Sprinters 2020

Can't see a thread on this and always worth an annual thread as the pecking order changes more rapidly than in other specialisms of road cycling and the debate is taking over some race threads.

feel free to disagree with both my rankings and categories:

Pure Sprinters;

Tier 1: Ewan, Groenewegen, Gaviria, Viviani, S. Bennett
Tier 2: Jakobsen, Ackermann
Tier 3: Bouhanni, Hodeg, Bauhaus, Walscheid, Cavendish

For me the tier 1 is guys you would be happy to bet on in a grand tour flat finish at short odds and who rarely fail to at least get in the frame.

The tier 2 guys I think will be viewed as tier 1 by the end of 2020 but have not yet consistently beaten the tier 1 guys.

The tier 3 guys are either on the dcline, not fast enough or are poor at positioning thus reducing their chances of consistently.

Hardman sprinters:

Tier 1: Sagan, Kristoff, Trentin, Van Der Poel, Van Aert
Tier 2: Van Avermaet, Degenkolb, Laporte

The tier 1 hardman sprinters are guys who thrive best when the race is tougher but still pack a punch at the end and can on occasion rival and beat the pure sprinters in a bunch gallop.

The tier 2 guys in my view generally cant beat out the top pure sprinters on any finishes where the pure sprinters have managed to survive.
 
I'm a big GVA fan, probably the biggest here, but to be honest he doesn't have the top speed to be in a list with Degenkolb and Laporte. He's not slow, and after a very hard race his 'not slow' becomes quite strong because he doesn't lose his speed. But he isn't a sprinter, never really was (despite lots of mass sprint placings, certainly in his younger years).
 
Some more remarks:

  • Forgetting Philipsen is a mistake. He's gonna make steps this year and already showed lots of promise.
  • Merlier is also some kind of raw gem in the world of sprinters. Already Belgian champ and faster than MVDP.
  • Where are Démare and Coquard when you mention Bouhanni?
  • Where is Matthews when you mention Degenkolb or even GVA?
  • Greipel deserves to be mentioned at least as much as Cavendish these days.
 
I slightly disagree with your ranking of pure sprinters.

Tier 1: Ewan, Groenewegen, Bennett, Ackermann.
I believe Ackermann has proven he belongs here. He can win both GT stages and one day races. He has beaten Gaviria, Ewan, Viviani and pretty much every other top sprinter a number of times.

Tier 2: Viviani, Gaviria, Jacobsen, Sagan.
The reason I don't trust Viviani as a top sprinter in 2020 is his team and Cofidis has done nothing in the early races to prove me wrong. Gaviria is surely fast but he's too inconsistent and prone to injuries/crashes. I agree that Jacobsen could be viewed as tier 1 sprinter by the end of the year. Sagan deserves to be mentioned because, although not being a pure sprinter and having probably lost a step, he can still challenge on flat stages.

Tier 3: Philipsen, Coquard, Bouhanni, Hodeg, Bauhaus, Bol, Demare.
I don't think Cavendish belongs here. He hasn't won a race in 2 years and looked like a shade of himself in 2019. There are a few youngsters I'd take over Cav in a sprint today (Dainese, Moschetti, Groves, Halvorsen, Sajnok). Same goes for Greipel.
 
Reactions: SKSemtex
The reason I don't trust Viviani as a top sprinter in 2020 is his team and Cofidis has done nothing in the early races to prove me wrong.
I'm not saying that your opinion will turn out completely false, but it doesn't seem fair to drag a rider a category down based on your expectations of a season that's hardly begun :p Viviani deserves to be in the tier 1 group, considering his phenomenal results during the last 3 seasons.
 
Still not sure about Philipsen belonging in either the "hardman" sprinters or the "pure sprinters" but he should definitely get a spot in one of them. Personally, i think he's more of a Boonen type sprinter, who is more a classics rider who can also sprint. Not only has he been compared to Boonen a lot, but he also seems to be very good at maneuvering, at getting over hills easily, cobbles etc. And on the other hand, he still seems to lack top-end speed. Personally, i'd put him in the "hardman" section for now.
 
Ackermann has to be tier 1 after his 2019.

Gaviria has tier 1 talent but hasn‘t really demonstrated it since 2018, so you could make an argument that he should be classed with Jakobsen as “likely to be considered tier 1 soon”.

Your tier 3 is a bit weird. There are a lot of sprinters out there and those aren’t really the ones I’d rank 7-12 in the world.

Demare is a big omission, appearing in neither list!
 
Gaviria is tier 1 no doubt. When he's in form I wouldn't pick anyone to beat him, maybe only Groenewegen.

Trentin is not tier 1 for hardman sprinters. He can be fast in easy races, but when it gets hard he doesn't have a sprint at all. Look at last year's WC. Or MSR. He couldn't even sprint. After a hard race he would lose to Nibali lol.
 
Reactions: Joelsim
Gaviria is tier 1 no doubt. When he's in form I wouldn't pick anyone to beat him, maybe only Groenewegen.

Trentin is not tier 1 for hardman sprinters. He can be fast in easy races, but when it gets hard he doesn't have a sprint at all. Look at last year's WC. Or MSR. He couldn't even sprint. After a hard race he would lose to Nibali lol.
He often dissapoint in in sprints after hard races, but he did beat MvdP en Van Aert after a very tough EC though.

Gaviria of last year definitely doesn't belong in tier 1. Hard to see him have as bad of a year as last year, definitely now that he has the, in my eyes, best lead out man Richeze back.
 
Some more remarks:

  • Forgetting Philipsen is a mistake. He's gonna make steps this year and already showed lots of promise.
  • Merlier is also some kind of raw gem in the world of sprinters. Already Belgian champ and faster than MVDP.
  • Where are Démare and Coquard when you mention Bouhanni?
  • Where is Matthews when you mention Degenkolb or even GVA?
  • Greipel deserves to be mentioned at least as much as Cavendish these days.
I knew I would have forgotten a few. I would put Phillipsen in the second tier as he gets a lot of placements showing good positioning and decent speed but needs greater top end speed to win more.

very right to point out that Merlier has a lot of as yet untapped potential.

Coquard has killed his own career through lack of ambition and does seem bothered to try and compete regularly at the highest level.

Demare I don’t like but would grudgingly put in tier 1 of the Hardman sprinters and Matthews I simply forgot because essentially all the others in that category are cobbled classics classics guys rather than hilly oriented.
Sadly Greipel has faded even more than Cavendish.
 
Gaviria is tier 1 no doubt. When he's in form I wouldn't pick anyone to beat him, maybe only Groenewegen.

Trentin is not tier 1 for hardman sprinters. He can be fast in easy races, but when it gets hard he doesn't have a sprint at all. Look at last year's WC. Or MSR. He couldn't even sprint. After a hard race he would lose to Nibali lol.
In ranking Trentin like I did was the fact that in small groups he has beaten Sagan to the line for at least two Tour de France stage wins in recent editions head to head.

To reply to comments by Zinoviev Letter (nice name btw) the tier 3 was more a case of some examples than a definitive list as once you get past the top 4 or 5 guys anyone can beat anyone on a given day.
 
Reactions: Zinoviev Letter
Sadly Greipel has faded even more than Cavendish.
Not at all, to be honest.
It's not that much, but
  • stage win and high placings Amissa Bongo
  • 8th Kuurne-BXL-Kuurne
  • 6th on the Champs Élysées in the TdF
  • 2nd GP Stad Zottegem
  • 11th Cyclassics Hamburg
  • 5th Trofeo Palma
  • 4th, 5th and 6th in TDU stages recently
is a lot better than Cavendish' last 12 months.
 
Sadly Greipel has faded even more than Cavendish.
Cav has faded much more than Greipel. Of course some of his fade has been due to illness but the reason doesn't matter. Cav wouldn't make any tier at this point.

Tier 1:
Ackermann (not in your list despite outperforming 3 of your tier 1 guys in the Giro)
Viviani
Ewan
Bennett
Groenewegen
Jakobsen (not the palmares of the others yet but he's younger and on the upswing)
Gaviria

No clear tiers after that, just a large, muddled group.

The question I have is:

Which top guy has the best chance of separating himself from the rest?
Which top guy has the best chance of sliding below the others?

Hard to say who has the best chance of elevating himself above the others but I'll say Ewan or Groenewegen

I'm saying Viviani has the best chance of sliding down. Of course everyone is elevated by QS but I felt he was elevated even more than most.
 
What speaks for Viviani is that he can win harder races than some of his direct opponents. And he proved that before joining The Wolfpack as well. He will probably win less this year, but I still see him beating the best and getting lovely victories now and then.

Regarding Greipel ... I jynxed it. Injured for 3 months after a hard crash on training :(
 
Hodeg is getting bullied around by Molano at Tour Colombia, but not mentioned once. Do you guys think Alvaro will get a renewed contract by the end of 2021? There was a time he was on the same level as Jakobsen, but his positioning and speed are declining. Especially his timing is terrible.
 
Hodeg is getting bullied around by Molano at Tour Colombia, but not mentioned once. Do you guys think Alvaro will get a renewed contract by the end of 2021? There was a time he was on the same level as Jakobsen, but his positioning and speed are declining. Especially his timing is terrible.
Only if he will be lead-out
 
I don't think Hodge is going to be among the very best sprinters of his generation, but give the guy a break. He had a really nasty crash at the end of last season, around the time when he was racking up a few nice wins against the likes of Groenewegen, Ackermann, Bennett, Gaviria and Merlier.
 
I always take issue with the "tier" system that many impose. All of the ones who are listed (and a few others) by the OP are tier one IMO. If you can mix it up in the last 500 m of a WT race (especially on a regular basis), you are tier one IMO.
 
I always take issue with the "tier" system that many impose. All of the ones who are listed (and a few others) by the OP are tier one IMO. If you can mix it up in the last 500 m of a WT race (especially on a regular basis), you are tier one IMO.
Well. If u have that entire bunch of sprinters in mind, and you take out the ones that get wins and results on a very regular base in the big(ger) races and against the biggest opponents, then you have the few that are called 'tier 1' by most of us.
 
Feb 20, 2019
318
19
1,310
I don’t think there’s sufficient evidence to conclude that Merlier is faster than MVDP. I also think that people tend to take that one win Trentin had vs MVDP and Van Aert as the sole metric to determine who is faster, ridiculous.

Regarding Jakobsen, I think the raw speed is definitely there, but I still think he needs some more wins vs top tier sprinters in order to be considered tier 1.

Finally, Hodeg turned out to be kind of a disappointment. The jury was still out at some point as to who was faster between him and Jakobsen. Now Jakobsen has made strides while Hodeg seems to have stalled, or even regressed based on his recent defeats vs Molano.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY