Riders 31-40 in our countdown of the 100 Best Road Riders of 2017
- Photos by Yuzuru Sunada, unless stated
31. Geraint Thomas
31, Great Britain, Team Sky
A year in the life of Geraint Thomas just wouldn’t be the same without at least one high profile crash, and this season falls prematurely ended both his Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, the latter following meticulous and very encouraging preparation for a rare GC bid. Still, much was redeemed during a perfect weekend in Düsseldorf, where he won the stage one time trial and wore the yellow jersey.
32. Thibaut Pinot
27, France, FDJ
It can’t be easy for a Frenchman to spurn his nation’s sacred Tour de France, but Pinot’s decision to prioritise the Giro was justified through a fourth overall finish, ending a run of Grand Tour GC flops stretching back to 2014. That his tired body was unable to produce the same results at the Tour only reinforces the impression that Pinot should continue to aim for the Italian Grand Tour.
33. Primož Roglić
28, Slovenia, LottoNL-Jumbo
If Roglić’s time trial win at the 2016 Giro was a surprise, his 2017 form was jaw-dropping. The Slovenian again excelled against the clock, winning silver at the Worlds and stages in the Basque Country and Romandie, and also shone as a climber, making the top five overall in those races, and even winning an Alpine stage at the Tour. Not bad for a former ski jumper.
34. Fabio Aru
27, Italy, Astana
An injured knee kept Aru out the Giro, but any fears a second successive underwhelming season could be on the cards were allayed when he bounced back menacingly at the Critérium du Dauphiné and was crowned Italian national champion, before taking the race to Chris Froome at the Tour. He had to settle for fifth, but enjoyed a stage win in the Vosges and a day in the maillot jaune.
35. Caleb Ewan
23, Australia, Orica-Scott
Caleb Ewan stepped up to another level this year, claiming the scalps of old guard members such as Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan to sprint his way to 10 victories. The most notable of those came at the Giro, his biggest win to date and a sign the 23-year old is on the brink of racking up multiple stage win hauls at Grand Tours.
36. Julian Alaphilippe
25, France, Quick-Step Floors
There was plenty of evidence confirming Alaphilippe’s astonishing all-round talent in 2017, even if he couldn’t quite win Milan-San Remo (third) or Il Lombardia (second), while an explosive attack at the Worlds and leadership at Paris-Nice failed to materialise into victories. It can only be a matter of time before the 25-year-old upgrades from being a perennial nearly man to all-out superstar.
37. Rafal Majka
28, Poland, Bora-Hansgrohe
Crashes and illnesses ensured that this was the first year since 2012 that Majka failed to make the top 10 in a Grand Tour, but the Pole was impressive as ever when fully fit. He won the Tour of Slovakia, was a close runner up at both the Tours of California and Poland, and bounced back from stomach problems to win a spectacular mountain stage at the Vuelta.
38. Simon Yates
25, Great Britain, Orica-Scott
Not to be outdone by his identical twin brother who won the competition in 2016, Simon Yates was crowned best young rider at the Tour de France by sealing seventh overall. In fact, this was the first season that Simon outperformed Adam since the pair turned pro in 2014, with wins at the GP Miguel Indurain, Tour de Romandie and Paris-Nice among his haul.
39. Elia Viviani
28, Italy, Team Sky
Team Sky couldn’t find room in any of their GC-chasing Grand Tour squads for sprinter Viviani, but the Italian made the most of the opportunities he was given. The highlight was a purple patch in late August/early September, in which time he won WorldTour races in Hamburg and Bretagne, as well as a stage win and stint as overall leader at the Tour of Britain.
40. Jolien D’hoore
27, Belgium, Wiggle-High5
Having last year gone off the radar a little to prepare for the Olympics omnium event on the track, D’hoore returned to the road with a bang. She ultimately amassed a total of 12 wins throughout the season, which was more than any other rider in the peloton managed, and included sprint wins at the Women’s Tour, Giro Rosa, Belgian National Championships and the Madrid Challenge.