What is the 11th Biggest Win in Road Cycling?

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Which is the Most Prestigious?

  • TdF Green Jersey

    Votes: 8 15.4%
  • UCI World Tour

    Votes: 4 7.7%
  • AGR or FW

    Votes: 8 15.4%
  • Gent-Wevelgem

    Votes: 3 5.8%
  • PN or TA or Basque

    Votes: 17 32.7%
  • TdF Champs-Elysées

    Votes: 2 3.8%
  • Worlds ITT

    Votes: 10 19.2%

  • Total voters
    52
Re:

Netserk said:
Why is FW better than all one week stage races? It's a 200km long Wednesday race where everyone rides around together until the last km.
It is one of a very small number of races each year where all of those who could reasonably hope to win it are there, are in their very top shape and are very serious about winning it. This is not true of any week long stage race. The riders treat it as a very prestigious race, therefore it is a very prestigious race. It is not a race that is always determined by a charge up a steep hill, it is THE race that is always determined by a charge up a steep hill.

It also has a history of importance on its side.
 
Where's Froome then? Or Contador for that matter? Porte? Chaves?

It's only the Ardennes specialists that are in their very top shape here. The stage racers who could do well here (but aren't classics riders first and foremost), are either not here or not in their very top shape.
 
Re:

El Pistolero said:
Green Jersey in the Tour will definitely get you more recognition than winning Paris-Nice or Pais Vasco. So I'd go with that. I think a lot of people underestimate it because Sagan makes it look easy. Boonen for example got a lot more media attention in Belgium for winning the green jersey than GVA got for winning the Tirreno-Adriatico.
I agree completely, as most of the sprinters compete for it and it has cemented many of the best sprinter's statuses as such. Next I'd place PN/PV then the WC ITT (I love the event though).
 
Re:

Netserk said:
Where's Froome then? Or Contador for that matter? Porte? Chaves?

It's only the Ardennes specialists that are in their very top shape here. The stage racers who could do well here (but aren't classics riders first and foremost), are either not here or not in their very top shape.
An "Ardennes specialist" is the definition of a top contender for the Ardennes races. Most stage racers who don't compete in them don't have the explosiveness to actually win and a few who might have don't ever really try at any hilly classic. If that is taken to reduce the significance of FW, then it reduces the significance of Liege and for that matter Lombardia too (in fact the field is generally in stronger shape at FW than at Lombardia).
 
No, an "Ardennes specialist" is a rider whose primary specialization is the Ardennes classics. Like Valverde, Martin, Alaphilippe, Kwiatkowski, Gasparotto, Poels etc.

Nibali, on the other hand, is clearly not an "Ardennes specialist", but nevertheless an excellent classics rider when in his very top shape. Something he hasn't been for the Ardennes since 2012.

You may think that reduces all hilly classics, but I think it just makes them similar to all other kinds of races. It was your argument that was build on FW being a race "where all of those who could reasonably hope to win it are there, are in their very top shape and are very serious about winning it." There's a reason why we also don't see many outsiders attack before the last climb, as the race just isn't *that* important. They'd rather save a bit for Liege as well.
 
Re:

Netserk said:
No, an "Ardennes specialist" is a rider whose primary specialization is the Ardennes classics. Like Valverde, Martin, Alaphilippe, Kwiatkowski, Gasparotto, Poels etc.

Nibali, on the other hand, is clearly not an "Ardennes specialist", but nevertheless an excellent classics rider when in his very top shape. Something he hasn't been for the Ardennes since 2012.
Nibali tried for the Ardennes repeatedly. He has ceased to try seriously because he isn't explosive enough to take on the top puncheurs on any of those parcours when they are in top form. He could only win with an unlikely to succeed ranged attack. Lombardia is better suited to him, is in Italy and has a weaker field. The only way he wins in Ardennes week is in the style of Kreuziger and that's a bad bet for a guy with other major goals. This applies to most of the climbers and stage racers who dodge the Ardennes.

The Ardennes specialists are the puncheurs and the punchiest climbers. Riders ranging from those who think they can mix it with Valverde, Martin, Alaphillipe in absolute top shape on the Mur to those who think they can mix it with Gilbert and co on the Cauberg and at either end of that range they have to be fast enough to be able to win a small group sprint. Most GC climbers do not fit that profile. The ones who don't are not Ardennes contenders and can only win with a fortunate ranged attack. (In boxing, a guy who is outclassed but has big power is described as having a "punchers chance", i.e. nine times out of ten he is going to get his ears boxed off, but his punch is big enough that he could still get lucky with one and win).

Sure you can be ultra-pedantic and find someone who might fit that profile and might not be at the Ardennes in top shape, but PR and RVV are the only other races apart from Ardennes week where there is a nearly complete roster of top contenders in top form. Even the Tour isn't as complete in that sense, as some significant minority of the core cast will do the Giro instead or as well. The Giro, Vuelta, Lombardia and Worlds don't even come close.

Objections to the idea that FW is a prestigious race must ignore both history and the attitude of the peloton and concentrate instead on arguments about what should and shouldn't be prestigious (too short, too predictable etc). They are necessarily normative claims as opposed to factual descriptions, because in historical terms it clearly has great prestige and in terms of the attitude of the riders it clearly has great prestige. Arguments that it shouldn't be prestigious can be reasonable enough, arguments that it is not prestigious cannot be.

Remember also what it is being compared to here. It's not being measured against the Giro or Roubaix, but against one week races which split the job of preparing a GT field with other prep races!
 
I agree that it *was* very prestigious. Regarding the attitude of the riders, most don't try to win it and they ride, since they are already racing in that week and have the shape to take a result home. Parcours does obviously matter regarding prestige, just like it matters if it's in the weekend or midweek. GW is also more prestigious now than it was when it was shorter and in between Ronde and Roubaix. My main objection was lumping FW in with AGR and GW, and I also think that Paris-Nice, for example, is more prestigious than FW.

Nibali was nowhere near top shape in the Ardennes the past three years, and in '13 he saved himself there. 2012 was the only time that he peaked for the Ardennes, without having to save himself for the Giro (and he wasn't the same caliber of a contender back then neither). Froome has never targeted them. Nor Porte. Nor Chaves.
 
Jan 15, 2017
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It's a difficult question. I think it depends a lot in what people like. There's no one that we could say is above the rest. I always defend the most ancient races, some of them aren't there, like Paris-Tours or the disappeared Bordeaux-Paris. Another one that has become in recent years a top level race is E3, which is so close to Flanders that top guys arrive on form and raise level compared to OHN, KBK, DDV, etc.
 
Good point on E3. Everybody is pretty much firing on all cylinders at that point and wanting to prove themselves ahead of Flanders. Apart from that, its genuinely also one of the absolute best races on the calendar IMO.
 
Re:

Netserk said:
I agree that it *was* very prestigious. Regarding the attitude of the riders, most don't try to win it and they ride, since they are already racing in that week and have the shape to take a result home. Parcours does obviously matter regarding prestige, just like it matters if it's in the weekend or midweek. GW is also more prestigious now than it was when it was shorter and in between Ronde and Roubaix. My main objection was lumping FW in with AGR and GW, and I also think that Paris-Nice, for example, is more prestigious than FW.

Nibali was nowhere near top shape in the Ardennes the past three years, and in '13 he saved himself there. 2012 was the only time that he peaked for the Ardennes, without having to save himself for the Giro (and he wasn't the same caliber of a contender back then neither). Froome has never targeted them. Nor Porte. Nor Chaves.
This is getting repetitive, but one last time: Nibali doesn't target the Ardennes these days because he can't win them, short of a fortunate ranged attack. This is even more obviously true for GC climbers who lack his classics pedigree. Those guys are not missing top contenders, they are missing long shots.

Yes the top puncheurs and punchy climbers do race to win it and place extremely high value on it. Waiting for the Mur is precisely optimising your chances of a win, given that the parcours and the super strong field combine to make other choices very sub optimal. It also maximises chances of a good placing, which is also valued precisely because the race is prestigious (a bad side effect in all prestigious races).

Arguments about it being short, midweek, predictable are arguments about what you believe should be prestigious. History and what the riders value are arguments about what actually is prestigious. (Media attention is also an objective issue, although neither FW nor week long races rate highly on that measure). If the top guys in the peloton at an important specialty all decided to treat some minor hill climbing competition or crit as super prestigious and all showed up for it in top form really wanting it on their palmares, it would in fact be a very prestigious race no matter how stupid or undesirable the parcours. Even more so if they treat it that way for decade after decade.

If anything the hilly classics guys treat FW as being closer in value to their two monuments than the cobbled classics guys treat GW in comparison to their own two monuments. FW is part of the set for the puncheurs, while not even GW, important as it is, ranks near the big two for the cobble specialists.
 
Re: Re:

Zinoviev Letter said:
Netserk said:
I agree that it *was* very prestigious. Regarding the attitude of the riders, most don't try to win it and they ride, since they are already racing in that week and have the shape to take a result home. Parcours does obviously matter regarding prestige, just like it matters if it's in the weekend or midweek. GW is also more prestigious now than it was when it was shorter and in between Ronde and Roubaix. My main objection was lumping FW in with AGR and GW, and I also think that Paris-Nice, for example, is more prestigious than FW.

Nibali was nowhere near top shape in the Ardennes the past three years, and in '13 he saved himself there. 2012 was the only time that he peaked for the Ardennes, without having to save himself for the Giro (and he wasn't the same caliber of a contender back then neither). Froome has never targeted them. Nor Porte. Nor Chaves.
This is getting repetitive, but one last time: Nibali doesn't target the Ardennes these days because he can't win them, short of a fortunate ranged attack. This is even more obviously true for GC climbers who lack his classics pedigree. Those guys are not missing top contenders, they are missing long shots.

Yes the top puncheurs and punchy climbers do race to win it and place extremely high value on it. Waiting for the Mur is precisely optimising your chances of a win, given that the parcours and the super strong field combine to make other choices very sub optimal. It also maximises chances of a good placing, which is also valued precisely because the race is prestigious (a bad side effect in all prestigious races).

Arguments about it being short, midweek, predictable are arguments about what you believe should be prestigious. History and what the riders value are arguments about what actually is prestigious. (Media attention is also an objective issue, although neither FW nor week long races rate highly on that measure). If the top guys in the peloton at an important specialty all decided to treat some minor hill climbing competition or crit as super prestigious and all showed up for it in top form really wanting it on their palmares, it would in fact be a very prestigious race no matter how stupid or undesirable the parcours. Even more so if they treat it that way for decade after decade.
How would you know? He hasn't seriously targeted them since 2012, and he is stronger now than then and he came pretty damn close back then. The reason why he doesn't is quite simple: he wants to win the Giro. When that wasn't the case, he unfortunately was in shitty shape ('14 & '15). When/if he targets the Tour again, and if he actually values the Ardennes, he will be there again in his best possible condition.
 
Re: Re:

Netserk said:
Zinoviev Letter said:
Netserk said:
I agree that it *was* very prestigious. Regarding the attitude of the riders, most don't try to win it and they ride, since they are already racing in that week and have the shape to take a result home. Parcours does obviously matter regarding prestige, just like it matters if it's in the weekend or midweek. GW is also more prestigious now than it was when it was shorter and in between Ronde and Roubaix. My main objection was lumping FW in with AGR and GW, and I also think that Paris-Nice, for example, is more prestigious than FW.

Nibali was nowhere near top shape in the Ardennes the past three years, and in '13 he saved himself there. 2012 was the only time that he peaked for the Ardennes, without having to save himself for the Giro (and he wasn't the same caliber of a contender back then neither). Froome has never targeted them. Nor Porte. Nor Chaves.
This is getting repetitive, but one last time: Nibali doesn't target the Ardennes these days because he can't win them, short of a fortunate ranged attack. This is even more obviously true for GC climbers who lack his classics pedigree. Those guys are not missing top contenders, they are missing long shots.

Yes the top puncheurs and punchy climbers do race to win it and place extremely high value on it. Waiting for the Mur is precisely optimising your chances of a win, given that the parcours and the super strong field combine to make other choices very sub optimal. It also maximises chances of a good placing, which is also valued precisely because the race is prestigious (a bad side effect in all prestigious races).

Arguments about it being short, midweek, predictable are arguments about what you believe should be prestigious. History and what the riders value are arguments about what actually is prestigious. (Media attention is also an objective issue, although neither FW nor week long races rate highly on that measure). If the top guys in the peloton at an important specialty all decided to treat some minor hill climbing competition or crit as super prestigious and all showed up for it in top form really wanting it on their palmares, it would in fact be a very prestigious race no matter how stupid or undesirable the parcours. Even more so if they treat it that way for decade after decade.
How would you know? He hasn't seriously targeted them since 2012, and he is stronger now than then and he came pretty damn close back then. The reason why he doesn't is quite simple: he wants to win the Giro. When that wasn't the case, he unfortunately was in shitty shape ('14 & '15). When/if he targets the Tour again, and if he actually values the Ardennes, he will be there again in his best possible condition.
I know because he doesn't have the sprint to win from a small group or the punch to just blast away from them on the final climb. If you don't have one of those two things, or preferably both, on top of a high ability to deal with repeated hill climbing (which he obviously does have), you can only win by going long. Going long against a top form field of specialists is a sub optimal strategy, one for guys who are unlikely to win using the favourites strategy. It is a more viable approach at Lombardia where the field is shallower and in weaker form and the parcours a little more generous to the ranged attacker.

That this is so is one of the main causes of whining about the Ardennes races, but that's how it is. It's by no means impossible to win that way, but if you have to win Kreuziger style, then you are almost by definition an outsider rolling the dice. Nibali does not to waste a peak on races where he is that.
 
Mar 13, 2015
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Re: Re:

Netserk said:
Zinoviev Letter said:
Netserk said:
I agree that it *was* very prestigious. Regarding the attitude of the riders, most don't try to win it and they ride, since they are already racing in that week and have the shape to take a result home. Parcours does obviously matter regarding prestige, just like it matters if it's in the weekend or midweek. GW is also more prestigious now than it was when it was shorter and in between Ronde and Roubaix. My main objection was lumping FW in with AGR and GW, and I also think that Paris-Nice, for example, is more prestigious than FW.

Nibali was nowhere near top shape in the Ardennes the past three years, and in '13 he saved himself there. 2012 was the only time that he peaked for the Ardennes, without having to save himself for the Giro (and he wasn't the same caliber of a contender back then neither). Froome has never targeted them. Nor Porte. Nor Chaves.
This is getting repetitive, but one last time: Nibali doesn't target the Ardennes these days because he can't win them, short of a fortunate ranged attack. This is even more obviously true for GC climbers who lack his classics pedigree. Those guys are not missing top contenders, they are missing long shots.

Yes the top puncheurs and punchy climbers do race to win it and place extremely high value on it. Waiting for the Mur is precisely optimising your chances of a win, given that the parcours and the super strong field combine to make other choices very sub optimal. It also maximises chances of a good placing, which is also valued precisely because the race is prestigious (a bad side effect in all prestigious races).

Arguments about it being short, midweek, predictable are arguments about what you believe should be prestigious. History and what the riders value are arguments about what actually is prestigious. (Media attention is also an objective issue, although neither FW nor week long races rate highly on that measure). If the top guys in the peloton at an important specialty all decided to treat some minor hill climbing competition or crit as super prestigious and all showed up for it in top form really wanting it on their palmares, it would in fact be a very prestigious race no matter how stupid or undesirable the parcours. Even more so if they treat it that way for decade after decade.
How would you know? He hasn't seriously targeted them since 2012, and he is stronger now than then and he came pretty damn close back then. The reason why he doesn't is quite simple: he wants to win the Giro. When that wasn't the case, he unfortunately was in shitty shape ('14 & '15). When/if he targets the Tour again, and if he actually values the Ardennes, he will be there again in his best possible condition.
He targeted them, and raced them every year, and only in 2012 he has a chance to win one of them, and that's the testament how hard is to win them. So, to summarize things, Nibali, Contador, Froome, all tried to win that races, but somehow failed, do you think it's some kind of coincidence?! I don't...!
 
Feb 24, 2017
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I think FW is the 11th bigger. Btw i hope in a few years Strade Bianche will be almost like FW or a Monumento. Amazing race, amazing track, amazing location.
 
Reminder, the Arrow was ~250km until 1989 and in 1990 the UCI imposed its cut short to ~200km like they did for all non-World Cup events at that time (Paris-Brussels, Ghent-Wevelgem which recently got back its rightful distance, Tour of Lazio, Tour of Emily, GPE3, etc all of these exceeded by far the 200k mark!). Hope this helps! If the Arrow no longer seems a major classic to you, the UCI is to blame (its being bought over by ASO in 1993 of course doesn't help).

Documentate a little, please. :Neutral:
 

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