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The greatest classic rider of the 21st century

Who is the best classics specialist of this century?

  • Paolo Bettini

    Votes: 36 26.9%
  • Tom Boonen

    Votes: 40 29.9%
  • Fabian Cancellara

    Votes: 35 26.1%
  • Philippe Gilbert

    Votes: 12 9.0%
  • Alejandro Valverde

    Votes: 9 6.7%
  • Oscar Freire

    Votes: 2 1.5%

  • Total voters
    134
Jul 16, 2010
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I was curious to hear what the general consensus is regarding this.

I'll give a short list of the main candidates and their best results.

Paolo Bettini

Olympic Road Race: 2004
World Championship Road Race: 2006 and 2007
Liège-Bastogne-Liège: 2000 and 2002
Milan-San Remo: 2003
Giro di Lombardia: 2005 and 2006
Züri-Metzgete: 2001 and 2005
Clasica de San Sebastian: 2003

+ Top ten in the Ronde van Vlaanderen

Tom Boonen

World Championship Road Race: 2005
Ronde van Vlaanderen: 2005, 2006 and 2012 (shared record)
Paris-Roubaix: 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2012 (shared record)
Gent-Wevelgem: 2004, 2011 and 2012 (shared record)
E3 Harelbeke: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2012 (record)
Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: 2007, 2009 and 2014 (record)

+ A second and third place at Milan-San Remo

Fabian Cancellara

Paris-Roubaix, 2006, 2010 and 2013
Milan-San Remo: 2008
Ronde van Vlaanderen: 2010, 2013 and 2014 (shared record)
E3 Harelbeke: 2010, 2011 and 2013
Strade Bianche: 2008, 2012 and 2016 (record)

+ Silver at the Olympic Road Race.

Philippe Gilbert

World Championship Road Race: 2012
Ronde van Vlaanderen: 2017 (first rider in 20 years to win both the Ronde and LBL in his career)
Giro di Lombardia: 2009 and 2010
Liège-Bastogne-Liège: 2011
Amstel Gold Race: 2010, 2011 and 2014
Flèche Wallonne: 2011
Clasica de San Sebastian: 2011
GP de Québec: 2011
Paris-Tours: 2008 and 2009
Omloop het Nieuwsblad: 2006 and 2008
Brabantse Pijl: 2011 and 2014
Strade Bianche: 2011

+ Two third places at Milan-San Remo and two third places at the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Only rider of this century to have been on the podium in 4 different Monuments.



Alejandro Valverde

Liège-Bastogne-Liège: 2006, 2008 and 2015
Flèche Wallonne: 2006, 2014, 2015 and 2016 (record)
Clasica de San Sebastian: 2008 and 2014

+ Two podiums at the Giro di Lombardia and six at the World Championships.

Oscar Freire

World Championship Road Race: 1999, 2001 and 2004 (shared record)
Milan-San Remo: 2004, 2007 and 2010
Gent-Wevelgem: 2008
Paris-Tours: 2010
Brabantse Pijl: 2005, 2006 and 2007

-----

Please keep the discussion to one-day races only.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Re:

PremierAndrew said:
If you're gonna have Gilbert, you need to have Rebellin too

Cunego arguably deserves a mention too, even forgetting his Giro win

Rebellin won one Monument, Gilbert won 3 + the WC RR. They're not even close.

And Netserk was right, this poll proves Cancellara is immensely overrated. :lol: He doesn't even come at the heels of Bettini.
 
Have gone for Canc for his consistency across, MSR, RVV & P-R. 12 podiums from 13 races (the only blemish a DNF due to a crash). His 2010 P-R performance was the best ive ever seen and so good people claimed that he was on a motor bike :lol:
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Re:

snccdcno said:
I've already voted in this twice, once you removed the superfluous Boonen option and then added Freire, will my vote count the third time?

I needed to add that and remove it because otherwise the poll doesn't work, blame this buggy forum.
 
Cobbled classics always look like bigger achievements lately, it's easy to go for Boonen and all his records. But Bettini is the last rider that gave me real impression he could have won everything and a true all-classic giant, Gilbert never so much, so I'm with the Italian.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Re:

gunara said:
Cobbled classics always look like bigger achievements lately, it's easy to go for Boonen and all his records. But Bettini is the last rider that gave me real impression he could have won everything and a true all-classic giant, Gilbert never so much, so I'm with the Italian.

I also voted Bettini, but he never stood a chance in the cobbled classics and he tried numerous times in them (bar Paris-Roubaix). Gilbert is better on the cobbles than Bettini, but Bettini remained at a higher level for a longer period of time. Gilbert regressed a lot after 2011.
 
Re: Re:

El Pistolero said:
And Netserk was right, this poll proves Cancellara is immensely overrated. :lol: He doesn't even come at the heels of Bettini.

edit: whoops, I echoed Richeypen.

I want to say also that Freire's 3 MSR wins really stand out. I've only watched that race since 2011 and it seems like a magic trick (no clinic) to win it three times.
 
Bettini for me (even if his first Liege was in the previous century). How many years in a row did he win the World Cup (iirc he would have won it in the first years of the PT as well)?

Boonen and Canc to fill out the podium.

PS: Looking back, QS was quite ridiculous in 2006 in the classics. Other than Boonen's 5th place in Roubaix, they did no worse than 2nd in the other monuments (Liege) while winning three (and WCRR as well).
 
Jun 13, 2016
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Since I value RVV and PR higher than LBL or GdL, the answer is Tom Boonen.

And that is funny, because as a classics specialist I vote for Boonen, but as a rider Cancellara is so much better.
 
Re:

Netserk said:
Bettini for me (even if his first Liege was in the previous century). How many years in a row did he win the World Cup (iirc he would have won it in the first years of the PT as well)?

He won 3 years in a row between 2002-2004. Think in 2005 he would've been drawn with Di Luca as both had only 3 results: 1-1-4.
 
Re: Re:

El Pistolero said:
PremierAndrew said:
If you're gonna have Gilbert, you need to have Rebellin too

Cunego arguably deserves a mention too, even forgetting his Giro win

Rebellin won one Monument, Gilbert won 3 + the WC RR. They're not even close.

And Netserk was right, this poll proves Cancellara is immensely overrated. :lol: He doesn't even come at the heels of Bettini.

Gilbert's monument record doesn't come close to Bettini Boonen or Cancellara. The reason he's there is because of his immense success in other classics too along with his air of invincibility in one particular season. So, why not Rebellin then?
 
Cancellara and valverde are extrememy good riders but their classics results are relatively bad compared to some other ones. For example canc is imo the best of those riders but only my number 3 of classics riders.

1. boonen
2. bettini
3. cancellara
4. Freire
5. Gilbert
6. valverde
 
I wonder how much time Sagan will need to get on the list of best classic riders of the 21st century. He hasn't won that much yet (Ronde, WC, E3, 2 x GW) but definitely has the potential in the future. Especially since Cancellara is gone now it will be very hard to beat Sagan in the Ronde in the next few years.