Weak generation of topsprinters?

Last few years Cavendish, when in top form, is unbeatable in mass sprints.
But lately I saw the question raised by some posters if it's not only due to Cavendish pure speed, but also his rather unimpressive opponents.

We saw Farrar, Greipel, Petacchi and others regularly getting their *** kicked by either second-string sprinters or even neo-professionals like Guardini. Especially when Guardini left the others behind as if they were standing still the eyebrows were raised. Are those guys really Cav's main opponents?

We also noticed that some other strong first year pro sprinters made a very quick transition and started winning immediately or at least placing high. Guys like Howard and Modolo last year, and guys like Degenkolb and Matthews this year (albeit for the harder sprints maybe)...

So, is the current generation of top sprinters behind Cavendish just a weak batch?? Or is the new generation just extremely talented?
 
Sep 9, 2009
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Dekker_Tifosi said:
Last few years Cavendish, when in top form, is unbeatable in mass sprints.
But lately I saw the question raised by some posters if it's not only due to Cavendish pure speed, but also his rather unimpressive opponents.

We saw Farrar, Greipel, Petacchi and others regularly getting their *** kicked by either second-string sprinters or even neo-professionals like Guardini. Especially when Guardini left the others behind as if they were standing still the eyebrows were raised. Are those guys really Cav's main opponents?

We also noticed that some other strong first year pro sprinters made a very quick transition and started winning immediately or at least placing high. Guys like Howard and Modolo last year, and guys like Degenkolb and Matthews this year (albeit for the harder sprints maybe)...

So, is the current generation of top sprinters behind Cavendish just a weak batch?? Or is the new generation just extremely talented?
That'd be me.

I was being slightly facetious - as it happens I think Cav is exceptional, and his competition is rather weak, which explains his sometimes comical margin of victory, and his ability to even out the random chance in sprinting and win implausably often.

I certainly think Guardini and Cav both demonstrate real sprinters are not 80 Kilo cobbled classics riders churning the biggest gear they can find, which sadly describes most of the supposed top guys at the moment.
 
Jan 7, 2011
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Its difficult to say. There aren't many top sprinters who are 23 - 29 years old which is probably when sprinters are in the prime.

after Cav its Greipel, Farrar, Goss, EBH possibly, Renshaw. Ciolek's been a massive let down. Cav is easily the best out of those.
So yes his "generation" if you sort of call it a five year period has been pretty poor.

He's also came at a time when riders who had been dominant over the last 10 years were starting to lose their kick to different extents - Mcewen, Pettachi, Boonen and Hushovd - would Cav have been so dominant if he had been 5 years older? possibly not but I would still say he was the quickest of all of those in their prime definitely over Boonen and Hushovd.

How long he will stay at the top will be interesting as their are definitly some phenomenal talents coming up. Degenkolb, Matthews, Guardini, Phinney, Modolo, Kittel, Howard, Vermeltfoort etc.
I think this will be key to knowing how good he is. Mcewen for example was only really the top sprinter for about 3 years same with Boonen - is cav's time up soon?
 
first i will paste here what i said about oscarito in the romandie thread :p

Parrulo said:
no doubt oscarito lacks his old speed. when he won M-SR last year and P-T his wins were just following the wheel of some1 till the last 50 meters where he used his still decent kick to get over them ofc that will never work on a 200k long flat stage. so his chances of winning a mass sprint are pretty much none this days, even with his amazing positioning skills. still you can never discount oscarito for a 260k race with some hills and a though sprint in it.

i would really really love to see him wining this years worlds and get his forth. he deserves it because he is an absolute natural on long though races.

p.s. i thinking being one of the most loved guys in the peloton by the fans (dunno about the riders) makes it hard for the fans to admit that he is slowly fading away with age, it does for me(i admit i edited the pcm db to increase his decline age XD)
so ya oscarito can't win a bunch sprint this days.

petachi is older or around the same age as oscarito so it shouldn't come as a surprise that his speed isn't the same as it used to be.

greipel and farrar are prolly the only ones who can compete with cav but still they seem to get beaten so easily by him . . . .

Waterloo Sunrise said:
I certainly think Guardini and Cav both demonstrate real sprinters are not 80 Kilo cobbled classics riders churning the biggest gear they can find, which sadly describes most of the supposed top guys at the moment.
i have to agree with this. thor never looked really really fast to me tbh. and tommeke used to be a good sprinter back in 2005 but this days his sprint is pretty much average.

besides if we look at both boonen and cav's sprints we can see the gigantic style difference and how much smoother and effective cav's style looks like/is
 
Aug 18, 2009
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I think having one guy so dominant at the top might pour cold water on the ambitions of all but the youngest and foolhardiest of sprinters. The little Napoleon of sprints is a big obstacle in the way of their success. But I don't think that his closest rivals getting beaten in that race by Kenny Van Hummel is significant. Such things happen when the stakes are lower and the form isn't fully there. Come the Tour we'll stilll see stages like cav-farrar-ale, cav-ale-farrar, blah-blah-blah. Guardini really is interesing though. When was the last time such a talent appeared, do people think? What is the level of hype at the moment?

Credit to Cav though for his apparent technical skill, even his media-savviness, to an extent. He really is pretty professional, in some ways.

No disrespect to KRVH who is clearly on some screaming form at the moment.
 
So because Farrar and Greipel are beaten in Tour of Turkey, they are much worse sprinters than Cavendish (who seems to suck in every race except from GTs nowadays)? Cavendish is not the only one who wants to peak for the TDF.
 
Aug 18, 2009
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I often get the feeling that sprinting isn't actually that attractive a specialisation for a cyclist. The amount of times you hear sprinters expressing a desire to develop their classics ability seems to suggest it. Maybe the level of physical/mental stress is unsustainably high, but maybe these guys are just looking to the future and trying to secure their income for a bit longer.
 
Was Merckx awesome or was it just his competition that wasn't good? Was Coppi? Armstrong? It's impossible to say. Though one thing I think should be noticed is that it seems as though Cavendish's competition is really, really inconsistent. Guys like Farrar and Greipel have been really good in some races and sucked really bad in other.

Then there are a few sprinters who are very fast but lack something else (mainly a decent train but could also be positioning etc.): Hutarovich, Galimzyanov, Haedo etc. These could definately give Cavendish a run for his money when the circumstances are right.

I'd have to say though, that at the moment I don't really see anyone even close to Cavendish when he's at his best.

I think we're in for an interesting era though, as there seem to be a lot of young guys with a lot of potential: Guardini, Nizzolo, Kittel, Howard, Viviani, Matthews, Degenkolb etc.
 
maltiv said:
So because Farrar and Greipel are beaten in Tour of Turkey, they are much worse sprinters than Cavendish (who seems to suck in every race except from GTs nowadays)? Cavendish is not the only one who wants to peak for the TDF.
If it was the fact that they only got beaten in the Tour of Turkey, I would agree with you.
But, this is hardly the first time this season, or even last season. They got beaten in plenty of races by many other sprinters... too much actually

So your not making a strong point here.
 
Aug 16, 2009
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Farrar seems more interested in being a good classics rider in addition to being a good finisher. Cav will never be a good bet in one of the hardest northern classics.

I saw the Turkey finish today and Tyler put himself in a dumb spot.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Hugo Koblet said:
Was Merckx awesome or was it just his competition that wasn't good? Was Coppi? Armstrong? It's impossible to say. Though one thing I think should be noticed is that it seems as though Cavendish's competition is really, really inconsistent. Guys like Farrar and Greipel have been really good in some races and sucked really bad in other.

Then there are a few sprinters who are very fast but lack something else (mainly a decent train but could also be positioning etc.): Hutarovich, Galimzyanov, Haedo etc. These could definately give Cavendish a run for his money when the circumstances are right.

I'd have to say though, that at the moment I don't really see anyone even close to Cavendish when he's at his best.

I think we're in for an interesting era though, as there seem to be a lot of young guys with a lot of potential: Guardini, Nizzolo, Kittel, Howard, Viviani, Matthews, Degenkolb etc.
Merckx wasn't the best sprinter of his generation, he wasn't even the best climber of his generation.
 
I used to think this was indeed a weak generation, but when I think of the early to mid 90s, there were lots of sprinters who could win. Cipollini was undoubtedly the best, but it wasn't a surprise to see him defeated by the likes of Minali, Blijlevens, Baldato, Ludwig, Abdoujaparov, Van Poppel, Nelissen, Steels, Leoni or Svorada. They were all pretty even (if anything, Steels' good years were above anyone else's). Maybe it's similar now, but Cavendish is actually better than Cipollini.

On the other hand, back then young sprinters had it harder to climb to the elite.
 
I also have a feeling that Farrar and Greipel have lost some speed this year. Perhaps it's because they have been even more focused on the classics and haven't put that much speed training in lately. I think we will get a better view of this at the Tour.

I would say that it isn't really a sign of strength in the field when McEwen and Petacchi can still perform so well at their age.

As for the younger riders I think it's always like that. You have very young sprinters that come along and beat the established riders but they tend to lose their speed when they train more endurance to be able to follow better etc. I remember when Casper first came on the scene and beat Zabel four times in Deutschland Tour 1999. He looked very much like these young speedy riders we have right now but eventually things even out over time.
 
Jan 7, 2011
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Rodriguez is a hilly classic specialist over a gt rider and a very good one.

But yes you're right - most challengers are GC riders first - I suppose it suits the same kind of rider but that doesn't mean they can't be good classics riders as well. Samu and the Schlecks are usually there or there abouts but not care as much.

There are hilly classics specialists but its weird because there is one great one and the rest are mediocre. Gerrans and Martens are both a couple of tiers below Gilbert. LLS should be but his performances are bizarre. Cunego is but had a horrid year.
I think perhaps its less fashionable to aim for hilly classics than to finish 8th in Gt? Does anyone think if Bettini/rebellin had gone for GTs they could have top 10ed. Someone like Hesjedal has managed it.
 
Nov 11, 2010
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I've seen the way Tyler sprints and at times it seems like he doesn't even try. His sprints sometimes look real sluggish. Besides, it seems now that there isn't a rider that is unable to beat Farrar in a sprint.

As for Greipel, I don't know what's wrong with him. Maybe the change of scenery in a new team. But I was expecting him to be having as good a year or better than last year. Hopefully he really shows something once the Tour comes around.


Pettachi, for his age is still damn fast in my opinion. He has beaten Cavendish before and I would put him above Farrar and maybe Greipel.

Freire, as he gets older, his best bet is to win the stages that he's usually said to be best at. The hilly stages that the pure sprinters can't seem to get over.

At the moment, Theo Bos seems to be a good sprinter coming up through the ranks.
 
Mar 8, 2010
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Can't see much sense so far and especially the opening post is just an outstanding collection of confusion and disorder, but I am shocked that no one made mention of Cav's outstanding team. Especially Mark Renshaw is huge and very important factor.
And, just for example, some attentive observers could also notice, that even Hincapie was a big loss to the team and especially Cav, and it took them some time to compensate his departure and experience.

Of course Cavendish is very fast, explosive and one of the best. No doubt.
If you combinate that with a focused team, that produces a nearly unbeatable train, including one of the best leadoutmen on earth, then we get all those superior looking and "boring" Cav-wins as result.

I doubt that other sprinters are that much worser, and don't see that they really suck more (often) than Cav. I am in no way seeing something like "weak" generation.
I can see many good sprinters, but not many teams that can compete against HTC in the sprints, when it comes to quality of train and leadout.

Cav is brilliant, but success in cycling is a team effort - especially delivering a sprinter to the line perfectly.
 
Cobblestoned said:
Can't see much sense so far and especially the opening post is just an outstanding collection of confusion and disorder, but I am shocked that no one made mention of Cav's outstanding team. Especially Mark Renshaw is huge and very important factor.
And, just for example, some attentive observers could also notice, that even Hincapie was a big loss to the team and especially Cav, and it took them some time to compensate his departure and experience.

Of course Cavendish is very fast, explosive and one of the best. No doubt.
If you combinate that with a focused team, that produces a nearly unbeatable train, including one of the best leadoutmen on earth, then we get all those superior looking and "boring" Cav-wins as result.

I doubt that other sprinters are that much worser, and don't see that they really suck more (often) than Cav. I am in no way seeing something like "weak" generation.
I can see many good sprinters, but not many teams that can compete against HTC in the sprints, when it comes to quality of train and leadout.

Cav is brilliant, but success in cycling is a team effort - especially delivering a sprinter to the line perfectly.
This is the best point. When you have the top sprinter and the top lead out train, then what you have is an unstoppable force. Think back to the years when Cipollini and Petacchi dominate, you saw their leadout train start out from 5km out and it became a formaility. For those have been around, Cipollini had one guy that raced everywhere with him that was his last guy, Gian Matteo Fagnini. Cavendish has that one guy in Mark Renshaw. Both guys were in their prime at the same time as the ace sprinter.

Most of the other sprinters has solid Leadout men, but most of them are on the back half of their careers. After either 2000 or 2001, Fagnini signed on with T-Mobile to work with Zabel, but he was just that half a km/hr slower, and Zabel couldn't quite replicate Cipollini success with him.

Sprinter have gotten use to a leadout train, that most of the modern sprinters struggle when on their own, you don't have a current sprinter that can consistently look after themselves as much as McEwen or Friere did before.
 
Sep 9, 2009
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Cobblestoned said:
Can't see much sense so far and especially the opening post is just an outstanding collection of confusion and disorder, but I am shocked that no one made mention of Cav's outstanding team. Especially Mark Renshaw is huge and very important factor.
And, just for example, some attentive observers could also notice, that even Hincapie was a big loss to the team and especially Cav, and it took them some time to compensate his departure and experience.

Of course Cavendish is very fast, explosive and one of the best. No doubt.
If you combinate that with a focused team, that produces a nearly unbeatable train, including one of the best leadoutmen on earth, then we get all those superior looking and "boring" Cav-wins as result.

I doubt that other sprinters are that much worser, and don't see that they really suck more (often) than Cav. I am in no way seeing something like "weak" generation.
I can see many good sprinters, but not many teams that can compete against HTC in the sprints, when it comes to quality of train and leadout.

Cav is brilliant, but success in cycling is a team effort - especially delivering a sprinter to the line perfectly.
Yes, last year's tour showed Cav relies on a train for his superiority.

And he's not really much quicker, it's just a product of starting sprints in the lead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4tr_l3z9Yg


Ummmmmm.


Seriously, does anyone really debate Cavendish has 3-5km/hour top speed over everyone else when everyone's at their best? That's like having a spare second in your pocket in a 100m run.
 
Sep 24, 2009
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I agree with the (somewhere) abovementioned point, the "older" generation has far too much big strong guys who aren't really true sprinters but boys who can turn around an impossibly high gear.

look at boonen, hushovd, ...., to me they aren't sprinters in the true sense of the word, they can however develop huge power which makes them contenders in a difficult sprint or in one where they they are ideally placed and go at the perfect moment.

that's why i like what's happening now, with the upcoming generation of sprinters (a number of them former pistiers) you're seeing true sprints coming back just like in the days of true kings like cipo en steels...
 
Sep 9, 2009
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Carl0880 said:
This is the best point. When you have the top sprinter and the top lead out train, then what you have is an unstoppable force. Think back to the years when Cipollini and Petacchi dominate, you saw their leadout train start out from 5km out and it became a formaility. For those have been around, Cipollini had one guy that raced everywhere with him that was his last guy, Gian Matteo Fagnini. Cavendish has that one guy in Mark Renshaw. Both guys were in their prime at the same time as the ace sprinter.

Most of the other sprinters has solid Leadout men, but most of them are on the back half of their careers. After either 2000 or 2001, Fagnini signed on with T-Mobile to work with Zabel, but he was just that half a km/hr slower, and Zabel couldn't quite replicate Cipollini success with him.

Sprinter have gotten use to a leadout train, that most of the modern sprinters struggle when on their own, you don't have a current sprinter that can consistently look after themselves as much as McEwen or Friere did before.
Go watch an overhead of the Bourdeux stage from last year. No lead out, and he won by 15 yards like everyone else had slammed the brakes on.

It's difficult to look like a tricky McEwan type when your top end means you win so very comfortably, but he won plenty of races before he got a train, and that train was considerably more contested in last year's tour, to very little effect.
 
Apr 29, 2009
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Waterloo Sunrise said:
Go watch an overhead of the Bourdeux stage from last year. No lead out, and he won by 15 yards like everyone else had slammed the brakes on.

It's difficult to look like a tricky McEwan type when your top end means you win so very comfortably, but he won plenty of races before he got a train, and that train was considerably more contested in last year's tour, to very little effect.
+1
Plenty of comments regarding lead out trains,lack of competition and low frontal area which are all skirting around the issue.The fact is Cav is just simply much faster than anyone else and crucially has a far bigger jump. It's not rocket science.
 
Mar 20, 2009
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cav's one of the greats when you mention top sprinters. combined with a very good train, he just makes it all look too easy.
i do think the other sprinters atm, just cant match him, especially when he combines with someone like renshaw.

still i'm in awe of robbie. he "did" it all without help and against the like of zabel in his prime with the telekom train.

imo, cav is more fragile. if he were in robbies position back then, he'd certainly have the talent, but i think the rattle would get thrown out of the basket when he didnt have 3 teammates lined up in front of him with a km to go.
 

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