On the right hand side of the site I’ve been running a league table throughout spring to track the most consistent rider of the one-day spring classics or, as I’ve come to call it, the King of Spring. The points format mirrors that of Formula One with 25 points for a win, 18 for second, 15 for third and then 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 down to tenth.
14 World Tour or 1.HC races across spring starting with the Omloop Het Niewsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne at the end of February, moving to Italy for Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, then into Flanders for the cobbled classics of Dwars Door Vlaanderen, E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders and Scheldeprijs and rounding out the cobble season with Paris-Roubaix. Then it’s into the hillier spring classics as racing transitions from Flanders to the Ardennes with Brabantse Pijl, Amstel Gold (not technically Ardennes), La Flèche Wallonne and finally Liège–Bastogne–Liège. Four Monuments in total though the points structure remains the same for all races regardless of their UCI ranking.
And now we’re done. So who won? Well I doubt you’ll be surprised but here’s a look at the top ten in the table (including each riders biggest results). 83 riders in total scored points, the same as last year when Alexander Kristoff won and one more than 2014 when Niki Terpstra came out on top.
King of Spring 2016, final standings:
1. Peter Sagan – 104 (1st Gent; 1st Flanders; 2nd Omloop; 3nd E3)
2. Fabian Cancellara – 67 (1st Strade; 2nd Flanders)
3. Enrico Gasparotto – 53 (1st Amstel; 2nd Brabantse Pijl)
4. Sep Vanmarcke – 49 (2nd Gent; 3rd Flanders; 4th Roubaix)
5. Greg Van Avermaet – 45 (1st Omloop)
6. Bryan Coquard – 42 (2nd Dwars Door)
7. Alexander Kristoff – 38 (2nd Kuurne; 4th Flanders)
8. Wout Poels – 37 (1st Liège; 4th Flèche)
9. Jasper Stuyven – 37 (1st Kuurne; 5th E3)
10. Arnaud Demare – 35 (1st San Remo; 5th Gent)
Note that the tiebreaker was the best results in Monuments. For that reason Poels finished 8th ahead of Stuyven because he won Liège, and Demare made the top ten on the back of his Milan-San Remo win despite tying Edward Theuns and Petr Vakoc on 35 points. Riders that failed to crack the top ten but who still won a race included Jens Debusschere (Dawars Door), Alejandro Valverde (Flèche), Michal Kwiatkowski (E3), Marcel Kittel (Scheldeprijs), and last but certainly not least, Mat Hayman (Paris-Roubaix).
So hands up who guessed Peter Sagan might have finished first? He won it with ease on 104 points. 3 points better off than Alexander Kristoff last year. It’s scary to think how far ahead he might have been had he decided to give the Ardennes races a crack. I could be wrong but Sunday’s Liège–Bastogne–Liège looked made for him.