Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Who's second best?

Old 11-29-04, 03:03 PM
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Trev Doyle
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Who's second best?

I have been thinking and I was wondering......(I believe most people on this forum know who the best cyclist of all time is-of course Eddy Merckx. I don't think there are many on this forum who would even put Lance in the top 5.) Who would be a good candidate for 2'nd best? After all, Eddy has won around 525 races , and like 445 or so of them were pro races. Who, if anyone has ever scratched at that record?
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Old 11-29-04, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Trev Doyle
I have been thinking and I was wondering......(I believe most people on this forum know who the best cyclist of all time is-of course Eddy Merckx. I don't think there are many on this forum who would even put Lance in the top 5.) Who would be a good candidate for 2'nd best? After all, Eddy has won around 525 races , and like 445 or so of them were pro races. Who, if anyone has ever scratched at that record?

This thread would probably do better in the 'racing' forum.....but FWIW...how about me!...pro races 3....wins 0, places 0.......but I'm tipping I might give Eddy a run for his money now!. ......

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Old 11-29-04, 03:36 PM
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Hinault
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Old 11-29-04, 03:42 PM
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The second best racing cyclist of all time has to be Bernard Hinault. Just take a look at his incredible palmares and these are just his victories in the major races :

1977: 1st Ghent-Wevelgem, 1st Liege-Bastogne-Liege, 1st Grand Prix des Nations, 1st Dauphine Libere + 2 stages.
1978: 1st Tour de France + 3 stages, 1st Vuelta a Espana + 5 stages, 1st French Road Race Championship, 1st Grand Prix des Nations.
1979: 1st Tour de France + 7 stages + Points, 1st Giro di Lombardia, 1st Fleche Wallonne, 1st Grand Prix des Nations, 1st Dauphine Libere + 4 stages.
1980: 1st World Road Race Championship, 1st Giro d'Italia + 1 stage, 1st Liege-Bastogne-Liege, 1st Tour de Romandie.
1981: 1st Tour de France + 5 stages, 1st Paris-Roubaix, 1st Amstel Gold Race, 1st Dauphine Libere + 4 stages + Points + Mountains.
1982: 1st Tour de France + 4 stages, 1st Giro d'Italia + 5 stages, 1st Tour of Luxembourg + 1 stage, 1st Grand Prix des Nations.
1983: 1st Vuelta a Espana + 2 stages, 1st Fleche Wallonne.
1984: 1st Giro di Lombardia, 1st Dunkirk Four Day, 1st Grand Prix des Nations, 1st French Road Race Championship.
1985: 1st Tour de France + 3 stages, 1st Giro d'Italia + 1 stage.
1986: Tour De France 3 stages + Mountains.

Last edited by Provence; 11-29-04 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 11-29-04, 03:43 PM
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Who cares?
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Old 11-29-04, 03:45 PM
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Coppi perhaps.
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Old 11-29-04, 03:51 PM
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Bernard Hinault
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Old 11-29-04, 04:50 PM
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Bob Roll.

Just kidding.
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Old 11-29-04, 04:50 PM
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"Who cares?"

Yeah....Who is first loser? Does it matter?
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Old 11-29-04, 04:51 PM
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I admire anyone who rides farther, faster or for more miles than I. Lance is at the top of the list of cyclists I admire. It is also true that I am quite pleased at my own level of effort. Not sure it matters whether or not Lance is actually the "best." What matters to me is that I am not the worst.
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Old 11-29-04, 04:52 PM
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i second bob roll
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Old 11-29-04, 05:40 PM
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I'd say it's Bernard Hinault.

I think that's why he has to zip up all the jerseys at the Tour podiums. They make the "first loser" do all the scut work.

Oh, and if it's not Hinault? It's Boonen.

(Man, the Badger's gonna kick DXchulo's ass!)
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Old 11-29-04, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by DXchulo
"Who cares?"
Yeah....Who is first loser? Does it matter?
Although others obviously have a very different opinion, to me it matters not only who the "first loser" of any TdF might be, but even who the lantern rouge might be. As a rider and one who knows just how physically and mentally exhausting serious cycling (especially racing) can be, I find it simply impossible not to admire and respect any dedicated professional rider who does nothing more than merely finish any of the major tours. I would be honored to shake the hand of any "first loser" (or lantern rouge) and offer my sincerest congratulations on a job well done.
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Old 11-29-04, 07:20 PM
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How on earth anyone can infer Bernard Hinault is as loser is beyond me. He won 5 Tours de France, 3 Giro's and 2 Vuelta's for crying out loud in an era when the competition was much stiffer than it is today. A riders palmares has everything to do with how good he was. It's the only yardstick everyone can truly agree on because it's objective, not an opinion.

Lance Armstrong is a great rider, yeah i think most people would agree he is but he only really enters the Tour, has the luxury to concentrate all his efforts and train like stink all year in preparation for one race. I know it is THE race of the season which lasts three gruelling weeks but even so just think about Hinault, he entered EVERY major race of the season and won all of them multiple times year after year!
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Old 11-29-04, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Maj.Taylor
Although others obviously have a very different opinion, to me it matters not only who the "first loser" of any TdF might be, but even who the lantern rouge might be. As a rider and one who knows just how physically and mentally exhausting serious cycling (especially racing) can be, I find it simply impossible not to admire and respect any dedicated professional rider who does nothing more than merely finish any of the major tours. I would be honored to shake the hand of any "first loser" (or lantern rouge) and offer my sincerest congratulations on a job well done.
I second this statement. EVERY time I get out and ride my bike I think about how bad I suck compared to the professionals...and weekend racers for that matter. It's not a sad thing for me, just makes me realize how hard they ALL work to be at that level. I don't race- maybe some day but I doubt it- for me it's about riding, relaxing, struggling, yelling "F you" at hills I crest, etc.

PJ
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Old 11-29-04, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Provence
How on earth anyone can infer Bernard Hinault is as loser is beyond me. He won 5 Tours de France, 3 Giro's and 2 Vuelta's for crying out loud in an era when the competition was much stiffer than it is today.
and Le Partridge in the Pear Tree

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Old 11-29-04, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rockmuncher
Who cares?
Then pipe down sheila.
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Old 11-29-04, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by divekrb
Comparing palomares isn't the best measure...

Eddy Merckx definitely wins for most failed drug tests by a TDF winner. If they handed out penalties like they do today he'd be an interesting footnote, plus a lot of his wins were in exhibition "races". That's the problem with comparing eras. Indurain often let others win races and stages so he gets knocked down for being a gentlemen? LeMond was clearly kicking Hinault's tail when he won number 5 so can we discount that?

I dunno. You win 6 TDF's in a row and you don't make the top five?

Find a rider that wouldn't give up all his other wins to stand on the podium in Paris listening to his national anthem...
I still don't think that puts him in the top 5. How many races in total has Lance won? I think Lance is great, but he also has a team that will kill for him if they have to. I don't know about that many of the old school guys, but did their teams work for their leader like USPS does for Lance? If he went and kicked ass for a whole season, and won a bunch of Tours and classics, I'd put him in the top 5.
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Old 11-29-04, 08:38 PM
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Old 11-29-04, 08:58 PM
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This has to be one of the most pointless threads I have every seen on any forum anywhere. Even if there was some sort of concensus it would still be senseless. All it is is an insult to great riders everywhere, especially those who get a mention.

And I'll bet some of the lesser riders who don't get a mention will be a bit miffed. I know I would be, to a certain extent. If I was interested, which I'm not! So there!

Anyway, to give you an idea of just how bad this thread is, it's even worse than my "Poll: Follicle Faux Pas" thread (http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=73582) which was totally inane and was hardly worth reading, let alone posting on. Though some people actually did. Poor deluded children...

And people called Trevor, or even using the name Trevor in their alias, should be careful about calling other faceless netizens names. I wish I knew how to spell the sound of a big wet raspberry. Oh yeah, I can use one of these little picture things
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Old 11-29-04, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rockmuncher
And I'll bet some of the lesser riders who don't get a mention will be a bit miffed. I know I would be, to a certain extent.
I'm sure Jens Voight is sitting at home right now thinking "Those cheeky little bastards! How dare they not mention me! I'm miffed!" or some such thing. Or, he could not care. Or, he could know that he's not the best and know that people know that, and know that it's ok because obviously not everyone is the best. (Yeah, it's a kinda confusing sentence, oh well)

Do you really think domestiques think of themselves as the greatest riders ever? Or do they just go out there, do their damndest, and sleep well at night knowing they did their job? I'm gonna go ahead and bet on the latter.
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Old 11-30-04, 09:42 PM
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DiveKRB:
Quote:<Comparing palomares isn't the best measure...>

Flaneur: Yes it is, until you, or someone else, comes up with a better one.

Quote:<Eddy Merckx definitely wins for most failed drug tests by a TDF winner. If they handed out penalties like they do today he'd be an interesting footnote, plus a lot of his wins were in exhibition "races". That's the problem with comparing eras.>

Flaneur: Palmares don't include exhibition races. That's why they can be used as a rough yardstick of greatness, which was the idea behind this thread, no?

Quote:<Indurain often let others win races and stages so he gets knocked down for being a gentlemen?>

Flaneur: All the great patrons allowed others to win races, for a variety of reasons, seldom to do with being gentlemanly, however you define it.

Quote:<LeMond was clearly kicking Hinault's tail when he won number 5 so can we discount that?>

Flaneur: No he wasn't, he just continues to state that he might have done...........

Quote:<I dunno. You win 6 TDF's in a row and you don't make the top five?>

Flaneur: I ain't sure either. He's climbing the table in my eyes, too.

Quote:<Find a rider that wouldn't give up all his other wins to stand on the podium in Paris listening to his national anthem...>

Flaneur: Some riders just don't have the physical make up to be competitive in the Tours- most riders, in fact. Some of the others excel at another branch of the sport and are revered here and elsewhere. No harm done....there is more to cycling than the TDF, as Lance may soon remember.

I think Coppi gives Hinault a run for his money in this contest. He battled physical problems all his career, lost the best years to WW2 and still became a luminary figure............
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Old 11-30-04, 10:21 PM
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What about Ulrich? Oh... I thought we were talking about who is "the best second."

Seriously though, wouldn't a comparison of the rider's personal stats and abilities (individual TT times on comparable courses, times on climbs, VO2 max, power output, etc.) be better than measuring riders by their performance against their peers? With doping allegations, different peers, stronger teams, and a shift in the way riders train for races, any discussion about what a rider has won isn't really a fair way to compare.
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Old 12-01-04, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Fixed Up North
Seriously though, wouldn't a comparison of the rider's personal stats and abilities (individual TT times on comparable courses, times on climbs, VO2 max, power output, etc.) be better than measuring riders by their performance against their peers?
Nope, because often times what makes a rider great is his (or her) tactics. Bettini is a good rider physically, but not the best. He's good all-around, but wouldn't win any of those categories you mention. The thing is, he's super-smart and super-wily. He outsmarts rather than overpowers people all the time, which is why he does so well. It's not all about physical ability.
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Old 12-01-04, 11:22 AM
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Fixed............

not sure your comparison idea really gives much insight, when we compare riders of today with guys from the 40's, for example. There was no VO2 max testing, road surfaces were a lot different, race rules were different, TT courses were set out differently, even when superficially the same. Taking static test results is hardly a measure of someone's competitive spirit and performance, either- how a guy responds to adversity, say. Your method would discriminate against Coppi, in favour of, for instance, Hinault or Anquetil, who were year-round Time Trial monsters.

A rider can only beat the guys of his generation to prove his worth. After that, it's up to those who saw and analysed the racing to make a subjective judgement across the generations. Your suggestion would exclude the Bartali's and Koblet's, Binda, Maes and Bobet- whilst aggrandising workout warriors like Ullrich, whose career is a travesty of his physical gifts. The only way a smart guy gets recognition for his racing brain is by comparing results; the guy with the fantasic form does not always translate this into victories- and sometimes, the only person to blame for that is himself.

It's fun to wonder how Anquetil would have got on with a funny bike and slippery skinsuit, whether Coppi would have still destroyed fields in the mountains, under modern conditions. It's tempting to say the top guys would have adapted. Guys who were on the technological cusp, like Moser and Lemond, took advantage of science and their own mental adaptability, to win races, whilst more traditional-minded rivals were left trailing behind. This happened in the same way as it did when derailleurs were invented- it's part of the inexorable process of time, tempered by the rule makers, tweaked by the manufacturers, tested by the best riders of each era.

Comparisons are tough....but only a fool would assume that today's riders would outclass the old guard. Great athletes overcome problems and drive themselves to improve. They do this to win races and this is why keeping score of their successes still has value.
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