Poll

Road cyclist, that is.  Who gets your vote?

Anquetil
Merckx
Hinault
LeMond
Armstrong
Wiggins
Coppi
Indurain
Fignon
Cavendish
Burton
Teethgrinder
Other (please state)

Author Topic: Greatest cyclist of all time?  (Read 52763 times)

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #75 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!

TimC

  • Bike pilot
Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #76 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

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #77 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.

fuzzy (retd.) AAGE

  • SWMBO's Toy Boy.
  • Apprentice Leathery Old Git
    • The Secret Cyclist blog
Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #78 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.
Quote from: tatanab
The mark of a true cyclist - prepared to try anything on offer

If it ain't bad for you it ain't worth doing

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #79 on: May 30, 2014, 12:26:25 pm »
Changing votes might be a tad academic, given the result.
Getting there...

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #80 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?

maxcherry

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #81 on: August 03, 2014, 03:12:15 pm »
 Marshall 'Major' Taylor world champion  :thumbsup:

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #82 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.
Do join a demo near you - https://t.co/Ai5EfHuKUo

hillbilly

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #83 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.

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #84 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.

fd3

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #85 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.


[/I could be wrong]

Samuel D

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #86 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.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #87 on: July 19, 2017, 09:33:51 am »
Froome can fuck off.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #88 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).
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #89 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.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

fd3

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #90 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.
[/I could be wrong]

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #91 on: July 19, 2017, 11:00:08 am »
I'm surprised no one has yet suggested...

(click to show/hide)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #92 on: July 19, 2017, 11:13:41 am »
You just did!
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Samuel D

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #93 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.

fd3

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #94 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.
[/I could be wrong]

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #95 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.
sideways bounding monkey lounging under fruit tree

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #96 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.
Never tell me the odds.

Samuel D

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #97 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.

Victory Journal has a fun comparison of Stars and Watercarriers and my favourite, La course en tête, here.

fd3

Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #98 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?
[/I could be wrong]

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Greatest cyclist of all time?
« Reply #99 on: July 24, 2017, 06:54:52 pm »
Take out Fignon and Indurain.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...