Go Back  Bike Forums > The Racer's Forum > "The 33"-Road Bike Racing
Reload this Page >

Most underachieving Pro cyclist in history

"The 33"-Road Bike Racing We set this forum up for our members to discuss their experiences in either pro or amateur racing, whether they are the big races, or even the small backyard races. Don't forget to update all the members with your own race results.

Most underachieving Pro cyclist in history

Old 02-26-07, 10:50 AM
  #1  
merlinextraligh
pan y agua
Thread Starter
 
merlinextraligh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Jacksonville
Posts: 30,331

Bikes: Wilier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Co-Motion Robusta; Schwinn Paramount; Motobecane Phantom Cross; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Calfee Dragonfly Tandem

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 868 Post(s)
Most underachieving Pro cyclist in history

Now that the book is closed on Ullrich, one obvious question is whether he's the most underachieving cyclist in history. A case can certainly be made that he squandered an incredible talent.

Or did he just have the misfortune to be matched against one of the best of all time?

Other candidates for the title?

Last edited by merlinextraligh; 02-26-07 at 10:55 AM.
merlinextraligh is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 11:04 AM
  #2  
DiabloScott
It's MY mountain
 
DiabloScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Mt.Diablo
Posts: 8,500

Bikes: Klein, Merckx, Trek

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2102 Post(s)
Frank Vandenbroucke
DiabloScott is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 11:10 AM
  #3  
zimbo
Senior Member
 
zimbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 2,040
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't see how the most underachieving cyclist in history can be someone I've ever heard of.

--Steve
zimbo is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 11:29 AM
  #4  
RockyMtnMerlin
Senior Member
 
RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Laramie Wyoming
Posts: 2,970

Bikes: Merlin Extralight Topolino Wheels Campy Record

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by zimbo
I don't see how the most underachieving cyclist in history can be someone I've ever heard of.

--Steve
RockyMtnMerlin is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 11:30 AM
  #5  
LowCel 
Throw the stick!!!!
 
LowCel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 18,067

Bikes: GMC Denali

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 97 Post(s)
I don't see how the most underachieving cyclist in history could have won a Tour de France. I believe the most underachieving cyclist is at home on the couch watching nascar while eating a bucket of chicken and chasing it with a quart of ice cream.
__________________
I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.
LowCel is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 11:32 AM
  #6  
Demit
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 318
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Tour de France (1997), 7 stages
Vuelta a España (1999), 2 stages
Giro d'Italia, 1 stage
World Time Trial Champion (1999, 2001)
Olympic Road Race (2000)
Tour de Suisse (2004, 2006)

Yeah, its definitely Ullrich. Really, he only won those and a couple dozen other races, what a waste.

Then again, I only know of 4 cyclist.
Demit is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 11:43 AM
  #7  
botto 
.
 
botto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 40,368
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
+1 to zimbo's post.

we'll never know because he burned out, or was injured, before his name even came up on the radar.
botto is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 11:50 AM
  #8  
erader
Senior Member
 
erader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: silicon valley
Posts: 1,774
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by zimbo
I don't see how the most underachieving cyclist in history can be someone I've ever heard of.

--Steve

joe fabitz .

ed rader
erader is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 11:50 AM
  #9  
shakeNbake
Mooninite
 
shakeNbake's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: South of Heaven
Posts: 3,187

Bikes: $53 Walmart Special

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
I don't know about underachieving, but i'll throw in my 2 cents on overhyped:

Any "up and coming" French cyclist after Jalabert.
shakeNbake is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 11:59 AM
  #10  
Keith99
Senior Member
 
Keith99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,866
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I'd have to agree with what others have already said, that the most underachieving cyclist would almost for sure be someone never heard of, or perhaps a wonder boy who never panned out.

But if instead we went for the rider who failed to win Ulrich falls well back to .....

Raymond Poulidor.

Heck his nickname is 'The Eternal Second'.

He has more podium finishes in the TDF than any other rider. Yet not only no wins, he never even wore yellow. That alone would be enough. But there is more. He is tired for both most top 3 and most top 5 finishes in the Worlds. Yet no worlds championships. (While there are several riders tied for each of these he is the only one in both).
Keith99 is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 12:00 PM
  #11  
Randomus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 345
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You think Jan was overhyped? If anything, his usual routine of showing up early in the season a few pounds overweight is what ultimately did him in. I think Lance only saw what Der Kaiser could do in two or three of the tours.
Randomus is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 12:20 PM
  #12  
toshi
Lint Picker
 
toshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 597
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Since a multitude of pros hailed Jan as even more naturally gifted than Lance, yeah, I guess you could argue that he squandered his talents a bit. But he's only human, and he wanted to party a little.

On the flipside, he had the honor (?) of being held up against what became the gold standard of Tour competitors for almost a decade. Not too fortuitous for Der Kaiser because if in some alternate universe there was no Lance, we would be having a very different conversation today.

Jan on a bad day was still heads and tails above most of the riders in the pro peleton. That crash in the final TT of the 2003 Tour still makes me a little ill to this day.
toshi is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 12:21 PM
  #13  
cmh
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,583
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)
I think Pizzaman is the most underacheiving cyclist in history. Just imagine if he had started cycling at 15 years old! Instead he was wasting his time running or studying or chasing women or something.

However, Pizzaman hasn't retired yet so he can still prove me wrong.
cmh is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 12:24 PM
  #14  
merlinextraligh
pan y agua
Thread Starter
 
merlinextraligh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Jacksonville
Posts: 30,331

Bikes: Wilier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Co-Motion Robusta; Schwinn Paramount; Motobecane Phantom Cross; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Calfee Dragonfly Tandem

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 868 Post(s)
Underachieving in relation to what he could have achieved had he maximized the ability he was given. Obviously, there's some genetic freak out there that never gave it a go, but we'll never know that.

As compared to his own potential I think Poulidor got more out of what he had, than Ullrich got from his talent. The best argument that Poulidor underachieved was that he allowed himself to be psyched out by Anquetil, and lost to Anquetil on one or more occassions when he was stronger than Anquetil

I think a strong argument can be made that a Jan Ullrich totally committed to cycling success, not always coming into the season out of shape, and not sidetracked by recreational drugs, could have won at least 3 if not more Tour de Frances. Leaving 3 TDF championships on the table, I would call underachieving
merlinextraligh is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 12:38 PM
  #15  
toshi
Lint Picker
 
toshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 597
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Well this is a slippery slope coated with caramel and toffee bits because there are tons of talented riders out there who don't rack up the palmares for a multitude of reasons. Who is to say a few of those reasons are that the riders just didn't work out like cold machines when they were supposed to?

And there are the intangibles that cycling throws at you. Take Bobby Julich for example, or Chris Horner. Julich was about to retire before Voigt encouraged Riis to pick him up. Horner may have raced too much stateside early on though he seems perfectly content with his career to date (who am I to judge?).

If George hadn't crashed out at P-R last year he may well have won, and he may even had done it again this year. This is a guy who rode in support of Lance for years, what if he had left a la Hamilton and Landis and led another team? People say he's nothing but a super lieutenant/puppy dog, but we'll never know.

If Lance hadn't made his comeback, Jan may have embraced his Tour wins and grown even more formidable. Maybe he resorted to partying because with Lance there -- and the lofty expectations of his fellow germans -- he needed a way to blow off steam. Or maybe he just likes partying with hot chicks, who can blame him. We should see how much he scored, because, be honest, if you had the wherewithal to bed the hottest German chicas ever to grace the Earth, would you squander THAT?

People react differently to competition at high levels. Lots of ifs to consider, and Jan will always be in the spotlight as an "underachiever" but *only* because of that American guy. Interesting to ponder anyways.

Last edited by toshi; 02-26-07 at 12:49 PM.
toshi is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 12:41 PM
  #16  
Enthalpic
Killing Rabbits
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,408
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 138 Post(s)


Reporter: Jan how do you sleep at night knowing you could have done so much more?

JU: After I get real high, I pass out on a giant pile of money with many beautiful ladies.
Enthalpic is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 12:45 PM
  #17  
merlinextraligh
pan y agua
Thread Starter
 
merlinextraligh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Jacksonville
Posts: 30,331

Bikes: Wilier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Co-Motion Robusta; Schwinn Paramount; Motobecane Phantom Cross; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Calfee Dragonfly Tandem

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 868 Post(s)
Originally Posted by toshi
If Lance hadn't made his comeback, Jan may have embraced his Tour wins and grown even more formidable. Maybe he resorted to partying because with Lance there, and the lofty expectations of his fellow germans, he needed a way to blow off steam. People react differently to competition at high levels. Lots of ifs to consider, but interesting to ponder anyways.

I think he resorted to partying because he came out of a very highly regimented eastern european system. Then he got a taste of freedom, success, and money at a young age, and didn't have the maturity, or experience to deal with it.
merlinextraligh is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 01:23 PM
  #18  
Vinokurtov
Now Racer Ex
 
Vinokurtov's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,709
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Jan is measured by the TDF. Jan at his best did not and could not beat Lance at his best in the TDF. None of Lance's contemporaries beat him during that 7 year run, only Jan came close. And he kept coming back for more, I never saw an ounce of quit in the guy.

He was gracious in both victory and defeat. And of the people he raced against only Lance wouldn't trade for his career.

I'm going to miss the big lug.
Vinokurtov is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 01:24 PM
  #19  
El Diablo Rojo
Banned.
 
El Diablo Rojo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: ATX, Ex So Cal
Posts: 11,058

Bikes: Ridley Noah-Scott Addict-Orbea Ordu

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by DiabloScott
Frank Vandenbroucke
He's got my vote as well. Total head case with bags of talent. Many people knock Jan for not winning the Tour multiple times. But a quick look at his palmares will show you a rider who has a very accomplished career. There are other great riders who never even won one Tour let alone two. I'm not much of Jan fan but he's only underachieved to those who expected him to be the dominant Tour rider of his time.
El Diablo Rojo is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 01:36 PM
  #20  
toshi
Lint Picker
 
toshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 597
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo
He's got my vote as well. Total head case with bags of talent. Many people knock Jan for not winning the Tour multiple times. But a quick look at his palmares will show you a rider who has a very accomplished career. There are other great riders who never even won one Tour let alone two. I'm not much of Jan fan but he's only underachieved to those who expected him to be the dominant Tour rider of his time.
+1 well said.
toshi is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 01:50 PM
  #21  
curveship
wavylines
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Bull City
Posts: 541
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Keith99
Raymond Poulidor.
+1. Great talent, just didn't have the will to dominate.
curveship is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 02:30 PM
  #22  
1slowbastard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 349
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think that if Jan would have won the Tour at the end of his career as opposed to the beginning, nobody would think of him as underachieving.
1slowbastard is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 02:35 PM
  #23  
domestique
Shut Up and Ride
 
domestique's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: PA (Worst roads in existence)
Posts: 1,969

Bikes: 05 Cannondale Six 13 (Record 2008 with DT rr 1.1 rims, WI H2 Hubs and CX-ray spokes), OLMO Antares (Micx of 06 Record and Chorus), 1988 Tunturri, 1980's Fuji, 1970's Crescent (Sweeden)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
I think he resorted to partying because he came out of a very highly regimented eastern european system. Then he got a taste of freedom, success, and money at a young age, and didn't have the maturity, or experience to deal with it.

+1, good post!

I read an interview last fall about Eki after he retired. He basically said the same thing about himself. He had to be very disciplined with his new freedoms and basically set limits for himself. He mentioned that a lot of his comrades that became pro cyclists ended up quiting after the first year or two.


"But with all of this new freedom problems could develop. I knew I would have to do everything for myself now: buy my food, buy my car, take care of my house. Being in the school prior to this, every thing had been taken care of for me, including taking care of my bike and other things. So now I was on my own. I was in my own home with no more whistles at eight in the morning to get me up and get me started. I could do whatever I wanted. Many guys from the school were lost; they didn’t know how to handle the freedom. After a couple of years they disappeared from the sport altogether. I grew up on that basis, taking care of myself and my things, so I knew if I stayed true to what I had learned, I would be ok. "

http://www.dailypeloton.com/displayarticle.asp?pk=10214
domestique is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 03:40 PM
  #24  
ed073
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 6,411

Bikes: Scapin EOS7 sloping, 10v Record, Ksyriums

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Always going to be Frank.

Jan is a superstar of the sport....ask any professional. Better yet, look at his palmares.
ed073 is offline  
Old 02-26-07, 03:50 PM
  #25  
Dubbayoo
Senior Member
 
Dubbayoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 7,681

Bikes: Pedal Force QS3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm gonna go with Evgeni Berzin, who either underperformed consistently or outperformed one Giro win due to EPO.
Dubbayoo is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.