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Datalearning 2023: Best riders

Thursday 14 December 2023 • Stats

The 2023 cycling season will go down into the history books as the year of Jumbo-Visma's unique triple. The Dutch team won the overall GC in all three Grand Tours with Roglič, Vingegaard and Kuss. However, they are not the only riders who have performed excellently in the past year.

In this article, team CyclingOracle looks back on the 2023 cycling season, using our well-known (and improved!) AI model. Which riders have grown the most? Who has not been able to live up to expectations? And which riders are the best after 2023? The ‘overall’ indicator is made up off the best qualities of a rider and calculates a weighted average to determine the overall-score.

In this article we look at the general numbers. How did the riders perform 'overall'? Also check out our other articles, in which we specifically highlight the riders from the following categories:

Curious about how our improved AI model works? In this article we will take you through our considerations and adjustments.

Biggest risers in 2023

Waerenskjold grootste stijger van 2023!
Waerenskjold made most progress in 2023!

The AI model calculates the quality value of the riders at the beginning and end of 2023. This way you can see which rider has improved the most last season. 

The rider who has grown the most according to our model is - not entirely unexpectedly - the Norwegian Soren Waerenskjold. The 2023 national time trial champion finished second behind Mathieu van der Poel in the general classification in the Baloise Belgium Tour and on the Champs-Elysees he crossed the finish line in eighth place among the strongest sprinters. A month later, Waerenskjold achieved good results in the Tour of Denmark.

Grootste stijgers 'overall' in 2023
Biggest 'overall' improvers in 2023 - AI-model

Thanks to his brilliant Giro d’Italia, it is no surprise to us that Canadian Derek Gee is one of the riders who has improved most in 2023. He was always among the breakaway group of the day, and although it unfortunately did not result in a stage victory for him, he managed to finish second no fewer than four times. It turned out to be his lucky number, because he also achieved a wonderful second place in the points- and mountains classification, behind Jonathan Milan and Thibaut Pinot respectively. 

The top 3 most improved riders is completed by Romain Grégoire. The young Frenchman won the Tour of Limousin in August and soon later also showed himself at the front in the climbs of the Vuelta. In the eleventh stage he finished second from the break of the day, behind Spaniard Herrada.

Other notable names in the top 10 biggest improvers overall are Tarling, Mayrhofer, Vader and De Plus. Tarling has no fewer than four victories to his name in 2023 with his ITT-specialty. The 19-year-old Briton even won the European Time Trial Championship in Emmen (NL) last September, leaving Bissegger and Van Aert behind. 

The German Mayrhofer has secured his place in the top 10 biggest improvers thanks to his victory at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. During the Giro, Mayrhofer also crossed the line remarkably often among the top twenty, because DSM gave him the freedom to sprint. 

Milan Vader has shown his rise in October. The Dutchman participated in the Tour of Guangxi on behalf of Jumbo-Visma and, in addition to winning a stage, he also won the GC.

Vader en De Plus - grote stijgers in 2023
Vader en De Plus - big improvers in 2023

Despite his crash in the much-discussed opening team time trial in Barcelona, which unfortunately brought his Vuelta to an end, Laurens De Plus has also shown a nice improvement this year. During the Giro he was not only worth gold for G Thomas, but he was also able to achieve a good top-10 ranking himself. What if he had also been able to finish the Vuelta...

Climbing talent Lenny Martinez, who just kept pace with Michael Woods on the Mont Ventoux and even rode in the red leader-jersey during the Vuelta, falls just outside the top 10 with his total increase of 205 points, but our eyes will be set on him again next year.

Biggest decliners in 2023

2023 was not the year of Bevin and Jakob Fuglsang. Bevin was involved in several crashes and only managed one top-20 finish. Fuglsang is now past his best years and his best results was a fifth place in Belgium, at the Super 8 Classic. 

Nairo Quintana could not count on a spot in a cycling team in 2023 which resulted in a big decrease. In the only race he participated in, the Colombian national championship, he became third. 

Daniel Felipe Martínez finished second in the same championship, but did not have his strongest year either. He started off excellently with a GC-victory in the Tour of Algarve, but rode a rather drab Tour de France later in the season. Can Martínez match his 2022 performance in 2024?

Fuglsang losing points on many stats in 2023
Fuglsang losing points on many stats in 2023

Campenaerts, Schachmann, Teuns and Démare have also deteriorated this season compared to a strong 2022. For the latter, this can partly be explained by the transfer he made from FDJ-Groupama to Arkea, which may have cost him his place in the Tour selection. Démare – now riding for Arkea – was also not allowed to start at the Vuelta, which may have to do with the small number of sprint stages, as estimated in advance. 

The considerable decline of Jumbo-Visma domestique Jan Tratnik can be explained by his injury. In the run-up to the Giro, he crashed during training, which meant he could not start. In the Vuelta he was able to do a lot of work for his team, but at no time was there a good individual result.

Best riders after 2023

Which riders have overall performed the best in 2023? And who will start as the best cyclists in 2024 according to the CyclingOracle AI-model?

Beste renners voor en na 2023
Best riders before and after the 2023 season

Pogačar is the best rider after 2023. He won 17 races among which Paris-Nice, the Tour of Flanders, the Amstel Gold Race, Il Lombardia and the youth GC of the Tour de France (4th time in a row). He would of course have preferred to win the yellow jersey, but Pogi and his UAE teammates were unable to cause Vingegaard's Jumbo the problems the neutral viewer was hoping for. 

Vingegaard is one point behind Pogačar. He also had a great season, culminating in his Tour de France GC-victory. To everyone's surprise, the Dane then also showed up on the startlist of the Vuelta, where it seemed for a while as if he was going to take the red from his loyal teammate Sepp Kuss. Kuss took the red, but it was a real team victory, with even a completely yellow-black podium. 

Van der Poel, van Aert, Roglič and Evenepoel follow Vingegaard closely. Wout van Aert has declined one point ‘overall’ compared to the beginning of 2023, when he was still the best male rider of the world.

Best riders after 2023 (overall indicator)
RiderStart 2023End 2023Change
Tadej Pogačar9698+2
Jonas Vingegaard9397+4
Wout van Aert9796
-1
Primoz Roglic
95
96
+1
Mathieu van der Poel
93
96
+3
Remco Evenepoel
93
96
+3
Jasper Philipsen
89
95
+6
Mads Pedersen
92
94
+2
Christophe Laporte
91
94
+3
Joao Almeida
92
93
+1
Adam Yates
91
93
+2
Filippo Ganna
81
93
+12
Stefan Küng
93
92
-1
Yves Lampaert
88
92
+4
Arnaud De Lie
87
92
+5
Sepp Kuss
85
92
+7


Filippo Ganna is a notable climber in this top 10. The Italian time trial champion had a great season and, among other things, finished second at the World Time Trial Championship, behind Evenepoel. In the Vuelta he was the fastest in the Individual Time Trial and he also came close to a stage victory a few times, including the last stage in Madrid. It was a crazy final in which the refugee group - led by Ganna - was overtaken just before the finish line by the strongest sprinter of this Vuelta: Kaden Groves. But most remarkably, Ganna showed his quality in races he did not perform well before: on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, in bunch-sprints of the Vuelta and hilly classics like Milano-SanRemo. Ganna showed to be a more than an ITT-specialist, which resulted in a remarkable rise in the stats of 2023.


Ganna werd allround specialist in 2023
Ganna became more allround in 2023

Jasper Philipsen had his best season to date and is the best sprinter in the overall ranking. He dominated the bunch sprints during the Tour de France and crowned his work with the points jersey and 19 pro-wins in the season. 

Another honorable mention goes to none other than Thibaut Pinot. In his last season as a professional cyclist he achieved 90 points ‘overall’. In the Giro he took the mountain jersey and in his last Tour the France, the Frenchman finished in a nice eleventh place in the GC.

Contact

The countdown to 2024 has begun. The transfers and preparations are in full swing. Who are you keeping an eye on next season? Let us know through a DM at Instagram. If you have any questions or suggestions: feel free to connect. You can send us an e-mail at [email protected].

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