41. Bauke Mollema
31, Netherlands, Trek-Segafredo
A harsh take on Bauke Mollema’s seventh place finish at the Giro d’Italia this year would be that it exemplified his tendency to ride defensively to solidify a lower top-10 finish in favour of more adventurous approach. No such criticism can be made of his ride at the Tour de France, however, where he went out on the attack in the Massif Central to win a stage.
42. Tim Wellens
26, Belgium, Lotto-Soudal
The swashbuckling style of racing we’ve come to associate Tim Wellens with didn’t quite produce results of the same calibre as last year. But the Belgian nevertheless enjoyed success throughout the season, winning a duo of Spanish semi-Classics in January and the Tour of Guangxi in October, with victory at the GP de Wallonie and second overall and stage win at the BinckBank Tour in between.
43. Arnaud Démare
26, France, FDJ
An electrifying opening week at the Tour de France, in which he earned a maiden stage win before being sent home for missing the time limit, put Arnaud Démare’s name up there with the elite sprinters, reinforced by his impressive season tally of 10 wins. The French champion also continued to compete in the Classics, finishing sixth at both Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix.
44. Dylan Teuns
25, Belgium, BMC Racing Team
This time last year few fans had even heard of Dylan Teuns, but he’s now recognised as one of the hottest prospects in the peloton. He first came to prominence by finishing third at Flèche Wallonne, and went on to demonstrate the breadth of his talent in the summer with a hat-trick of back-to-back stage race victories, the Tour of Poland the most impressive among them.
45. Zdenek Stybar
32, Czech Republic, Quick-Step Floors
The exasperated whack Zdenek Stybar gave his handlebars as he crossed the line in second place at Paris-Roubaix spoke volumes. It was a great ride that exemplified just what a classy rider he is on the cobbles, and came off the back of a solid Classics campaign, but the Czech champion is beginning to run out of time to win a monument.
46. Bob Jungels
25, Luxembourg, Quick-Step Floors
The 2017 Giro was something of a deja vu experience for Bob Jungels – again he had a spell in the pink jersey, again he won the young riders classification, and again he made the top-10 overall. The signs are that he can emulate Bradley Wiggins and Tom Dumoulin in becoming the latest time trial specialist who climbs well enough to win Grand Tours.
47. Wilco Kelderman
26, Netherlands, Team Sunweb
One of the Grand Tour revelations of the year was Wilco Kelderman, whose fourth place overall the Vuelta a España demonstrated he now possesses the requisite consistency and recovery to push for GC, following three years of stunted developing since a first top-10 at the 2014 Giro. Team Sunweb seems a great fit for the Dutchman, and he formed part of their team time trial squad that won gold in Bergen.
48. Edvald Boasson Hagen
30, Norway, Dimension Data
The renaissance of Edvald Boasson Hagen is proving to be no flash in the pan. At the Tour, the Norwegian outwitted a group of nine riders to win his first stage in six years, as well as sprinting quicker than he has for years in the bunch finishes, before impressing fans from the UK with stellar racing and second overall at the Tour of Britain.
49. André Greipel
35, Germany, Lotto-Soudal
It seemed to be business as usual for Greipel when he sprinted to victory on stage two of the Giro d’Italia to take the pink jersey, but it would be nearly five months until he claimed his next win. By his very high standards that is a considerable drought, and also meant his remarkable streak of registering wins at 12 successive Grand Tours came to an end at the Tour.
50. Domenico Pozzovivo
35, Italy, Ag2r La Mondiale
He may have just turned 35, but Domenico Pozzovivo has arguably never climbed as well or as consistently as he did throughout 2017. The pint-sized Italian was sixth overall at the Giro and could have pushed for overall victory were it not for his inferior time trialling, while other highlights included sixth at Il Lombardia, plus fourth and a stage win at the Tour de Suisse.