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Friday poll: who would win today, "back in the day"?(9 posts)

Friday poll: who would win today, "back in the day"?mwood
Apr 11, 2003 8:54 AM
There have been a number of threads on this board asking,"who is the best cyclist ever"...
My questions:
If the greatest riders were to be "transported" to the time of the early tour (let's say multi-gear, but not much else in terms of tech), who would win? would the conditioning of today's athletes dominate? would the mental toughness and natural (super natural?) talent of a Merckx, or some other past great, kick butt?

conversely, how fast would the riders from another era be on today's equiptment?
Careful, playing with fire...What the hell, ___________ (nm)onespeed
Apr 11, 2003 8:58 AM
Lemindurtanillinirongugnottapuci (nm)onespeed
Apr 11, 2003 12:25 PM
Apr 11, 2003 9:07 AM
Merckx would be my bet for victory for any unspecified event. I think there is little doubt he was the best all around racer of all time. Lance would be tough for just the Tour. Hard to say about the old Coppi, Bartoli, etc., days, as things were so different then. Throuw in Hinault, LeMond, Indurain, etc., and who knows?

Will it be on OLN? nmMike P
Apr 11, 2003 9:08 AM
Only an hour recap, at 1AM PST nmmwood
Apr 11, 2003 9:10 AM
Multi-geared bikes? You are talking recent history.Dale Brigham
Apr 11, 2003 10:18 AM
Relatively recent, at least. From what I have read, multi-geared bikes (other than flip-flop rear hubs with a single cog on each side; the riders changed gearing by removing the rear wheel, flipping it over, and reinstalling it) were not used in the Tour de France until the 1930s. (Anybody know of a definitive source for this kind of info?) So, there were almost three decades of the Tour until the joys of multi-gearing were known to the riders. Ouch!

As for the smackdown of the ages, I'd bet on one of those guys from back-in-the-day to give Eddy, et al. a run for their money. My fave tough guy is Maurice Garin, who won the first TdF, the second and third Paris-Roubaix races, and the second Paris-Brest-Paris.

Maurice was one formidable cyclist. In his second P-R, he averaged over 32 kph (about 20 mph) for 268 km (166 miles). He rode P-B-P (1,200 km) in 52 hr, 11 min, a time that in the most recent P-B-P (1999) would have placed him 60th out of over 3,600 entrants. Considering the primative bikes and the dismal state of the roads back then, those speeds and times seem mighty impressive to me. If we could clone him back to life, I think he'd be right at the front of the peleton today.

Garin's major palmares follow below.


Maurice Garin:
1897 Paris Roubaix
1898 Paris Roubaix
1901 Paris - Brest - Paris
1902 Bordeaux - Paris
1903 Tour de France (3 stage wins)
Without a doubt--Eddy Merckxwaynebo
Apr 11, 2003 12:34 PM
Look at his hour record for instance--Boardman bested him by only seconds after a quarter century of training/equipment/etc. improvements. Today, maybe 2-3 guys could come close to what EM achieved in the early 70s. And I'm being generous--not many guys want to go through 60 minutes of anaerobic hell. I think 99% of the pro's would be 1-2 km/hour slower than EM. Compare that accomplishment with Mark Spitz, 1972 Olympic 100 meter butterfly champ. His time now would not even make the top 50 in the U.S. Spitz dominated like EM, nobody could touch him. EM was the man, pure and simple!
not Lance!nmthe bull
Apr 11, 2003 1:38 PM