Riders 16-20 in our countdown of the 100 Best Road Riders of 2017
- Photos by Yuzuru Sunada, unless otherwise stated
16. Fernando Gaviria
23, Colombia, Quick-Step Floors
2017 wins: 14
No rider won more than Fernando Gaviria in 2017 – although he does share his tally of 14 wins with Marcel Kittel and Jakub Mareczko.
Gaviria seriously impressed at the Giro d’Italia in his first Grand Tour appearance, winning four stages, wearing the pink jersey of race leader and securing the overall points classification. A dream debut.
Among the 23-year-old Colombian’s other victories were four stages at the Tour of Guangxi, two at the Vuelta a San Juan, and one stage apiece at the Tour of Britain, Volta ao Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico.
Gaviria’s potential in the big one-day races also moved closer to being realised, with fifth in Milan-San Remo, ninth in Ghent-Wevelgem and eighth in the World Championships road race. It’s just a matter of time before a big Classics win comes his way.
17. Chantal Blaak
28, Netherlands, Boels-Dolmans
2017 wins: 4
Chantal Blaak swept to victory in the elite women’s road race at the 2017 World Championships in Bergen, Norway, to earn the right to wear the coveted rainbow jersey throughout 2018.
The manner in which Blaak took the title was quite a spectacle. At the mid-way point of the race it looked like she was ruled out of the running, when she crashed.
However, Blaak kept her composure and rode in the final two laps of the Bergen circuit in attacking style and with strong support from her Dutch team-mates. She finished it off with a strong solo move, distancing second-placed Katrin Garfoot (Australia) by nearly half a minute.
Earlier in the season, Blaak had a slightly less successful Classics campaign than the previous year but she came good when it counted in September.
18. Mikel Landa
28, Spain, Team Sky
2017 wins: 4
After a tricky debut season with Team Sky in 2016, Mikel Landa looked to be back to his best in 2017. He was announced as co-leader at Sky with Geraint Thomas for the Giro d’Italia, but both riders’ chances of a high places were scuppered when they crashed on stage nine.
Landa subsequently salvaged his Giro in the best possible way, scoring a stage victory and claiming the mountains classification.
He was then called up to be a super-domestique for Chris Froome at the Tour de France, a role which arguably saw him look stronger than his team leader on several occasions during the race. Despite being in Froome’s service and muting his ride in the mountains accordingly, Landa still finished the race in fourth overall.
Two stage wins and the overall honours in the Vuelta a Burgos added to the season’s success.
However, Landa looked fidgety at Sky and felt that he had been overlooked in favour of Thomas and Froome, so he has jumped ship to Movistar for 2018.
19. Lizzie Deignan
28, Great Britain, Boels-Dolmans
2017 wins: 3
The ever-consistent Lizzie Deignan racked up more victories and podium places in 2017, with some of her biggest wins coming on home road in Britain.
Deignan was crowned British road race national champion for a fourth time and took a popular win in the Tour de Yorkshire.
On the other side of the English Channel, Deignan claimed the GP de Plouay and a string of podium positions in some of the biggest races in the Women’s WorldTour calendar.
Second in La Course by Le Tour de France, second in the Amstel Gold Race, second in La Flèche Wallonne and second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes.
The wins may not have been so easy to come by as they did in 2016, but Deignan once again proved that she is always a factor in the biggest races.
20. Daniel Martin
31, Ireland, Quick-Step Floors
2017 wins: 1
Casting an eye down Daniel Martin‘s list of results for 2017, it looks like a lot of near-misses and just the one victory – a stage of the Volta ao Algarve.
However, that hides Martin’s achievements for the year, which arguably saw establish himself as a bona fide Grand Tour contender with his highest finish in a three-week race yet: sixth at the Tour de France.
Martin’s result at the Tour was all the more impressive when you consider that he completed most of it with fractured vertebrae after crashing with Richie Porte on the descent on Mont du Chat on stage nine.
Second places in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Flèche Wallonne, third overall in in Paris-Nice and the Critérium du Dauphiné… it all added up, and Martin finished eighth in the UCI’s WorldTour ranking.
He now leaves Quick-Step Floors to join UAE Team Emirates for 2018, where he will undoubtedly get more focus and support in his Grand Tour aspirations.