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The Monuments Men – Or who will win all 5 of them?

As we had quite a few polls about riders, who haven’t won this or that Monument or haven’t won a Monument at all, I want to take a look on the highest achievements of riders in Monuments and get you to discuss about possible future winners of all five. Also Gilbert comes to mind, who just stated that he wants to win all five Monuments.

The first thing you realize, when you look at the numbers, is of course the Cannibal Eddy Merckx. He hast won 19 Monuments in his career, he won all five Monuments more than once and he is the only rider who won three Monuments in one season. Actually, that juggernaut achieved this effort four times. There is no need to compare any rider with him. He is so fuoriclasse as fuoriclasse can be.

Riders, who have won all 5 Monuments
Eddy Merckx 19 Monuments (7xMSrm – 2 RVV – 3 PR – 5 LBL – 2 GdL)
Roger de Vlaeminck 11 Monuments (3 MSrm – 1 RVV – 4 PR – 1 LBL – 2 GdL)
Rik van Looy 8 Monuments (1 MSrm – 2 RVV – 3 PR – 1 LBL – 1 GdL)

To be fair you have to say, that the routes were quite different. None of the three had to face the Cipressa, none of them had to deal with La Roche aux Faucons, Côte de Saint Nicolas or Ans. Only Merckx once faced La Redoute and won. But, that was Merckx. None of them won, when Koppenberg entered the Ronde in 1976.

Keeping that in mind, you think that there is a rider, who could do it? Do you think Gilbert can do it, considering his age and the possibility, that he will never reach his current form again? Peter Sagan and Michal Kwiatkowski are two riders that come to mind. The latter because he just has won the Monument that might be the hardest to win. Who else? Or is it impossible?
 
Gilbert is closest at the moment, and with this shape I could see him winning Paris-Roubaix in 2018 or 2019, but time is ticking.
I don't see him winning Milan-San Remo anymore. You really need to be very very sharp in the sprint or on the Poggio and those years are gone for Gilbert that he could attack and make a gap on the Poggio. He could not even win in those days...

So that makes maximum 4/5 for Gilbert.

I see Sagan win everything in spring (L-B-L obviously the hardest) but not Lombardia. And even though Sagan is such a big talent, he is still at 1/5 and really missed two big chances for M-Sr. He should really win that one next year, because every year from now there will be more chances that new fresh guys in their mid 20s can follow Sagan.

I don't see Kwiatkowksi ever win Roubaix. He is just a bit too light and his riding style (very smooth) does not match long stretches of cobbles.
 
The most versatile i think is van Avermaet that is well suited for at least four out five and also for Lombardia with a route like 2014 but probably is too old with none won at 31.

Kwiatkowski is well suited for Ronde e Liege but i think also for him a Lombardia like last year against climbers could be too hard and he never rode Roubaix so we didn't how he can perform.

Gilbert is the one with the more done having won three out five but probably he lost his best year to try Roubaix with the form he has and to win Sanremo he needs to go solo on the Poggio.

Sagan it's out of contest for Lombardia, he could win Liege but i think he needs to focus on it as major target but if he won't win Roubaix (and looking at his performances the past years i'm not sure that he'll won) i think he'll never shift his focus to Ardennes.

Between young guys Benoot seems the more versatile but looks like he's a bit lost this year, Alaphilippe i think if he want he could contest in the Ronde but not in Roubaix, for Moscon i think Lombardia is too hard.
 
I think motivation is the bigger issue that ability. It's not possible these days for a rider to compete at all five monuments at the same phase of their career. They'll either be too heavy for the climbing ones or too light for the cobbled ones. So it would have to be someone prepared to give up chances at the races they have won (e.g. if Sagan would have to lose 5+ kg and give up his chances at Roubaix & RVV to have a shot at LBL and Lombardia). But what's the point in giving up being one of the favourites, for an outside shot at a different race? Which team is going to encourage a rider to do that?

The only way I could see it happening is if some super talented rider won RVV/PR/MSR while quite young (maybe Gaviria?) and then decided they wanted to challenge for GC at a GT. Then they would have to get into climbing shape and could win the other classics. You wouldn't give up PR winning shape just to try to win Lombardia; the motivation wouild have to come from somewhere else. Kind of like Thomas, if he had been more successful earlier in his career.
 
Gilbert should have focused on Milano-Sanremo when he was younger. It's the easiest race to finish but the hardest to win. And it's also a young man's race. You need a fast finish and a lot of energy. In Paris-Roubaix, he has a much better chance. It's an old man's race and the last race you should focus on if you want to win all five monuments. A perfect race for the elderly hard men (Hayman, Duclos-Lassalle).

In Lombardia, Greg Van Avermaet and Sagan needs a very easy route (not like the 2016 edition) and and will probably have to be in a break. Liege seems too hard for Sagan as well, but not for GVA who is a much better climber. But Sagan has the age advantage and is more likely to win Milano-Sanremo.

Then there is Kwiatkowksi. Winning Milano-Sanremo is the perfect start for him. I never thought he could pull it off. He also have a good chance of winning Liege, Lombardia and even Flanders. Pairs-Roubaix is going to be a problem since it doesn't match his skill sets but it's an old man's race after all. He could bulk up and try to win it when he is 35 or something.

Other candidates: Stybar, Alaphilippe, Wellens, Felline, Valgren, Moscon, Big Tom.

In order to find the best all-rounder classics rider.. look who is good in Strande Bianche! :razz:
 
Re:

Nirvana said:
The most versatile i think is van Avermaet that is well suited for at least four out five and also for Lombardia with a route like 2014 but probably is too old with none won at 31.

Kwiatkowski is well suited for Ronde e Liege but i think also for him a Lombardia like last year against climbers could be too hard and he never rode Roubaix so we didn't how he can perform.

Gilbert is the one with the more done having won three out five but probably he lost his best year to try Roubaix with the form he has and to win Sanremo he needs to go solo on the Poggio.

Sagan it's out of contest for Lombardia, he could win Liege but i think he needs to focus on it as major target but if he won't win Roubaix (and looking at his performances the past years i'm not sure that he'll won) i think he'll never shift his focus to Ardennes.

Between young guys Benoot seems the more versatile but looks like he's a bit lost this year, Alaphilippe i think if he want he could contest in the Ronde but not in Roubaix, for Moscon i think Lombardia is too hard.

Moscon did win the U23 GdL right? I don't know if the route was quite similar, but he must have a chance if he was able to win that one.
 
I can't see anyone winning all 5 in modern era TBH. Unless the character of some of these races changes.

People often write that rider X would now have a realistic chance in A, B and C and would have some chance in D or E if he prepared for it, but I haven't seen anything to suggest such a high versatility is possible in road cycling nowadays. It's usually wishful thinking IMO.
 
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DFA123 said:
I think motivation is the bigger issue that ability. It's not possible these days for a rider to compete at all five monuments at the same phase of their career. They'll either be too heavy for the climbing ones or too light for the cobbled ones. So it would have to be someone prepared to give up chances at the races they have won (e.g. if Sagan would have to lose 5+ kg and give up his chances at Roubaix & RVV to have a shot at LBL and Lombardia). But what's the point in giving up being one of the favourites, for an outside shot at a different race? Which team is going to encourage a rider to do that?

The only way I could see it happening is if some super talented rider won RVV/PR/MSR while quite young (maybe Gaviria?) and then decided they wanted to challenge for GC at a GT. Then they would have to get into climbing shape and could win the other classics. You wouldn't give up PR winning shape just to try to win Lombardia; the motivation wouild have to come from somewhere else. Kind of like Thomas, if he had been more successful earlier in his career.

That's a good point. And it shows why it's probably not going to happen. Because you don't get riders more prodigious or talented than Sagan and after seven years, he has only won one monument once. I think it is very unlikely for anyone to win all three before his current age. Cancellara won Flanders at 29 (I think) but he never tried to change his body composition and go for a GT even though he sometimes talked about it. Maybe it was too late. Or maybe he figured that it wasn't worth the risk of becoming a worse rider.

Perhaps the other way around is not unrealistic either. Kwiatkowski has this as a career goal and if he should win Lombardia and Liège within the next couple of seasons, I think he will target the cobbled races specifically. I wouldn't count him out, but I certainly think it is more likely that he doesn't win them all than that he does.

Sagan and Lombardia looks difficult - unless they soften the route a bit again.

Guys like Felline, Colbrelli and Benoot have the potential to contend for all the races but they in no way have the calibre to win every one of them. The same goes for Moscon, I think.

GvA is too old. He is 31 and hasn't won just one yet. So it's not going to happen for him either.
 
Re: Re:

tobydawq said:
DFA123 said:
I think motivation is the bigger issue that ability. It's not possible these days for a rider to compete at all five monuments at the same phase of their career. They'll either be too heavy for the climbing ones or too light for the cobbled ones. So it would have to be someone prepared to give up chances at the races they have won (e.g. if Sagan would have to lose 5+ kg and give up his chances at Roubaix & RVV to have a shot at LBL and Lombardia). But what's the point in giving up being one of the favourites, for an outside shot at a different race? Which team is going to encourage a rider to do that?

The only way I could see it happening is if some super talented rider won RVV/PR/MSR while quite young (maybe Gaviria?) and then decided they wanted to challenge for GC at a GT. Then they would have to get into climbing shape and could win the other classics. You wouldn't give up PR winning shape just to try to win Lombardia; the motivation wouild have to come from somewhere else. Kind of like Thomas, if he had been more successful earlier in his career.

That's a good point. And it shows why it's probably not going to happen. Because you don't get riders more prodigious or talented than Sagan and after seven years, he has only won one monument once. I think it is very unlikely for anyone to win all three before his current age. Cancellara won Flanders at 29 (I think) but he never tried to change his body composition and go for a GT even though he sometimes talked about it. Maybe it was too late. Or maybe he figured that it wasn't worth the risk of becoming a worse rider.

Perhaps the other way around is not unrealistic either. Kwiatkowski has this as a career goal and if he should win Lombardia and Liège within the next couple of seasons, I think he will target the cobbled races specifically. I wouldn't count him out, but I certainly think it is more likely that he doesn't win them all than that he does.

Sagan and Lombardia looks difficult - unless they soften the route a bit again.

Guys like Felline, Colbrelli and Benoot have the potential to contend for all the races but they in no way have the calibre to win every one of them. The same goes for Moscon, I think.

GvA is too old. He is 31 and hasn't won just one yet. So it's not going to happen for him either.
Yeah, the other way round could be possible as well. The problem with that I guess is that riders who usually do well at LBL and especially Lombardia, are also usually at the sharp end in GTs. Not sure too many would give up all the money and exposure that GTs bring, for an outside shot at the cobbled classics. But sure, there certainly are possible exceptions like Kwiatkowski or perhaps someone like Rui Costa - guys who have tried and failed at GTs and may be prepared to try something new.
 
Re: Re:

Ikbengodniet said:
Nirvana said:
The most versatile i think is van Avermaet that is well suited for at least four out five and also for Lombardia with a route like 2014 but probably is too old with none won at 31.

Kwiatkowski is well suited for Ronde e Liege but i think also for him a Lombardia like last year against climbers could be too hard and he never rode Roubaix so we didn't how he can perform.

Gilbert is the one with the more done having won three out five but probably he lost his best year to try Roubaix with the form he has and to win Sanremo he needs to go solo on the Poggio.

Sagan it's out of contest for Lombardia, he could win Liege but i think he needs to focus on it as major target but if he won't win Roubaix (and looking at his performances the past years i'm not sure that he'll won) i think he'll never shift his focus to Ardennes.

Between young guys Benoot seems the more versatile but looks like he's a bit lost this year, Alaphilippe i think if he want he could contest in the Ronde but not in Roubaix, for Moscon i think Lombardia is too hard.

Moscon did win the U23 GdL right? I don't know if the route was quite similar, but he must have a chance if he was able to win that one.

Moscon won the Arctic Race of Norway last year on an MTF, admittedly against quite weak competition, but he did outclimb Henao (Sebastian), Gilbert and Clement.
 
GVA, Sagan, Gilbert, and Kwito. But even such a good rider as GVA hasn't even won a monument yet, so needless to say, its incredibly hard.. Gilbert needed to ride Roubaix now to have any shot.

Its a Moscon-type of rider we are looking for, Moscon is good, but only a once in a lifetime rider will be able to do it in this generation
 
Lombardia needs to be much easier for any rider to have a chance. The remote possibilities with age on their hand are Kwiat, Moscon & Benoot, but they all have at least one race where they'll have to change their body shape considerably.
 
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Valv.Piti said:
GVA, Sagan, Gilbert, and Kwito. But even such a good rider as GVA hasn't even won a monument yet, so needless to say, its incredibly hard.. Gilbert needed to ride Roubaix now to have any shot.

Its a Moscon-type of rider we are looking for, Moscon is good, but only a once in a lifetime rider will be able to do it in this generation

I would love to say Sagan but it is Kwiatko who looks much more realistic. With MSR in his hand, he can definitely do it.
MSR is the the key.
 
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if you would have asked the question 5 years ago, I would have said Peter Sagan ....
But then again by now I would have expected him to have won at least 5 monuments (and at least MST, RvV and Paris-Roubaix) ....
as such didn't happen, I can't see him making the "monument-slam" anymore ....

(N.B. Peter is by far the most gifted and versatile rider of his generation)

Kwiatkowski is certainly able to win L-B-L, not sure about Lombardy .... but I would doubt him ever being among the very best cobbles-riders (yes he has won E3, I know that) and two more lucky-punches like MSR 2017 seems stretching the luck a bit too far ....

apart these two I do not see anyone, you could even dream of complying the task ....
 
Max Rockatansky said:
None of them won, when Koppenberg entered the Ronde in 1976.

In 1977 the Tour of Flanders climbed the Koppenberg. Freddy Maertens changed his bike on it. He was not allowed to do that as he could overtake riders freewheeling pushed a friend uphill and was warned about a possible disqualification. Many still believe he was disqualified for that bike change but actually 5km the official agreed to leae him in the race. In the meantime he was in the lead with Roger De Vlaeminck who had made a brutal effort to come back after a puncture on the Taaienberg that cost him 1 and a half minute and felt blown up. So De Vlaeminck stopped taking turn while Maertens thought he would have been disqualified. Eventually De Vlaeminck outsprinted Maertens after having sucked his wheel for the last 60km and Maertens was disqualified for a positive test for stimul and not for the bike change while he definitely should have been for that bike change.

Sure the so-called monuments were different especially in Van Looy's days. At that time, Liège-Bastogne-Liège was a minor classic, the Arrow was more valuable. The Tour of Lombardy had a very flat finale, he won it in a bunch sprint (should have won it the year before though if De Bruyne had raced like a man), Milan-Sanremo had no Poggio, he also won it in a bunch sprint. He won three Paris-Roubaix on the old route via Amiens and the Mur de Doullens which had fewer and fewer sections while the Tour of Flanders was a minor classic as well.

Most of all these guys did not have the knowledge that they were racing "Monuments". The label only came up in the late eighties when the UCI launched their abominable World Cup with teh Wincanton Classic supposedly equal to Paris-Roubaix. Everybody then knew that some of these orld Cup events were more important than others while formerly great classics such as the Walloon Arrow or Paris-Brussels were demoted to second-tier races.
 
loge1884 said:
if you would have asked the question 5 years ago, I would have said Peter Sagan ....
But then again by now I would have expected him to have won at least 5 monuments (and at least MST, RvV and Paris-Roubaix) ....
as such didn't happen, I can't see him making the "monument-slam" anymore ....

(N.B. Peter is by far the most gifted and versatile rider of his generation)

Kwiatkowski is certainly able to win L-B-L, not sure about Lombardy .... but I would doubt him ever being among the very best cobbles-riders (yes he has won E3, I know that) and two more lucky-punches like MSR 2017 seems stretching the luck a bit too far ....

apart these two I do not see anyone, you could even dream of complying the task ....

If Gilbert can win Lombardy, so can Kwiat
 
Much easier route. It's impossible to know ig Kwiat will ever win because of the fact the route changes every year. I think the Bergamo route last year worked well and it will be kept for a while, but the Como route was brutal and maybe too hard in RCS' eyes. But otoh it was a spectacle I guess (And Nibali won) so they'll probably keep it for this year. If it eases up then Kwiat can win one, but with the current two routes he will struggle.
 
Re:

Brullnux said:
Much easier route. It's impossible to know ig Kwiat will ever win because of the fact the route changes every year. I think the Bergamo route last year worked well and it will be kept for a while, but the Como route was brutal and maybe too hard in RCS' eyes. But otoh it was a spectacle I guess (And Nibali won) so they'll probably keep it for this year. If it eases up then Kwiat can win one, but with the current two routes he will struggle.
Moreno was second and Gallopin was not far behind. I think it's a decent route for Ardennes type riders.