Riders 91-100 in our countdown of the 100 Best Road Riders of 2016
91. Jasper Stuyven
24, Belgium, Trek-Segafredo
Just 24, and with the style he rode away from the bunch at the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne he’s already drawing comparisons with veteran teammate Fabian Cancellara. On top of that, the Belgian completed his first Tour de France this year, doing anything but just hide in the bunch with two top-10 finishes and a brave stint in the break on stage two.
92. Jens Keukeleire
27, Belgium, Orica-BikeExchange
A faithful servant to teammates throughout much of the year, the serene Belgian thrives off the cobbled Classics. A little more luck and it’s clear Keukeleire has the talent to pull off a major one-day win at some point. His efforts this year might have fallen short of his sixth place in the 2015 Roubaix, but a sprint win in the Vuelta a España proved the 27-year-old’s versatility.
93. Thomas De Gendt
30, Belgium, Lotto-Soudal
If there is such a thing as breakaway specialist, then Thomas De Gendt is definitely one of those. And the Belgian doesn’t do small time; winning his second Grand Tour stage at the Tour de France this year on Mont Ventoux, adding to his stage win atop the Giro d’Italia’s iconic climb, the Stelvio in 2012. A win in Catalunya and a stint in polka-dots at the Tour added to another fine year for one of the peloton’s most daring riders.
94. Enrico Gasparotto
34, Italy, Wanty-Groupe Gobert
The Amstel Gold Race evidently holds a special interest for Enrico Gasparotto, who has placed in the top 10 on six occasions in the past seven years – including a win in 2012 and now 2016. His victory in 2016 has particular resonance, given that the last win in any race for Gasparotto was… the 2012 Amstel Gold Race. Fifth in Flèche Wallonne also showed he was on good form, and the Italian will return to the WorldTour in 2017 with the new Bahrain-Merida team.
95. Timothy Dupont
29, Belgium, Verandas Willems
When Dupont won the Belgian semi-classic Nokere-Koerse back in March, there was quite a few people asking who he was. Fast forward seven months later, and he was the most prolific sprinter on the Continent. He took 15 race wins for his Continental team Verandas Willems CT, including beating Fernando Gaviria at the Flanders Championships. Dupont is now 29 and it is reported that he has turned down a move to the WorldTour with Lotto-Jumbo for next season.
96. Bryan Coquard
24, France, Direct Energie
Still only 24, it was another year in which the Frenchman continued to build on his sprinting talent. His domination of the Four Days of Dunkirk was his outstanding win of the year, but his break through performances were surely his fourth place at Amstel Gold Race and second place in the Tour’s fourth stage to Limoges. Beaten narrowly on the line by one of the world’s best in Marcel Kittel shows Coquard is starting to reach a new level.
97. Tanel Kangert
29, Estonia, Astana
Since signing for Astana in 2011, Kangert has endured several quiet seasons but the 29-year-old capitalised on some good form in 2016, winning two stages and placing second overall in the Giro del Trentino, and winning the climbing stage in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Tour on his way to overall victory – his first stage race overall win as a professional.
98. Elia Viviani
27, Italy, Team Sky
The Italian lived up to his favourite tag to win Olympic gold in the omnium in August while managing to combine it with competing on the road. In 2015 he was the antidote to the theory that Team Sky are only a GC team with him taking eight wins, but this year he only won twice on the road. Nevertheless, he remains one of the best B-class sprinters.
99. Imanol Erviti
32, Spain, Movistar
As a four-time Vuelta a España stage winner, there wasn’t much indication that the Spaniard could match the best riders in the cobbled Classics, despite riding them every year since 2005. But a seventh and ninth place in Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix respectively will make this year one to remember, particularly as Erviti achieved those results having held on from the early breakaway in both Monuments.
100. Ben Swift
29, Great Britain, Team Sky
Despite a winless year in 2016, Britain’s Ben Swift still impressed. His outstanding moment came in Milan-San Remo, narrowly missing out on victory to Arnaud Démare. But Swift also impressed with his performances as a teammate, playing an integral part in Geraint Thomas’s Paris-Nice win. He’ll be hoping his move from to Lampre in 2017 will open up more leadership opportunities than he’s had at Sky.