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Old 07-29-03, 06:20 PM   #1
Fish
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Greg Lemond

This means I'm old, but when it happened I was still using Oxy on my facial .......blemishes.

Does'nt it seem that Greg Lemond could have been the Legend that Armstrong is turning out to be? Here's my reasoning.

The year (86?) when Hinalt won his fifth, Lemond could have taken it. No one can deny. He let Hinalt have it.

The following year he took it from Hinalts' cold dead hands (even though Hinalt said he'd help him and didn't.)

The next TWO YEARS, out with gun wounds.

COMES BACK to win two more straight with buckshot still in his gullet, and in the process changes time trialing forever.

Imagine if he would have taken 86 (like he clearly could have) and had'nt got shot.

I see it as six in a row.

Am I the only one who sees this. Just curious. A little what if never hurt anyone.
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Old 07-29-03, 06:45 PM   #2
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thats what makes winning it 5 times so hard, so much can happen both between and during races to defeat you.
imagine if lance hadnt had cancer, would this have been his 7th in a row? or maybe he wouldnt have one any at all?
imagine if they hadnt held indurain back for so long, maybe lemond would have only won one or 2.
imagine if eddie merckx hadnt hurt his back in a car accident, or hadnt taken time off from the tour would he have won 10?

hehe fun to talk about and debate, but you can what if anything
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Old 07-29-03, 07:26 PM   #3
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"What ifs" are fun. If you look at the history of the Tour there are guys who won 1 or 2 before WWI and then win another one after the war. Same thing before and after WWII. Perhaps they could've won 6 or 7 and we wouldn't think so much about 5.

85 was the year LeMond held back for Hinault. Hinault was the team captain and LeMond had to hold back. At one point this year Beltran was the virtual leader on the road when he got into a break. He sat up and came back to LA. If he hadn't would we be congratulating him for his victory?

LeMond remains impressive for me b/c he won before and after his brush with death. Also his 8 sec. last stage win in 89 will always be the ultimate finale. How many would he have won? You like his chances in 87 or 88.

OTOH if Indurain rode for himself he probably beats LeMond in 90. The "what ifs" never end.
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Old 07-29-03, 08:55 PM   #4
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The reason I pick Lemond to "what if", is he's the only other succesfull American cyclist and I first started loving cycling because of him. When I meet young cyclists, many seem to believe that Lance was the first and hardly know of Lemonds comeback story.

Additionally, ( and note, I think the world of Lance ) Lance went to the top BECAUSE of his illness. even by his own admition, he said he would never had won if it wasn't for his dreaded cancer. It changed him physically in ways diet could never have accomplished due to his dense torso muscle mass from triathaloning. Lemond was on top and was CUT DOWN because of his accident and nothing physically good came of it. He had to fight everything to get back on top and was probably never as good, but still won two more.

I agree that Lance is and will always be the better, but more than the outward I have always been interested in the inner of the man. "Did he have inside what it takes?" "Could he have pushed his body to do 6". I think about; "What is Lemond thinking after watching the tour this year?" He never had the publicity and the name recognition that Lance has gotton. I think he's got to wonder about what might have been. I think HE would be glad someone has pondered it as well.

Just so you know how I was thinking. Appreciate the response

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Old 07-30-03, 04:21 AM   #5
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I suppose anything is possible, if.

Then again, if grasshoppers had machine guns birds wouldn't mess with them.

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Old 07-30-03, 04:43 AM   #6
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If wishes were peanuts...
If elephants could fly....

Actually, I'm not sure I agree that LeMond was never a celebrity. Like LA he was on Sports Illustrated and was Sportsman of the Year. The Tour got a whole lot more coverage during his years than it had before or after (until LA started winning) and he has a successful bike business even if it was bought out by Trek.

Younger riders don't know him, but then younger riders don't know what downtube shifters are either. In Europe cycling is a sport that lives on its tradition/history. That doesn't appear true in the US. European fans would never have forgotten someone like Major Taylor, wheras in the US the current stars are the only ones to have ever turned a crank. I'm not sure I'm complaining, that's just the way it is. Baseball seems to be the only sport where the past stars still feature in current conversations.

The test will be how public the retired LA stays (assuming he wants to). My guess is that in the US he'll disappear pretty quickly. A retired cyclist won't have the marketing power someone like a retired Michael Jordan does. That's just the American market.
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Old 07-30-03, 06:51 AM   #7
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It's odd that the two most well known American riders both had their careers interrupted by some personal crisis.
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Old 07-30-03, 06:58 AM   #8
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i remember LeMond as being pretty well known at the time too, and really his name is still known. i think if you ask people who dont follow cycling at all to name some american cyclists i think most will name lance, LeMond, and maybe eric hieden. people under 20 who dont follow cycling may not know the name but i think most people over that age do. i didnt follow cycling at all when he won his first tour, but i remember it being a huge deal in the media, since he was the first american to do it.
i'm also not sure i'd say Lance was a better cyclist, i'd say they were both great.
in my first post i was just trying to point out that winning the tour 5 times involves a lot more than being a great cyclist. it also involves things like being lucky enough to not get shot while on a hunting trip during the off season .
so much can happen its just very difficult to put together 5 great seasons in a career.

again this does make for a fun debate
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Old 07-30-03, 07:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Walter
"What ifs" are fun...The "what ifs" never end.
What if I took up cycling at an earlier age and started racing...you all might not have ever heard of Lance Armstrong...hmmmm...oh, to dream...I love those "what ifs"
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Old 07-30-03, 07:46 AM   #10
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Old 07-30-03, 07:55 AM   #11
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gentlemen, stay smooth please...
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Old 07-30-03, 07:43 PM   #12
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What if Greg hadn't gotten the gunshot wound? Would he have been as focused?

Doesn't matter. Greg was very good for US cycling in Europe. He had a excellent personality, a French last name, the other riders (mostly) liked him, he was a great spokesman (pun intended), and the made-for-Hollywood tour victories. All of which went a long way toward changing the attitude of the Europeans about Americans in the peloton. Many (well, Andy Hampsten and Phil Liggett) still say he's the most talented cyclist they've ever known.
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Old 07-30-03, 07:54 PM   #13
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I think Lemond really could have been a "contenda" for five.

And hasn't it taken awhile for anyone to top his TT top speed? Or am I mistaken on this?
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Old 07-30-03, 08:21 PM   #14
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Yes. It would have been busted this year in the final time trial if it had'nt been for the rain.

Just a note, I had Lemonds Cycle Gitane and it aint no cream puff to todays standards, and he did it on that bike. At least I think it was that bike.
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Old 07-31-03, 06:34 PM   #15
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I believe Lemond was the equal of Armstrong in talent but he was never as strong after his shooting accident. Winning two Tours after that was a tremendous feat.

He was unlucky that he was number two to at La Vie Claire in '85, when if he had stayed at Renault, he could have challenged Hinault at the head of a strong squad (in Fignon's absence). He moved for the money- a lot of it- so shouldn't complain, nor continue this endless campaign about the Roche break, when he could/should/would have won the race that year. The moral and factual basis for his claim is paper-thin.

I do feel that the depth of competition in the 80's was much greater than at present, which further validates the achievements Greg actually had- and I find it sad that Armstrong's efforts unnerve his predecessor so significantly. I'm not sure how much of this is competitive spirit and how much sour grapes...........
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Old 07-31-03, 09:41 PM   #16
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LeMond is as much a legend as Armstong is/will be IMO.
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Old 08-01-03, 04:46 AM   #17
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Lemond is a legend, no doubt.
But it´s surprising that a lot of youngsters never heard of him at all.
There are lots of legends which most people don´t know.
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Old 08-01-03, 10:38 AM   #18
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he isn't a legend if the new generation doesn't know who he is
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Old 08-01-03, 10:45 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Flaneur
I believe Lemond was the equal of Armstrong in talent but he was never as strong after his shooting accident. Winning two Tours after that was a tremendous feat.

He was unlucky that he was number two to at La Vie Claire in '85, when if he had stayed at Renault, he could have challenged Hinault at the head of a strong squad (in Fignon's absence). He moved for the money- a lot of it- so shouldn't complain, nor continue this endless campaign about the Roche break, when he could/should/would have won the race that year. The moral and factual basis for his claim is paper-thin.

I do feel that the depth of competition in the 80's was much greater than at present, which further validates the achievements Greg actually had- and I find it sad that Armstrong's efforts unnerve his predecessor so significantly. I'm not sure how much of this is competitive spirit and how much sour grapes...........
Competition and equipment is far better then 80's.
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Old 08-01-03, 01:51 PM   #20
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Remember that for his 3 tour wins, Lemond only won 5 stages total, and his 3rd win he didn't wear yellow till the very final stage (the infamous TT victory over Fignon).

While he was a great rider, and a truly gifted time trialist, he never quite dominated his time like Indurain and Armstrong have theirs, that's the difference I see.
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Old 08-01-03, 02:14 PM   #21
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Shokhead-

'Competition'.......... I'm saying that Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, Pedro Delgado, Stephen Roche, Phil Anderson, Robert Millar, Sean Kelly, Lucho Herrera, Miguel Indurain, Charly Mottet and Jean-Francois Bernard were a class above some of the guys wearing team leaders' numbers in recent Tours. Make that light years ahead, in some cases

My quick list contains five Tour winners, two five-time champions, a triple crown winner (one of two in history)and a bunch of Vuelta and Giro successes. I could have dug up more names- but I thought that list was sufficient!

Greg Lemond raced against all the above guys with distinction. All the year round, when he was younger. It could be argued that without his gunshot wound, he might have dominated the era between Hinault and Indurain. I'm not indulging in that speculation- Greg does it so well I am contrasting the quality of riders Greg opposed, with the rivals of Lance. In this year's Tour, there were only two starters who had previously won the race.

-don't really want to belabour the point any further. Competition in the 80's was severe.

....and who's arguing about equipment?
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Old 08-01-03, 02:21 PM   #22
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Originally posted by Flaneur
Shokhead-

'Competition'.......... I'm saying that Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, Pedro Delgado, Stephen Roche, Phil Anderson, Robert Millar, Sean Kelly, Lucho Herrera, Miguel Indurain, Charly Mottet and Jean-Francois Bernard were a class above some of the guys wearing team leaders' numbers in recent Tours. Make that light years ahead, in some cases

My quick list contains five Tour winners, two five-time champions, a triple crown winner (one of two in history)and a bunch of Vuelta and Giro successes. I could have dug up more names- but I thought that list was sufficient!

Greg Lemond raced against all the above guys with distinction. All the year round, when he was younger. It could be argued that without his gunshot wound, he might have dominated the era between Hinault and Indurain. I'm not indulging in that speculation- Greg does it so well I am contrasting the quality of riders Greg opposed, with the rivals of Lance. In this year's Tour, there were only two starters who had previously won the race.

-don't really want to belabour the point any further. Competition in the 80's was severe.

....and who's arguing about equipment?
Who arguing at all?Its just mo like you have yours.Nobody on this end is arguing.
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Old 08-04-03, 09:22 AM   #23
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I'll take the bait and be the Devil's Advocate for a minute - an interesting discussion for sure

It's pretty much impossible for Armstrong to race against many former champions of the TDF when out of the last 9 tours before he won, 2 were won by a man who retired before 1992, 5 were won by a man who retired before 1997, 1 by a man who retired before 1998, and 1 by a man who just had his ears clipped and hears voices in his head (whom Armstrong handily destroyed before, anyways).

That leaves Jan Ullrich, and I'd take Ullrich again almost any rider from the 80's. Let's not forget that when he was 24 he already had a TDF title, and he's tacked on Olympic gold, a Vuelta and would have a couple more Maillot Jaunes except for a certain Texan. He's never finished lower than second on the Tour podium in 6 starts, and is truly one of the great champions of our time, hard luck aside.

And really, let's be realistic here. Giro titles in the 80's meant something. Maybe even the mid-90's. But during Armstrong's reign it's been the bastard stepchild of stage racing, and important to Italians and the doping police, that's about it. The Vuelta is now the second most important race in the world, and how many of the recent champions of that are even fit to hold Armstrong's jock (where are you Aitor Gonzalez?) Hell, Roberto Heras is his #1 domestique.

Lastly, listing Indurain as someone Lemond beat for his tours is sort of like listing Armstrong as someone Indurain beat. At the point in time Indurain was finishing 37th and then 10th ... well, he wasn't a major force. It wasn't until he got a bit older that he showed how dominant he could be.

All being said, Lemond raced against a more even field than Armstrong has. There is no question the 80's was more competitive overall, but I'm not sure if that it just wasn't the talent being more even than recently with two tremendous champions. Lemond was a phenomenal rider, and almost a dead on bet for 5 tours if he hadn't been shot, maybe more. Don't dimish Armstrong's achievements though, Lemond doesn't need that to shine himself. Many of us wouldn't be riding if we hadn't seen him on TV as young children, and seen that you could race a bike as well as throw a baseball and compete in sports. There's no reason to try to put down one American champion to make the other look better, they're both brilliant.

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Old 08-04-03, 03:54 PM   #24
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Vad........

I think we're on the same page here. I think Greg is really jealous of what Lance has achieved and the status he has in the wider world of sports. I think we're agreed that Lance can do no more than beat the riders who turn up each year. We also have no argument about the depth of talent around whan Greg was trying to win.
As for diminishing the achievements of riders, there are two strands of opinion, aren't there? One says that history will finally be written and subjective rankings produced. The other says that all such intergenerational speculation is pointless. Just for fun, I like to play "what if?" Doesn't mean proper comparisons can be drawn across the eras- but there's no harm in trying

I think the great champions exerted a stifling command over the peloton- call them Patrons, or whatever. Riders who rode in the wheels of Hinault, Merckx or Coppi were diminished, however accidentally, by this process. Armstrong has done it recently, to the extent that few other than Ullrich believe they can win the Tour. Indurain influenced riders similarly; can you remember their names now? Rominger, then who else?
The difference for Lemond was that he rode in the interregnum between Hinault and Indurain, never quite establishing himself as the new boss, in part due to his injury. Fignon was similarly erratic and injury-prone, as was Roche- but each aspired to the domination that Armstrong has carved out. None of the great late eighties riders became Tour Gods and each played a part in stopping the others. I'm sure Greg would love us to say that three tours competing against the riders of that era were the equivalent of five Indurain or Anquetil victories, but again, I'll leave that stuff to him My take on Armstrong's rank in posterity is that he is diminished by his single-mindedness, as is Indurain. I like to see my legends winning in April and October, as well as July!

I like Ullrich as much as you do: he is a big-time athlete and racer. Shame he's lost some good years to immaturity. I think he matches up well against some of the eighties guys, but I reckon Hinault and Indurain (the nineties guy)would have crushed him psychologically, Fignon would have killed him in the mountains and Roche would have exposed his tactical frailty.....

Hey, these are just opinions. How many of my eighties list do you think would have exploited the '03 version of Lance? And was this year Lance's greatest achievement in France, winning against the odds?
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Old 08-05-03, 07:25 AM   #25
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In Armstrong's case of single mindedness, remember he wasn't always like this.

My first recolection of Lance Armstrong was this 21 year old Texan kid in Norway just ripping everyone's legs off as he pulled on the Rainbow Jersey - still one of the greatest displays of simple power you'll ever see in a bike race. I was 13, and I knew then that I wanted to race bicycles. Lemond got me started, Armstrong showed me Americans could stick to anyone. His greatest race was probably the World's in 1998, where he served notice he was back from cancer, or maybe the huge breakaway into Limoges after Casartelli's death.

The point is that Armstrong was a very good rider before cancer, and really he was a classics guy - not a stage racer. Obviously, that changed in 1999, and the story is so well known at this point it's almost anti-climatic. He was a good one day rider, and now a great stage racer, there is very little left for him to cover in his career.

Lemond was a terrific champion, and a great rider, and it's to bad the American public wasn't ready to adopt him the way they have Armstrong. The waft of jealously coming from the Lemond camp isn't attractive though, it does nothing but dimish the legacy of one of the greatest champions we have. Celebrating Lance as he rides now is no way putting down Lemond, I wish some people would remember that.
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