Most Underrated Riders of All-Time

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World Champion. Of the 5 monuments he won 4 and was 2nd in the other. 2nd in the Tour de France, high up or winner in several other major races. All this riding against Merckx, Hinault, De Vlaeminck, Gimondi, Moser, Saronni, etc.

Yet hardly ever mentioned outside his home country

Hennie Kuiper
 
Alfred De Bruyne

Liège - Bastogne - Liège ('59, '58, '56)
Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres ('57)
Milano-San Remo ('56)
Paris - Roubaix ('57)
2nd Giro di Lombardia ('55)

So close to being one of the riders to have won all the monuments alongside Van Looy, Merckx and Vlaeminck.
 
Jun 18, 2015
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Dont know if it qualifies but I think that Julio Jiménez is within Spaniards one of the most overlooked riders.

He may mot have won the Tour (he came 2nd his best year) but he won 3 mountain jerseys in the Tour + 5 mountain Stages, 3 mountain jerseys in the vuelta + 3 mountain stage and 4 mountain Stages in the Giro, being the absolute climbing reference of the World of cycling in the mid'60s.

I know he is not Fede-legendary, but he deserves some ocasional Talk...
 
They probably aren't that underrated on this forum, but in the public I think that many of the pre-World War II heroes are almost forgotten. Like Binda (5 times Giro winner, 3 times World Champion, 4 times Lombardia winner, 2 times Milan-Sanremo winner, 4 times National Road Champion) and Girardengo (2 times Giro winner, 6 times Milano-Sanremo winner, 3 times Lombardia winner, winner of the National Road Championship 9 times in a row, winner of 30 Giro stages).
 
Jean-Pierre Monseré.
Very hard to rate because he died so young, but everything about him showed he was a prodigy for all classics and maybe more.

Tony Rominger
Still holding the conventional hour record in my book. Should have won the Tour at least once if he really went for it and wasn't held back by hay fever.
 
Angliru said:
This will be my third attempt at posting this! :(

While he may not be the most underrated he has to be one of the most unappreciated riders in history (and one of my favorites): Jose Manuel Fuentes.
:cool:

Joaqium Agostinho and Luis Ocaña come to mind, too. What Ocaña did to Merckx and the entire Moleteni squad in 1971 TdF was out of this world. Attacking them on a short mountain stage and putting eight minutes into them. And then also in the TdF of 1973, when he attacked basically everywhere, even on the cobbles.

And Tinho is a case of his own. Reading about him reminds me a bit of Betancur.

"Joaquim Agostinho didn't know his own strength. He was a ball of muscles of out-of-the-ordinary power. He was built like a cast-iron founder. Having come to cycling fairly late, he had trouble integrating with it. It's a shame he didn't want to dedicate himself 100 per cent to being a professional cyclist. Now and then he showed his very great physical powers, but no more often than that. He didn't want to do more. The peloton scared him, which is why he fell so often. More than that, Tinho was never aggressive enough to impose himself totally. He had a legendary kindness and his only ambition was to be good, gentle Tinho. If he'd been ambitious, he would easily have written his name into the records of the Tour de France."
That's what Raphaël Géminiani said about him.
 
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Volderke said:
Jean-Pierre Monseré.
Very hard to rate because he died so young, but everything about him showed he was a prodigy for all classics and maybe more.

Tony Rominger
Still holding the conventional hour record in my book. Should have won the Tour at least once if he really went for it and wasn't held back by hay fever.
Yes Rominger gave Big Mig a real scare in the 93 TdF and to obliterate Indurain's hour record was other worldly. In the 93 TdF if he didn't lose big time in the TTT I think he might have knocked Miguel off I'd never seen Indurain grimace like he did in the Pyrenees trying to hold Ton'y's wheel that year. However while winning a string of Vueltas and dominating the 95 Giro he didn't back that up in the TdF whether that be due to hay fever or "other" reasons. Definitely underrated though because he didn't ever win the TdF.
 
Sean Kelly and Roger De Vlaeminck. Specialists of one day and one week races are often overlooked in all-time lists. No rider of the past twenty-five years can match their list of honour. I put them in the top 6 of all time, next to Merckx, Hinault, Coppi and Bartali. They were the old-fashioned kind of fighters who made the sport exciting to watch.


Sean Kelly:
*9 monuments
*Gent-Wevelgem, Paris-Tours, GP Plouay...
*Vuelta
*16 stages in Vuelta
*4 times green jersey in Tour
*5 stages in Tour
*7x Paris-Nice
*2x Tour de Suisse, 2x Tour of Basque Country, 2x Vuelta a Catalunya, 3x Citérium International, Driedaagse De Panne, Catalan Week, Valencia...


Roger De Vlaeminck:
*11 monuments
*Flèche Wallonne, Omloop het Volk, E3-Prijs, Paris-Brussels, Milano-Torino, Lazio, Veneto, Emilia, Piemonte, Zürich...
*6x Tirreno-Adriatico
*Tour de Suisse
*22 stages in the Giro
*3x point classification Giro
*1 stage in Tour, 1 stage in Vuelta
*2 Belgian titles
*World champion cross-country
 
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Hugo Koblet said:
They probably aren't that underrated on this forum, but in the public I think that many of the pre-World War II heroes are almost forgotten. Like Binda (5 times Giro winner, 3 times World Champion, 4 times Lombardia winner, 2 times Milan-Sanremo winner, 4 times National Road Champion) and Girardengo (2 times Giro winner, 6 times Milano-Sanremo winner, 3 times Lombardia winner, winner of the National Road Championship 9 times in a row, winner of 30 Giro stages).
Fantastic riders and possibly a bit overlooked due to the fact that it was prior to a fully integrated European cycling scene... ie Italians mostly raced in Italy, French in France etc.
 
A lot of riders of the current era are under-rated. Pantani_lives' post is a good example of this when he mentions six riders as the greatest of all time with Sean Kelly as the latest one.

I'm not going to try to explain why, but it was certainly easier to be dominant back in the day. I mean no disrespect to riders like Merckx, Hinault et al. but they would obviously not have the same palmarès if they rode in this day and age. And this makes it important to account for era when trying to determine who is the best of all time (if one were to try to make such a determination). Because as it is now with just a comparison of palmarès nobody will ever surpass Merckx or even come close. That is unfair competition in my opinion - especially when considering that an exact clone of Merckx would not be able to do it himself in this age.

But to make such an account for era correctly is extremely difficult and I don't have a suggestion for a solution. Other than clone Merckx and make him ride today, see what he wins and then put that as a golden standard benchmark and see how riders like Contador and Valverde have fared in comparison :p
 
It's true that there were fewer nationalities, and generations are difficult to compare. Riders were more allround in the past. Today they're more specialized. The chance that the same rider wins Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix and a bunch sprint in the Tour de France today is very slim. Riders like Valverde and Gilbert are the most allround these days. The fact remains that these old cronies deserve to be remembered and can be inspiring for young riders.
 
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Pantani_lives said:
It's true that there were fewer nationalities, and generations are difficult to compare. Riders were more allround in the past. Today they're more specialized. The chance that the same rider wins Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix and a bunch sprint in the Tour de France today is very slim. Riders like Valverde and Sagan are the most allround these days. The fact remains that these old cronies deserve to be remembered and can be inspiring for young riders.
I certainly don't argue against that and am definitely not in camp with those who say that the old legends are far inferior riders than today's stars and had a really easy time mopping up all their victories. That is just mindless ignorance.

It's just that their results are impossible to replicate today - and as you mention, especially the versatility of the old days is gone due to increased specialization (and perhaps more heterogeneous routes in the big races). This makes it easy to be in the completely opposite camp to the one mentioned above and just say that all the old legends are bigger and better than today's stars, which I don't see is fair.
 
My vote goes to Claude Criquielion. I wonder how many (non-Belgian) guys here know him. People remember his "lost" World Championship, when Bauer crashed him into the fences and Fondriest who was losing the sprint badly, finished first.

But many have forgotten he was actually World Champion before that in 1984. Even in Belgium, people remember him as a classics rider (winning Ronde Van Vlaanderen, Flèche Wallonne x2, Clasica San Sebastian, Brabantse Pijl, WC, BC, as well as finishing on the podium of Liège Bastogne Liège a bunch of times). But he also managed to finish in the top 10 of the Tour de France 5 times! Best result was 5th place in 1986. When i look at Benoot, i see some Criquielion in him. Don't know if he'll ever fill the shoes, but just like Criquielion, he 's a very talented all-rounder, that can do cobbles, climbs, and races with a lot of heart.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Considering all the talk about "how lucky" Nibali is, I'd say he's a good pick.

I've even seen people questioning his descending skills.
 
Apr 1, 2013
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I would throw in a few names, which could have been greats but somehow were overshadowed by even greater riders in those times:
- Gianbattista Baronchelli
- Zenon Jaskula
- Henk Lubberding
- Wladimiro Panizza
- Johan van der Velde

plus the ones already mentioned earlier:
- Pjotr Ugrumov
 
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El Pistolero said:
Considering all the talk about "how lucky" Nibali is, I'd say he's a good pick.

I've even seen people questioning his descending skills.
His descending is both over and underrated very often. On one hand some people claim he descends like sagan on the other hand some people claim froome is the better descender.
 
To an extent, probably my namesake. Most Grand Tour Top Ten finishes in cycling history to go along with his 3 GT wins, not to mention that he could’ve had 1 or 2 more TdF wins had he been more tactically astute. Not underrated to the extent of some, but on paper possibly the most successful GT rider of the 1980s after Hinault. Achievements will always be overshadowed by LeMond’s greatness during that era and Roche’s amazing 1987 season.
 
Apr 1, 2013
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perico said:
To an extent, probably my namesake. Most Grand Tour Top Ten finishes in cycling history .
to my knowledge Pedro Delgado (btw. for sure not an overlooked rider ....) hat 17 GT top ten finishes, whereas Gino Bartali had 18 .... maybe there is someone with even more, but I just had a quick check ...
 

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