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Datalearning 2023: Best cobble-specialists

Thursday 14 December 2023 • Stats

Love it or hate it; the cobblestone sections always provide quite a spectacle in cycling. Paris-Roubaix takes the cake. Mathieu van der Poel who is in top form, won that monument in a grand manner. Yet he is not the only cobblestone specialist who currently has a rating of 98 in that specialty.

In this article, team CyclingOracle looks back on the 2023 cycling season, using our well-known (and improved!) AI-model. Which riders have improved most in climbing? Who has not been able to live up to expectations? And which ten riders are the best climbers after 2023?

In this article we look at the climbing specialty. How did the riders improve their climbing skill? 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.

Most progress in 2023 - cobblestone

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.

Most progress in 'Cobblestone' in 2023
RankRiderChangeStart 2023
End 2023
1
Matteo Jorgenson
60
30
90
2
Tim van Dijke
54
28
82
3
Sjoerd Bax
53
24
77
4
Benoît Cosnefroy
48
20
68
"
Corbin Strong
48
20
68
6
Alexis Renard
47
34
81
7
Mikkel Bjerg
43
47
90
"
Sebastian Molano
43
32
75
9
Krists Neilands
42
27
69
10
Frederik Frison
40
47
87
11
Søren Wærenskjold
39
42
81
"
Filippo Colombo
39
20
59
13
Mathias Vacek
38
20
58
14
Sandy Dujardin
37
35
72
"
Axel Zingle
37
32
69
"
Kaden Groves
37
32
69
17
Filippo Ganna
35
54
89
"
Lars Boven
35
26
61

The American Jorgenson, who will compete for Team Visma | Lease a Bike in 2024, has made impressive progress on the cobblestones: an improvement of 60 points. He finished fourth at the E3 Saxo Classic, behind Van Aert, Van der Poel and Pogačar respectively. Jorgenson also managed to achieve a good top 10 finish at the Tour of Flanders.

Tim van Dijke and Sjoerd Bax have also made significant progress. Van Dijke owes his progress mainly to his second place at the Grand Prix de Denain, for which quite a few cobblestones had to be braved. Bax finished thirteenth at Paris-Roubaix, where he crossed the line together with Laporte, among others.

Ganna finished sixth at Paris-Roubaix, which resulted in a nice score of 89 at the end of 2023. Ganna also showed remarkable progress in the sprint.

The rider who showed the most progress in all areas in 2023, Wærenskjold, also improved on the cobblestones. The Norwegian finished fourteenth in Dwars door Vlaanderen and 22nd at Paris-Roubaix.

Biggest decrease in 2023 - cobblestone

Adrien Petit and Tom Devriendt still score well on cobblestones, but have deteriorated considerably compared to 2022. For example, last year Petit finished sixth and third at Paris-Roubaix and Grand Prix de Denain respectively, but he did not compete in these two cobbled-classics this year. Devriendt even finished fourth at Paris-Roubaix in 2022, but finished in 85th place this year.

However, the biggest setbacks came from Amaury Capiot and Alex AranburuCapiot had to miss all the spring-classics due to an injury. Aranburu did take action on the cobbles, but the Spaniard was unable to match his results from 2022.

Best cobblestone-specialists

Beste kassei-specialisten na 2023
Best cobblestone-specialists after 2023

The two leaders in the list of best cobble-specialists are no big surprise. Van der Poel and Van Aert receive a near perfect score of 98 after our model-improvements. 

Mathieu van der Poel was the strongest rider at the famous cobbles in Paris-Roubaix of 2023. Before that big win, he already was runner-up in E3-Classic and Tour of Flanders.

Van Aert defeated his big rvial at the E3 Saxo Classic. In Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, the Belgian finished second, fourth and third respectively.

Laporte completes the podium. The French European Champion Road Race took victory in Gent-Wevelgem and Dwars door Vlaanderen, finished top-5 in both races of the Flemish Opening Weekend (Omloop and Kuurne) and finish 10th in Paris-Roubaix.

Mathieu van der Poel, best cobblestone rider after 2023
Mathieu van der Poel, best cobblestone rider after 2023

Riders who made most progress among the biggest cobbled-specialists are Van Hooydonck,  Vanmarcke and Philipsen. However, Van Hooydonck was forced to end his career after a serious car accident in 2023. His heart problems - which were the cause of the accident - unfortunately pose too much risk, according to doctors. He ended his career in the top-10 best cobblestone-specialists.

Sep Vanmarcke's third place at Gent-Wevelgem has given the Belgian a final boost in his cobblestone score, while Philipsen has improved thanks to his result at Paris-Roubaix. After a solo by Van der Poel, the Belgian outsprinted Van Aert and finished 2nd.

Contact

The countdown to 2024 has begun. The transfers and preparations are in full swing. Which cobblestone-specialist will you pay special attention to in 2024? 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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