2021 CSS – Cyclists performances

1. Kilometers and days of racing

Cesare Benedetti has raced most kilometers in professional races in 2021. The Giro stage-winner of 2019 raced almost 15,000 kms, 11.5k of which at UWT-level. Max Walscheid is the only rider who raced more kilometers at the highest level in cycling (12,073km). Christophe Noppe raced most kilometers in one-day races of the past season. Gonzalo Serrano (3200), Julian Alaphilippe (2800) and Greg van Avermaet (2600) rode most kilometers in one-day races at WorldTour level. Intestingly, the 8 cyclists with most kilometers of racing in one-day races and championships all raced a small share ot those kms at WorldTour-level.

Kilometers and days races in professional cycling races in 2021.
Kilometers raced in 2021, all races and one-day races at professional- and UWT-level

Looking at the number of racedays in one-day races at WorldTour-level, Gonzalo Serrano is also leading the ranks with 15 starts and 13 finishes. Alaphilippe and van Aert raced more than 10 days in races at UWT-level and finished all of them. While Walscheid raced most kilometers in UWT-races, Louis Meintjes has most racedays; 77. Benedetti, the Italian-born Polish professional under contract of Bora, raced by far most days in professional races.

Kuss, Izagirre and Taaramäe all finished 6 stage-races at WorldTour-level, while Mattias Skljemose Jensen took part in 11 professional stage-races in 2021 and finished all of them. The young Dane under contract of Trek-Segafredo had a succesful first full-year as a pro with 5 top-10’s in overall classifications.

Robert Gesink (50 days) and Maarten Wynants (6) are the only riders who raced all their racedays at WorldTour-level in 2021.

2021 Cycling season

In 2021, Gesink and Wynants are the only cyclists (under contract of a WorldTour- or ProContinental-team at some point in 2021) who raced all their days at WorldTour-level. As will become clear in the article on team-performances, Team Jumbo Visma has a strong focus on WorldTour races in 2021.

Meintjes (Milano-Torin0), Kruijswijk (Giro dell’Emilia), Carapaz (La Fleche Brabanconne) and Kelderman (Circuito Getxo) particpated solely in UWT-level races except for one day.

Cyclists with largest share of kilometers at UWT-level in 2021.
Cyclists with largest share of kilometers at UWT-level in 2021.

2. Victories and top-results

Three riders won 13 professional races in 2021. Roglic and Pogacar won 11 races at UWT-level, van Aert 7. Among riders with 7 or more wins in 2021, Viviani, Evenepoel, Démare and Hayter exclusively won races at .Pro or .1 level.

Cyclists with most victories in 202

Andrii Ponomar was the youngest winner in 2021 with his victory in the Ukrainian NC’s. Excluding national championships, Olav Kooij was the youngest winner at an age of 19 years and 346 days. (CRO Race stage 2). At UWT-level Mauro Schmid was the youngest winner with his victory in the Giro d’Italia (s11) at an age of 21 and 164 days. Tadej Pogacar was the rider with most wins and by far the most impressive ones, but still being the second youngest UWT-winner of this season.

Alejandro Valverde was the oldest winner of 2021 at an age of 41 years and 157 days. The Spanish former World Champion was almost 3 years older than André Greipel who was the second oldest winner in 2021. At UWT-level, Richie Porte was about 5 years younger than Valverde while winning hist last race in 2021. Will Valverde set the record again in 2022, his final season at pro-level racing?

In one-day races, Jasper Philipsen and Tim Merlier were most succesful in 2021. Both sprinters of Alpecin-Fenix won 5 professional one-day races.

Van Aert, Pogacar, Alaphilippe and Asgreen all won 2 one-day races at UWT-level and were most succesful at the highest level.

Merlier finished on the podium of 9 one-day races, one podium-finish more than Evenepoel. With 5 top-3’s, Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe finished most often on the podium in one-day races at WorldTour-level,

Danny van Poppel finished top-10 in 14 one-day races out of 27 he participated in, the highest number of top-10’s at professional level in 2021. Regarding the highest share top-10 finishes in one-day races, WVA is leading with 85% (11 out of 13 participations).

Tadej Pogacar finished top-3 in all 5 stage-races he particpated in and won 4 of them. Joao Almeida finished top-10 in 6 out of 7 participations in 2021.

2021 Cycling season

Tadej Pogacar participated in 5 stage-races in 2021 and won 4 of them. Only in Basque country Pogacar failed to claim the overall victory (finished 3rd) after the impressive ‘coupe’ of Roglic and his team in the final stage.

Besides Pogacar (4), Joao Almeida finished top-10 in all UWT stage-races as well (5). Almeida’s worst result in a general classification was spot 18 in the Deutschland Tour. Ethan Hayter finished top-10 in 5 stage-races but did not participate in a stage-race at UWT-level yet.

Filippo Ganna and Primoz Roglic both won 4 Individual Time Trials in races at WorldTour-level. Stage 3 in Paris-Nice and stage 7 in the Tour de France were the only ITT’s in which Roglic did not take the victory. Besides Roglica and Ganna, Küng performed very good in ITT”s in 2021 as well. King Küng took part in 14(!) races against the clock this season, his 15th place in stage 5 of Tour de Romandie being the worst result.

Results in Individual Time Trials in 2021

Pogacar received a leader jersey of a stage race after 24 stages, more than half off all stages he participated in. Mathieu van der Poel and Primoz Roglic also received a leader jersey after more than 40% of all stages, both received all of those jerseys in UWT-races. Dylan Groenewegen is the pure-sprinter who received the highest share of leader jersey after a stage: 4 times out of 36 stages (11%).

Share of potential leader jerseys received in stage races in 2021.

3. Relative performances (percentages and averages)

One in 4 results was a victory for Wout van Aert in 2021. WVA won, relative to his total number of results (52), most races this season, 1 percentpoint better than Roglic (24% victories). Roglic and Pogacar both won 13 races at well, but have more results in total.

Sam Bennett has the highest share of wins at UWT-level. The Irishman under contract of Deceuninck Quick-Step particpated in 20 UWT-level races and won 5 of them. Mathieu van der Poel has a high share of wins at UWT-level as welll: 7 wins in 29 results in 2021.

Looking at top-1o results, some other names pop up: riders competing for top-results in stage races. For example, Almeida and Yates finished top-10 in more than 40% of all races.

Considering all professional races in 2021, Ethan Hayter and Tadej Pogacar have the highest share of top-10 results: 62%.

Another way of looking at rider-efficiency is calculating the number of kilometers raced for every victory this season (races with a DNF are counted for 50% of the kms). Sam Bennett is, by far, most effective winner at UWT-level. The Bora-sprinter for the coming season took a win every 591km of racing. Wout van Aert and Primoz Roglic are almost as efficient if all professional races are considered: around 630km of racing for every victory in 2021. Mark Cavendish was also quite effective with 4 Tour de France stage-wins in approximately 3600km of racing at UWT-level.

Sam Bennett won a race at WorldTour-level every 591 km he raced in WorldTour races.

2021 Cycling season
Efficiency of winners in 2021: kilometers races for every win.

Another way of looking at the peformance of cyclists in 2021 is by calculating their average result (a DNF is counted as 206; the maximum result of a procyclist in 2021). The average result of riders shows who is able to constantly finish with the first in a race. In 2021, Wout van Aert had the lowest average result in races at UWT-level. On average, the Belgian allrounder became 15th in all races in 2021, just a little better than Pogacar. Compared to previous seasons (average result between 2016 and 2020), Vlasov, van Asbroek and Haig had the most impressive season at the highest level in 2021. From the best 14 cyclists in 2021, only Mathieu van der Poel performed slightly worse than previous season.

Change in average result between 2016-2020 and 2021, best cyclists in 2021.

Taking the opposite perspective, it is possible to find out which riders performed worse than previous years. Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana had the best average results between 2016 and 2020, but their average decreased in 2021. Valverde moves from an average of 21 to 35, while Quintana’s average drops from 25 to 45. Tadej Pogacar on the other hand maintained and even improved on his average result over 2019 and 2020.

The best riders between 2016 and 2020 were not just frequent winners, but also cyclists with good consistent results during the year. Sam Oomen and Steven Kruijswijk are examples of cyclists with few top-results, but a good average result in contested UWT-races.

Change in average result between 2016-2020 and 2021, best cyclists in 2016-2020.

4. Accumulation of PCS-points

Finally, we take a look at the number of PCS-points (ranking-system of ProCyclingStats.com) the best riders of 2021 have accumulated throughout the season. The four riders with most points in 2021 are included: Pogacar, van Aert, Roglic and Alaphilippe.

Thanks to his great performances in the hilly classics and one-week stage races early in the season, Pogacar already accumulated more points than spring-speciliast Alaphilppe. Wout van Aert was the only rider who remained close. With his strong performances in la Vuelta and the Italian autumn-classics, Roglic came close to his teammate van Aert and fellow-Slovenian Pogacar, but did not succeed to pass both of them.

Looking at the pattern of the points-curves, it becomes clear that GrandTour specialists Pogacar and Roglic win most points in 2 or 3 relativley short periods of time, while one-day specialists like van Aert and Alaphilippe have a more gradual increase in PCS-points throughout the entire season.

In the next article ´special performances´ will be analyzed. If you have any remarks or questions, please contact us at statsoncycling@gmail.com, or leave a remark on Twitter or Instagram.

Published by statsoncycling

Cycling Statistics is an initiative by Daniël Herbers. From Maastricht (Netherlands) he talks and speculates about performances and developments in cycling with fellow cycling-addicts Jesper, Sjef and Sander. Cycling Statistics (@statsoncycling) aims to share and highlight unique performances and provide useful insights in male pro-cycling. Daniël is a runner and biker, lives with his wife and three children in Maastricht and is employed at Statistics Netherlands (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek).

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