Is Contador the most popular cyclist ever?

Page 3 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
May 13, 2015
2,101
0
0
Re:

observer said:
couple of things. I like to see him do well because he races aggressively, with a nice style.
plus he seems to be a very modest and nice guy, when he really could be an arrogant douche.

plus the clinic issue, I tend to think he was specifically targeted, and that is not really treating everyone fairly.
This. Contador is not a celebrity, he is a bike rider first of all. I think that's why so many people like him including myself.
 
Jul 5, 2011
858
0
0
Thought provoking thread. Contador is one rider that consistently shows up as likeable. One thing I notice is his respect for his team mates and his acknowledgement of their hard work. Then his persistent ability to surprise, as in the Giro TT, an incredible ride, and his amazing climb of Motirolo, to give recent examples. Clinic issues are obvious and can't be ignored, but I genuinely hope he is no worse than his adversaries. His working class roots are heart warming, I could imagine him working in a garage or as a cheerful postman if he hadn't discovered his prodigious cycling ability.
Re past greats who may have been as popular, Pantani is obvious but not for me personally, his style was so ugly and the doping factor just ridiculous. Merckx, no, always had to win everything right down to sprint points - surely he could have let his rivals have some crumbs off the table? Lion king Cipollini seemed an amiable and generous character, and who couldn't like eternal second Raymond Poulidor?
But I think Bertie trumps all as most popular.
 
Aug 31, 2012
7,550
1
0
I think you're right. It's a function of the extent of his success, how long he's been at the top and his tenacity that have won over quite a lot of people. There are a lot of sentences starting with "regardless of what you think about [clen} you have to admit that [great rider]" to be found in the comments section of Anglo media. He's earned the begrudging respect of the morally rightous. Of course had his doping ban been more clear cut and Contador been branded with the mark of unrepentance by the naive idiots, he'd be nowhere near as popular.

The Hitch said:
Quintana is liked but any diehards are from Colombia (apart from that one idiot).
:p
 
Re:

rainman said:
I could imagine him working in a garage or as a cheerful postman if he hadn't discovered his prodigious cycling ability.
I don't know why, but I've always pictured him working on a farm if he wasn't a cyclist. As far as I know, he is a guy who prefer the simple life. He is quite modest and somewhat of an introvert.

The polar opposite of Armstrong whose goal in life was to conquer the world. I think for Contador, the goal is more personal. That's why I like him.
 
The greats of the past didn't have the worldwide instant news services to build and retain a fan base. TV coverage was also much more limited and people had to rely on written reports or brief blips on the news instead of coverage as we know it today. Here in the US before the advent of the internet just getting results daily of even the biggest races was a chore.

Having grown up in a cycling family my life as always been cycling oriented. My dad earned a national medal and has a plaque on the wall in the U. S. Cycling Hall of Fame. I have been watching races since I was a toddler and I am now 64. Geez I grew up on stories of Major Taylor :)

Why is Alberto popular? The simple answer is he is a Winner. He thinks, acts and rides like a winner. He has panache and the legs to go with it. He faces adversity and still wins. He is humble win or lose, but will always try to win. BTW he is not very popular in the US, after all he dethroned Lance.

I know many of you write me off as a simple fangirl, but the truth is I have witnessed and marveled a the exploits of many cyclists. I am a cycling fangirl. Alberto is just the best one I've seen in decades and now I have a forum to express my views. Had there been a forum when Merckx or Hinault or LeMond or Indurain or Pantani or Armstrong (until 2004) were racing I would have been as fulsome in praise of what I was witnessing, because I knew it was special and I choose to enjoy those who make cycling the greatest of all human sports.

BTW Panatani is still my all time favorite and I doubt anyone could replace him in my heart.
 
Apr 18, 2010
156
0
0
Most popular ever, well I think we need to let his palmares age a bit before we can compare them to the reservas of ages past. Current rider he is one if not the most popular by some of the reasons mention by the op.
Although not being forced down our throats like Armstrong, Alberto has been able to be more popular in more countries than Armstrong because he has won in races for a plethora of international sponsors
Like discovery (u.s.a.), Astana (Kazakhstan), saxo (Denmark/Russia), he has also used look keos, zipp wheels, selle saddles, prologo, etc. In every product he uses you get a picture of him.

Personality: not the way he speaks to the media, but the way he races. Let's admit it 90% of the time he is very measured, calculating just like most of the peloton. But the other 10%, he can be very electrifying (vervier 2009 and the 2 tt that same tour), controversial (chain gate, steak gate...), determination, sportsmanship, and if you pay attention some showmanship combined with a killer instinct.
 
Re: Re:

WheelofGear said:
observer said:
couple of things. I like to see him do well because he races aggressively, with a nice style.
plus he seems to be a very modest and nice guy, when he really could be an arrogant douche.
This. Contador is not a celebrity, he is a bike rider first of all. I think that's why so many people like him including myself.
This...he is just a Grand Bike Racer, he doesn't pretend to be anything else.
 
Aug 4, 2011
3,647
0
0
Re: Re:

Carols said:
WheelofGear said:
observer said:
couple of things. I like to see him do well because he races aggressively, with a nice style.
plus he seems to be a very modest and nice guy, when he really could be an arrogant douche.
This. Contador is not a celebrity, he is a bike rider first of all. I think that's why so many people like him including myself.
This...he is just a Grand Bike Racer, he doesn't pretend to be anything else.
I heard he was a master of the slap bass technique.
 
Re:

The Hitch said:
On the other hand, his personality is pretty crap. As far as interviews go, the dialogue in sports video games are more varied than contadors responses to interviews. Same pre arranged answers from gt to gt to gt, from stage to stage to stage. You can summarizes 10 years worth of interviews in 3 or 4 sentences. Starting with an assessment of the etapa as "dura", (muy dura if it's an mtf) then something about sensations, and to conclude, an expression of hope/ contained happiness, depending on whether the stage has already taken place or not.

The closest he comes to expressing any emotion is the photos he posts for his fangirls on Twitter of him at a restuarant or in pre season trip. Even those don't express an emotion as much as imply that there might be one.
I think he is typical of most Spanish cyclists. They are for the most part reserved when it comes to their interaction with the media. The exception being on the podium where I've seen true emotion from him that goes through the entire spectrum. There are times off the bike where his sense of humour comes forth for instance his response to Froome's implications in his book about Contador's training rides with his "amigo's" being little more than cappuchino breaks. I believe he posted something on social media of him and I think Jesus toasting with cups of java and smiling. Most recently in response to the motorized bikes drama, he transported himself from the team bus on an electric bike.
 
May 26, 2009
4,114
0
0
I wouldn't say he was the most popular rider. Andy Schleck is way more popular.
 
Aug 31, 2012
7,550
1
0
Andy was quite popular indeed. After Armstrong was eviscerated by Contador, it briefly seemed like his fans would get behind Andy. Anyone remember that hilarious advert? "Hi, I'm Andy Schleck. And I'm Alberto Contador. " they had before the 2010 Tour?
 
Apr 9, 2014
466
0
0
Of course he's the most popular...he's the greatest rider of this generation and a top 3 of all time that can only grow. He is peerless.
 
Incredibly hard to compare to generations without internet and where cycling wasn't looked upon as #1 doping sport. It's not as heroic as it used to be, which is part of the appeal of the sport and its competitors.

Armstrong was probably the most polarising cyclist every, so destroying him probably gained him a lot of fans around the world.
 
May 13, 2015
601
0
0
Re:

The Hitch said:
On the other hand, his personality is pretty crap. As far as interviews go, the dialogue in sports video games are more varied than contadors responses to interviews. Same pre arranged answers from gt to gt to gt, from stage to stage to stage. You can summarizes 10 years worth of interviews in 3 or 4 sentences. Starting with an assessment of the etapa as "dura", (muy dura if it's an mtf) then something about sensations, and to conclude, an expression of hope/ contained happiness, depending on whether the stage has already taken place or not.

The closest he comes to expressing any emotion is the photos he posts for his fangirls on Twitter of him at a restuarant or in pre season trip. Even those don't express an emotion as much as imply that there might be one.
Do you know Contador? If you don't then you can't really draw any definite conclusions about his personality from interviews. Not everyone wants to show everything to the world or to his rivals in racing situations. And stage race interviews tend to get repetitive for everyone. It's also fairly obvious that he doesn't want to externalize energy during interviews instead he internalizes it by being diplomatic. He holds things in during interviews and then uses it as fuel on coming stages.
 
Long time lurker/first time poster (signed up in anticipation of what should be an awesome Tour de France).

I think some of you are using different definitions of popular, but I personally don't see any definition by which he is the most popular ever. I am a big fan, by the way, but objectively, he is nowhere close.

1. Popularity with the general population - Lance might have lost his fans, and those fans might have been primarily American, but he had just a disgusting number of fans. He made people who had never thought about cycling tune into watch pelotons cruise in formation for hour after hour. He got fat people out on bicycles, decked out in Livestrong gear. Everyone knows Lance; he was a borderline Michael Jordan figure. No one outside of cycling knows Contador (in America). There's just no way he has anywhere near as many fans as LA had back in the day.

2. Popularity within the peloton - I don't really know about this one, but it seems like quite a few riders dislike AC. Ryder Hesjedal has said some negative things, Landa, etc. I think he lost some fans with the clenbuterol situation and chaingate. But I don't know. I'd be surprised if he's the most popular rider ever within the peloton. Not sure who would be, though.

3. Popularity within cycling - It seems like the majority of people on here, or at least the most vocal people on here, are AC fans. I am an AC fan. But most people I tend to meet were Lance Armstrong fans, then Frank Schleck/Cadel Evans fans, then Chris Froome fans. I am an American, so I am sure there is a cultural affinity element. I studied in Spain so perhaps that explains why I am an AC fan (not to mention his aggressive, diehard style). I think in the past, there has been a more dominant, popular figure, than during AC's reign.
 
Uh, there are far more people in Europe than in the US, and much, much more people who follow cycling. Of course Armstrong had (relatively) many fans in the US, but he wasn't popular around in Europe. I'm quite confident Contador has more fans world wide than Armstrong did.
 
Re:

Netserk said:
Uh, there are far more people in Europe than in the US, and much, much more people who follow cycling. Of course Armstrong had (relatively) many fans in the US, but he wasn't popular around in Europe. I'm quite confident Contador has more fans world wide than Armstrong did.
Really? I found a lot of Livestrong fans across Asia and Latin America. Even odd ones in Europe. I think if you measured popularity at one point in time Armstrong 2006ish is surely unbeatable.

Indurain also seemed to be hugely popular at one point and was impressively respected by the peloton, to the point that any clinic implications are still pretty much reserved to the clinic here. But Mercx even with his own issues takes the cake in terms of lasting appeal. He seems to be spoken about with the same quasi-mythological undertones as athletes like Babe Ruth and Pele.

I think Contador's achievements are beyond impressive, his style is memorable and his appeal among hardcore fans quite real, but beyond internet forums in terms of popularity, both the momentary and the lasting kind, he fails to compare to even Indurain, much less Mercx.
 
Re:

Alcanelo said:
Of course he's the most popular...he's the greatest rider of this generation and a top 3 of all time that can only grow. He is peerless.
Other than his die hard fans, not many would say a rider who's never won a single monument is top 3 of all time.
 
Sep 4, 2012
250
0
0
Re:

VayaVayaVaya said:
I think some of you are using different definitions of popular, but I personally don't see any definition by which he is the most popular ever. I am a big fan, by the way, but objectively, he is nowhere close.
I think the one we can all agree on is most popular on this forum. I think the reasons given as to why fall short, though:
Aggressive style -- yes, certainly. But there are other aggressive riders (eg Nibali, Hesjedal) who even if they are less aggressive have nowhere near the fans here
Humble -- sort of, but these days everyone praises their team after a good individual performance (except maybe Landa!) Plus, how is the 3-finger thing a sign of humility??
GT rider first and foremost -- true, doesn't seem to be cashing in his reputation, but again there are many such riders

I've seen similar arguments about tennis players, and my guess is that you can't become really popular until you triumph over adversity. Borg, Federer, etc become most popular when they finally have to dig deep and come from behind, not just stay out front. Tiger Woods -- many come from behind victories on the final day. MIchael Jordan -- same. Contador has done this too, eg Vuelta 2012 (as have ARmstrong, Lamond, Pantani, etc). But perhaps the other current stars -- eg Froome, Nibali, Quintana -- haven't pulled victory from certain defeat in the same way.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY