's Forum Archives - General

Archive Home >> General(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 )

Armstrong - where to rank him?(23 posts)

Armstrong - where to rank him?Me Dot Org
Jun 13, 2002 8:38 AM
I started thinking when I read the post below related to whether Lance is riding a 5900 while climbing. Again, there is a lot of talk about peaking for the Tour.

First, let me give Lance his props: He is a great rider, and I would rank him as the best of the post-Indurain era. Add to this his incredible battle with cancer and you have the makings of an athletic legend. But even if he wins he 4th Tour this year, I keep thinking about Merckx. He won TDFs within the context of an entire season, with the Giro, Milan San Remo, Liege-Baston-Liege, etc., etc., even setting an hour record.

I realize the sport has changed since Eddy, and training has become more specialized. It's one of those questions to which there can never be a completly satisfactory answer, like Ali vs. Joe Lewis. But for my money, given the fact that he won his Tours within the context of a total season of racing, the nod has to go to Eddy.
Okay, I'll biteMcAndrus
Jun 13, 2002 8:52 AM
Here's what I think. No one ranks with Merckx and most likely no one ever will so the comparison with Armstrong is moot.

Lance compares favorably with Indurain, is an inferior talent but has superior training habits than LeMond and would beat LeMond often, would himself be beaten consistently by Hinault, and finally Lance would consistently win over my other favorite rider from the recent past, Fignon who was a tremendous talent.
Sort of reminds me of a recent debate of Jordan v. Kobe.elviento
Jun 13, 2002 9:03 AM
Poeple tend to trust their own judgment, and hence are likely to favor the current star over a past star. But Armstrong is nowhere near Merckx.

To Armstrong, a season is essentially 3 mountain stages and 2 time trials, while Merckx wins races year round, peaking or not.

Believe me, if Lance has the ability to win most of the races he enters, he would definitely ride more races each year.
Coppi kicks both their sorry behinds! -nmSnowBlind
Jun 13, 2002 9:00 AM
re: Armstrong - where to rank him?Alpedhuez55
Jun 13, 2002 9:00 AM
Behind Coppi and Merckx for sure. Both of them will always have a mysique about them. They both raced a full season from the spring clasics to the grand tours to the Tour of Lombardy. Coppi had is career interupted by WW2. Who knows how many more Giros & tours he could have won. I have also gained more respect for Hinault in recent years. There were a few great cyclists when he won his 5 tours. He had a lot of wins other than the TDF.

If Lance is able to win 6 tours I still think he would have to be ranked behind those three. I think if he were to extend his season and win a Giro or Vuelta in the same year as the tour, we can look at him differently.
Merckx, then.................JS
Jun 13, 2002 9:06 AM
2. Hinault
3. Coppi
4. everybody else is a bit down from these three and Hinault is quite a bit down from Merckx.
Pretty much agree. And in #4, I wouldscottfree
Jun 13, 2002 9:14 AM
lump Lance, Lemond and Big Mig as pretty comparable. It would be an interesting Tour to have those three at their peaks racing each other.
Lance is # 43bikedodger
Jun 13, 2002 9:10 AM
The site has an analysis of the best road riders of all time, and Lance ranks 43rd. Eddy is first by a large amount.

To read the analysis and ranking criteria go to the site and click on the "Analysis" bar on the left, then scroll down to the "The best road riders in history - 2001" and click on it. A lot of work went into this analysis and the results are interestin. Lance is only ranked as the third best current rider.

Ya'll are all wrong!Pygme
Jun 13, 2002 9:12 AM
Lucky for Armstrong, Merckx, Coppi, LeMond and the rest of them...Kurt Rambus decided to join the NBA instead!
Kurt would be like ZulleMcAndrus
Jun 13, 2002 10:07 AM
The rain would get on his glasses and he'd crash on the downhills.
Jun 13, 2002 9:42 AM
And I thought I was a bike geek, this guy must have lots of time on his hands. The only problem is a little thing called WWII interfered with Coppi and Bartali but I don't know how you could adjust for that though.
Wow. this is great.Sintesi
Jun 13, 2002 12:34 PM
Just think if he wins the Dauphine Libere he can pass the great François Faber. ; p
Best Tour de France rider of last five years.SingleThreaded
Jun 13, 2002 9:47 AM
I consider the whole ranking thing to be quite ambiguous. While Merxkx undoubtably showed an ability to destroy the field for a long period of time. The object of a race, for most, is to be the one who finishes first. To successfully measure one 's opponent and efficiently and consistently beat them appears to be Lance's calling card. If LeMond and Merckx were still racing today, I'd have no doubt that Lance would modify (perhaps, raise) his level to theirs and perform well. But we will never know.

We do know that each racer evaluated their competition and performed better. Unless we change and become more like figure skating and start awarding technical and artistic merit points for the degree of victory, I can't see ranking Lance any higher or lower than LeMond or Merckx. Today, winning efficiently in order to balance one's life, ability to generate income to secure a desired lifestyle may be more defineable than it was during any earlier period. I would give Lance a very high ranking for accomplishing these tasks (from what the media provides).

My ranking would place Lance, Lemond and Merckx in the top ten Tour de France riders of all time.
What if...mr_spin
Jun 13, 2002 10:02 AM
If the World Championships were still held in August, three weeks after the Tour, would Armstrong have another road title and a TT title? I think so. I also think Ullrich would have at least two road titles to go with his TT titles. That Armstrong will never be "great enough" is partly the result of a UCI racing calendar change made about 1995.

When the Worlds were in August, top riders used to carry over their top form from the Tour and hit the WCs flying. Not anymore. Most of the grand tour riders can't peak again in October, so you get second-tier riders wearing the rainbow stripes. In fact, When was the last time a grand tour rider won?

I like to look at the Zurich World Cup and imagine it is the World Championships. It's held about the same time as the Worlds used to be, and it usually ends up with breaks that contain guys like Armstrong, Ullrich, and Casagrande. Grand tour riders seriously contesting a one-day race.
my scaleDougSloan
Jun 13, 2002 10:07 AM
100 -- Merckx

90 -- Armstrong, Hinault, Indurain, Lemond, Coppi

75 -- Average elite pros

50 -- USCF Cat 1's

10 -- most of us

1 -- someone who can only ride around the block once
my scaleJSchneb
Jun 13, 2002 10:29 AM

I like your scale; I would say that I have to agree. It's hard to compare cycling now to cycling 25-50 years ago. It's a completely different animal. Back then, cyclists used to start their season w/relatively few miles under their belts and "race" their way into shape. With the current demands of the sport, it is nearly impossible to do that. Wining on pure "talent" is a thing of the past. LA, while a talented rider, is posses no where near the "pure talent" of someone like LeMond or Ullrich. Both of them placed on the podium in their 1st TdF. I don't even think that Lance finished his first one. I think that the current trend was started by Indurain (basing your season around 1 event), although he did win the Giro and The TdF and placed 2nd @ the World Championchips in 1993.
my scalenetso
Jun 13, 2002 10:51 AM
Damn! I'm a 2.
I've often wondered...funknuggets
Jun 13, 2002 10:43 AM
In their prime, who would have won the fistfight: Emmanuel Lewis or Gary Coleman.
Like the Partridge Family vs. The Brady BunchMe Dot Org
Jun 13, 2002 11:52 AM
...just one of those fantasy matches we can only dream about.
Partridge Family vs. The Brady Bunch - no need to dreamPdxMark
Jun 13, 2002 12:11 PM
We already had this match...

On the same card that brought us Tonya Harding, Queen of the Ice Scandals, vs Paula Jones, Danny of the Partridge family fought one of the Brady boys (Greg). Not sure how that one ended... Tonya walloped Paula, which wasn't unexpected since Tonya was an Olympic athlete (and Paula had a new nose to protect)
Laurie Partridge vs Marsha BradyMcAndrus
Jun 13, 2002 12:34 PM
That's the fight they should have staged. No, wait ... that's another fantasy ... sorry.
you eluded to specialization...biknben
Jun 13, 2002 11:31 AM
I think that specialization has changed everything

Admittedly, Eddy was way before my time. From what I read, he had this magical ability to punish everyone all the time. Almost as if he was in top form all the time.

Racing has become so competative now that it's impossible to be in prime condition for every race. Now racers, like lance, are picking races that favor them and training specifically for them. If Paris-Roubaix doesn't suit him...skip it. The Tour is the most popular...Bingo that's the one.

I suspect that the idea of peaking for an event was a foreign idea years ago. They just tried to ride their best for the entire season. In years past they said they were "feeling good" or "Feeling bad". Now we call it "peaking" and "recovering". If you tried to ride your best all season now, you'd continuously come up short to those who were peaking for events.

I find the specialization to have taken away from the racing. Now the best riders strategically peak for different events as if they are avoiding each other. It's impossible to compare current riders to past greats. Unfortunately, it's just as difficult to compare current racers against themselves. I hope that one day we will ironically see all the big guns roll to the start line ready to duke it out.
really impossible to sayesbike
Jun 13, 2002 10:02 PM
Does anyone really think such comparsions have any validity whatsoever? If you are judging riders by how many races they won, that is very dependent on the level of competition they faced. Maybe Merckx's legend is enhanced by poor competition in the years he raced. Today, Lance faces competitors from many more nations that did Merckx. Just look at golf. It is so much more international now that it ever was when Palmer and Nickalus played. The competition now for all international sports is much more intense. There is still only one winner of the TdF, but there are many many more people who could potentially compete for it, both because the population has increased in nations that were already developing cyclists and, because of increasingly wealth globally, many more nations now have the resources and leisure time to develop athletes. Bottom line: the only way to compare atheletes across generations is by some physiologic measures, e.g VO2max.