The cobbled classics of 2022 – who won and who lost?

In this article, I will look back at the cobbled classics season this spring. But, there are some things to keep in mind. The points are the ones given by UCI, in that case, I try to stay objective. However, I have subjectively only taken the six biggest races in my opinion in the spring classics.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
E3 Saxo Bank Classic
Gent Wevelgem in Flanders Fields
Dwars door Vlaanderen
Ronde van Vlaanderen

Why? They are UCI World Tour level, the others are not. That leaves out some of the other cobbled classics. Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, GP Denain etc. I assume some of you will at this point already be angry De Brabantse Pijl is not included. A brilliant race, but barely enough cobbles to call it a cobbled classic – and we would simply disagree if you think it should be with the six races above. That is my decision to leave them out.

Overview, the best 20 riders in the six big races.

UCI Points scored in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Gent Wevelgem in Flanders Fields, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen & Paris-Roubaix.

What does this tell us? Well, for one, that Jumbo-Visma had by far the best season of everyone else at the top. It also tells me, to no surprise, that Quick-Step has had an off-season on the cobbles. A bit to the surprise of some, FDJ has had a terrific duo. Stefan Küng has to be the 3rd best while Madouas rounds off the top 10. Let us take a look at the teams or some of them.

Jumbo – Visma: 2300 points in the top-20.
FDJ: 1485 points in the top-20.

INEOS: 1125 points in the top-20.
Intermarché: 955 points in the top-20.
Alpecin-Fenix: 900 points in the top-20.

Bahrain-Victorious: 795 points in the top-20.
Quick-Step: 0 points in the top-20.

Three surprises. FDJ, Intermarché and Quick-Step. The French team, FDJ, has two riders who do a fantastic job, and it gets them good results. Intermarché had Girmay winning Gent-Wevelgem, probably the easiest of the six races. Nonetheless, if he and the team (or UCI) can manage to get him to stay longer for the spring season, he will be a good edition and learn from Kristoff.

Quick-Step, nowhere to be seen. Sickness and crashes ruined it for them, but perhaps it is time for them to look for a new generation to carry the team on the cobbles or have Alaphilippe be a part of the squad again next season. The biggest disappointment is Kasper Asgreen, who last year scored 900 points.

I’m looking forward to Bahrain-Victorious next season. Mohoric and Colbrelli leave two very good options in the hard races.

Who will take a big step next season?

If the rumors are true, Dylan van Baarle might join Jumbo-Visma. He skipped the opening weekend and still finished second in the rankings. Him, Wout van Aert and Laporte on the same team would almost be unfair. It would make their team the favorite for all cobbled classics due to their strength in numbers. Even with Girmay only participating in two races and finishing in the top-10, pressure is on him. He was missed just a little bit in E3 Saxo Bank Classic when Wout van Aert waved goodbye to his competition.

I think we will also see INEOS do better. Turner and Sheffield both did a fantastic job and had I included all one-day races with cobbles in the spring, they would have done far better. They have Sheffield and Turner, who both will get to ride with Pidcock and hopefully Van Baarle next season, making them one of the strongest teams for every race too.

My own point of view.

I think it is fair to say, Jumbo-Visma had the best team overall. A bit disappointing in Ronde van Vlaanderen due to crashes by Laporte and Wout van Aert missing. Otherwise, have they been at the front of the other races.

I think we have not seen enough praise of Küng, who has been consistent the whole spring – scoring points in five races, the most of anyone on the list.

I think it was a shame we did not get a good showdown between Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel in Ronde van Vlaanderen. The Dutchmen had an off day in Roubaix, I assume it was a bit too early for him to keep his form that long.

I still think a lot of people are underestimating Mohoric on the cobbles, perhaps I overestimate him. Nonetheless, 7th place on the ranking. As long as he can manage to get a gap in a group before the selection, he can get very far.

Last, but not least, people have been hyping INEOS far too much. Yes, Sheffield and Turner are quality riders but none of them have scored more than a top-15 in these six races. They are riders for the future, and I do hope to see them higher on the list next year.

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