​Although the road cycling season has been over for months, the end of the year is approaching and it is a good time to take stock of the year. We do it by reviewing the UCI ranking and its members, a classification headed by an enormous Tadej Pogacar who won everything except the Tour de France jackpot.

Although there are always controversies about who is the better cyclist, if we stick to the UCI world classification with the points accumulated by each one throughout the season, the picture is quite clear.

A UCI classification that, in view of it, adheres quite faithfully to what we have been able to see on the roads and that, on the other hand, speaks well of the adjustments that the highest cycling body made to the scoring system at the beginning of 2023 to give more relevance to the grand tours, monuments and World Tour races.

1. Tadej Pogacar

Although the Velo d’Or went to Jonas Vingegaard, nothing surprising given that it is an award given by a French media, few will doubt that the Slovenian has been the most complete and spectacular cyclist of the recent season.

Seeing a Tour winner beat De Ronde is something that not even the oldest people remembered, and he continued to add to his list of monuments by conquering a new Il Lombardía, a race that has become his particular preserve. Victory that has an extra merit for having started winning at the beginning of February when he gave us a spectacular performance in Jaén Paraíso Interior. Only the burden of the injury suffered in Liege, which surely affected his preparation for the Tour, prevented him from putting up more of a fight against Vingegaard in the fight for the Grande Boucle.

2. Jonas Vingegaard

It may seem that the Danish cyclist’s season has been short and that only the Tour shines to his credit. However, if we analyze, we cannot forget that he also started winning very early, in O Gran Camiño. Of course, Tadej Pogacar made him desperate in one of his objectives at the beginning of the year, which was Paris-Nice. From there, the Tour block, after passing, overwhelming, through Dauphiné and an impeccable gala round that already makes him have two yellow jerseys.

And when he could have gone on vacation, his hunger for victory led him to participate in La Vuelta, on paper to do teamwork, although in reality, with the full intention of having added the red to his record, something that he did not achieved by decision of the team since the impression, during the last week, is that he was clearly the strongest Jumbo-Visma and could well have ousted his teammate Sepp Kuss.

3. Primoz Roglic

It couldn’t be anyone else who completed the UCI classification podium after achieving a Giro d’Italia built on resisting day to day. However, what makes Primoz Roglic’s season great is his tremendous effectiveness in the small laps.

He again scored Tirreno-Adriatico, also the Volta a Catalunya ahead of a fierce Remco Evenepoel and then, on the approach to La Vuelta, he left his mark by winning decisively in the Vuelta a Burgos. In other words, the Slovenian, except in La Vuelta, has managed to win all the stage races in which he has competed in 2023. Simply enormous.

4. Remco Evenepoel

The Belgian cyclist’s campaign has been a bit I want and I can’t. Even so, he delighted us again with his performances in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and in Clásica de San Sebastián. However, Covid cut short their first big goal of the year, the Giro d’Italia. In the World Cup he couldn’t fight to revalidate his rainbow due to his technical limitations on a circuit as ratty as Glasgow’s but, in exchange, he took home the arcobaleno in the time trial mode so it wasn’t so bad.

At the last minute he surprised us with his assault on La Vuelta where the high mountain of the Pyrenees choked him on a single bad day. In exchange, the total spectacle of a Remco looking for every escape and every stage victory that undoubtedly added spice to the Spanish round in the face of the blockage that the overwhelming dominance of Jumbo-Visma subjected the race to.

5. Wout van Aert

Being the collector of second places has meant that Wout van Aert has had to carry the blame for not having had a brilliant season. He has added no less than 8, with another good bunch of third parties, some as meritorious as Milan-San Remo or Roubaix; and just 5 victories, few to which he has accustomed us, limiting his classic season to the E3 Saxo Classic.

But, the reality is that Wout has been as a protagonist as in previous seasons with the difference that this year he has not known how or been able to finish the races as he would have liked. However, he has always been there in the fight. We will see if in 2024, with a less loaded winter in regards to cyclocross, he returns to being the decisive cyclist that he had us accustomed to.

6. Mads Pedersen

Without making much noise, the Dane is gradually accumulating a record of achievements, this year managing to get wet in the two grand tours that he competed in: Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. 7 victories in 2023 are a notable harvest in a cycling field in which it is increasingly difficult to accumulate many victories, something that is only within the reach of prodigies.

In any case, Mads Pedersen has managed to earn a status and very few now mention that that World Championship in Yorkshire fell on his back due to the chance of the horrendous weather conditions that were experienced that day.

7. Mathieu van der Poel

Seeing Mathieu in this position having won two monuments: Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix and winning the rainbow jersey in Glasgow can be shocking. But the thing is, except for the classics and the World Cup, the rest of the year has gone practically unnoticed, with the season practically ending in August.

Although he attended the Tour de France, there he did not offer us great things on a personal level either. However, he allowed us to enjoy an unknown facet of him as a team man, becoming an excellent pitcher for Philipsen to whom he gave several of the victories he achieved on the Tour.

8. Adam Yates

How important it is to have cyclists like Adam Yates on a team. Tadej Pogacar’s top lieutenant in the Tour de France, whom he supported on the podium in addition to having a fantastic first stage in Bilbao. Another podium collector, managing to appear in the photo of the UAE Tour, Romandia, where he took the victory; Dauphiné or Vuelta a Burgos.

The Briton, like good wines, seems to be improving over the years although the average level of UAE Team Emirates and having a certain Pogacar as boss leaves him little room to add wins to his record. However, whenever the team has needed him, good old Adam has responded with solvency.

9. Jasper Philipsen

19 victories in 2023, 4 of them in the Tour de France, clearly speak of the ability of what is undoubtedly the best sprinter today. To this we must add the green jersey of the Tour, which he achieved with complete solvency.

No one doubts that he must be included among the best cyclists, although we still hope to see more of him. The second place he took in the Roubaix velodrome allows us to see that at 25 years old he still has room for progression and we can expect more from him than just being a sprinter.

10. Joao Almeida

A regular guy if ever there was one, tough and almost impossible to let go of on the way up despite the miseries he goes through, however, he doesn’t end up showing himself as the great vole-maniac he is supposed to be. In 2023 he dedicated himself to collecting places of honor in the laps, including the Giro d’Italia, but without giving the feeling of having the capacity to win.

At 25 years old, he will have to get his act together since on the one hand he has Tadej Pocacar and on the other, a hungry Juan Ayuso has been pushing on his team, eager to fully demonstrate his ability.

Source: www.brujulabike.com