Teams & Riders The 2021 sprinters thread

There’s a sprinters thread most years, a place for the usual arguments and more importantly comparisons that would otherwise get scattered across a hundred race threads and a bunch of rider’s threads.

I’ll also try to keep a running count of sprint wins here. The count is of wins in finishes that could reasonably be considered bunch sprints, including reduced bunch sprints. Other wins by sprinters don’t count. In general if there’s some doubt about whether it should count, it will get the benefit of the doubt.

(As of 11 March)

Rider Wins (WT)
Bennett 4(4)
Ballerini 3(1)
Merlier 2(0)
Ewan 1(1)
Bol 1(1)
Van Aert 1(1)
Pedersen 1(0)
Laporte 1(0)
Paret-Peintre 1(0)
Dupont 1(0)
Bauhaus 1(0)
Nizzolo 1(0)
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So in the early season it’s all Deceuninck Quickstep and the other big sprinting teams have yet to make a mark. Bennett has started the season as top dog, Ballerini is in the form of his life.

Ewan and Lotto wont be feeling under too much pressure, having picked up a win. Bol will be happy with the biggest win of his career at PN. Demare and Ackermann can’t be too pleased with their return at this point but there’s a long way to go. It’s hard to know how to assess Gaviria and Viviani, both on the comeback trail after health problems.
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BORA must be kicking themselves. Bent over backwards to accommodate Sagan and Ackerman at Bennett's expense but neither seem capable of delivering right now... Bennett meanwhile is devouring all before him.
I agree to a certain extent but as we've seen over the last decade, the QS effect is a real thing. It's a huge advantage and it's more than just the leadout train.
I agree to a certain extent but as we've seen over the last decade, the QS effect is a real thing. It's a huge advantage and it's more than just the leadout train.

it definitely is a big advantage. But Bennett had an amazing last year with Bora. he had 11 WT wins out of 13 with basically no leadout. He was much, much better the year before he moved to QS than say Viviani was the year before he went there. Bora knew he was extremely good and they took the risk of having him leave and then rip them a new one at Quickstep anyway.

it was understandable that Bora prioritised Ackermann and Sagan. Sagan is Sagan and was the team’s meal ticket. Ackermann also had an excellent 2019 and is German and younger and had a longer contract. And let’s be clear, they really wanted to keep Bennett. They prioritised the other two in GTs but otherwise gave Bennett a good calendar, they didn’t put him on what touring bands used to call the toilet circuit. His departure got quietly bitter because they somehow thought they could keep all three when there just aren’t enough big races to split three ways. But when you get right down to it they didn’t really make their decisions about who to prioritise on simple sporting grounds and it has bit them on the bumhole since.

Im still an Ackermann believer. I think he at some point is going to get his 2019 form back and then improve from there. He’s not making me look very wise right now though. his timing had just been so bad recently.
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What is up with FDJ this year? In 2020 they had a top class train, maybe even better than quickstep.... This year.....tumbleweeds.
I thought they did a good job on P-N stage 1, controlled the bunch for much of the final 5km, and delivered Demare to the line with a good chance to win. Bennett, with no train, just picked the right wheel to follow and came through with that bit more speed.
A shame we're missing Jakobsen and Groenewegen. Before The Crash™ if you had asked me who I thought would turn out to be the fastest sprinters over the next 5 years, I might have said those two.

Obviously true greatness is always fun to watch, but I like this sprint era we're in, where there's no Cavendish/Kittel/Petacchi type that is clearly faster than everyone else and you know they're going to win 80% of the time. Even Greipel in his day, if Cav wasn't around he was basically automatic.
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Suppose that depends on how big a group needs to be before it's considered a (reduced) bunch sprint.

yeah that’s an interesting one because I think it’s almost exactly where I would draw the (completely arbitrary) line between “reduced bunch” on the one hand and “elite selection” or “small group“ on the other. It’s totally reasonable to draw the line at a slightly bigger or smaller point though, there just has to be one somewhere.