Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => Freewheeling => Racing => Topic started by: rogerzilla on July 20, 2012, 06:43:57 pm

Title: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: rogerzilla on July 20, 2012, 06:43:57 pm
These aren't in any order, by the way.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: clarion on July 20, 2012, 06:45:28 pm
Teethgrinder, natch.  But, after him, maybe Beryl Burton. ;)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Wowbagger on July 20, 2012, 06:56:30 pm
Where, pray, is Charlotte?
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: clarion on July 20, 2012, 07:03:17 pm
Is the next poll about whether Campag is better than Shimano? ;)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: spesh on July 20, 2012, 07:18:45 pm
The Greatest Of All Time probably hasn't even been born yet, or, due to a strange twist of fate has spent their entire life doing something completely different to cycling.

Just to be different, I'll nominate Gino Bartali - not for his palmares, but for what he did during the six-year gap in his racing career.

see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gino_Bartali#Bartali_in_wartime

Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Basil on July 20, 2012, 07:24:15 pm
Can we have two votes please Rog?  I wanted to vote Burton and Merckx.

I voted Beryl.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Rhys W on July 20, 2012, 07:53:08 pm
Does Burton refer to Beryl, Maurice, or Germaine?
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Gus on July 20, 2012, 07:53:55 pm
Roger De Vlaeminck
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: rogerzilla on July 20, 2012, 08:32:58 pm
Does Burton refer to Beryl, Maurice, or Germaine?
Beryl. Not Richard.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: clarion on July 20, 2012, 08:58:56 pm
If this poll is rerun in about 20 years time, I think I'd be voting for Germain.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on July 20, 2012, 09:06:26 pm
Teethgrinder. Then bobb.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Rig of Jarkness on July 20, 2012, 09:14:50 pm
Merckx Merckx Merckx.  Or possibly Coppi. With Sir Chris Hoy and Mrs Beryl Burton as close seconds.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: clarion on July 20, 2012, 09:26:21 pm
Jeannie Longo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeannie_Longo)?  Surely the most extensive palmares - 13 World Championships, in road, TT and track, with several other medals, and a silver in mountain biking; four Olympic medals in seven Games; 3 Tours Feminins; Hour record.

I know there was an EPO scandal concerning her husband earlier this year, but most of the cyclists in the list took drugs.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: AndyK on July 20, 2012, 09:32:13 pm
I voted Merckx. Great cyclist, and always the first name that springs to mind when anyone says 'greatest cyclist...'. Also, I have one of these (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v223/Minitar1/Dg/DSCF0004-1.jpg).
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: TheLurker on July 21, 2012, 11:18:27 am
Indurain for me.  I was too young to appreciate Merckx and my Dad's explanation of why Merckx was winning even though he hadn't won the stage thoroughly confused me.  More to the point I loved Mig's understated (not _boring_) way of turning up the heat. 
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: fungus on July 21, 2012, 11:28:39 am
Merckx obviously but I've still voted for our Beryl  :)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Biggsy on July 21, 2012, 11:43:57 am
I don't know enough about Merckx; Armstrong hugely impressed me; Cippolini should be on the list for the entertainment he brought; but Teethgrinder gets my vote.  His incredible madness endurance deserves the recognition.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: hubner on July 21, 2012, 12:07:52 pm
Easy answer: Merckx, no one else comes close. A more interesting question is who is the second or the top five. I'd go for Hinault, followed closely by Coppi and Anquetil.

Re: Longo and Beryl Burton, women's racing is hardly competitive, is it? especially in the past.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: RJ on July 21, 2012, 12:17:20 pm
The Greatest Of All Time probably hasn't even been born yet, or, due to a strange twist of fate has spent their entire life doing something completely different to cycling.

Just to be different, I'll nominate Gino Bartali - not for his palmares, but for what he did during the six-year gap in his racing career.

see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gino_Bartali#Bartali_in_wartime

Impressive and noble stuff indeed.  Though judged on road cycle racing results only (as per OP), Merckx  gets my vote. 
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: fboab on July 21, 2012, 02:49:41 pm
Re: Longo and Beryl Burton, women's racing is hardly competitive, is it? especially in the past.

I'll get the feminazis on you, pissant.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: aregister on July 21, 2012, 09:49:45 pm
Philippe Thys. Love the old timers. Mammoth stages and they had to take care of repairs themselves. And still impressive average speeds.
Thys was the first to win 3 Tours de France: 1913, 1914 and 1920. He would have won more if it hadn't been for the First World War.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: red marley on July 21, 2012, 10:00:50 pm
Re: Longo and Beryl Burton, women's racing is hardly competitive, is it? especially in the past.

Burton held the 12hr TT record for any cyclist male or female, so that probably counts for something.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Tail End Charlie on July 21, 2012, 10:10:43 pm
Merkcx wasn't called Le Cannibale for nothing. We shan't see his like again.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: rogerzilla on July 22, 2012, 08:55:48 pm
I have a soft spot for Jean Robic because he was obviously barking mad.

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3596/3883968317_fc5f913808.jpg)

And Eros Poli for the greatest TdF stage win ever, Cipollini's 6'4" windbreak stealing the Ventoux from the climbers.  His all-day lone breakaway was caught on the previous stage, so he decided to do it again to prove a point, and built up enough of a lead on the flat to get over the top without being caught.  He came third from last on GC.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxTnLaH3gVA

Note the cotton cap with the top cut out to make an eyeshade.  Poli used to cut himself a new one every morning.

Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: alecstilleyedye on July 23, 2012, 11:27:58 am
coppi merckx coppi merckx coppi merckx coppi merckx coppi merckx coppi merckx coppi merckx coppi merckx coppi merckx

coppi, wins it on style points and allowances made for interrupted career…
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: djmc on July 23, 2012, 07:49:13 pm
Bartali. Won the tour both before the war and ten years after. His record during the war which only became known quite recently and after his death shows that he was seriously heroic in the absolute sense as well as on the bike.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Hillbilly on July 24, 2012, 08:52:32 pm
Other. Being jure robic.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Porkins on July 28, 2012, 11:03:12 am
Obree.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: IanDG on July 28, 2012, 11:36:46 am
Roger De Vlaeminck

Coolest cyclist ever - Gios - Campag - Brooklyn

I have to go for Merckx as the greatest tho'
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: uphillbothways on July 29, 2012, 02:42:06 am
Merckx, easy. If you were to qualify "greatest cyclist" in any way then it'd be someone else, but Merckx was the complete package. No cyclist before or since has even come close to his all-encompassing dominance.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: AndyK on July 29, 2012, 08:13:08 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sziZ6PejrfM
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Domestique on July 29, 2012, 03:05:11 pm
From my era, Big Mig, even though I wasnt a fan.
Ever then its Merckx
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Ewan Houzami on August 08, 2012, 07:38:35 pm
I'm bigging up Maitre Jacques (Anquetil - alright, it's Merckx really) when I remember how he won the Criterium Du Dauphiné stage race one afternoon, then after speaking to the press for a couple of hours, caught a plane to Bordeaux, ate a chicken with a few glasses of champagne on the flight, had a bit of a snooze and then set off at silly o'oclock the next morning to win the 370 mile Bordeaux-Paris race. Bonkers. ISTR he also once did a 100km TT in around 2 hours in 1960. Alright, so he was partial to a bit of whizz, but as it was pretty much a level playing field back then drugs-wise, I can sort of forgive him.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: mzjo on September 18, 2012, 10:22:43 pm
Binda, the only one who actually got paid not to race because he killed the excitement; also probably the greatest cyclist to abandon the TdF, did 2 stages IIRC.
Bartali, of course.
and Arthur Lynton (who says dodgy trainers, drugs and cycle racing don't mix!)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: SpaceBadger on September 23, 2012, 01:24:13 pm
Marianne Vos.

Dominant across disciplines throughout her whole career. And still going strong.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: rogerzilla on September 23, 2012, 02:34:32 pm
LeMond doesn't get the recognition he probably deserves.  He would very likely have won five Tours de France, had he been able to ride in 1987 and 1988.  I think his reputation was tarnished because he kept going for four declining years instead of retiring at the top, in 1990.

Remember, this was the guy who recorded probably the highest VO2 max of any professional cyclist, ever.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: SpaceBadger on September 23, 2012, 03:31:20 pm
LeMond doesn't get the recognition he probably deserves.  He would very likely have won five Tours de France, had he been able to ride in 1987 and 1988.  I think his reputation was tarnished because he kept going for four declining years instead of retiring at the top, in 1990.

Remember, this was the guy who recorded probably the highest VO2 max of any professional cyclist, ever.

Some justice in my eyes for a guy who gets his rocks off by going hunting. Had he been less trigger happy and not been on a hunting trip, he might have won more titles  :demon:
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: rogerzilla on September 23, 2012, 04:29:03 pm
It was turkey hunting, so not exactly depleting the biodiversity of north America.  ISWYM though.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: SpaceBadger on September 23, 2012, 05:01:12 pm
Is the next poll about whether Campag is better than Shimano? ;)

Phew! Almost missed that one. Shimano over that Italian made packaged stuff everytime.



Where's the smiley that means 'runs away with pin in teeth'?
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: spesh on September 23, 2012, 05:11:30 pm
LeMond doesn't get the recognition he probably deserves.  He would very likely have won five Tours de France, had he been able to ride in 1987 and 1988.  I think his reputation was tarnished because he kept going for four declining years instead of retiring at the top, in 1990.

Remember, this was the guy who recorded probably the highest VO2 max of any professional cyclist, ever.

Though with the benefit of hindsight, you have to ask yourself how much of his decline was down to much of the rest of the peloton being juiced up to the eyeballs on EPO, and how much was due to over-training in an effort to keep up?
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 24, 2012, 01:34:10 am
Most of it, IMHO
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Nuncio on September 24, 2012, 01:36:12 pm
Marianne Vos.

Dominant across disciplines throughout her whole career. And still going strong.

'Still'?  You make her sound old, but she's only 25.  Using Judith Arndt as an example, Vos has 11 years left.  (27 if you take Longo!)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: SpaceBadger on September 24, 2012, 06:05:19 pm
Exactly my point. She's the greatest in my opinion with plenty of miles left to race, on and off-road.

Still.  ;D
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Peter on September 24, 2012, 06:17:12 pm
LeMond doesn't get the recognition he probably deserves.  He would very likely have won five Tours de France, had he been able to ride in 1987 and 1988.  I think his reputation was tarnished because he kept going for four declining years instead of retiring at the top, in 1990.

Remember, this was the guy who recorded probably the highest VO2 max of any professional cyclist, ever.

Though with the benefit of hindsight, you have to ask yourself how much of his decline was down to much of the rest of the peloton being juiced up to the eyeballs on EPO, and how much was due to over-training in an effort to keep up?

I'm not up to speed (!) on the personalities involved doping.  Are we saying Lemond didn't?
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: rogerzilla on September 24, 2012, 06:43:58 pm
I don't believe LeMond did dope.  He was winning before the EPO era and is vocally anti-doping.  There is some history with Armstrong, predictably.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: SpaceBadger on September 24, 2012, 07:09:58 pm
That's not what he says about you.

That Rogerzilla is some guy. Totally juiced up to the tits, man. He could climb the Eiger in the big ring. Blood like treacle. Makes Riis look like a pussy.

 ;)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: spesh on September 24, 2012, 07:12:44 pm
I don't believe LeMond did dope.  He was winning before the EPO era and is vocally anti-doping.  There is some history with Armstrong, predictably.

Even the Clinic heavyweights, who would give Joe McCarthy a run for his money when it comes to seeing Reds under the bed dopers in the peloton, consider LeMond to have ridden clean.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Peter on September 24, 2012, 07:14:06 pm
I'd like to think so!
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: spesh on October 27, 2012, 08:59:05 pm
So... are the yACF Management Committee going to reassign Armstrong's votes? :demon:
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on October 27, 2012, 09:11:26 pm
So... are the yACF Management Committee going to reassign Armstrong's votes? :demon:

Probably best to allocate Armstrong's votes to Lemond, a multiple world champ, multiple Tour winner from the USA.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Martin 14 on November 07, 2012, 07:34:20 pm
How do you measure greatness ;)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: pcolbeck on November 07, 2012, 07:43:17 pm
I voted Fignon. Maybe not the greatest on a bike but dam good. He is however I think the best racing cyclist at writing about being a great racing cyclist.  Some of his stuff is just beautiful.
Title: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: citoyen on November 07, 2012, 08:03:36 pm
Traditionally, I've always answered Merckx to this question, even though he'd retired before I even learned how to ride a bike, so that's based on reputation alone.

However, it was Lemond who really got me interested in cycling. Sure, there were Hinault, Fignon, Kelly, Delgado, Abdoujaparov and Millar around at the same time, and they were all great, but my abiding memories of watching the Tour de France on C4 in that era are of Lemond. 

Plus, in light of recent events, I've come to admire him even more as a person, as well as a cyclist.

d.

Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: rogerzilla on November 07, 2012, 08:06:38 pm
Breaking news - you can now change your vote!
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Martin 14 on November 07, 2012, 08:40:53 pm
Maurice-Francois Garin....for being the first tour winner and laying the foundations for the greatest bicycle race on the planet :)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: rogerzilla on November 07, 2012, 08:42:55 pm
And for taking a train in 1904.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: clarion on November 07, 2012, 08:50:54 pm
Very sensible.  Bet he didn't do any of that not stopping at cafes nonsense.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Martin 14 on November 07, 2012, 10:01:55 pm
And for taking a train in 1904.

Indeed, proof that cheating even back then was present :)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: docsquid on November 08, 2012, 04:49:17 pm
Bartali. Won the tour both before the war and ten years after. His record during the war which only became known quite recently and after his death shows that he was seriously heroic in the absolute sense as well as on the bike.

Have voted for Mercx, because of his amazing dominance, BUT...this guy Bartali is a real world hero, and gets my vote too.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: arabella on November 08, 2012, 05:18:51 pm
Jeannie Longo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeannie_Longo)

blah blah column inches devoted to men s column inches devoted to women
blah blah last years spoty
blah blah
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: fred the great on January 18, 2013, 04:13:51 pm
What about Bobet, he won three tours during my road racing days.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on January 18, 2013, 04:36:10 pm
Should really have Nicole Cooke on that list. If you look at her career, she's been nearly as impressive as Beryl Burton.  Also Jeanie Longo

If you are restricting it to road, then I vote Beryl.
None of the others dominated (road) time trialing as well as road riding as much as her.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on January 18, 2013, 06:01:43 pm
Bartali isn't on the list. His war time activities have already been mentioned - but those make him a great person, possibly the greatest person who was a (professional) cyclist, not the greatest cyclist. I'm torn between Burton and Merckx for my vote - I'd kind of disqualify Burton because she was great at cycling, rather than a great cyclist - unlike the others she didn't make a living from it. But then neither does TG (you might say both live(d) for rather than from cycling) and he's on the list, so...
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on January 18, 2013, 06:28:22 pm
Hmm, perhaps we should now add Nicole Cooke to the list?
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: SpaceBadger on January 18, 2013, 08:36:52 pm
Or perhaps we filter the shortlist to exclude anyone who has ever failed a drug test or admitted taking banned performance enhancing substances?

It would be a very short list.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Pedal Castro on January 19, 2013, 02:33:27 pm
Should really have Nicole Cooke on that list. If you look at her career, she's been nearly as impressive as Beryl Burton.

I am a Nicole fan but this statement is more ridiculous than anything LA said this week!
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on January 19, 2013, 03:00:30 pm
I don't think so at all. Before I made it I looked up their record. Beryl set far more records, true, but Nicole dominated professional road cycling in a way that Beryl didn't, and Beryl wasn't facing the same level of competition.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: bobb on January 19, 2013, 03:06:15 pm
I'd put Vos ahead of Cooke...
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Wowbagger on January 19, 2013, 03:18:41 pm
I voted Fignon. Maybe not the greatest on a bike but dam good. He is however I think the best racing cyclist at writing about being a great racing cyclist.  Some of his stuff is just beautiful.

I'd say that Tim Krabbé is the best racing cyclist to write about cycle racing.

He is also pretty damned good at something else...

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/24/Tim_Krabbe_1969.jpg/220px-Tim_Krabbe_1969.jpg)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: SpaceBadger on January 19, 2013, 03:27:17 pm
I voted Fignon. Maybe not the greatest on a bike but dam good. He is however I think the best racing cyclist at writing about being a great racing cyclist.  Some of his stuff is just beautiful.

I'd say that Tim Krabbé is the best racing cyclist to write about cycle racing.

He is also pretty damned good at something else...

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/24/Tim_Krabbe_1969.jpg/220px-Tim_Krabbe_1969.jpg)

I presume that you're not referring to his facial topiary skills?  ;D
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Pedal Castro on January 19, 2013, 03:36:26 pm
I don't think so at all. Before I made it I looked up their record. Beryl set far more records, true, but Nicole dominated professional road cycling in a way that Beryl didn't, and Beryl wasn't facing the same level of competition.

Hmmm, BB won 12 national RR champs and 2 Worlds, to NC's 10 national and 1 World. BB would have won more Worlds if not that she was so good that she was usually marked out of the race so much. In addition she managed 5 World track golds. She also once beat me in a 10, something Nicole has not yet managed to do! :-)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Littlesox on April 13, 2013, 05:44:19 pm
I tried to vote "Other - please state", but didn't get the chance (unless I did something wrong) so would state here, Marianne Vos
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 29, 2013, 12:59:52 am
http://road.cc/content/news/95153-gino-bartali-awarded-israels-righteous-among-nations-wartime-activities
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: falcon on February 28, 2014, 09:56:27 pm
Agree with spesh with bartali, book is excellent read, he did amazing things during the war years
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Rainmaker on March 01, 2014, 09:05:01 am
I would add one comment about  Beryl Burton's record, when she was competing in national/international women's road races it was thought that females were not capable of riding long distances or hilly courses.   Most road races were comparatively short distances and she was a marked rider.   It would have been very interesting to see her compete in current women's events.
Don't forget that she was world champion at the pursuit and also she beat the men's record for 12 hours so she was certainly was an "all rounder", indeed she held the women's Best All Rounder award for a record number of years and I believe the distances involved were 25, 50 and 100 miles, the 12 hour event was only for the men's BAR.   
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: SJR on May 30, 2014, 07:16:15 am
I voted 'other' for Gino Bartali too.  I take on board what was said about being an heroic person but would also point out that all of those heroic exploits also involved riding his bike.  Not racing other riders but racing through the night, avoiding being caught etc.  That'd spice up an audax.  Definitely the greatest cycling hero for me.  Thomas Stevens runs him a close second - first man to cycle around the world - on a high wheeler!
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: TimC on May 30, 2014, 07:43:15 am
I tried to vote "Other - please state", but didn't get the chance (unless I did something wrong) so would state here, Marianne Vos

+1
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: citoyen on May 30, 2014, 11:53:43 am
In light of developments since this poll was opened, are people allowed to change their vote?  :demon:

I'm still appalled that he got more votes than Lemond even before the revelations, tbh.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: fuzzy (retd.) AAGE on May 30, 2014, 12:23:09 pm
I voted for Eddie but, I think I want to put a shout in for Paul Kimmage.

This shout is in honour of all the cyclists who tried to do it clean but couldn't and then tried to make a noise about it.

Despite getting shouted down, ostracized and generally belittled, Paul stuck to his guns.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: clarion on May 30, 2014, 12:26:25 pm
Changing votes might be a tad academic, given the result.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: citoyen on May 30, 2014, 12:30:16 pm
I know but it's the principle, dammit!

Is it really fair to force those who were duped by Mr Gunderson to wallow in their shame?
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: maxcherry on August 03, 2014, 03:12:15 pm
 Marshall 'Major' Taylor world champion  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: woollypigs on August 03, 2014, 08:39:03 pm
There is many but what about - Anne Mustoe, set off cycling the world, did it three times, knowing next too nothing about touring and cycling.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: hillbilly on August 18, 2015, 10:11:25 am
It's hard to get beyond Eddy Merckx, given his long list of wins and the aggressive way he achieved them.

I would have thought Jure Robic would have merited a mention.  He's arguably the greatest ultra endurance cyclist of modern times.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: SpaceBadger on August 18, 2015, 05:48:55 pm
There is many but what about - Anne Mustoe, set off cycling the world, did it three times, knowing next too nothing about touring and cycling.

Interesting one. I suppose it depends on how you define 'great'. From the poll, we seem slanted towards competitive achievements i.e. greatest=best. In my view, it's the right linkage. I personally can't reconcile the "greatest cyclist of all time" being a cycle tourist.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: fd3 on July 19, 2017, 08:59:40 am
I think there are some very clear systems you can use:
Olympic gold = stage win at a grand tour.
Tour > Giro > Vuelta (therefore someone who has won multiple grand tours is not as good as someone who has won the same number but only from the Tour)
Classics are better than grand tour stages, but not twice as much.
World Championships are clearly >> National Championships
National Championships mean different things in different countries and frankly the British one is not really something to crow about.
You can only beat the riders you are up against, but still you get bragging rights if you can beat better opposition.
Setting records and being multi-disciplinary is worth bonus points, but is not worth a grand tour.

The only tricky question is whether you should disqualify anyone who we have reason to believe doped.

While I am a big fan of Beryl, Vos and Cooke, none of them are in the top group of riders mentioned in the poll - though Vos and Cooke might get there if you exclude the dopers.


Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Samuel D on July 19, 2017, 09:30:21 am
I think there are some very clear systems you can use:

Clear but arbitrary.

The only tricky question is whether you should disqualify anyone who we have reason to believe doped.

The only sensible answer is no, since greatness often coexists with cheating.

Disagree with you on Burton, who was peerless in a way no other woman or man has been since.

If Froome wins this Tour, we’ll have to start thinking about adding him to these lists.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 19, 2017, 09:33:51 am
Froome can fuck off.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: LEE on July 19, 2017, 10:10:42 am
It's hard to get beyond Eddy Merckx, given his long list of wins and the aggressive way he achieved them.

I would have thought Jure Robic would have merited a mention.  He's arguably the greatest ultra endurance cyclist of modern times.

Most career victories by a professional cyclist: 525.
Most stage victories in the Tour de France: 34.
Most stage victories in one Tour de France: 8, in 1970 and 1974 (shared with Charles Pélissier in 1930 and Freddy Maertens in 1976).
Most days with the yellow jersey in the Tour de France: 96.
The only cyclist to have won the general classification, points classification and mountains classification in the same Tour de France (1969).
Most victories in classics: 28.
Most victories in one single classic: 7 (in Milan–San Remo).
Most victories in Grand Tours: 11
In 1972, Eddy Merckx set a new hour record at 49.431 km (30.715 mi)


Chris Froome is clearly a top cyclist but he, like SKY, tend to focus their efforts at a few select races.

Wiggo, despite not winning the TdF repeatedly, stacks up better than Froome (in my opinion) because of his versatility and track achievements.  I do feel sorry for Froome though.  It's not his fault that his technique is more effective than stylish, or aggressive. He just spins up hills, staring at his power-meter, all elbows and knees, pissing off the French in the process (which is a good thing obviously).
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 19, 2017, 10:39:58 am
I vaguely recall a statistic that Eddy Merckx averaged something better than a win a fortnight the whole time he was a professional cyclist. Even including post-Tour crit results, that is an impressive record.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: fd3 on July 19, 2017, 10:41:37 am
I think there are some very clear systems you can use:

Clear but arbitrary.
If Froome wins this Tour, we’ll have to start thinking about adding him to these lists.
Arbitrary but also obvious and I don't think anyone would argue that a gold medal in the team pursuit is barely equal to a stage win on the tour.
If Froome wins his 4th he will be in a very select group of riders and would merit a mention - for mine he is already ahead of Wiggo as he has a hat-trick of Tours, while Wiggo has one Tour and then some other less important stuff.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: The French Tandem on July 19, 2017, 11:00:08 am
I'm surprised no one has yet suggested...

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Wowbagger on July 19, 2017, 11:13:41 am
You just did!
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Samuel D on July 19, 2017, 11:41:44 am
Arbitrary but also obvious and I don't think anyone would argue that a gold medal in the team pursuit is barely equal to a stage win on the tour.

I think you would find takers for that argument, and anyway you would need to come up with precise weightings for each sort of win. It’s not enough to say one win is better than another; we need to know how much better as a ratio. These weightings would have to vary over time and with the (weighted!) quality of the ensemble of the opposition, too. The whole scheme is impracticable (as you probably accept, but it’s fun to talk about).

Merckx won more races in part because he raced more, that being what everyone did in his era. Contador and Quintana recently showed what happens nowadays if you try to race even two grand tours in one season (and practically nothing else). Contador and Quintana are not Merckx, but Merckx’s palmarès would have looked very different if he’d raced today, even assumming his career wasn’t cut short by doping (a reasonable assumption, because doping meant something very different in his day, Armstrong’s day, and today). And yet, he would probably be just as ‘great’ today as in any other era. But even if he wouldn’t be as great today, that shouldn’t diminish his ’60s and ’70s greatness in any way. Greatness has to be judged against the context of the time, with all the physical, professional, moral, and other obligations that entails.

So I think greatness can only be judged by gut feeling. Statistics just contribute to that nebulous feeling.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: fd3 on July 19, 2017, 02:43:17 pm
Arbitrary but also obvious and I don't think anyone would argue that a gold medal in the team pursuit is barely equal to a stage win on the tour.

I think you would find takers for that argument
Yes, but they would be wrong.*

Merckx had worthwhile opposition in all his races, good racers raced him in every race, some picking their races specifically, and he still beat them.

Frankly it would be more interesting arguing who is second best after Merckx.

*I accept this is inflammatory and there is an element of tong in cheek.  But it's still true.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on July 19, 2017, 07:13:59 pm
Sugar tongs probably.  :D
Arbitrary but also obvious and I don't think anyone would argue that a gold medal in the team pursuit is barely equal to a stage win on the tour.

I think you would find takers for that argument
Yes, but they would be wrong.*

Merckx had worthwhile opposition in all his races, good racers raced him in every race, some picking their races specifically, and he still beat them.

Frankly it would be more interesting arguing who is second best after Merckx.

*I accept this is inflammatory and there is an element of tong in cheek.  But it's still true.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: rogerzilla on July 20, 2017, 10:33:24 pm
Barry Hoban was in the ITV4 commentary box for yesterday's stage and most of his reminiscences were about riding in an era totally dominated by Merckx.  He didn't seem to resent Merckx's success, that was just the way it was from 1969-1975, and it was a bad time to be anyone else.

In the documentary film "Stars and Watercarriers", Merckx's annual income is quoted, and it's an astonishing sum when adjusted for inflation.  He's still supposed to be worth $20m these days.  His greatness was recognised at the time; it's not just a hindsight thing.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Samuel D on July 20, 2017, 11:55:03 pm
His greatness was recognised at the time; it's not just a hindsight thing.

True. I wasn’t around at the time, but the documentaries I’ve seen leave no room for doubt about that, as I’ve noted before. (https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=97069.msg2019466#msg2019466)

Victory Journal has a fun comparison of Stars and Watercarriers and my favourite, La course en tête, here. (https://victoryjournal.com/stories/the-cannibal/)
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: fd3 on July 24, 2017, 06:52:42 pm
If we exclude known or suspected dopers we are left with:
Lemond
Fignon (?)
Big mig
Cav
Burton
Tg

Am I being unfair to anyone on the list and should I have excluded anyone from it?
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 24, 2017, 06:54:52 pm
Take out Fignon and Indurain.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Ian H on July 24, 2017, 10:36:32 pm
Take out Fignon and Indurain.

Pretty pointless game, though.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 24, 2017, 10:51:38 pm
Only if you take bike racing seriously.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: fd3 on July 24, 2017, 11:30:51 pm
Take out Fignon and Indurain.
Mig, really? 
So, Tg is in with a one in four chance then.  Maybe w should find a spot for Cooke and co.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Porkins on September 04, 2017, 03:40:10 pm
I still think Obree ranks above any of those. Look at the scale of his physical and technical achievements, and the absence of any kind of support team, and the campaign by the establishment to undermine him. The others merely ticked the 'physical achievement' box, with no technical achievements to speak of. And with Obree's handicaps, how many of them would have won anything at elite level? Obree's vision and his performances changed cycling. He should get a big place in history. The others only had a short spell of success in a narrow field.
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 04, 2017, 04:17:55 pm
I'd certainly rate the film about the Obree/Boardman rivalry as the best cycling film of all time. But I'm a TTer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIDQH3FeG7Y
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: quixoticgeek on July 08, 2018, 01:25:07 am


Shouldn't this thread be called "best male cyclist" ??

No option for Marianna vos?

Or Lael Wilcox?

J
Title: Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 08, 2018, 01:47:00 am
Beryl Burton is there and some of her records stood for decades. She is second in the voting.

Depth of competition might be a consideration?