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I really thought Boonen would take yesterday's stage but Cavendish really laid it to him.

I've been following pro cycling for about four years now. In that time I haven't seen anyone as explosive in the sprints and win as much as Cavendish and he's only 23 years old. He's presumably going to win a lot more as he gets older and stronger into his mid and late 20's.

Now I understand he may never become a great Classics rider and his dominance will likely remain in sprinting in multistage races. My question is, which sprinters in the recent past dominated like he does? Were Pettachi and McEwen as dominant in their hay day? Maybe even more so? I suppose Cippo dominated in the same manner but I never saw him ride. Were the sprinter fields deeper in the past or are we seeing something really special in Cavendish?
 

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I vaguely recall Zabel winning every other stage at his peak. Pettachi had a short period where he was unbeatable, but I think it was short lived. Cippo for sure.
 

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In my opinion the sprinter fields were deeper in the fairly recent past with Cippo head and shoulders above the rest when he was at his best. Zabel was very consistent in his prime, McEwan too. Cav's success is down to a combination of him being near his best at the moment (possibly even at his best - who's to say he'll get quicker?) and not a lot of other top-class competition. Clearly Boonen, Friere, McEwan and others are fast, but they past their best.
 

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And they have different strengths / styles. Cipo needed a train but was soooo powerful at the top end. Zabel maybe wasn't as fast on the jump but didn't need a train and could always get to the right place. Same w McEwen, he never had a train and in his prime his acceleration was just amazing, like Cav is now.

But there's always one or 2 "fastest guys". Freddy Maertens, Urs Freuler come to mind from the old days.
 

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Two others to consider: I seem to remember Adriano Baffi being very fast in the late 80s/early 90s. So too was Jean Paul van Poppel (4 stage in the 1988 Tour). The only sprinter I can think of who could rival Cippo for sheer speed was Petacchi.
 

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peter.hardie said:
which sprinters in the recent past dominated like he does?
Each era has had their dominating sprinters. Kelly was unbeatable in the 70's & 80's. Then there was Abdujaparov, Maertens, Cipo, McEwen, Pettachi, Boonen and now it's Cav's turn for a few short years.
 

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gizzard said:
In my opinion the sprinter fields were deeper in the fairly recent past with Cippo head and shoulders above the rest when he was at his best. Zabel was very consistent in his prime, McEwan too. Cav's success is down to a combination of him being near his best at the moment (possibly even at his best - who's to say he'll get quicker?) and not a lot of other top-class competition. Clearly Boonen, Friere, McEwan and others are fast, but they past their best.

Boonen past his best/prime? lol

Cavendish has a lot to prove to hit Cippo's level. Cav will slow down a lot after getting a few grand tours in his legs. Just the way it is.
 
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