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Who is the greatest cyclist ever Poll......(24 posts)

Who is the greatest cyclist ever Poll......NoName
Jul 30, 2001 5:03 AM
I cannot believe some consider LA to be greater than Indurain, I mean hello people wake up!!!! Has Lance ever won the Giro and Tour same year??? Has he even been in the Giro???? Get Real!!!!
Merckx... without a doubtnm
Jul 30, 2001 5:06 AM
nm
For his time,Lone Gunman
Jul 30, 2001 5:23 AM
For his time, Merckx. For the LA fans, he still has a few years left in his dominant pro career and could develop into an ultra pro like Indurain, no chance of racking up that many wins as a pro.
re: The site's poll on this question is more useful than yoursCliff Oates
Jul 30, 2001 5:18 AM
http://www.roadbikereview.com/polls/polls.asp?id=432&view=results
Merckx, Coppi, Hinault, Anqutiel, Indurainmmaggi
Jul 30, 2001 6:32 AM
LA still has a LONG way to go.

I believe Merckx won the GIRO and the TdF in the same year 3 times. Hinault did it at least once and Indurain did 2 years in a row.

Plus, Merckx, Coppi, Hinault and Anqutiel won MANY spring classics, something LA has yet to do.

The bicyling season doesn't begin in mid June and finish in late July. LA still has to prove himself when the talk of greatest cyclist of all time comes up.

Right now, I wouldn't even put him in the top 10 of all time. He hasn't won enough.

If you're not convinced, look for Merckx, Coppi, Hinault, Anqutiel, Indurain records and see how many races they've won. Compare ANY ONE of those records to LA. It's not even close.
You could make the claim9WorCP
Jul 30, 2001 6:48 AM
that Lance is the greatest of his generation and maybe get away with it. He is clearly the most dominant stage racer alive. No one else is close. To compare Lance to Merckx is irrelevant since both the level and style of competition has advanced so much. I don't think Eddy could dominate today the way he did in the past since modern training focusses so much on peak performance for key events.

I think Lance could have gave Indurain a run for his money and possibly beat him, but you are correct, Indurain for the time being has to be placed in another class due to those incredible accomplishments.
You could make the claimJon Billheimer
Jul 30, 2001 7:55 AM
9Wor makes a really valid point. However, the last word belongs to Lance himself. He says to wait for 10 or 15 years after he's retired to evaluate his accomplishments. Where Lance is so unique is his miraculous cancer recovery, THEN to come back to the top of his sport. That is an accomplishment that fortunately no other athlete has been challenged with. The other thing is that he and LeMond are the only North Americans to excel to this degree in a sport dominated by Europeans.
Yep. And let's face it.9WorCP
Jul 30, 2001 8:28 AM
He is just getting stronger. It's up to Lance as to how far he wants to go. The book is far from being closed. As far as respect, Merckx said the other day that Lance could win 7 or 8 tours if he wanted. That is one nice compliment.
Yep. And let's face it.bartali
Jul 30, 2001 9:03 AM
But that doesn't mean anything.

If Eddy Merckx decided to race the Tour de France ONLY just like LA does, Merckx probably would have won 10 Tours.

Come on. Eddy Merckx (and others like Coppi, Hinault, Anquetil, Bartali, Bobet) raced from March thru October. Lance Armstrong does a tune up in June, races the Tour in July and then goes home to his wife and family.
Merckx is one of the top 5 greatest athletes of the century.9WorCP
Jul 30, 2001 6:17 PM
Bar none. He won something like a third of all professional races he entered. The one thing we have to realize is no one ever seriously considers attempting to win more 2 or 3 major races in a year. No one will ever equal Merckx, et. al. largely because today's pros just don't race that way. There has to be a reason why we don't have these tough guys anymore. I guess the crux here is whether they will not (because their wimpier?)or whether they cannot (because the competition is too fierce?). I think you are right though, if Merckx had conserved his energy better towards the end of his career he probably could have taken a few more Tours.

TJean points out that Chris Boardman could only barely surpass Merckx on a bike of similar technology. So maybe today's competitors aren't all that much better than the old guys. I think Lance is a better rider than Boardman (I could be wrong)so it will be interesting to see what happens if he attempts the hour record later this year.

After watching Lance destroy the field this year, what do you suppose would happen if he were put up against say '69 Eddy? Eddy kills? or does Lance have a chance? I gotta say I think Lance is in the hunt.
Merckx is one of the top 5 greatest athletes of the century.bartali
Jul 31, 2001 4:41 AM
9WorCP - Well, I haven't read a whole lot on Merckx. What I mean is, I know his extensive list of accomplishments but I don't know his style. We know that with Lance Armstrong, he picks his moments to attack (like he did on Alpe d'Huez). He knows his strengths and intelligently uses them.

What I can say about Merckx was that he was a TREMENDOUS competitor and raced to win almost all the time. He almost never won by great lengths (much like Armstrong) but he dominated year in and year out the ENTIRE cycling season (much UNLIKE Armstrong) not only on the road but on the track as well. Merckx was just a much more complete cyclist.

The only one who was probably more complete than Merckx was Coppi. And Coppi would DESTROY his opponents by winning races like the Milano-San Remo by FOURTEEN minutes. If that doesn't impress you then think about a 254 km Tour stage over 5 major mountain passes (including Vars, Izoard, Madalene) where Coppi took off 90 km into the stage riding ALONE for the rest of the 160+ km and finishing SEVEN minutes ahead of the next cyclist to cross the finish line.

I'm sorry but I don't think Armstrong "destroyed" his opponents. He dominated the Tour and won it by 7 minutes. Destroying your opponents is winning the Tour by more than that. If you think that winning the Tour by more than 7 minutes is "destroying", what adjective would you use to describe Coppi's 1952 Tour victory when he won by almost 25 minutes?

I don't like making these comparisons but of course I would tend to say that Merckx would beat Armstrong. Coppi would beat Armstrong as well. But we will never know and I can't really defend that opinion.
I'll come clean and admit it.9WorCP
Jul 31, 2001 9:04 AM
I am a Lance fan and I honestly want to believe that he is at least physically equivalent if not by virtue of the number of his accomplishments in the sport. So I'm biased and trying to squeeze my guy in there somewhere in the pantheon. You understand.

But I take your point that racing all out for an entire season and winning consistently is something Armstrong will never do and maybe could not do. I do wonder, though, if we will ever see the type racing you speak about (like in the eras of Bartoli, Coppi, etc., on through to Hinault) ever again. No one seems willing to make the attempt anymore. Actually I don't feel anyone thinks it possible anymore.

While I know who Coppi was I have to admit I didn't know the details of the races he rode. That is pretty awesome stuff you point out. (and yeah Lance does seem to pale in comparison) As a matter of fact, if you know any books on Tour history or biographies I'd appreciate it if you or someone could share some titles w/ me. I've read books on Merckx and Lemond, and loads of articles in Cycle Sport but would love to go a little deeper into the past.

Thanks for the perspective, I learned some things.
I'll come clean and admit it.bartali
Jul 31, 2001 10:29 AM
9WorCP - You're welcome. I have to admit, I think Armstrong is good enough to at least try racing a little more. All he has to do is do Giro & Tour in the same season, set the hour record (which he plans on trying) and do a spring classic like Milano-San Remo or Paris-Roubaix and he can be considered one of the all time greats.

As far as Coppi goes, I have books on him and Gino Bartali in Italian.

But try this excellent site for information on his career and tragic death: http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Pressbox/2176/
Thx. I'll definitely check it out. (nm).9WorCP
Jul 31, 2001 10:56 AM
nm
I disagreeAlexR
Jul 30, 2001 8:20 AM
Do you consider Miguel to be of the same generation?

Alex
Well, they were racing contemporaries9WorCP
Jul 30, 2001 8:35 AM
for awhile but when did Indurain retire? 6 Years ago? Lance has just hit his prime and has at least a few more years left. But don't get me wrong, I have immense respect for Indurain and based purely on accomplishment in the sport of cycling he definitely overshadows Lance and just about everyone else.
different erasmmaggi
Jul 30, 2001 8:42 AM
When comparing different eras, it's hard to say what yesterday's rider would do today.

The Tours and Giros back in the 40s, 50s, 60s were much longer and were accomplished on heavier bikes (20+ lbs). Of course, the average speeds were slower.

The great Italian frame builder Alberto Masi told my brother back in 1999 that with today's technology, if Eddy Merckx were cycling today he would've won 10 TdFs and average 60km/hour.

I think Alberto was exagerating, but you really need to hear what people have to say who've been in the sport for quite some time and have seen many cyclists come and go.

I've read the Italian papers regarding this matter and although no one wants to take anything away from LA's accomplsihemnts, the current director sportivs of their respective teams and former champions all have the same common denominator: LA only competes in the TdF. He hasn't won a Giro, Vuelta or any of the Spring Classics or Fall one day races other than the World Championship in 1994(?).

Therefore WITH HIS CURRENT RECORD, he doesn't compare to the greats of the past. We'll see what LA has in store for us in the next 3-4 years. He needs to win some races.
Merckx "Level"TJeanloz
Jul 30, 2001 8:47 AM
The "level" of competition and training hasn't changed by as much as people think it has. When the UCI changed the hour record rules so that high-tech bikes were not allowed, they effectively sent things back, technologically, to the Merckx standard. And Chris Boardman, who held the 'old' hour record, was able to beat Merckx' record- but not by a whole lot. It was really telling to see that all of this modern training knowledge hasn't gotten us that far.
re: Who is the greatest cyclist ever Poll......bartali
Jul 30, 2001 9:20 AM
One more point...

If cycling fans want to compare Lance Armstrong to other greats who have won the Tour de France then I think that he is only comparable to Miguel Indurain and he still comes up short.

Indurain is a product of today's cycling even though he has been out of the sport for 5 years.

Indurain like most cyclists today do not race as much as those in the past. Indurain at least did Giro & Tour and won both in 1992 & 1993. He also set the hour record but his record in 1 day races was not that good.

Of course Armstrong must win more Tours and win at least a Giro. Setting the hour record is also a major accomplishment.

But until he does that, I wouldn't even compare him to Indurain. Let alone the other greats because being a great cyclist is more than winning the Tour de France multiple times.
And another thing...Lone Gunman
Jul 30, 2001 11:25 AM
Lance has yet to take a gold medal in the Olympics, which I think is something that he will make a priority in the future. The world will be watching, not just Europe and the US cycling community.
re: Who is the greatest cyclist ever Poll......well Kelly says..Tom C
Jul 30, 2001 1:14 PM
On Sean Kelly's website, click career and then 4th most successful, he makes a compelling argument on the basis of, get this, career wins! Thusly: classics plus stages races
1 merckx 50 wins
2 hinault 29
3 anquetil 29
4 kelly 22
5 coppi 20
6 rik van looy 18
The stage races altough they are worth more world cup and or Pernod prestige points are not the sole criteria for judgement hence Indurain, for example, doesn't make it. I happen to agree with his assessment.
Criteria?Lazy
Jul 30, 2001 1:30 PM
Do you get credit for individual stages in a Grand Tour, or is it only one win? I think we might be on to something here. I think we should assign some sort of point system (I have no idea what "Pernod prestige points" are, but sounds like it might be similar). Something like 100 points for winning TdF, 90 for the Giro, 80 for Vuelta. 20 points for an individual stage win. Classics and other races could range from 5-50 points depending on prestige and competition.

Then, while we're making up the "Roadbike Review Greatness Scale" we can spend a while arguing about the point distribution. Sounds like fun to me! Bring it on!
Criteria?Tom C
Jul 30, 2001 1:57 PM
Pernod, the liquor maker, used to sponsor a competition for the best rider. This ran, I believe from 1961 to 1987 with Stephen Roche, the last Pernod Super Prestige Winner with that fabulous year he had in winning the Giro, Tour and World Championship in 1987. Merckx won from 69-75 for a consecutive total of 7 Pernods. Hinault won 5 in a row 78-82. Other notables were Anquetil 4 and I think Kelly himself won 4. After 87, Pernod withdrew sponsorship but the designation for Rider ranking became the World Cup competition. Jalabert, Museeuw are all former World Number 1 ranked riders. Interestingly, your guesses for points in ranking races isn't too far off base except points were not awarded for individual stages in multi day races. I must qualify my remarks though that my point recollection is from the Pernod days although I would be surprised if the races were ranked very differently but I think Winning the Tour was worth 130 points, with second place at 110 etc. The Giro was worth 100 to win. Paris-Roubaix was worth 65! points and beyond that I would have to leaf through my Winning Bicycle Racing Magazine collection.I do miss that magazine. If it still existed, guys like yourself wouldn't have to ask about Pernod and World Cup. You can see that although more visible than Liege-Bastogne-Liege or the Tour of the Lombardy, the Tour was not a necessary Race to win to be World Number 1 and somehow with a pro competing in as many as 140 races a year, I don't think it should be.
re: Who is the greatest cyclist ever Poll......that's easy!perry braun
Jul 30, 2001 1:39 PM
Lance has dominated...one race for three years. Eddy dominated the sport for almost a decade. He was a threat in virtually every race and rode to win them all. Lance should be quite flattered at the comparison. Lance is a great rider, but he has a LONG way to go to deserve the comparison.