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Does it bug anyone else - TdF and Merckx

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Does it bug anyone else - TdF and Merckx

Old 07-08-21, 04:55 PM
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At this point Cav is C+V, there are several contenders at least 10 years his junior, consequently the extra amount of time it took him to get here. I think its fantastic, so many great stories going on at the same time, carnage, tough guys, wild cards, world and all else champions and plenty more as well as in between.

I love this s**t.

Bring it on.
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Old 07-08-21, 05:05 PM
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Bugs me? Saying it bugs me is probably overstating it. I would prefer that Eddy keep that record, not because I have anything against Cavendish (his story this year is pretty inspiring and his reactions to it are quite appropriate) but because I'd prefer that an all-arounder hold the record for number of stages won. And Merckx was the ultimate all-arounder. He won mountain stages. He won flat stages. He won time trials. He could unleash a fair to middlin' sprint. So I'd rather see Merckx keep the record, but if Cavendish pulls it off, hats off to him.

I felt the same way about Cipollini passing Alfredo Binda's 41 stage wins record in the Giro. Maybe a bit more so because I have always found Mario to be kind of off-putting.

Now let's talk about the record number of stages won in Tours or Giri that the stage winner actually finished. Eddy would still have 34 Tour stage wins and Alfredo would still be at or near 41 Giro stages. Cipollini would not even tickle the meter and Cavendish would certainly some. Just sayin.'

Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee
I don't follow the TdF. I just don't understand how a rider who won 2 stages can be ranked 148 in the overall standings?
Because the ratings are based on what a rider has done over at least the past year, maybe longer, and Cavendish has done close to bupkus in the recent past. Mainly for reasons that aren't his fault (illness, injury, age, and everyone writing him off as over the hill and thus unable to sign on with a good supporting team), but the rankings are strictly about results and have no sympathy for such things.

While the past two or three years have not been kind to Cavendish, I suspect the enforced lessened racing load has allowed his body to get over the long-term fatigue that has to build up over the years. In riding terms, he's as fresh as he has been for years. Understand, this is pure surmise on my part with absolutely no hard data to back it up.

It's also hard, at age 38, to maintain the focus and mental drive it takes to perform at the level Cavendish is used to. It's a lot easier to be monomaniacal at 25 than at 38. I bet that getting this last chance (and this was Cav's last chance - nobody else was going to give him a ride at the Tour) after what he's been through gave him a mental jolt that he simply would not have had otherwise. Again, I can't back this up with anything other than my gut, but I have to think that his bad luck of recent years has to have been given him increased inspiration and desire.
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Old 07-08-21, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by scozim
He's completely worthy of the accomplishment - especially with a comeback. His team has put together some textbook sprint finishes this year. Wasn't really my point I guess when I posted. Sorry if it came across that way.
No worries.

But in reality, Coppi would have dropped Merckx like a bag of sand in his prime. Probably Binda too.
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Old 07-08-21, 05:19 PM
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I've always been a Cavendish fan so I'm loving this. Just wish I had a way to watch the race. GO CAVENDISH!

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Old 07-08-21, 05:57 PM
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It probably bugs Eddy.
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Old 07-08-21, 06:21 PM
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It's a statistic, stage wins. Personally I'm happy for the guy.
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Old 07-08-21, 06:23 PM
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Not really bugged by it. It's impressive either way. Both riders are amazing. And I can agree, apples and oranges in their own rights.

They have to talk about something for all that time after all. would be cool if they had a piece on Eddy Merckx, but that might also get tiring if they did it every year.

It is crazy for Cavendish to have this success, required a few lucky breaks, Bennett not being there and then Ewan crashing.
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Old 07-08-21, 06:41 PM
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I wonder how many people read a title and skim the body of the post… I think OP made it clear that it is the commentary bolstering the accomplishments in comparison that is bothersome.

What bugs me is that apparently this subject and rider are unworthy to us because people didn’t read the post.

WTF
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Old 07-08-21, 07:23 PM
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After that derny accident in 1969 which killed his driver, knocked him out for 45 minutes, broke his pelvis, and led to trapped nerves Merckx said he never again rode completely free from pain and that he'd lost his acceleration. Still racked up a decent record for a cripple ...
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Old 07-08-21, 07:57 PM
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Not having really followed the Tour in years, I was frankly surprised that Cavendish was racing. Yay for him, super cool! I don't think anyone in the know will confuse him with Eddy, however.

What bugs me more is that the average American thinks Lance is the greatest cyclist ever.
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Old 07-08-21, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak
I've always been a Cavendish fan so I'm loving this. Just wish I had a way to watch the race. GO CAVENDISH!

There are fairly decent stage recaps on YouTube. I've watched a couple for stages I've missed.
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Old 07-08-21, 09:45 PM
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Nobody who knows cycling believes Cavendish breaking the stage win record will make him equal to Merck... least of Cav, who has transformed from an arrogant and reckless young sprinter to a gracious team player. We all know it's just the TdF stage win record. If Cav can do it, most of us will be happy for him.

But let's be honest -- Merckx was never the sprinter Cavendish is. Granted, these are totally different eras and tactics. But even in the same era, same tactics, Cavendish outsprints Eddy every time. Every time on the TdF sprint stages. Every time on the track.

*If* Cav got a good lead-out on the stage.

Merckx was more of a breakaway, short-time-trial type "sprinter." The closest thing to his in the later era might have been Greg LeMond. He could start his locomotive and build up steam relentlessly, longer than Cavendish could.

But in a field sprint, even without his own team leadout train, a prime Cav could improvise almost as well as Sagan, creating a leadout train from his opposition by exploiting their own tactics and timing.

Very different eras and team tactics, but Merckx was among the pioneers of now-contemporary tactics. Merckx had the clout to pick his team and drill them harder for better results, in an era when many pro cyclists weren't as dedicated to grand tour wins as Merckx himself was -- especially the Tour de France.

Given comparable teams, comparable tactics in the same era -- either Cav in Eddy's era, or Merckx in Cav's era -- Merckx would need to work a lot harder on his sprints to match Cavendish... and he'd still lose to Cav almost every time.

But everyone who follows the game, including Cav, knows he's not nearly the complete cyclist Merckx was, especially on mountain stages. Cavendish will be lucky to even finish this TdF, even if he does break the stage win record. In his prime Merckx never struggled that hard to make the time cut, unless he was badly injured.

I've always been a huge fan of Merckx and, especially, Anquetil. But I'd be perfectly happy to see Cavendish equal or beat this particular record. It's good for the sport. Old dusty records don't really further any sport. Same with the one-hour record. Nobody who knows the sport really believes anyone now could beat Merckx in a Merckx-class one-hour attempt, standard drop bar bike, no skinsuit, aero helmet, etc. I'm not even sure the best modern era time trialist could beat a prime Merckx if Eddy had time to adapt to the newer equipment and techniques. He was a human locomotive.
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Old 07-08-21, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat
Nobody who knows cycling believes Cavendish breaking the stage win record will make him equal to Merck... least of Cav, who has transformed from an arrogant and reckless young sprinter to a gracious team player. We all know it's just the TdF stage win record. If Cav can do it, most of us will be happy for him.
True, that. I would be happy for Cav.

But let's be honest -- Merckx was never the sprinter Cavendish is. Granted, these are totally different eras and tactics. But even in the same era, same tactics, Cavendish outsprints Eddy every time. Every time on the TdF sprint stages. Every time on the track.
Wellll ... Merckx had outsprinted some of the great sprinters in the TdF, like Roger de Vlaeminck at the Strasbourg velodrome. The difference was that Merckx never did the classic sprint thing with the leadout train and perfect positioning -- when he did contest sprints it was usually in a breakaway group when he'd broken the pack and the leadout trains were in pieces several km back leaving any sprinters who could hang on unprotected. It was strange that he even bothered - these were stages he really didn't have to contest.

Hinault was the closest. He had a mean sprint when he bothered. In the 81 Paris Roubaix he crashed 6 times, the last time not far from the velodrome. But he chased back on, led at the bell, and won off the front, outsprinting Moser and de Vlaeminck. But there was little point in a stage race.
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Old 07-09-21, 12:20 AM
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I think the format and rules of the tour are fantastic, giving us so many races within the race. We care about stage winners because they've built pageantry around stage results, just as they've built it around climbing results and sprinting results. Out of that variety comes the opportunity for specialists to shine, for all-rounders to shine, and occasionally for a domestique to shine. It all brings attention to their sponsors, which brings in the money.

That either an all-rounder or a specialist could have the record for most stage wins is fabulous; it makes for great competition and great entertainment..
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Old 07-09-21, 03:15 AM
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Whether you like him or not, Cav has an outsize personality, which puts him head and shoulders above most of the decade’s successful riders as far as I’m concerned. He’s the anti-Froome.
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Old 07-09-21, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by iab
No worries.

But in reality, Coppi would have dropped Merckx like a bag of sand in his prime. Probably Binda too.
The best head-to-head comparison would be their hour record results (on what would have been effectively technologically identical track bikes).

Coppi: 45,848 meters.

Merckx: 49,432 meters.
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Old 07-09-21, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat
Nobody who knows the sport really believes anyone now could beat Merckx in a Merckx-class one-hour attempt, standard drop bar bike, no skinsuit, aero helmet, etc.
Merckx: 49,432 meters.

Chris Boardman (track bike with conventional bars, etc.):
49,441 meters (9 meters further!).

Ondrej Sosenka (ditto): 49,700 meters.

Sosenka with aero helmet, etc., gained about 250 meters in an hour; Merckx in the same outfit might have equaled Sosenka's distance, of course.

Sosenka during his hour attempt:



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Old 07-09-21, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
Merckx: 49,432 meters.

Chris Boardman (track bike with conventional bars, etc.):
49,441 meters (9 meters further!).

Ondrej Sosenka (ditto): 49,700 meters.

Sosenka with aero helmet, etc., gained about 250 meters in an hour; Merckx in the same outfit might have equaled Sosenka's distance, of course.

Sosenka during his hour attempt:


I know I'm nitpicking, but both of those one-hour record attempts were on indoor tracks, while Merckx was outdoors (Mexico City, which may have offered some advantages).

And both wore helmets. Even the more conventional helmet Boardman wore probably offered some aero advantage over the bareheaded Merckx.

Add higher tech fabric kit, tighter fit, etc., and even lacking a skinsuit they still had advantages over the wool kit Merckx wore -- although Merckx chose a snugger fitting kit than he usually wore for stage races.

Clipless vs toe clips, probably a wash, I doubt there's any real difference.

Sosenka failed doping tests later, which may have tainted his one-hour attempt. OTOH, just before his one-hour record attempt, Merckx could be seen sniffing a tube of nasal inhaler decongestant, which back then typically contained an amphetamine (I'm old enough to remember those!), and Merckx was known to use amphetamines. Probably a wash between the two.

While I'm not even fast for my age, I know from trying various kit and helmets on my favorite time trial route near home that my rounded aero helmet (similar to Boardman's Giro helmet) and Pearl Izumi Pursuit SPD jersey, that kit is consistently good for slightly faster times. My favorite time trial routes are loops, east/west and north/south, which usually negates wind as a factor. And I've ridden them a zillion times and can usually guesstimate my speed and time just based on how things feel.

I'm still inclined to give a prime Merckx an edge. And Merckx, arguably, wasn't at his prime in 1972, after the 1969 crash injuries. He developed a slight hitch in his cadence and tended to flare one knee out a bit, especially when he was fatigued.

Would have been interesting to see how Anquetil might have done with better equipment, kit and conditions too. Merckx was a stronger all around cyclist but I might still give Anquetil a slight edge in time trials.

Ah, well, these debates are like my main favorite sport, boxing, and discussing dream matchups that would never have been realized because the fighters' primes didn't coincide on the calendar.
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Old 07-09-21, 05:53 AM
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One good thing about the vid coverage: I no longer have to explain what a lead out is to my coworkers.

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Old 07-09-21, 06:06 AM
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No comparison between Merckx and Cav and I like them both, a lot.

Most, if not all of Cav's victories in the Tour are a result of race radios and DSs being able to control the efforts of the team/lead out train AND the fact that Cav has always had strong lead out riders. Merckx was his own lead out, won many of his stages alone and never need to be carried across the slopes as Cav has to keep from being ejected from the race. Cav is a one trick pony, a great one to be sure but nothing in his career comes close to anything Merckx accomplished. Not even in the category of Tour victories because of the dissimilar ways each achieved them.
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Old 07-09-21, 08:56 AM
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Quotes from Merckx just posted on the broadcast:



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Old 07-09-21, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by johnnyace
What bugs me more is that the average American thinks Lance is the greatest cyclist ever.
I think Lance is the greatest cyclist ever. Ya got a problem with that?
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Old 07-09-21, 09:29 AM
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Sorry but I think this last stage 13 "win" was gifted to Cavendish. The other 3 riders sprinting to the finish let up a few seconds before crossing.
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Old 07-09-21, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by HeyItsSara
I think Lance is the greatest cyclist ever. Ya got a problem with that?
Either you are daft, trying to be funny, or have a very poor grasp of pro cycling history.

But to each their own, I suppose.
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Old 07-09-21, 09:45 AM
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It is like comparing Lewandowski to Gerd Müller.
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