared. E.g. there was no WC time trial in the past, but there was a Grand Prix des Nations. In general I think riders of the 1960s and 1970s have an advantage, because they had a full calendar and they didn't have to compete with countries outside of Western Europe.

About the Tour vs. other races: I think in the public mind the Tour is overrated compared to other races, as if it's the only race that really matters. A list like this is clearly in the advantage of riders with a long and steady career, who perform well throughout the season. However someone who focuses entirely on the Tour and wins it, will always be a bigger star.

If you adjust the points for certain races, and check everything thoroughly, some riders in the lower parts would move up or down ten or fifteen places, but the top part of the list wouldn't change much, because the gaps get bigger towards the top. As the title says this is only a rough attempt, but I do like the result better than other lists I've found on the Internet. Of course there can never be a final and ultimate ranking, but I do like the exercise and the following discussions.
 
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17 Froome
29 Contador
35 Nibali
41 Wiggins (track obviously considered)
44 Cancellara
48 Valverde
57 Sagan
69 Freire
82 Booner
95 Cavendish
Remove Wiggins (considering only road racing) and add Gilbert around the same level as Sagan, this seems like a fairly good ranking. That would mean:
  1. Froome
  2. Contador
  3. Nibali
  4. Cancellara
  5. Valverde
  6. Gilbert
  7. Sagan
  8. Freire
  9. Boonen
  10. Cavendish
If making my own ranking, I would probably made some minor changes (like changing Contador and Froome and moving Boonen up a couple of places), but all-in-all this seems rather okay.
 
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About the Tour vs. other races: I think in the public mind the Tour is overrated compared to other races, as if it's the only race that really matters.
The Tour might be considered overrated only insofar as traditionally the routes are pretty standard (although that seems to be changing somewhat as of late - but the Giro still has the best routes) and it is usually raced rather conservatively (unlike the Vuelta), once a clear favorite emerges. But it has to be. Everybody knows the stakes for sponsorship publicity and future rider contracts are simply ten times higher than any other race on the calendar. Perhaps in the entertainment value sense, therefore, the Tour is too big for its own good. Yet precisely for this reason every rider, from the team captains to the lowly domestiques, shows up in his absolute very best possible condition. Level of fitness and performance wise no other peloton has the horse power of the Tour. Given all of this, the rider who wins the Tour is usually the one who is a cut above the others in a given year. The one who wins multiple Tours makes an era.
 
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Remove Wiggins (considering only road racing) and add Gilbert around the same level as Sagan, this seems like a fairly good ranking. That would mean:
  1. Froome
  2. Contador
  3. Nibali
  4. Cancellara
  5. Valverde
  6. Gilbert
  7. Sagan
  8. Freire
  9. Boonen
  10. Cavendish
If making my own ranking, I would probably made some minor changes (like changing Contador and Froome and moving Boonen up a couple of places), but all-in-all this seems rather okay.
I think track, cyclocross, and mountain bike success should be included. The riders results could have been better if they focused on just road instead of branching.
 
Remove Wiggins (considering only road racing) and add Gilbert around the same level as Sagan, this seems like a fairly good ranking. That would mean:
  1. Froome
  2. Contador
  3. Nibali
  4. Cancellara
  5. Valverde
  6. Gilbert
  7. Sagan
  8. Freire
  9. Boonen
  10. Cavendish
If making my own ranking, I would probably made some minor changes (like changing Contador and Froome and moving Boonen up a couple of places), but all-in-all this seems rather okay.
Where is Bettini? He should definitely be in a top 10.
 
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I'd honestly be very interested if we'd compose a top50(100?) cyclists of the 21st century.

Everyone with at least 150posts would be eligible to contribute their top50. We'd be able to compose a pretty cute list. No future results are to be included, only 2001 results onwards.
I think the best way to do that would be have users submit a ranked Top 10 list, with 10 points for first, 9 for second etc. Then tabulate total points for each rider. That should normalize outliers etc...

I think Sagan was the "best" rider of the 2010s but wouldn't argue strenuously against Contador or Canc.
 
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