Riders 71-80 in our countdown of the 100 Best Road Riders of 2017
- All photos by Yuzuru Sunada, unless otherwise stated
71. Jasper Stuyven
25, Belgium, Trek-Segafredo
Given how familiar a presence he was at the front of big races throughout the season, it’s surprising that Jasper Stuyven’s win list of 2017 comprises only of a solitary stage at the Binckbank Tour. Results like fourth at Paris-Roubaix and three top-threes at the Giro nevertheless confirmed his considerable talent as both a sprinter and rouleur on the verge of a very big win.
72. Rohan Dennis
27, Australia, BMC Racing
With a little more luck, Rohan Dennis might currently be challenging Tom Dumoulin status at the best time-trialist in the peloton. In total he won four this year, including a double at the Tour de Suisse, but crashes prevented him from competing in them at both the Giro and Vuelta, and scuppered what looked set to be a medal-winning ride at the Worlds.
73. George Bennett
27, New Zealand, LottoNL-Jumbo
New Zealander George Bennett was challenging for a top ten spot at the Tour de France before a virus struck, that forced him to abandon and plagued the rest of his season. Still, 2017 was another big step forward in a career that has quickly accelerated over the last few years, thanks to a surprising yet decisive overall victory at the Tour of California.
74. Miguel Angel Lopez
23, Colombia, Astana
Any concerns that a broken leg suffered at the end of last season would hamper the development of this extraordinarily talented Colombian were happily dispelled when he finally returned to racing in the summer, when he produced some breathtaking climbing displays to claim two stages at the Vuelta. The 23-year-old’s next step will be to refine the consistency required to better his eighth overall in that race.
75. Lotta Lepistö
28, Finland, Bigla
Known for her lethally quick sprint, Lotta Lepistö this year established herself as a leading cobbled classic contender too, winning both Dwars Door Vlaanderen and Ghent-Wevelgem in a matter of days during March. The Finnish champion remains just as effective in more regular bunch sprints, too, winning the Crescent Vargarda classic and at the Giro Rosa, and finishing a narrow second at Ride London.
76. Dylan Groenewegen
24, Netherlands, LottoNL-Jumbo
In 2017, Dylan Groenewegen enjoyed success as early as January at the Dubai and as late as October at the Tour of Guangxi, but one result stands head and shoulders above the rest – winning on the Champs Elysees. That was the day the young Dutchman came of age, proving he could out-sprint the likes of André Greipel at the highest level of all.
77. Sam Bennett
27, Ireland, Bora-Hansgrohe
For Sam Bennett, 2017 was the year he proved himself capable of challenging the very best sprinters in the peloton. He overcame the likes of Alexander Kristoff and Marcel Kittel to win a bunch sprint at Paris-Nice, and registered four top-three finishes among a very competitive field at the Giro, before boosting his win tally against easier opposition with four wins at the Tour of Turkey.
78. Lilian Calmejane
24, France, Direct Energie
The rise of Lilian Calmejane from one of the top riders on the Pro Continental circuit to winning a Tour de France stage was among the most rapid of 2017. An early hat-trick of stage race wins built up hype for the ‘next Thomas Voeckler’, and he even exceeded expectations with a solo victory in the Jura Mountains during the first weekend of his debut Tour.
79. Sonny Colbrelli
27, Italy, Bahrain-Merida
Had Sonny Colbrelli not been usurped from his status as the best-Italian-sprinter-who-can-also-climb by Matteo Trentin, he might have expected to lead his nation at the Worlds, so encouraging was his early season form. There were big wins at Brabantse Pijl and Paris-Nice, though things did dry up a bit from summer onwards.
80. Davide Villella
26, Italy, Cannondale-Drapac
Sometimes success in cycling is as much about brains and guts as it is legs, as demonstrated by Davide Villella’s ride at the Vuelta a Espana. Despite not being able to stay anywhere near the top climbers on the major summits, the Italian became an unlikely winner of the King of the Mountains competition by persistently targeting the more manageable, earlier climbs on stages.