Teams & Riders The 2021 sprinters thread

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Probably need to set some rough boundaries on two points: how uphill is too uphill? how small a reduced bunch is too reduced?

Its probably not going to have too much impact on the upper reaches of the table, but it‘s best to try for some kind of consistency. One issue is that with low profile races there can be a bit of guessing from a results sheet. So maybe Laporte or Paret-Peintre or some other French guys shouldn’t be in?
 
Probably need to set some rough boundaries on two points: how uphill is too uphill? how small a reduced bunch is too reduced?

Its probably not going to have too much impact on the upper reaches of the table, but it‘s best to try for some kind of consistency. One issue is that with low profile races there can be a bit of guessing from a results sheet. So maybe Laporte or Paret-Peintre or some other French guys shouldn’t be in?
I think Paret-Peintre is fine but not Laporte or Roglic. Then Alaphilippe and Mathieu should count for the last two days but those were puncheur finishes, not sprints.
 
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I'd suggest something like this as boundaries for uphill sprints, with a bit of room for variation depending on how irregular the climb is and the difficulty of the run-in:
  • Final 500 meters at 8% or below
  • Final kilometer at 6% or below
  • Final 2 kilometers at 4% or below, provided the final kilometer isn't flatter than that
  • Final 5 kilometers at 3% or below, provided the final kilometer isn't flatter than that
I wouldn't put requirements for anything shorter, the hardest final 500 meters that doesn't qualify is the Hatta Dam (7%, but obviously the difficulty being in the final 100 meters at 15%) and that's still a sprint, I'd say.

For reference:
  • today's Paris-Nice finish was 2k at 5.3%
  • today's Tirreno finish was 2.5k at 2.6%
  • yesterday's Tirreno finish was 7.7k at 3.6% with the final kilometer at 5.4%
  • the Bessèges stage Laporte won was 0.8k at 5.6%, but with 150 meters at 15% in the middle, with the stage being pan-flat otherwise it's within limits though, IMO
  • the Cauberg is 850 meters at 7.5%, so anything close to that definitely shouldn't count
  • Kittel has won a Tour stage ending with 500 meters at 5%, so anything close to that definitely should count
As for peloton size: at least one-third of the peloton seems reasonable?
 
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This was the problem when there was a suggestion back about ten years ago for the jersey for the best sprinter on a GC, to tell who the best sprinters were climbing-wise. Too open and you end up with people like Valverde being eligible which is obviously a joke. Too restrictive and you'd end up excluding people like Óscar Freire who would mix it up on the Cauberg.

Also the type of road makes a difference too, of course, how technical the run-in is, how wide the roads are. I think the roads need to be a bit wider for a real bunch gallop, but wide and non-technical roads can also turn something that does fall into the puncheur remit into an actual sprint. As a case in point, the Hatta Dam is a sprint, with the steep part being so short, but it's so steep that you end up with time gaps, and also the first two winners there were heavyweight sprinters, but you had Alejandro Valverde in 2nd one year. On the flip side, a climb like the Côte de la Croix-Rousse is 1,4km at 4,8%, falling into the puncheur remit, but when the Dauphiné finished atop it in 2011, it was won by that super puncheur John Degenkolb - though you did have Joaquím Rodríguez in 5th. Another example would be that uphill finish in the Volta ao Algarve in 2010 in the sleet, when André Greipel and Jürgen Roelandts sprinted out of the bunch to take a win by a few seconds ahead of Samuel Sánchez and clear time gaps were opened - but it was nevertheless a sprint, just with time gaps far bigger than you'd usually see from one.

As for when it becomes a "reduced bunch" I would say that if the results sheet shows 50% or more of the péloton to have been in the bunch at the finish, or within a close enough time to have been in the bunch at the point of setting up the sprint but sat up late on (especially when it comes to one-day races), say within a minute. That does mean that in smaller races you allow a wider definition of a sprint as a bunch of 50 might be half the péloton in such a race, but only a quarter of the bunch in a WT race, but at the same time those races with smaller pélotons are harder to control especially with reduced team sizes, so the sprinters have to do more work in those races to earn the right to sprint than they do when they are better protected in larger races, so more races would class as reduced bunch sprints if we didn't adjust.
 
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I think we're over thinking this..... If bennett, Ewan, Ackerman, Demare etc are involved it's a 'sprinters' sprint.... If it's uphill with just the likes of WVA, roglic, VDP, Ala involved then it's not.

Anyone upset by the exclusion of the classics guys could start a similar thread for hilly classics specialists.
 
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Viviani had 8 wins in the 2nd half of his last year at Sky, including Hamburg and Bretagne Classic. He didn't ride any GT that year, so a little difficult to measure.
9 wins ( 3 WT) versus 13 wins (11 WT). I don’t think it’s all that difficult. Viviani was good, I’m not implying that he’s just the creation of Quickstep. They signed him because he was already good. But he wasn’t in the best sprinter in the world conversation before he moved to QS, Bennett was. I admit though that it’s a lot easier to remember how a sprinter was regarded three seasons ago than five seasons ago, so maybe I’m not giving his Elia his due.
 
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Over the whole year, but my point was that he had a streak in the summer that was very impressive (and just look at his CQ-graph shooting up) and where he was as good as any sprinter, but because he didn't ride a GT it's not so clear cut. And I didn't regard Bennett on the level of Groenewegen and Ewan, but that's also muddy. I don't see a difference on the level of "much, much better".
 
Viviani was at Sky because they were willing to let him work towards the Olympics. But in 2017 they were all-in for GC at all 3 GTs, so despite being a track Gold Medal Winner he didn't get a spot, and left them for Quickstep.

There's a bit of a mirror of Bennett there; he was in a team that had different priorities, so didn't get to ride the calendar that a sprinter of his standing should have been getting. But when he went to Quickstep, he was still their 2nd tier sprinter behind Gaviria. He won 4 Giro stages, and his main competition was Bennett, who won 3.

When Gaviria signed for UAE, my automatic reaction was "Viviani's going to win 3 stages of the Tour next year." He won 1, and was lucky that Alaphilippe chose that year to go gangbusters and nearly win the whole bloody thing, or a bit more attention might have been paid to the fact that Quickstep's sprinter wasn't winning any sprints.

Quickstep signed Bennett as their main sprinter, because for the previous 3 seasons he had been the sprinter who had most put it up to them at a GT (except Ewan, who presumably wasn't available), and he paid them off pretty well last year.
 
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As of 13 April

Rider Wins (WT)
Bennett 5(5)
Ballerini 3(1)
Merlier 3(0)
Cavendish 2(0)
Ewan 1(1)
Bol 1(1)
Van Aert 1(1)
Sagan 1(1)
Philipsen 1(0)
Pedersen 1(0)
Paret-Peintre 1(0)
Dupont 1(0)
Bauhaus 1(0)
Nizzolo 1(0)
Mareczko 1(0)
Demare 1(0)
Viviani 1(0)
Hayter 1(0)
De Kleijn 1(0)

If I’m forgetting any let me know!
 
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