Who will be king of the sprinting jungle in 2014?

by ragtimecyclist   January 16, 2014  

Cav has been the main man for years, but last year we saw a battle royale at the Tour de France between him and the German duo of Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel, with Kittel coming out on top.

Kittel's Argos Shimano lead-out got the job done beautifully and Kittel's finishing speed was truly impressive.

Greipel's top end speed has always looked the quickest of anyones, but he seems to struggle to adapt when his lead-out doesn't deliver him to the perfect position...

...and Cav is Cav - he'll be chomping at the bit to prove the doubters wrong and show he's still the top dog in 2014.

So...whose year is it going to be?

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OPQS have rather been buying Cav a better sprint train, interesting to see how well it gels.

Greipel is the oldest of the trio- potentially at the end of his peak years- whilst Kittel is scarily probably at the start of his peak prowess.

Any outsiders?

posted by Al__S [418 posts]
16th January 2014 - 14:46

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Cavs got a good team around him and is certainly poised for form. I know, I raced him at Christmas and he's certainly looking that way!

My votes with Bronzini, though. Smile

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posted by mooleur [353 posts]
16th January 2014 - 15:23

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OH and not to mention Miss Barnes after she recovers from yesterdays bump.

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posted by mooleur [353 posts]
16th January 2014 - 15:23

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I reckon this will be Cav's last "great" year, Kittel will have a difficult second album.

After this year though, Kittel is going to be awesome.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [642 posts]
17th January 2014 - 11:21

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No mention of Sagan?

posted by farrell [1015 posts]
17th January 2014 - 11:55

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I'd go along with that Gizmo. The other teams are sure to put plenty of effort into figuring out what Kittels lead-out was doing so well, and to neutralize it. Cav's pathological will to win will surely kick in this year...and he's always pretty much had the beating of Greipel.

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posted by ragtimecyclist [115 posts]
17th January 2014 - 13:10

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farrell wrote:
No mention of Sagan?

You'd certainly fancy him to sweep up the Green Jersey at the Tour if he's up for it, but can he win the full-on sprints?

I suppose you wouldn't put anything past him.

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posted by ragtimecyclist [115 posts]
17th January 2014 - 13:11

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mooleur wrote:
OH and not to mention Miss Barnes after she recovers from yesterdays bump.

Agreed, I was gutted for her, especially after such a great sprint the day before that it was verging on a breakaway rather than a last dash for the line. I was looking forward to her battering everyone.

How come you were racing him, anyway?

As to the men, Kittel said in a recent interview that the difference between him and Cav at the TdF was the cohesion of the Argos lead-out train. Cav, on the other hand, says he was still recovering from antibiotics, which always sap his strength apparently. Plus he's now got Renshaw again.

Ultimately, it'll all come down to the little things; who had a cold a few days before etc. Need to hope Cav doesn't need any more penicillin.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
17th January 2014 - 13:28

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Second year syndrome for Kittel this season imho.

Is he in the same class as Cav, only time will tell. Cav can jump from rider to rider with such ease and now that he has Renshaw back plus another year of practice for the OPQS lead team i think Cav will still rule the roost.

Long shot is Davide Cimolai but keep an eye out for Elia Viviani who is just as good as Kittel.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2425 posts]
17th January 2014 - 13:56

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agree with most of the comments here.

All things being equal, I don't think there's much to split Kittel and Cavendish in ability.

But things aren't equal, and Cavendish has a very focussed team and does well to go on instinct to find the gaps, plus he's got loads of experience. So I'll say Cav to get more of the upper hand on flat stages this year

Sagan for Green Jersey

posted by 700c [485 posts]
17th January 2014 - 14:01

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ragtimecyclist wrote:
farrell wrote:
No mention of Sagan?

You'd certainly fancy him to sweep up the Green Jersey at the Tour if he's up for it, but can he win the full-on sprints?

I suppose you wouldn't put anything past him.

In a straight drag race? No. However, in a busy, edgy pack with his team working for him as well as they did on occasions last year I could see the Cannondale train bossing a few lead outs allowing Sagan to burst out and take the win.

posted by farrell [1015 posts]
17th January 2014 - 14:18

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If we are looking at outside bets, I'd be keeping an eye on Sam Bennett at Net App Endura, he did well to take the challenge to Ciolek and Cavendish at The Tour Of Britain last year with An Post, it'll be interesting to see what he does this year.

posted by farrell [1015 posts]
17th January 2014 - 14:26

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notfastenough wrote:
mooleur wrote:
OH and not to mention Miss Barnes after she recovers from yesterdays bump.

Agreed, I was gutted for her, especially after such a great sprint the day before that it was verging on a breakaway rather than a last dash for the line. I was looking forward to her battering everyone.

How come you were racing him, anyway?

Properly gutted, I actually had a lump in me throat when I saw the tweet that she'd come off!! Though massively chuffed for her for winning that first stage, what an opening to her career over there!! Showing 'em how its done in true Barnes style ^_^

How come? Mainly because I'm clinically insane I think... Tongue

They all (the Manx pros) tend to do any races that are on when they're over. Pete K regularly does the road series, Cav's not over often as he doesn't live here any more but he always does a race called the Hamper which is put on every xmas, it's horrendous as all the pros are home so you can imagine the carnage from the gun. Needless to say I did an 'alright' timetrial Wink Good off-season fun though, and it's nice to see who's in form. Pete K, Cav and Mark Christian (Raleigh) lapped me at about 40mph near the end... f**king ridiculous! Amazing though Big Grin

Anyway back to subject, my moneys on Cav mainly over bias but also because he's looking good, he's more determined than ever and OPQS have put a lot of work into surrounding him with a totally epic team. I am excite. Smile

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~ http://www.merlincycles.com
Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

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posted by mooleur [353 posts]
17th January 2014 - 14:30

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Cavendish is the good at making the best out of a bad situation.
Kittel... well still early days, I think he has a few years to go!
Sagan, not a great pure sprinter. However as he can climb, and hold his own in a break away will always lap up the sprint points!

posted by Cookie91 [16 posts]
17th January 2014 - 14:36

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Cav this year.
With Renshaw back, and Pettachi having done a decent job in the latter half of the season.
Renshaw knows exactly how to deliver Cav to the line (one of his complaints of 2013 that I read was that they were going too hard in the lead out) and the experience Pettachi brings to the team as well should make the OPQS train better, could be back to the HTC style dominance?

The Giant Shimano and Lotto-Belisol trains won't be able to better the OPQS one, so Kittel and Greipel are going to have to rely upon getting into the mix of the OPQS train and sheer wattage to overturn Cav.

Sagan won't stand a chance in a bunch if those three are firing on full gas, but can see him taking green again based on the points he'll pick up across a decent range of stages, not just the pan flat ones. I think he'll be worth a look in the Ardennes classics this year too.

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posted by glynr36 [126 posts]
17th January 2014 - 18:27

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glynr36 wrote:

Sagan won't stand a chance in a bunch if those three are firing on full gas, but can see him taking green again based on the points he'll pick up across a decent range of stages, not just the pan flat ones. I think he'll be worth a look in the Ardennes classics this year too.

Yep, this. The green jersey isn't about sprints, it's about consistency. In the '13 TDF Sagan only won one stage that I remember, but was 2nd/3rd in lots of flat finishes plus collected a load of intermediates including hilly stages. Cav won't win the green jersey again unless he starts going for the intermediates too.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [642 posts]
17th January 2014 - 19:28

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mooleur wrote:
notfastenough wrote:
mooleur wrote:
OH and not to mention Miss Barnes after she recovers from yesterdays bump.

Agreed, I was gutted for her, especially after such a great sprint the day before that it was verging on a breakaway rather than a last dash for the line. I was looking forward to her battering everyone.

How come you were racing him, anyway?

Properly gutted, I actually had a lump in me throat when I saw the tweet that she'd come off!! Though massively chuffed for her for winning that first stage, what an opening to her career over there!! Showing 'em how its done in true Barnes style ^_^

How come? Mainly because I'm clinically insane I think... Tongue

They all (the Manx pros) tend to do any races that are on when they're over. Pete K regularly does the road series, Cav's not over often as he doesn't live here any more but he always does a race called the Hamper which is put on every xmas, it's horrendous as all the pros are home so you can imagine the carnage from the gun. Needless to say I did an 'alright' timetrial Wink Good off-season fun though, and it's nice to see who's in foOrm. Pete K, Cav and Mark Christian (Raleigh) lapped me at about 40mph near the end... f**king ridiculous! Amazing though Big Grin

Anyway back to subject, my moneys on Cav mainly over bias but also because he's looking good, he's more determined than ever and OPQS have put a lot of work into surrounding him with a totally epic team. I am excite. Smile

Well my first thought, however fleeting, was "nah, it's Hannah Barnes, she'll get back on and win just to show how pissed off she is!" Alas, it was a bit worse than the time she did that.

Your race sounds awesome though! I did see a shot of the pro's break in CW.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
19th January 2014 - 8:20

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notfastenough wrote:
Well my first thought, however fleeting, was "nah, it's Hannah Barnes, she'll get back on and win just to show how pissed off she is!" Alas, it was a bit worse than the time she did that.

Your race sounds awesome though! I did see a shot of the pro's break in CW.

I totally thought the same, you *know* it's a bad one when Barnsey doesn't get back on it! As long as she gets rested and healed OK, epic form to enter the season with, she'll be formidable come summer!

Ah yeah I heard a pic got into CW! Thats pretty cool Smile was some break, there were other pros but those three are just mega fast, amazing to see!! The whole field was ripped a new'un Tongue

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posted by mooleur [353 posts]
20th January 2014 - 11:07

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Very true, the only problem is getting to actually see any footage of womens racing. I tend to get my news from Twitter, although there was a low-res blocky youtube clip of that stage 1 sprint. Viewed on my phone, it could have been anyone!

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
20th January 2014 - 18:43

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notfastenough wrote:
Very true, the only problem is getting to actually see any footage of womens racing. I tend to get my news from Twitter, although there was a low-res blocky youtube clip of that stage 1 sprint. Viewed on my phone, it could have been anyone!

It's truly horrendous, I made a few comments on twitter about the lack of decent coverage. Thankfully Huw Williams & Sarah Connolly were on hand to feed back some good info but the feed (in spanish) on the san luis site was awful.

Myself & the other half were on the turbo watching it and I made him endure the lot just so he could see how rubbish we have it, so he can go and tell the world to make it better! ^_^

I think the UCI will endeavor to cover the world cups a little better this year and I know the ladies Tour will have great coverage too. Just a shame those lesser known tours don't get the coverage they deserve.

Totally going off topic here, sorry!

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Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

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posted by mooleur [353 posts]
21st January 2014 - 10:20

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