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Who is your favourite pro rider, and why?(41 posts)

Who is your favourite pro rider, and why?GileyD
Dec 12, 2002 5:06 AM
Who is your favourite pro rider 1) currently riding 2) of all time, and why?

Here's mine.

1) Santiago Botero, ex Kelme, soon to be Telekom. Mr Inconsistency – one day he gets shelled out the back and crawls in just in front of the broom wagon, next day he wins a mountain top finish by a good margin. I can relate to that, not that I race, even if my good days are maybe 10% of his bad days! In a recent interview in ProCycling he talked about wanting to win by being the strongest rather than by being tactically astute, which he admits he isn't. A rather naïve attitude possibly, but I like to watch someone ride on willpower and passion rather than slavishly following a pre-ordained team plan at all times, which seems all too common these days. Inconsistent –yes, predictable – no, which makes for more exciting racing IMHO. I reckon with the greater discipline at Telekom we will be seeing great things from Botero in the next couple of years.

2) Got to be the great Eddy Merxx. Nowadays he is chubby Uncle Ted, purveyor of fine bicycles to the discerning, but in his young, lean, hungry days he was awesome. When you look at pictures of him off on yet another (probably successful) solo break from 100km+ out you can just sense the hunger to win. And winning all three jerseys in the Tour (think I'm correct?) – amazing! The guy just exudes star quality.
Heras now, Zootelmelk then.MB1
Dec 12, 2002 5:26 AM
Heras climbs like I do while I am dreaming.

Zootelmelk the eternal second finally won one and he had such a long and successful life as a cyclist.
Erik Dekker, Tyler Hamiltongregario
Dec 12, 2002 6:08 AM
Dekker is a damn hard worker and Hamilton is one tough SOB, even if he doesn't look it.
Tyler Hamiltonlook271
Dec 12, 2002 6:10 PM
Ya gotta admire a guy who finishes a grand tour with a broken shoulder;on the podium.
Upon further reflection...gregario
Dec 13, 2002 7:10 AM
I gotta admire Laurent Fignon as well. I liked his style of racing. When he was battling Lemond in '89 in that see-saw Tour he took every opportunity to attack when in Yellow. I think todays tactics aren't as exciting.
Dec 12, 2002 6:14 AM
In his prime he could out climb anyone and I love to climb.
Bettini now, Merckx thenboneman
Dec 12, 2002 6:19 AM
Paolo Bettini, el grillo. First, because we're the same size. Two, because since not having to care for Bartoli, he's shown real class. Three, I met him at the Lisbon airport prior to last year's Worlds and he's a nice guy.

Danilo diLuca- second choice. Again, classy rider.
Arnaud Tournant- Track. French strongman. 2001 season was dominant.

Merckx- Not much to say that's not been said although aside from tapes and TV, I only saw him ride once at the 1974 World's.

Roger de Vlaeminck second choice. Mr. Paris-Roubaix, the reason I bought a Gios Torino in 1975.
Museeuw, Merckx nmcyclequip
Dec 12, 2002 6:24 AM
Zabel, Lemondms
Dec 12, 2002 6:25 AM
1. Eric Zabel. He has a focus and dedication that I admire. If I had to pick someone in the pro ranks that I would want as a colleague, it would be Eric Zabel.

2. Greg Lemond. If it had not been for Greg Lemond, I probably never would have know that there were bike races. Although I did not take up riding for many years after his TdeF victories, he is the pro that casued me to want to ride.
Zabel shoving cameraCaptain Morgan
Dec 12, 2002 8:28 AM
On OLN's Vuelta coverage, right after one particular stage they showed Zabel walking through the row of reporters. As he walked by one guy snapping photos, he shoved the camera into the guy's face so that he couldn't take the photo. Is this normal behavior for him? I don't follow pro cycling (other than watching the Tour and Vuelta), but since seeing this, I do not have any respect for the man. I couldn't imagine Lance ever doing this.
Dec 12, 2002 8:49 AM
Zabel doesn't usually do stuff like that. that incident was wierd.
if you read Lance's book, by the way, he was quite an ass in his younger days. I don't think he ever pushed anyone, but he wasn't particularly liked in the peloton when he started out.
i think that was the tdfFrith
Dec 12, 2002 8:56 AM
It was after winning a stage (i think the only stage he won). He walked through the crowd of reporters and cameramen shoving them out of his way. Apperantly he is quite the gentleman and that was completely out of character. Telekom attributed it to him being really hyped about the win. I thought it was a really weird way to react to a win. I like Zab though, so I won't judge unless he does it again.
i think that was the tdfFrith
Dec 12, 2002 9:00 AM
It was after winning a stage (i think the only stage he won). He walked through the crowd of reporters and cameramen shoving them out of his way. Apperantly he is quite the gentleman and that was completely out of character. Telekom attributed it to him being really hyped about the win. I thought it was a really weird way to react to a win. I like Zab though, so I won't judge unless he does it again.
It was strangems
Dec 12, 2002 9:05 AM
Especially when Zabel acted very graciously in Paris after he lost the Green Jersey.
Santiago Boterofrankamo
Dec 12, 2002 6:27 AM
If he ever puts in three weeks without a bad day during a grand tour, he can compete with anyone - LA included.

I admire how he doesn't drop out after his bad day costs him so much time that he's out of contention for the GC. A lot of other guys would abandon, but Botero will stick around and pick up a stage win or two afterwards.

Also, I can relate to bigger, stronger riders who get by as best they can on pure power, rather than 120 lb whippets.
I like him, too.look271
Dec 12, 2002 5:59 PM
The guy can be a monster in a TT doesn't climb bad, either, when he has everything "ticking". It will be interesting to see what he does on Team Telekom.......
VDB, still..Qubeley
Dec 12, 2002 6:51 AM
I know he dopes, and I don't cares, I just want to see good action, and VDB delivers just that. When the man is on his bike, he has such a beautiful style. Among all my WCP videos, 99 flanders/het volk/LBL are my favorites: the way he chase back to Van Petergen and Museuuw in the flanders; the way he broke away with a mapei man marking him yet still win the race; the way he beat Bartoli denying his 3rd LBL title.. He just made the races so much more exciting. He is smart(in race anyway) and strong, and he is still young. I can't wait to see him back in action.
Lance Armstrong, Steve BauerFrith
Dec 12, 2002 6:55 AM
just realized...Frith
Dec 12, 2002 8:59 AM
that my pick for present favourite at one time rode on the same team as my past favourite. Not a huge generation gap. Still I stand by my choices.
Good Question-------->JaJa and L.A.funknuggets
Dec 12, 2002 7:10 AM
JaJa had the heart of a Lion and I love his tenacity for long solo breaks. Had a nice career and was an all around good guy. Im saddened to see him leave, but I guess he left for the right reasons. I wouldn't mind seeing him come back, but I doubt it.

LA, I know it sounds cliche, however I love the attitude of this guy. He is good and typically backs it up, unlike some other asses at the front of the peleton. He is a monster on the climbs and loves to crack his competition and has run down guys on big climbs with seemingly unsurmountable leads. Another tenacious guy!
Daniello De Luca...Cima Coppi
Dec 12, 2002 7:26 AM
He's one of the most consistant young riders in the pro peloton. He's a Bettini who will be competitive in the Grand Tours when he's older.

Also, I still am and will always be a Jan Ullrich supporter. I think he has greatness left in his cycling career. It's always fun to watch him and LA battle head to head in the TdF.

Jacky Durand - Mr. breakaway. The guy rides with a real passion and is not afraid to put it all on the line...sometimes it pays, oftentimes it doesn't, but he's always out there attacking again and again. Obscure one...THor Hushovd. After seeing him in that Credit Agricole pileup early in the TOur, BARELY being able to pedal, but he gutted out the stage AND went on to win a stage himself. (I am also a biased Norwegian-American! Ha HA)BikeViking
Dec 12, 2002 7:29 AM
What the heck?!?!?! I did post correctly!!! nm :o)BikeViking
Dec 12, 2002 7:30 AM
not your fault, software bug - sorry (nm)gregg
Dec 12, 2002 10:37 AM
Armstrong, Merckxgtx
Dec 12, 2002 7:58 AM
Pretty boring answers, I know. I would have said Jalabert, but he just retired. I also like Musueew.
Dec 12, 2002 8:03 AM
favorite today would probably be dekker or botero.

while i admire and respect merckx, just the fact that i never saw him ride precludes me from choosing him as a favorite. probably andy hampsten.
Ja Ja, Hampsten...lonefrontranger
Dec 12, 2002 8:13 AM
There are so many and for so many reasons, it's hard to choose just a few:

Jalabert: I vividly remember watching the terrifying "gendarme" crash on the first stage of the '94 TDF, which broke his jaw and changed his career. Another rising star went down brutally in that crash: Wilfreed Neilessen. Both at the time were touted as heirs apparent to Abduzhaparov, an aging star sprinter of nearly the magnitude Cipo is today. Neilessen never came back in full form from that crash, and had filthy luck afterwards. Ja Ja, well you know the rest of the story. He admitted feeling a tad nervous in field sprints thereafter, so what did he do? Oh, merely reinvented himself into an enduring star of classics and the Tour.

Hampsten from the old school; he was the one who inspired me to become a bike racer. He climbed and looked like an angel, at least to this sixteen-year-old, and his quiet charm was far more sincere on cam and in print than The Greg's smarmy histrionics.

Museeuw, well he's the rider I most want to be. I want to be the one who can ride serenely away from the shattered remnants of a star-studded break in the final 5k of a long hard road race.

Cadel Evans, for his class and moxie. Given the right program and form, he'll be awesome in years to come.

Tyler Hamilton indeed has cast iron big ones and is entertaining in the extreme no matter what he's up to. I wish Floyd Landis would give him some tips on bike handling.

Rising star (at least in U.S. crit racing): Viktor Repinski, a.k.a. the "Russian Concussion". He's amazingly fast and fun to watch at the NCS calendar races. May or may not make Division 1, but an entertaining rider nonetheless.
Jalabert, King EddySkidoo
Dec 12, 2002 9:07 AM
You've got to like Mr. Nice Guy Ja Ja, he's the new millienium's cycling ambassador (anyone see the article in ProCycling this month?) And King Eddy is a legend for his steely domination of the peloton.
Those 3 are my favorites, hands down.Tig
Dec 12, 2002 4:33 PM
Durand is a close 4th, but Ja Ja is such an incredible rider and person, he edges him out.

Eddy will always be King!

Hampsten is the warmest, and was the most underated guy. I'd rather spend time riding/talking with him than any other.
I just read you choices; I guess I totally share that... andtempeteOntheRoad
Dec 12, 2002 5:43 PM
Except with the juniors; there is a little Finnish or Swede dude who's name I forget... Ah well...

Museeuw; WHAT is this guy eating! And let's not forget he was in coma for a month almost after his terrible moto crash
Dec 12, 2002 9:08 AM
He won them all...

I also like:

And my number one cyclist of all time, who's photo is hanging on the wall above my computer...Fausto Coppi...Why? Because looking at that photo inspired me to start riding again 4 years ago at the ripe old age of 56. Without cycling I would be a different person...
Super Mario without a doubt53T
Dec 12, 2002 9:32 AM
He is dreamy. The guy can win, and he can look the part of a winner. He puts the pro into pro cycling. Any sponsor he has had get their money worth and then some from his performances on and off the bike.
gilberto simoni/danilo di luca, get the shirt!(nm)wheelsucker
Dec 12, 2002 10:35 AM
re: Who is your favourite pro rider, and why?mapei boy
Dec 12, 2002 10:38 AM
How can I choose?

Current: Botero for his heart, and Laiseka for his grit. Can't forget Roberto Heras. A crazy man.

Past: Pantani and Bahomontes, for their ability to defy gravity.
UlrichDuane Gran
Dec 12, 2002 11:06 AM
I believe I'll be in the minority, but my favorite modern bike racer is Jan Ulrich. I have tremendous respect for his ability and dedication to the sport, notwithstanding a few trouble spots in his career.

My favorite of all time would have to be Bernard Hinault. I love his aggressive style.
Belli, because nobody punches better while riding. nmNo_sprint
Dec 12, 2002 2:37 PM
Definitely, Moreau ain't got nothing on him. (nm)swvegg
Dec 12, 2002 4:36 PM
Laurent Jalabert. AND THAT AUSSIE GUY...tempeteOntheRoad
Dec 12, 2002 5:38 PM
Laurent Jalabert. Why?

He makes everybody likes cyclisme (road biking);

He's a great father of 4 (?) kids

He's won the world championships.

He rides all year long and... grand Tours (and always did really well)

He won as a sprinter, then as a TT specialist, then as a climber... well he did get that jersey... more than one lucky time!!!)

He's a team guy; with the pro team and with his national team.

God, -must stop! I love him too much! Haaaaarg! I'm turning into a groupie...

Cadel Evans is the next big star!

Rattle yer dags Cadel! You, foooking ace!
re: Who is your favourite pro rider, and why?weldingfellow
Dec 12, 2002 7:09 PM
LA, Museeuw and Indurainj-son
Dec 12, 2002 7:16 PM
Oh yeah ... and Eddy.
Eddy Merckx and Frankie Andreu.....nm4bykn
Dec 13, 2002 3:19 AM