In the first part of the classics, names begin popping up all over the place. Speculations on this rider being a “dark horse” or another rider failing to meet expectations begins to surface. Here is a list of the few of the top names (not in any particular order) and then what maybe the chink in the armor. Who do YOU think is the best? If he’s not on the list, throw a name into the pot.
- Alexander Kristoff, a sprinter/classics dude, Team Katusha
- Niki Terpstra, classics standout, Team Etixx-Quick Step
- Peter Sagan, puncheur/sprinter/classics specialist, Team Tinkoff-Saxo
- Richie Porte, all around (sprint?), Team Sky
- Geraint Thomas, all around, Team Sky
- Nairo Quintana Rojas, climber, Team Movistar
- John Degenkolb, sprinter/classics guy, Team Giant-Alpecin
- Rigoberto Uran, all around, Team Etixx-Quick Step
- Sylvain Chavanel, all around, Team I AM Cycling
- Tony Gallopin, puncheur. Team Lotto-Soudal
Kristoff–right now? maybe nothing. He’s strong in the sprint. He can’t be dropped. He can close a big gap. And oh yeah, he can climb.
Terpstra–stands out too much, by way of questionable moves in a race or running his mouth too often. . . It’s puts a target on his back.
Sagan–too much of a surfer boy attitude, meaning he has aire of “whatever” all of the time. He could possibly be a force if focused.
Porte–needy. If his team performs well and keeps him wrapped tightly, he’s good. Better at being a crazy good #2 guy.
Thomas–incredible rider with an even great propensity to whine . . . It’s the wind. It’s the team. It’s the fans. Geez.
Rojas–like a chipmunk on a bicycle, this dude can climb like crazy, but the tiny frame is also what hurts him in the mostly flat rides. He’s come on strong this year. Proof’s in the pudding at the GC’s.
Degenkolb–on the team of sprinters, he is one of the best within 500 meters. One of his thighs weighs as much as Quintana; so obviously for him to become the best and bring home more than a stage here and there, he must lighten the load.
Uran–not aggressive enough? A great all around rider, he is in the shadow of his team’s sprinter and must make a name for himself as the premier rider he is. Not heard of him? He’s won, but most people wouldn’t recognize the name.
Chavanel–like Kristoff, he has everything. All around means all around with this guy. The only draw back that could hold him from claiming more podiums is his team. I AM is a good team, but do they have what it takes to protect and promote Chav?
Gallopin–winning a stage at Paris Nice is great, but he seems to fluctuate so much with where he places that it is hard to put him at the top. So much of Gallopin’s success depends on having exactly the right road for him to ride. Maybe not, but he also seems to shut down if not in a good position or no chance to win.
I know there are many, many other riders that I didn’t mention. Tell me who they are. I have some ideas of who might be brought up. The season is ON! Who will be the guy who stands above the rest at the end of it all?