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Who is the best descender (modern time) ?

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Who is the best descender (modern time) ?

  • Tom Pidcock

    Votes: 27 26.7%
  • Jonas Vingegaard

    Votes: 2 2.0%
  • Chris Froome

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • Richard Virenque

    Votes: 2 2.0%
  • Paolo Savoldelli

    Votes: 27 26.7%
  • Mathieu vd Poel

    Votes: 2 2.0%
  • Matej Mohorič

    Votes: 25 24.8%
  • other

    Votes: 2 2.0%
  • Nibali

    Votes: 8 7.9%
  • Sagan

    Votes: 5 5.0%

  • Total voters
    101
I recall in 2009 or so the peloton and the sportsdirectors apparantly voted for the best descender in the peloton where Hushovd won clearly, so I think its safe to say he was up amongst the best. I have often also heard Cancellara mentioned as one of the best, eventhough it was Savoldelli that got all the credit back then. Currently its clearly also that a big guy or a sprinter would most likely beat lightweights with great technic like Mohoric, Bilbao or Pidcock if they had the chance. My guess would be that someone like Ganna that has both great power, explosiveness and great technical abilities is currently one of the best. It could also well be someone like Jonathan Milan perhaps also having the track skills besides his other skills. I also do think someone like Mathias Norsgaard, that is not really known as a technically skilled guy, more like the opposite, but is just very big and heavy, is one of the guys that often gets the fastest times and speed messurements on the descends.
 
I recall in 2009 or so the peloton and the sportsdirectors apparantly voted for the best descender in the peloton where Hushovd won clearly, so I think its safe to say he was up amongst the best. I have often also heard Cancellara mentioned as one of the best, eventhough it was Savoldelli that got all the credit back then. Currently its clearly also that a big guy or a sprinter would most likely beat lightweights with great technic like Mohoric, Bilbao or Pidcock if they had the chance. My guess would be that someone like Ganna that has both great power, explosiveness and great technical abilities is currently one of the best. It could also well be someone like Jonathan Milan perhaps also having the track skills besides his other skills. I also do think someone like Mathias Norsgaard, that is not really known as a technically skilled guy, more like the opposite, but is just very big and heavy, is one of the guys that often gets the fastest times and speed messurements on the descends.
Ganna is not a particularly good descender.

I think the speed you can carry out of corners usually makes greater differences than kg/CdA.
 
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When Savoldelli won the Giro in 2005 his descending skills were an important factor:
1) Stage to Zoldo Alto. Basso was the strongest guy, dropped most guys on Duran and Simoni on the MTF but Savoldelli gained some time during Duran descent and rode his own pace on the MTF - he was caught by Basso but managed to stay with him (ahead of Simoni) and outsprinted him at the end.
2) Legendary stage to Sestriere. Savoldelli managed to limit his losses on Finestre and then reduced his gap by a few dozens of seconds on the descent. OTOH Simoni cracked at the end due to his effort on Finestre and lost his Giro chance.
 
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I recall in 2009 or so the peloton and the sportsdirectors apparantly voted for the best descender in the peloton where Hushovd won clearly, so I think its safe to say he was up amongst the best. I have often also heard Cancellara mentioned as one of the best, eventhough it was Savoldelli that got all the credit back then. Currently its clearly also that a big guy or a sprinter would most likely beat lightweights with great technic like Mohoric, Bilbao or Pidcock if they had the chance. My guess would be that someone like Ganna that has both great power, explosiveness and great technical abilities is currently one of the best. It could also well be someone like Jonathan Milan perhaps also having the track skills besides his other skills. I also do think someone like Mathias Norsgaard, that is not really known as a technically skilled guy, more like the opposite, but is just very big and heavy, is one of the guys that often gets the fastest times and speed messurements on the descends.
Hushovd won stage 13 2011 Tour from a breakaway with a HC climb towards the end, by catching 2 French climbers on the descent after being 1-2 mins behind.
 
I think van Aert is probably really good, though we don't get to see it much.
If Van Aert is really good then Van der Poel is really really good since bike handling is mostly where he makes time on Wout in cross races. Although he crashes more than Wout too so maybe he takes less chances on the road (it hurts more). Wout is really solid but I don't think he's a daredevil like Pidcock Van der Poel and Mohoric.
 
I like this thread but then every time I look at the poll I flinch for a moment because Froome and Vingegaard were included.

I think what one really has to distinguish is who is the best descender and who is the, let's say, most legendary descender. I think Nibali has to hold the title for the most legendardy descender of his generation, even though I'm fairly certain the likes of Mohoric, Pidcock, Sagan and some others are better than him. But in the field of lightweight gc riders, Nibali simply stood out much more than any of the other guys among their respective peers. Nobody in the current peloton has either won nearly as many big races with their descending nor was part of more famous downhill attacks. And yet I still get sad because he didn't also attack on the Mortirolo descent in 2019. Oh well...

I also think people underrate how big of a role your physical strength playes while descending. You regularly see that guys who are completely dead on top of a mountain lose additional time on the descent, not because they are worse descenders, but because they don't have the legs to accelerate out of hairpins. That's how someone like Nibali loses time to someone like Pinot on the Civiglio descent in Lombardia 2018. I think this is also why some people call riders descending "inconsistent". Some daredevil descender goes over the top of a climb in the lead group, so people automatically think he should gap the group on the descent. But if he only hung on for dear life on the ascent, he's not gonna have the strength to gap everyone on the descent, regardless of his skill level.
 
I like this thread but then every time I look at the poll I flinch for a moment because Froome and Vingegaard were included.

I think what one really has to distinguish is who is the best descender and who is the, let's say, most legendary descender. I think Nibali has to hold the title for the most legendardy descender of his generation, even though I'm fairly certain the likes of Mohoric, Pidcock, Sagan and some others are better than him. But in the field of lightweight gc riders, Nibali simply stood out much more than any of the other guys among their respective peers. Nobody in the current peloton has either won nearly as many big races with their descending nor was part of more famous downhill attacks. And yet I still get sad because he didn't also attack on the Mortirolo descent in 2019. Oh well...

I also think people underrate how big of a role your physical strength playes while descending. You regularly see that guys who are completely dead on top of a mountain lose additional time on the descent, not because they are worse descenders, but because they don't have the legs to accelerate out of hairpins. That's how someone like Nibali loses time to someone like Pinot on the Civiglio descent in Lombardia 2018. I think this is also why some people call riders descending "inconsistent". Some daredevil descender goes over the top of a climb in the lead group, so people automatically think he should gap the group on the descent. But if he only hung on for dear life on the ascent, he's not gonna have the strength to gap everyone on the descent, regardless of his skill level.
The speed at which one goes into the turns and comes out of them, determines how fast or slow one descends. If you go faster down and carry that through the chicanes, then you don't have to expend more energy trying to make up lost grounds. More than being tired, it has to do with skill and thus getting down the descent the fastest with the least physical effort.
 
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