Stat Attack: The nearly men of the professional peloton

Wins make the headlines, but what about the riders who are always so close? Cillian Kelly looks at the numbers

Clock11:12, Wednesday 14th February 2024
These riders have notched up hundreds of top-10s between them, but not a single WorldTour win

© Dario Belingheri, Alexander Hassenstein, Tim de Waele / Velo Collection via Getty Images

These riders have notched up hundreds of top-10s between them, but not a single WorldTour win

In cycling, so much time is spent celebrating the riders who cross the line first - the winners, the greats of the sport. But what about the best of the rest? The riders who scrap and slog as much as everyone else but never quite take the big victories in order to hit the headlines.

Which riders have bagged the most top-10s in UCI WorldTour races but have never managed to win a race at that level? Well, I have crunched the numbers and here are your top five nearly men in the current men’s peloton.

Read more: Stat Attack: Does pro cycling really need saving?

Tosh van der Sande - 33 top-10s

In fifth place in this particular ranking we have this Belgian stalwart, Tosh van der Sande of Visma-Lease a Bike. One WorldTour top-10 for every year he’s been alive but no victory. Rather unfortunately, he’s actually never managed a second place either. The closest he’s come to winning a WorldTour race was in 2012 when he finished second at Paris-Tours behind Marco Marcato (at the time, the fastest ever race longer than 200km and therefore the holder of the Ruban Jaune), but sadly for Van der Sande, Paris-Tours hadn’t been considered a WorldTour level race since 2007 anyway - a scandal in itself.

Max Walscheid - 41

The German sprinter’s tally of top-10s has an impressive breadth, spread as they are across all three Grand Tours and Paris-Roubaix. Three of those 42 top-10s were second places in a photo finish. And all three were behind Fernando Gaviria. Twice at the 2017 Tour of Guangxi (how was this WorldTour level and Paris-Tours is not?!) and once more at the 2018 Tour of California (remember that?) where Walscheid even celebrated as he crossed the line before the win was announced for Gaviria.

Guillaume Martin - 51

A rather surprising addition to the list given how high profile Martin tends to be, but he’s yet to bag a WorldTour victory. The one that got away for Martin was Stage 2 of the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné in Craponne-sur-Arzon where he was crapped on by Dylan Teuns in a two-up sprint in which Martin looked for almost all of the final 500 metres that he was going to take it only to be pipped on the line. Martin’s lack of WorldTour wins serves as a timely reminder that despite the various successes of the likes of Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot, no French rider has won a WorldTour level stage race since Christophe Moreau at the 2007 Dauphiné.

Simone Consonni - 53

Fixed so firmly in that B category of sprinters that you probably have no idea what he looks like. Consonni’s closest shave with victory came at the 2020 Tour Down Under when he was beaten to the line by fellow Italian fast man Giacomo Nizzolo in a sprint stage in Victor Harbor. On that day, Nizzolo was putting an end to a similar run of results where he had managed to finish either second or third in a WorldTour race 35 times in a row without winning - the longest streak of its kind since this tier of races was invented in 2005. The current longest streak of seconds and thirds with no win currently stands at 17 - which is a record also owned by the leader of the top-10s record…

Wilco Kelderman - 145

A truly astonishing tally which is spread across four different continents and includes 13 of the 14 stage races on the current UCI WorldTour calendar (the only exception being the Tour of Guangxi which barely counts). It’s one top-10 shy of Consonni, Martin and Walscheid’s tallies combined.

Kelderman’s best race was almost certainly the 2020 Giro d’Italia where he held the maglia rosa for two stages in the final week before ultimately faltering to finish third behind his Team Sunweb teammate Jai Hindley and the winner Tao Geoghegan Hart of Ineos. Kelderman is 32 now and has since moved on to the Grand Tour heavyweights Visma-Lease a Bike where he is much further down the pecking order. One would start to fear that Kelderman is looking less and less likely to finally, finally take that elusive WorldTour win.

For more of Cillian's unique insight into the world of professional cycling, read previous editions of Stat Attack here.

Related Content

Link to Geraint Thomas loses second overall at Giro d’Italia after ‘big grovel’ on stage 16
Geraint Thomas could do little to stop Dani Martínez's advance on the final slopes

Geraint Thomas loses second overall at Giro d’Italia after ‘big grovel’ on stage 16

We hear from the Ineos Grenadiers leader and teammate Thymen Arensman, as Bora-Hansgrohe's Dani Martínez moves up to second

Clock
Link to The GC standings at the Giro d'Italia
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) currently wears the Giro d'Italia pink leader's jersey

The GC standings at the Giro d'Italia

Tadej Pogačar wears the pink jersey after 16 stages, 7:18 ahead of Dani Martínez and 7:40 up on Geraint Thomas

Clock
Link to 'My life was torn apart for nothing' – Lizzy Banks reveals 'no-fault' doping positives and her quest for answers
Lizzy Banks twice won the longest stage of the Giro d'Italia Women in her six-year professional career

'My life was torn apart for nothing' – Lizzy Banks reveals 'no-fault' doping positives and her quest for answers

British cyclist spends £40,000 to prove innocence after two positive tests and issues fierce criticism of anti-doping authorities

Clock
Link to Giro d'Italia stage 16 re-routed: Umbrail Pass removed due to extreme weather and rider unrest
Race leader Tadej Pogačar at the planned start in Livigno

Giro d'Italia stage 16 re-routed: Umbrail Pass removed due to extreme weather and rider unrest

The riders will start in Lasa on the other side of the mountain, with the distance cut from 206km to 115km

Clock
Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox