Top 10 Sprinters - Tour de France 2023

Top 10 Sprinters - Tour de France 2023
Who's going to take the top sprinter spot this year?

Who's going to take the most number of stages of the sprinters for this year's Tour de France. Are there enough sprint stages that Cavendish will be able to nab one to claim the record over Mercx? As he wants us all to know, and fairly so, that he has the record for the most stage wins at the Tour, it just so happens Mercx got their first. But they're on equal footing he wants us to know 🙃

Suffice to say, according to PCS Cavendish isn't even in the top ten sprinters headed to the Tour, which makes a lot of sense given the abysmal form, lack of sprint train or combination of both he's shown in the early season. The Giro win seems to have cured everyone's mind of that though. Not PCS though, and not us. We're not silly enough to fall prey to recency bias. Said us never. We're human. PCS isn't.

That being said, this ranking has a bias in the fact that PCS will lean to promote riders who have raced more this season. So sprinters like Biniam Girmay who just recently started their comeback (nice 4th @ Brussels Classic Girmay!) after a nasty sprint crash, won't be making this list despite their calibre.

Sprinters should stick around to at least either stage eight or stage twelve depending on how good they are at hill climbing. Stage nine has Puy de Dôme on it, and it's not the toughest climb in the book, but not every sprinter can climb like Pedersen proved remarkably adept at in the Giro. Stage thirteen has Grand Colombier, and if any sprinter wanted to bow out before the classic Tour climb we wouldn't blame them.

After doing all the research for this article we also decided that we should probably also do a top ten best victory poses. Some of these riders can really bust a move on the line.

But on with the show!

We were told by multiple people to do these backwards now to build up the suspense so let's do just that.

Number 10 - Wout van Aert (28) - Jumbo Visma

Does Red Bull really give Wout van Aert wings?

Coming in at number ten is good ol' Wout van Aert. Potentially the best all arounder in the peloton today if you count cyclocross as well. But otherwise then Pogačar's got the upper hand on him just like everyone else. Apparently though Pog has done some cyclocross at the start of season, so maybe he'd best Wout van Aert there too? Regardless Wout van Aert's coming at the tour after a strong classics season despite "Woutgate" after gifting a slot to Christophe LaPorte at Gent Wevelgem.

Wout van Aert will likely be targeting the green jersey again, and winning sprints helps in that regard. But if push comes to shove with Vingegaard and he's facing the heat, then WVA will most likely have to place his Jumbo Visma domestique duties above la maillort vert. Not the worst thing, as he could just become a stage hunter at that point and win even more spints.

Number 9 - Bryan Coquard (31) - Cofidis

Get at Coquard. Get at him.

Cofidis may not have the strongest team, specifically the strongest general classification contender, going to the Tour, but that could prove to be their benefit, allowing them to focus on winning stages with Coquard and Geschke trying to do a repeat of basically winning KOM of the non GC riders.

Coquard has faired rather well this year taking three wins, finishing second twice, and a few top tens. Coquard did the Vuelta last year instead of the Tour, having last completed the nine stages of the sprinters Tour de France, also known as "all the stages the sprinters could do before the hills came".

And we mean, he's French, so that's got to give him a 10% boost to his stats, especially on the first day when the French come out in numbers.

Coquard doesn't necessarily like a lead out, and manages to perform well regardless of whether he gets one or not, managing to slipstream himself through the final bunch.

Number 8 - Jordi Meeus (24) - BORA

Meeus pumping his own heart.

Why is BORA bringing two top sprinters to the same tour? Are they going to swap every day who's leading out who? Probably not going to work super well given that being a solid lead out bae like Danny van Poppel isn't the same as being the top sprinter.

We'll see BORA's strategy when the action kicks off, but we're still a little surprised. Through out the entire season BORA has actively tried to ensure the two's (Meeus and Bennett's) program's don't overlap.

The Belgian has performed well though this season, but never quite managed to nag the top slot other than a 1.1 one day race at Circuit de Charleroi Wallonie. Given it's below World Tour and Pro level we're not lending much weight to that. Trying to prove us wrong today at the Brussels Classic 1.Pro he almost snagged 1rst, but lost to a competitor further down the list.

Recently at the end of April he's managed to pick up two third slots at the Tour of Norway (which didn't have the strongest start list however). Earlier in the year he had a couple podium finishes at Volta Algarve, but his two big world tour stage races of Tirreno - Adriatico and Santos Tour Down Under (the latter he DNS to be fair) never performed superbly.

Number 7 - Sam Bennett (32) - BORA

Aha! Bennett congratulates himself on no longer being with Deceuninck 🙃

BORA's second hotshot, the Irish sprinter has been performing decently after his little hop back and forth between BORA and Quickstep. This year, Bennet's had one win, the first race he did for the season, a Vuelta San Juan, following it up with a 4th and 3rd directly after, and then a 2nd placed finish on the penultimate stage.

Since then he's started to drag his feet a little - but not by much. Bennett followed up his performance at San Juan with a strong UAE tour, narrowly missing out winning a stage twice. Once again at Paris Nice, he almost secured the first stage and was in the running on the fifth, but never managed to take a win.

Overall though, on the stages where sprinter's could perform, he's almost always ended up on the podium or close there to it.

So we think if BORA can figure out who is riding for who, Bennett could prove to be a hot commodity in those bunch sprints.

Number 6 - Caleb Ewan (28) - Lotto Dstny

Man. It was hard to find images of Ewan. Seriously though. Is it because he's so small?

Ah, the small yet powerful Caleb! We wonder if he'll be wearing that distinctive black helmet with white dots. Or is it a white helmet with black dots? We can't remember, regardless though it's distinctive and you'll be able to pull Caleb out from the crowd. We bet that Caleb also hopes he can pull himself out from the crowd, specifically the final sprint crowd.

We were concerned with Caleb's performance earlier in the year but he's been coming into supreme form in the later season and could be peaking at just the right time. Maybe it was getting sick from all his kiddos that through him on training plan at the start.

Caleb still started decently with a 2nd at the Tour Down Under and being in contention for a few stages. He also got the short end of the stick, or short end of the bike if we dare say, at the first stage of the UAE Tour where the photo finish was 100% equal with Tim Merlier. We still stand by they should have done a 1km sprint as the UCI rules state for ties.

With decent performances at Tour de Hongrie, and finally a win at Van Merkstejin Fences Classic, followed by a second at Ronde van Limburg we're excited to see if he can translate his recent form to the Tour. At worst he can lead out Cavendish for fun 🙃

Number 5 - Arnaud Démare (31) - Groupama FDJ

I'm French and I won a French stage. Double Fist.

Groupama is coming to the Tour with an incredibly promising team with the likes of Pinot, Madouas, Gaudu and Küng. We're really only seeing one domestique of Geniets. But what is he going to do, pull the entire stage? We guess if Küng isn't time trialing to save his contract he'll help out. And if Pinot's not too worried about his pregnant cows and sheep, and not wanting to battle Geschke for King of the Mountain he'll throw in a pull or two for Gaudu.

But we're getting sidetracked. A little bit. Because who's going to lead out Démare? Probably Küng. But we'll see. Should prove to be interesting.

Just as interesting as Démare's recent year, with him slowly building and getting up to speed it looks like, just in time for the Tour. Démare had a weak showing at the tour down in UAE at the start of the year, but has since then been in the running in a few sprints at Pays de la Loire Tour, and had a standout performance at Boucles de lay Mayenne, winning a stage, and being in the top six in all other stage, taking the green jersey to boot.

Demare tends to like to go long in sprints, which may be beneficial for the Tour given the number of quality sprinters headed there. It also may be just the opposite however, allowing the other sprinters to draft off his wheel before punching through for the win at the line.

Today, the day of writing, he managed to secure a win at the Brussel's classic with strong competition and defeated number 7 Jordi Meeus on the line. It was the 98th win of his career. Looking solid for the Tour, especially as a Frenchman.

Number 4 - Fabio Jakobsen (26) - Soudal - Quick Step

Competitors eating Jakobsen's fumes.

Jakobsen, the 26 year old Dutchman from Quick Step has had a strong showing at least once in almost all of the races he's entered this season. Jakobsen achieved a win at his second race of the season in San Juan and the followed that up with a second and fourth later in the stage race.

At Volta Algarve he got a fourth, at Tirreno - Adriatico a win on stage two, and at Tour de Hongri took the win, also on the second stage.

Number 3 - Mads Pedersen (27) - Lidl - Trek

Trek ain't Lidl(e) with Pedersen on their roster.

Boy oh boy, has Pedersen been having a season. Not only that, but he's shown he can somewhat climb, surviving until Stage 13 at the Giro this year, the stage they had to modify due to "extreme weather". Really they modified it because the rider's were tired. We're being slightly facetious. There's a lot of gray area that needs to be dealt with respect to the CPA voting process.

And while the Giro didn't have a strong sprint crowd, he did manage to win a stage along with a second, third and two fourth place finishes. Pedersen had a strong showing at each of the spring classics he attended, which cannot be said for everyone else on this list. Pedersen finished 4th at Paris Roubaix, 3rd at RVV, 5th at Dwars door, 5th at Gent Wevelgem, and 6th at Milano San Remo. An impressive palmares already, but to top it off at the Paris Nice stage race took a stage at each spot of the podium respectively (1/2/3).

At his first stage race of the year, Tour du Gard he took a win and second on the first race of his calendar year.

Number 2 - Dylan Groenewegen (29) - Jayco Alula

Groenewegen's name is big and so is his presence on the finish line.

What can we say about Groenewegen other than this Dutchman is fast when he gets going. Groenewegen has won five Tour de France in his career and we're sure he'd like to take even more as a newly minted 30 year old (his birthday's on the equinox).

Groenewegen took the points jersey, a stage, and a few other top slots at the sprinter's Tour de France, aka the Saudi Tour, aka the echelon Tour, Groenewegen's first stage race of the year.

Groenewegen followed that up with a win at that UAE Tour against strong competition, and almost always being in the running for every other potential sprint stage that followed.

At Tirreno Adriatico he narrowly missed taking stage seven, being just behind the next sprinter on this list. Another strong highlight was finishing fourth at Scheldeprijs. Fourth you say? That's out of the top three. Not even a podium. We wouldn't win anything on our each way bets. Fair enough, but it is colloquially known as the sprinter's World Champs, and fourth isn't too shabby.

Groenewegen most recent performances have looked strong as well, with a 1rst on stage one of Tour de Hongrie, and a win at the Veenendaal classic.

Number 1 - Jasper Philipsen - Alpecin (25) - Deceuninck

Hands down (literally) Philipsen has the best winning pose. @ us if you disagree.

The man, the myth, the legend. Not quite. But Philipsen has had an superbly strong season thus far. He may not have completed a whole bunch of races compared to his competitors on this list, but as Matteo Jorgenson said in a recent interview, "being close doesn't matter". And that's true. Especially for our bets. And if you're concerned about your bets then Philipsen is your man.

When it's possible for a sprint, and he's in the running, he has achieved a podium in all but one event, narrowly missing it at Dwars door Vlaanderen and finished fourth.

Otherwise he's had four wins, one being at Scheldeprisj, the World Champs for sprinters. On top of that he's finished 2nd 3 times, with one of those coming at the renowned Paris Roubaix.

And the results have been at high calibre events with high calibre competitors like at Tirreno Adriatico a World Tour stage race.

Oh yah - Mark Cavendish

Yah we'll give a shout out to Cavendish. Mainly to satisfy the English speaking audience who probably only have heard of him and potentially Ewan on this list. Maybe Bennett, but that's more likely to the kerfuffle with Patrick Lefevere in the media the prior years.

At the end of the day though, we hope Cavendish picks up his thirty fifth win and solely takes the record on hit shoulders rather than Mercx. This new era of cycling needs a new champion sprinter in our opinion. Even if he is headed out the door in a few months.

Cavendish has proved remarkably adept at squeaking in to potentially close wins despite the lack of a lead out train. Cees Bol is going, unlike the Giro, and we hope the two of them can finally work their kinks out and that Cav is flying. Or Kwiatkowski can take the reins from G and lead him out on the final day.