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Poll: Greatest Achievment in Racing History?(20 posts)

Poll: Greatest Achievment in Racing History?VertAddict
Nov 3, 2002 10:12 AM
OK, I know it's a grandiose subject - but what do you think? What cycling achievment would you say stands alone as the greatest in the history of the sport?

My pick: Eddy Merckx winning all the jerseys in the 1969 TDF - yellow, green, polkadot and white. In my mind, nothing else compares to such a complete domination of every aspect of the race, and certainly no one else has achieved it before or since, nor is likely to.
Merckx & Moser 1 hour recordspookyload
Nov 3, 2002 10:42 AM
both were amazing accomplishments. Take your pick as to which one you want.
Proof of my pointPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Nov 3, 2002 10:49 AM
This isn't meant to be a flame. But how is an hour record any better (or less) than winning the Tour multiple times? To do both you need to spend a good period of time training to get into race form... from there you lay all your cards out on the table. For the hour record its only an hour... in the Tour its 22 days... on the other side the world champion for the 1 km time trial is decided in just over a minute. But each of these champions has spend hundreds of hours training to reach this point. How can you undermine that?

My 2 cents (again).

If it is so go do itspookyload
Nov 3, 2002 5:20 PM
It is a remarkable feat in that niether of them took a year off from racing to do it. They both raced the full season. I doubt you could pull LA out mid season and have him break the record. In fact I doubt LA will ever try to beat it. It doesn't fit in with his "one race I choose to dominate makes me the best" theory. I would love to see him race a full season to win something more than the tour or the races that take place on the same courses. Plus he cant have his super aero bike and helmet with chris carmichael chatting in his ear about direct power ouput, heart rate and course profile the whole time. The two I named had nobody to listen to except their inner demons and pain threshold alarms going off.
Is there really one great achievement?PODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Nov 3, 2002 10:43 AM
Eddy Merckx was a great rider of his era. I know nothing about the 1969 tour so please fill me in. But out of curiousity I have to challenge the depth of the field. Nowadays there are specialists. Were there in Merckx time? How many stages did Merckx win?

In terms of a cycling achievement that stands out I can't even think of one. Each discipline of cycling is unique. Lance winning 4-tours is an amazing accomplishment... but how does that differ from a road sprinter like Cippolini and his domination of the sprint stages or a track riders ability to hit and maintain such high speeds? Each discipline of cycling breeds its champions just like each sport does and its impossible to compare one to another. All that can be said is they rose to the challenge of becoming the best and they did so very well... I'm not about to undermine that by saying one is better than the other.

My 2 cents.

Point taken...but...VertAddict
Nov 3, 2002 4:21 PM
I agree that it is difficult to compare across disciplines in cycling, as well as across time to different eras in the sport - so much of it depends on your point of view. You can even see that in comparisons across sport. I once heard a 100m sprinter adamantly maintain that her sport was the most difficult, since the level of competition was so high. Her point was that virtually everyone at some point or another (usually in school) has been required to run the 100 meters. What other sport can say that every member of society has tried it? Therefore the level of competition must be highest, or so the logic went.

From my point of view, it is one thing to be strong in a particular athletic endeavor and another to be required to be strong and endure for an extended period of time. However, it is something else altogether to be required to be strong and endure for numerous days in succession. You can therefore understand that in my mind the Tour de France is the ultimate athletic endeavor.

Opinions on this sort of thing are by definition subjective, so certainly people won't all agree. My purpose in making the post was only to get some discussion going on the topic. Personally, I enjoy hearing different points of view (such as yours!) on subjects like this.

Regarding your questions on Eddy Merckx:

Merckx won 6 individual stages in the 1969 Tour, high by anyone's standard except perhaps his own (he won 8 in other years). Furthermore, his margin of victory that year was a whopping 17 minutes, the highest since 1952. His victory also included an 87 mile solo breakaway through the Pyrenees while already in the yellow jersey in which he won the stage by 8 minutes. That's not just winning, that's embarrassing the peloton. It's downright vicious!

As far as general competition goes, both cycling as a sport and the TDF were quite mature by 1969, so I think it is a stretch to maintain that the level of competition today is appreciably higher than it was in those days. And there were other former tour winners in the field that year, Roger Pingeon and Felice Gimondi, and the unlucky Raymond Poulidor.

Regarding specialists, you make a good point, but then no one had won all the jerseys before Eddy either. And there were sprinters in Eddy's day just as there are now, although their training may not have been as focused as it is today.

I hope that all makes sense!
Ah, the great thing about this kind of post is ...Humma Hah
Nov 3, 2002 4:43 PM
... when there are many great things that have happened in about 120 years of cycling as a competitive sport, and the sport has so many facets, it is easy to lose track of them all. So raising the question "what is the greatest" gives us an opportunity to hear about many great achievements.
difference nowtrekkie1
Nov 4, 2002 7:18 AM
I think one difference between the the Tour now and 1969 is money. There is so much money riding on the Tour victory, that the potential winner plays it too safe. Lance might well attempt an 80 mile break, but that's not playing it safe. The cautious thing to do is build up a 5 minute lead, a minute or so at a time, and then just hold on to it, taking no chances. It's sort of a pussy way to go, at least compared to Merckx' days, but I think it's money driven.
Lance win in '99 after nearly dying of cancer nmtrekkie1
Nov 3, 2002 10:49 AM
second that nmFrith
Nov 3, 2002 4:11 PM
Easy - Lemond's TT comback over Fignonscorpionking
Nov 3, 2002 11:56 AM
When else in the TDF, the greatest race of all has a guy overcome such a large deficit over such a short TT. Lemond by the way also came back from a near life ending injury and had it not been for that near fatal gunshot which occured after he had already won the tour, he'd be a 5 time winner himself.
Also...battle with Hinault to win TDF [nm]jagiger
Nov 3, 2002 3:36 PM
Easy- the time i got 2nd in the local road racebenito
Nov 3, 2002 2:09 PM
suck on that one fignon!
Major Taylor, the Michael Jackson of cycling?Humma Hah
Nov 3, 2002 4:02 PM
We're going way back to the stone age here, but the whole career of track racer Major Taylor is pretty remarkable. In the early 1900's this black man became a superstar in a white man's sport. This pre-dated all the better-known cases where blacks broke into boxing, baseball, and football.
er ... Michael Jordan ...Humma Hah
Nov 3, 2002 4:39 PM
... let this be a warning to all of you -- don't post while working late on a Sunday evening.
LOL - to err is human (nm)Scot_Gore
Nov 3, 2002 5:47 PM
Major Taylor, wasn't he also....4bykn
Nov 4, 2002 8:03 AM
the highest paid athlete of his time, not just the highest paid cyclist, but out-earning baseball players, football players, etc.

My, how the times have changed.
re: Poll: Greatest Achievment in Racing History?sy art
Nov 4, 2002 5:41 AM
how can we forget, the greatest of all time? Miguel Indurain
Gotta agree with you - Merckx winning all the jerserys nmOffTheBack
Nov 4, 2002 6:06 AM
Virenque never testing positive nmmohair_chair
Nov 4, 2002 7:33 AM