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CyclingQuotes picks ten riders who we believe will win a WorldTour race in 2016.

BOB JUNGELS

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

BRYAN COQUARD

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

JARLINSON PANTANO

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

JULIAN ALAPHILIPPE

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

NICCOLÓ BONIFAZIO

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

SEP VANMARCKE

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

SILVAN DILLIER

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

SIMON YATES

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

TIESJ BENOOT

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS
17.02.2016 @ 06:00 Posted by Joseph Doherty

To win any race at WorldTour level can be a big moment in a rider’s career. It can help them get a new contract, confirm their status as an up and coming rider, or reward a loyal domestique with a big win. While there will be more than ten debut WorldTour race winners in 2017, CyclingQuotes has picked out ten riders who should win a WorldTour race this year.

 

Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep)

 

Talented Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe has the cycling world at his feet. He has already won two tough stages in races like Tour de l’Ain and Tour of California and has been runner up in both Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He can go the distance and has a fast finish, making him a candidate possible of winning all kinds of races. The only issues facing Alaphilippe is the lack of support in big races. In hilly races, he will play second fiddle at Etixx-QuickStep to Dan Martin and for reduced bunch kicks, the team arguably has faster riders. He is also suffering with mononucleosis, which has prevented him from racing so far in 2016. He is scheduled to ride Tour de la Provence and is hoping to be back fully for the Ardennes and Tour de France. His recovery time will determine how successful he can be in 2016. If he can return to his 2015 level, there is no doubt that the 23 year old will break his top-tier duct in 2016.

 

Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE)

 

When turning pro with Orica-GreenEDGE, Simon Yates was touted as the better of the two brothers, having already beaten Brad Wiggins and Nairo Quintana at a stage in Tour of Britain. The first two years of his pro career have been promising, but he has been unable to win a race, while brother Adam has already won Clasica San Sebastian. Yates has clearly focussed more on riding for GC than stage wins, but his ability on climbs has allowed him to podium stages in Pais Vasco and the Dauphine, while getting three top tens on WT GCs and two top twenties in Monuments. The Brit is clearly a very talented climber and he can beat the best in the mountains, it just depends whether or not he opts to focus on GCs once again, or if he can slip off for stage wins while Adam rides for the overall.

 

Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo)

 

Classics star Sep Vanmarcke faces the nasty situation of only really being able to win a WT race in a cobbled classic. He struggles on long climbs and while he is fast, he is nowhere near quick enough to challenge anyone in reduced bunch kicks. But, luckily, he is very good at cobbled races. He already has a podium in Flanders, Roubaix and Gent-Wevelgem and seven top tens in the top cobbled events. He is on this list as he can win one of these races, but with competition getting fierce (and crucially, faster in sprints) the LottoNL-Jumbo rider needs to take a chance sooner rather than later or he will become a nearly man.

 

Diego Rosa (Astana)

 

Italian talent Diego Rosa has always shown climbing potential during his career. In 2013, the 26 year old was riding his first Grand Tour and finished 22nd overall for Androni. Since then, he struggled to get to do top level races and joined Astana for 2015, where he won Milan-Turin and was fifth as teammate Nibali took out Il Lombardia. He also placed fifth on the Giro stage to Imola and tenth on two more Grand Tour stages. He isn’t very high on the pecking order at Astana for now as he cant time trial, meaning he often has to work for others in the hills. But he faces a good situation, as Nibali may leave the team in 2017 and he is a better climber than the likes of Sanchez, Scarponi, Fuglsang and Cataldo. This means that he may be the leader in any stage race Aru doesn’t ride, which gives him a chance to seek, success, provided Miguel Angel Lopez doesn’t begin to really excel in top races. This may allow the great climber to sneak away to take wins like Aru did at the 2014 Giro, his first WT win.

 

Jarlinson Pantano (IAM)

 

Punchy climber Jarlinson Pantano may be a surprise inclusion on this list as has achieved his WT results via breakaways. But the 27 year old Colombian on IAM has podiumed stages of the Tour and Giro, as well as take top tens Down Under and finish 19th in his debut Tour. His climbing ability and fairly fast finish after hard days make him the perfect rider for Grand Tour breakaways, and as he gains even more experience, he can definitely win a WorldTour race this season. His schedule is a little unclear and after the Tour Down Under, where he was ninth on Willunga Hill, he doesn’t have any more top tier events on his schedule. But he did plenty of racing at the elite level last season and there is no reason to suggest 2016 wont be a continuation of that trend. Pantano needs to find the right races, but he has the speed to win any stage that doesn’t suit sprinters like Sagan and Degenkolb.

 

Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep)

 

Jungels has gotten his 2016 season, his first with Etixx-QuickStep, off to a flier, taking stage one in Oman and looking great in Valenciana. He can time trial and go over punchy climbs, meaning he can survive hard days and then attack to never be seen again. He was highly rated by his old team, Trek, and has five pro wins already. His new Belgian squad’s tendency to attack with multiple cards suits him even better, so expect a big year from Jungels, who has Tirreno, Ardennes, Romandie, Giro and the Tour on his WT schedule. Plenty of opportunity for a big talent.

 

Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo)

 

Having swapped Lampre-Merida for Trek-Segafredo, fastman Bonifazio has looked good in 2016, podiuming two races from six completed race days. He has a good Italian core at his new team to ensure he settles and will have riders to lead him out. He is very fast and has undeniable talent for someone who is just 22. Last season, he recorded top tens in Australia, Paris-Nice, Pologne and Vatenfall, plus an amazing fifth at Milan-Sanremo, showcasing his raw talent. How his schedule fits in with Giro points winner Giacomo Nizzolo remains to be seen, but Bonifazio has time on his side, and seven pro wins to his name in two years, just three shy of Nizzolo’s total from five full seasons.

 

Silvan Dillier (BMC)

 

Swiss star Silvan Dillier marked himself out as one to watch when he completed the rare feat of taking a pro win as a stagiaire at the 2013 Tour of Alberta. The 25 year old Swiss star has started 2016 well, with fourth overall in Dubai a good start. His WorldTour results are indifferent, with just seven top tens in WT races from his first two seasons, but he has great TT ability, a fast finish and the ability to get over medium sized climbs of fairly hard gradients. This should ensure he features well in races like Pais Vasco, Swiss races and the Giro, which he is due to ride once more in 2016.

 

Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie)

 

After a great start to the season, Bryan Coquard suffered a huge blow with a fractured shoulder blade. The 23 year old will now miss Paris-Nice and Catalunya, races he excelled in last year. Despite the two month setback, we have no reason to doubt the Frenchman. He is Direct Energie’s leader and he is very fast. He has eleven top tens in the last two Tour de Frances and he has shown an ability to ride well on flat finishes like Champs Elysees to harder stuff like the hard drag to Harrogate in 2014 and in Le Havre in 2015. It all depends on how he recovers, but he has plenty of chances to ride well if he goes to the Dauphine and Tour. For Coquard, it will be a matter of if and not when he takes a big win and his career shows he does well in France (15 of 17 wins come at home). Champs-Elysees beckons Bryan…

 

Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal)

 

Fifth in your debut Tour of Flanders at just 21 is not bad at all. Lotto-Soudal’s tiesj Benoot looked good as a neo-pro, but in 2015 he became a superstar, with fifth in Flanders and Montreal and top tens in Eneco and the Dauphine. He is fast in small group sprints and can get over small hills, making him a great contender for almost all Classics, stages in Giro, Tour, Eneco, Dauphine and the Swiss races. He has lots of talent and has a great team committed to him and willing to give him chances. Learning from the likes of Jurgen Roelandts, Jens Debusschere, Andre Greipel and Tony Gallopin will also help him progress quickly to the top of our sport too. It is scary to think how strong the soon-to-be 22 year old will be once he has a Grand Tour in his legs…

 

Honourable mentions go to Edward Theuns, Miguel Angel Lopez, Fernando Gaviria, Pierre-Roger Latour and Jelle Wallays, who we think will win races in 2016 (Gaviria is already off the mark), but due to various reasons we think they will miss a win in the biggest races. They could easily be substituted into this list, but 2017 could easily be their year if it doesn’t all go to plan in 2016.

 

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