2009 saw an interesting Classics season, from Mark Cavendish?s win in Milan-San Remo to Lance Armstrong?s participation in the same race

The new edition of Cycle Sport contains a definitive analysis of the Classics, breaking down the results, and finding the best performers.

The Spring Classics span 37 days, seven races and 1,736 kilometres. You?d have to be mad to ride them all, so fair play to the two hardest riders of the spring, Assan Bazayev (Astana) and Daniele Righi (Lampre), who managed to complete six each.

Righi gets the awestruck respect of the Cycle Sport office, since he actually started all seven, failing just to get to the finish in Flèche Wallonne, which is ironically the shortest race of the seven. Perhaps he got stuck at the bottom of the Mur de Huy.

Cycle Sport?s stats desk, in between quoting random race results, obscure riders and overusing the word, ?actually?, has broken down the Spring Classics to tell the complete story of the results. Respect due to all 395 riders who completed at least one, but especially to Philippe Gilbert, the best all-round performer, Matti Breschel, the best of the cobbled riders and Andy Schleck, the king of the Ardennes.

The seven races we?ve included are Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Ghent-Wevelgem, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.


HARD CASES ? MOST CLASSICS COMPLETED

Daniele Righi and Assan Bazayev were the only two riders to finish six Classics, but behind them, six more riders managed five.

Interestingly, three of these ? Karsten Kroon, Philippe Gilbert and Serguei Ivanov, achieved at least one podium placing.

Completed Riders Best result
6 Assan Bazayev (Astana) 16th, Milan-San Remo
Daniele Righi (Lampre) 79th, Ghent-Wevelgem
5 Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank) Second, Amstel Gold
Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) Third, Tour of Flanders
Serguei Ivanov (Katusha) First, Amstel Gold
Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) 12th, Tour of Flanders
Bert Scheirlinckx (Landbouwkrediet) 18th, Paris-Roubaix
Bram Tankink (Rabobank) 21st, Ghent-Wevelgem
4 48 riders

BEST RESULTS OVER FOUR CLASSICS

To find the best all-round performance over the whole Spring Classics season, we?ve looked at riders who completed at least four events. There are three cobbled classics (Flanders, Ghent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix) and three Ardennes classics (Amstel, Flèche and Liège). Consequently many riders had good results in three races, but to do well in four indicates very strong all-round abilities.

The most consistent rider across the board was Philippe Gilbert, who scored three top fives, plus 23rd in Milan-San Remo.

Rank Rider MSR RVV GW PR AG FW LBL TOTAL
1 Philippe Gilbert (Silence) 23 3 4 (35) 4 34
2 Serguei Ivanov (Katusha) (65) 23 1 13 5 42
3 Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank) 14 14 2 (50) 36 66
4 Andreas Klier Cervélo 33 24 5 12 74
5 Davide Rebellin* (Serramenti) 38 42 1 3 84
6 Benoît Vaugrenard (FDJ) 28 12 47 8 95

BEST IN THE COBBLED CLASSICS

The strongest rider in the three cobbled Classics was Matti Breschel, who was sixth in the Tour of Flanders, 15th at Ghent-Wevelgem and 10th at Paris-Roubaix.

Ghent-Wevelgem, which split early, with some surprising names at the front, skewed the results, so that many of the riders who?d finished highly at Flanders and Roubaix didn?t figure.

Rank Rider RVV GW PR TOTAL
1 Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) 6 15 10 31
2 Andreas Klier (Cervélo) 24 5 12 41
3 Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas) 32 9 9 50
4 Marcus Burghardt (Columbia) 7 7 65 79
5 Mathew Hayman (Rabobank) 60 4 21 85
6 Tom Boonen (Quick Step) 20 71 1 92
7 A Kuschynski (Liquigas) 38 2 52 92
8 George Hincapie (Columbia) 34 16 44 94
9 Roger Hammond (Cervélo) 13 74 15 102
10 Jeremy Hunt (Cervélo) 75 10 19 104


No. of riders to complete all three: 31


BEST IN THE ARDENNES CLASSICS

No surprises here as Andy Schleck with three top 10s, and a win (two if you count Flèche, where Rebellin, positive at the Olympics, won) is at the top of the pile. Cunego?s consistency brought him second, and well done to Simon Gerrans, one of only three riders in the world to get three top 10s.

Rank Rider AG FW LBL TOTAL
1 Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) 10 2 1 13
2 Damiano Cunego (Lampre) 5 3 7 15
3 Serguei Ivanov (Katusha) 1 13 5 19
4 Simon Gerrans (Cervélo) 7 8 6 21
5 Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) 14 4 10 28
6 Alexandr Kolobnev (Saxo Bank) 6 21 9 36
7 Philippe Gilbert (Silence) 4 35 4 43
8 Davide Rebellin+ (Serramenti) 42 1 3 46
9 Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d?Epargne) 21 7 19 47
10 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) 23 10 15 48


No. of riders to complete all three: 59

+ Davide Rebellin recently tested positive, following a retroactive test on a sample from the Beijing Olympics

For more expert analysis of the pro racing scene, buy the July edition of Cycle Sport, in all good newsagents now.

imageRELATED LINKS

Cycle Sport July 2009 on sale now: What’s in the issue

www.cyclesport.co.uk