Francois, it IS possible that a rider could be stronger than Eddy and have nowhere near the results of Eddy - due to different circumstances like not starting to ride a bike until you are 23 or something. So it IS possible Busche is stronger than Eddy. Although extremely extremely unlikely. About the same odds that monkeys will fly out of flickers **** i would say.
It is also VERY likely there HAVE already been stronger riders than Eddy,
but they never competed. Ended up working in a coal mine or something.
What's your point? You think I don't know that Eddy quite possibly wasn't the most perfect human athlete this planet ever produced?
I don't discount that for one minute. I also don't care. Especially not if you are bringing in people who never raced. Who knows, maybe there were Martians who dominated the Tour de Intergalactique for years, until it was moved to Uranus? So what?
I can also think of several more riders that you could call "greatest rider" from their particular era, as each era brought its own yard sticks. Names I'd personally would still propose long before Lance (only TdF focus), and I rate Lance quite highly. Anquetil, Bartali, Coppi anyone? The older ones were possibly even greater than Eddy Merckx in some aspects.
It's probably a cultural thing, and possibly a generational. I like it when people finger someone with potential as "probably quite good - worth a view". Rather than "possibly the bestus evar".
Before launching someone as "could be the next...", it would be nice if people could mention some very good and gifted riders, rather than project them immediately amongst the exceptionally
and legendary gifted who reigned supreme. I'd take them far more serious, both the poster AND the rider.
I'm fed up with people calling the totally unproven, let alone competitively tested in races that give a much clearer indication about genuine "cannibal" potential, immediately the next Beatles, when their entire track record shows only that they have picked up a guitar and have a natural ability to strum, and play a starring role. In the local choir. And with all due respect, if the track records is based on competing on the US circuit alone, it'd be even more careful before setting 'em up as someone who is likely potentially capable to dominate the field on the highest stages for a decade or so.
There is a long road between being good, very good, and be "Cannibal-Lance-Indurain (et al) material".
Much as I like to hear about promising riders, let the guy ride a few races in a region that will give you a real clue on how he squares up with his compadres. He sounds decent. But so does Andy Schleck. Gesink. EBH. You name 'em. People who are already riding along with the big boys, and names that will be with us for years to come. Some who are already outperforming Big Boys. And most of them still aren't called "the next Merckx" here, just "probably gonna be quite good riders in the future".
But Schleck et al are the benchmarks he will have to better, for over a decade or so. In classics and GTs. Right now he still has to prove he has the ability to win anything in the top league, let alone dominate a/his generation.
I quite like it when people get very excited about an upcoming rider. I hate it when it's (still) so OTT that I actually start to dislike the rider for the fan boys he creates. It's not the rider's fault when fan boys show that planet earth is long left behind. But I already care lot less about EBH than I maybe should, and some posters on these type of forums are responsible that.
Someone said it. 24 is not young. 24 simply means that the peak should still be ahead of you. But those who end up dominating a generation are usually beating
(most) of the top at age 23, 24. Not hoping to do that in a few years time. I get the guy is making rapid ripples in the US and has potentially more ground to improve over than others who have been taking racing seriously for much longer at that age. But he didn't win SR 2 years ago (or the Amateur World Championships before that at an even younger age, etc). Nor will he win a few classics and all 3 (4) jerseys in the Tour next year. And that's what he is compared with. That level. Right away. It is beyond silly, it's ignorant and arrogant.
I do believe it is harder these days to dominate a generation the way our legends did, Merckx and all. Which makes the task of becoming "a legend like them" an even trickier road.
Oh, and Contador is 2 years older and also not at in his prime yet. Any ETA on when he will be kicked into permanent submission by an all-out dominating Busche? Uphill?
Heck, I'm still not convinced that Contador will be as domineering for as long a period as the other greats did. Call me a sceptic, but I will wait for more impressive indicators before I will place Busche in the very small conga line of people who I think have a genuine shot at becoming that legendary.