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Professional Cycling For the Fans Follow the Tour de France,the Giro de Italia, the Spring Classics, or other professional cycling races? Here's your home...
View Poll Results: Whos the top Pro Cyclist?
Primož Roglič
0
0%
Sam Bennett
0
0%
Mathieu van der Poel
18.42%
Peter Sagan
7.89%
Tadej Pogačar
39.47%
Remco Evenepoel
0
0%
Julian Alaphilippe
15.79%
Jakob Fuglsang
0
0%
Egan Bernal
7.89%
Someone else (who?)
10.53%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

Best Pro Cyclist

Old 07-12-21, 09:59 PM
  #26  
veganbikes
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Eddy Merckx...525 Career victories did fewer tours than Cavendish to get his tour victories (though congrats to Cav on what he has accomplished), he also has the Hour Record pretty well in hand and not on some fancy new aero bike on an indoor track with all the optimization (granted he did have a lot of drillium and some new fangled parts on his rig but not to the level of some of this modern stuff). He dominated everywhere and won just about all the races from the Grand Tours, Monuments, one day races and more. Shoot he got 8 minutes ahead of the rest of the peloton in the freakin' mountains, and won that tour with a total of 18 minutes ahead of second place and got all the dang jerseys. Shoot I bet if mountain biking was a real thing back then he would have been able to dominate that as well.
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Old 07-13-21, 02:48 AM
  #27  
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It must be easier to confidently make broad summary statements about cycling history when you only have a select few data points from history.
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Old 07-13-21, 02:49 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by jim_pridx View Post
Cavendish was indeed a surprise this year, but yet, he's currently at #143 out of the 147 remaining in the current overall standings. Although, it's still quite possible for him to win another stage or two. It's certainly a different era of racing these days!
That's part of what makes grand tours like the TdF so fascinating. To many observers who aren't cyclists or don't follow racing, there's this 3-week "one race" won by a guy in a yellow jersey. But it's really a series of multiple races run concurrently by riders with differing skills chasing different goals. Sometimes, as with the Cannibal and the Badger, those goals overlap. Even in 1957, Jacques Anquetil's first overall win, the points leaders were also high in the GC. But rarely, nowadays, with more specialization. And the levels of competition, conditioning and skills across the entire peloton are higher now.

All those sub-categories of competitions within the overall chase for the yellow jersey are what really make the races appealing to the fans who crowd along the roadsides, especially at the intermediate sprint locations, KOM finishes, etc. Maybe this year, your local favorite, that kid you watched growing up through development squads, racing local crits, etc., snags a few points, an intermediate sprint or other prime, while his neighbors watch.

It's not unusual for the green jersey points leader to finish way down in the GC standings. Sagan typically finished in the middle of the GC pack -- and 4 hours and nearly 45 minutes behind in 2019. In 2020 Bennett finished 136 out of 146 surviving contenders, more than 5 and a half hours behind the leader.

But the points leader contenders blow themselves up throughout each stage chasing lots of intermediate sprints and point opportunities. Then they try to make the time cut while expending as little energy as possible, conserving energy for the next day if they hope to finish the entire tour.

Technically Cavendish could win one more stage, then collapse and fail to keep the green jersey, scrape in just under the time cut as the lanterne rouge, abandon, crash out, whatever, fail to finish this tour, and still go down in history as the all time stage winner. It's just one of many available accolades. But I'm hoping he continues well and keeps the green jersey.

In an odd quirk, in 2018 Lawson Craddock became one of the memorable Lanterne Rouge last place finishers by dragging his aching body through the entire tour with a broken shoulder. It helps that he seems to be a genuinely nice guy and selfless team player. While there are no official accolades for being the lanterne rouge, fans of the TdF love this sort of trivia and minutiae. Probably because it's so relatable to those of us who get dropped on nearly every crit or fast group ride.

And in another recent thread, RChung does a great job of describing the oddities of the game theory and psychology of mass start bike racing.

When I was younger and raced a few crits and daydreamed about being a domestique on a TdF squad, I had no idea of all the complexities because I didn't grow up in cycling, and what little I knew came from watching a few brief sequences of Merckx on Wide World of Sports back in the late 1960s-early '70s, before anyone in the US cared about cycling, and from reading a few magazine articles. I had no mentors, coaches or training, knew nothing about drafting, tactics, and probably had terrible bike handling skills. I just showed up with my 30 lb hi-ten frame Motobecane and thought "All I gotta do is pedal as hard and fast as I can for 20, 30 or 60 minutes, always be in the front, and I'll win. Easy, right?" I was like Dave in Breaking Away, a year or two before that movie came out. Very relatable. Except for singing Italian arias while riding.

It was only after my first crit, and subsequent crash on the final sprint, that someone in the local club took a few minutes to empathize, suggest a few pointers and invited me to try their intermediate group after my road rash healed up. I took him up on that invitation, got dropped midway through the intermediate crit, and pulled over to abandon, but the same guy from the club told me to wait for the pack to pass, catch onto the back and try to finish. I did so and a very generous fellow in the bunch gave me a few pointers on drafting, avoiding overlapping wheels, very basic stuff but it was all new to me. And they were very encouraging that I didn't quit and finished in the bunch safely, despite being a full lap behind. Nowadays I doubt many clubs would be so generous, because it's potentially unsafe to allow unskilled riders to participate in intermediate crits. But I appreciated their patience and encouragement. Even though I sucked at racing. It was fun.
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Old 07-13-21, 05:43 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by jim_pridx View Post
Oh, I agree with what you're saying when it comes to today's standards! Not to take anything away from Cavendish, but I was only pointing out that the race has changed dramatically over the years. Tour leaders like Merckx and others of the day weren't as concerned with specialized skills as they are today. Rarely did you see the top sprint winners sitting near the bottom of the overall standings. For the most part, those guys just did it all and did it very well!
It is more strategic now - and faster. I would not expect the same Merckx to do as well today. Everyone is faster and his "help" would realize more than a few sanctions in current racing.
Merckx was over 40 years ago and stimulated to ride differently. It is hard to compare.
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Old 07-13-21, 05:55 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Eddy Merckx...525 Career victories did fewer tours than Cavendish to get his tour victories (though congrats to Cav on what he has accomplished), he also has the Hour Record pretty well in hand and not on some fancy new aero bike on an indoor track with all the optimization (granted he did have a lot of drillium and some new fangled parts on his rig but not to the level of some of this modern stuff). He dominated everywhere and won just about all the races from the Grand Tours, Monuments, one day races and more. Shoot he got 8 minutes ahead of the rest of the peloton in the freakin' mountains, and won that tour with a total of 18 minutes ahead of second place and got all the dang jerseys. Shoot I bet if mountain biking was a real thing back then he would have been able to dominate that as well.
Merckx was caught doping multiple times and somewhat of a PED pioneer.
I expect he benefited in rides he was not caught on.

Allow modern riders the same stuff Eddie took and and you'd see different riding. As I posted above, it is hard to compare.

Last edited by Doge; 07-14-21 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 07-13-21, 07:08 PM
  #31  
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You know, guys, I'm not arguing with any of you........LOL. I actually agree with all of the comments that have been made here. All I can really tell you was that I was a pretty hard-core TDF fan in my younger years, and since I've recently retired, I have much more time to watch it again. I'm actually marveling in how much the sport has changed, and I'm certainly not condemning Cavendish for his accomplishments.........quite the contrary! FWIW, I happen to be enjoying this Tour more than any other!
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Old 07-15-21, 02:36 AM
  #32  
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Everyone who did not pick Pog in the poll should go back and change it, especially after yesterday. He's the most aggressive rider I've seen since Armstrong. Hope he doesn't crack today.
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Old 07-15-21, 03:13 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Everyone who did not pick Pog in the poll should go back and change it, especially after yesterday. He's the most aggressive rider I've seen since Armstrong. Hope he doesn't crack today.
No and Yes. He's clearly the best GC rider in this year's TdF and we'll never know if Bernal could have matched him. It's also great to see him go for winning stages, rather than just marking his opponents and surviving the climbs.

But the best GC rider is only the best rider in the world if GC riding is the most important test, and that's a matter of opinion. He has but one classics victory, for example.
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Old 07-15-21, 10:45 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Everyone who did not pick Pog in the poll should go back and change it, especially after yesterday. He's the most aggressive rider I've seen since Armstrong. Hope he doesn't crack today.
As in most sports, cycling is entertainment. I thought he should have backed off and let others show. To me, he's not there yet and it shows he's younger.
Armstrong backed off - a bit and didn't win everything he could.

Last edited by Doge; 07-16-21 at 08:28 AM.
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