Rank 1-4: Boonen, Cancellara, Contador & Valverde

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Re: Re:

Cannibal72 said:
Mr.White said:
El Pistolero said:
burning said:
Red Rick said:
It shows he's got a shot at more diffrerent parcourses. Climber, so always in winning group, good enough sprint to always challenge the sprint, somehow always beaten. Was he ever the strongest on the WCRR. I don't think so
He was definitely the strongest rider in 2003 and possibly in 2013.
Nibali was the strongest in 2013, just had bad luck.
With the car tow? Is that called bad luck these days? :confused:
If Valverde was the strongest, why didn't he follow Costa? Rodriguez was stronger than Valverde, but lost that day either because of tactical incompetence or weakness.
I haven't rewatched the final kilometres of that WC in a while, but Spain would have had the biggest chance of a gold medal if Purito would have chased Nibali/Costa for Valverde since Bala obviously has the strongest sprint. Still true that Bala should've followed Costa directly when he tracked Purito in the last corner to save Purito's chances.
 
Rodriguez went for personal glory, and rightly so, since he was one of the best that day.

But if he wanted his team/country to win, he should've worked for Valverde in the same way Devolder, Nuyens,van Petegem, Aerts and Leukemans all worked for Boonen's chances when he dropped in Madrid, because the guy with the best sprint has the biggest chance of winning. They could have attacked themselves, since they were "stronger'' that day and had a chance for glory.

Purito should have worked for Bala.
 
PremierAndrew said:
Bardamu said:
Cannibal72 said:
No. Showing the 'hilly parcours is not suitable for riders like Boonen!!' argument is not more than a weak excuse.
Cancellara is not a "rider like Boonen". He is nothing like Boonen in type.

Let's run down the facts.
Boonen has 1 rainbow jersey. Valverde has 0. This is despite the fact that over the course of their careers there have been no truly cobbled WCs and a lot of hilly ones. Among these hilly courses was Mendrisio, a race where Valverde - on his specialist terrain - was outclassed by Fabian Cancellara.
And many other years Valverde did get to the podium, despite the course not being perfectly suitable for him.
Who the hell cares about the podium? The fact is that Valverde has never worn the rainbow stripes
Igor Astorloa and Alessandro Ballan have worn the rainbow stripes. Are they better than Valverde?
 
To the degree that, as a fan, one is in any way substantively impacted by the lives of millionaire athletes, it's going to be slightly sad when Boonen, and then Valverde inevitably retire.

They're both only a few years younger than me. I raced against Boonen, and while I didn't get to race against Valverde, I feel like I kinda did by proxy, since I competed against a half-dozen of his K-CB teammates at the time (and am still friends w/ some now). Just me brushing lightly up against others' greatness, but still enough of an experience to appreciate how amazing all those guys are.

And Boonen and Cancellara dueling in the cobbled classics...argh, why did they both have to have such intermittent bad luck and suffer such serious injuries that interrupted their spring campaigns in various years...

Contador...I've never been a particular, studious fan of the GC riders since LeMond retired. I was 14 in '89 and GL's TdF win that year was when pro road cycling really came on my radar; LeMond was so incredibly talented, I doubt people who started following the sport after he retired even understand just how physiologically gifted LeMonster really was. But I think Contador's win in the Giro last year was the stuff of true grit.

The four to be ranked are all great riders.

Valverde has entertained me as a fan the most, followed by Boonen, then Contador, and finally, Cancellara, who - while awesome - I just feel no affinity for (except as a necessary rival to elevate Boonen lol).

BTW: although I don't much care for Carlton Kirby (he blocked me on Twitter when I don't think we'd ever even interacted to best of my recollection), it's a relief that he and the other people who do English-language race commentary and analysis for Eurosport don't endlessly moan on-air about Valverde's purported links to Operation Puerto. I know Vino is evil, but he was still a fascinating character and super-compelling rider, and it annoyed me to no end how seemingly every time he did something awesome on the bike (legit or not) in 2010 (and 2012) commentators/journalists like Ned Boulting, Matt Rendell (who I consider a friend) and even Boardman would not shut up about Vino's refusal to apologize for doping. Even if he was charging just as hard during 1) the Giro where he wore the maglia rosa; 2) stage 13 of the TdF; 3) Trentino; 4) Liege; 5) San Sebastián, and 6) the Olympic rr, the spectacle of what he was achieving should've been appreciated and highlighted by the commentariat.

Digital/print English-language media seems to have only recently come around to Valverde, but at least when he's been showing his class on the bike in a race the commentators I've listened to haven't subjecting him to the Vino treatment.

BTW#2: Agreed w/ what someone said upthread about Sagan being seemingly the most dynamic/talented/compelling (paraphrasing) rider of this newer generation of professionals. Idk how you can not be a fan of his. Super-talented from earliest days, races to win, and actually has a compelling personality w/o seeming to manifest huge ego.

Just a shame that both he and Contador had to come into the orbit of Tinkoff. While I acknowledge the Russian put a lot of money into pro cycling and created economic opportunities for riders and staff, his oversized ego, his casual racism and boorishness (not to mention incredibly poor talent-management skills) can't be non-toxic characteristics for the riders to be associated with. Still, though, better him (Tinkoff) spending money in cycling than somewhere else.

(the above is obviously all just my opinion so if you disagree no worries. i just felt like reflecting on this)

*edit: I described Valv,Piti's links to Puerto as "purported", but I know his DNA was matched to plasma seized during the investigation. I just like how he's never openly admitted his involvement w/ Fuentes (Kelme team doc! lol).
 
Re:

Red Rick said:
It shows he's got a shot at more diffrerent parcourses. Climber, so always in winning group, good enough sprint to always challenge the sprint, somehow always beaten. Was he ever the strongest on the WCRR. I don't think so
The year Boonen won, Sammie Sanchez seemed to think that Valverde would have won had he been in the correct gear in the final sprint.
The year Costa won, had Valverde stuck to Costa's wheel, I'm pretty certain that he would've out sprinted him but Valverde said that he didn't have the legs to follow Costa so...whether you believe that or not will determine if you think he could've actually won that year.
The year Astarloa won, Valverde was working for him but still had the energy to make the podium in the end. I believe he could have won that year also but at that point in his career there was a hierarchy that limited his ability to take the win. The fact that he's made the podium 6 times on varying terrains is a testament to his extraordinary ability.
 
Interesting to see Purito's comments when he retired the other day. He's not exactly Valverde's best buddy (although I think they get on better than is often made out - kind of like competitive and slightly estranged brothers), but he rated Valverde, alongside Michele Bartoli as the greatest cyclist of his generation.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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joe_papp said:
To the degree that, as a fan, one is in any way substantively impacted by the lives of millionaire athletes, it's going to be slightly sad when Boonen, and then Valverde inevitably retire.

They're both only a few years younger than me. I raced against Boonen, and while I didn't get to race against Valverde, I feel like I kinda did by proxy, since I competed against a half-dozen of his K-CB teammates at the time (and am still friends w/ some now). Just me brushing lightly up against others' greatness, but still enough of an experience to appreciate how amazing all those guys are.

And Boonen and Cancellara dueling in the cobbled classics...argh, why did they both have to have such intermittent bad luck and suffer such serious injuries that interrupted their spring campaigns in various years...

Contador...I've never been a particular, studious fan of the GC riders since LeMond retired. I was 14 in '89 and GL's TdF win that year was when pro road cycling really came on my radar; LeMond was so incredibly talented, I doubt people who started following the sport after he retired even understand just how physiologically gifted LeMonster really was. But I think Contador's win in the Giro last year was the stuff of true grit.

The four to be ranked are all great riders.

Valverde has entertained me as a fan the most, followed by Boonen, then Contador, and finally, Cancellara, who - while awesome - I just feel no affinity for (except as a necessary rival to elevate Boonen lol).

BTW: although I don't much care for Carlton Kirby (he blocked me on Twitter when I don't think we'd ever even interacted to best of my recollection), it's a relief that he and the other people who do English-language race commentary and analysis for Eurosport don't endlessly moan on-air about Valverde's purported links to Operation Puerto. I know Vino is evil, but he was still a fascinating character and super-compelling rider, and it annoyed me to no end how seemingly every time he did something awesome on the bike (legit or not) in 2010 (and 2012) commentators/journalists like Ned Boulting, Matt Rendell (who I consider a friend) and even Boardman would not shut up about Vino's refusal to apologize for doping. Even if he was charging just as hard during 1) the Giro where he wore the maglia rosa; 2) stage 13 of the TdF; 3) Trentino; 4) Liege; 5) San Sebastián, and 6) the Olympic rr, the spectacle of what he was achieving should've been appreciated and highlighted by the commentariat.

Digital/print English-language media seems to have only recently come around to Valverde, but at least when he's been showing his class on the bike in a race the commentators I've listened to haven't subjecting him to the Vino treatment.

BTW#2: Agreed w/ what someone said upthread about Sagan being seemingly the most dynamic/talented/compelling (paraphrasing) rider of this newer generation of professionals. Idk how you can not be a fan of his. Super-talented from earliest days, races to win, and actually has a compelling personality w/o seeming to manifest huge ego.

Just a shame that both he and Contador had to come into the orbit of Tinkoff. While I acknowledge the Russian put a lot of money into pro cycling and created economic opportunities for riders and staff, his oversized ego, his casual racism and boorishness (not to mention incredibly poor talent-management skills) can't be non-toxic characteristics for the riders to be associated with. Still, though, better him (Tinkoff) spending money in cycling than somewhere else.

(the above is obviously all just my opinion so if you disagree no worries. i just felt like reflecting on this)

*edit: I described Valv,Piti's links to Puerto as "purported", but I know his DNA was matched to plasma seized during the investigation. I just like how he's never openly admitted his involvement w/ Fuentes (Kelme team doc! lol).
What's your opinion on Nibali?
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Re: Re:

Angliru said:
Red Rick said:
It shows he's got a shot at more diffrerent parcourses. Climber, so always in winning group, good enough sprint to always challenge the sprint, somehow always beaten. Was he ever the strongest on the WCRR. I don't think so
The year Boonen won, Sammie Sanchez seemed to think that Valverde would have won had he been in the correct gear in the final sprint.
The year Costa won, had Valverde stuck to Costa's wheel, I'm pretty certain that he would've out sprinted him but Valverde said that he didn't have the legs to follow Costa so...whether you believe that or not will determine if you think he could've actually won that year.
The year Astarloa won, Valverde was working for him but still had the energy to make the podium in the end. I believe he could have won that year also but at that point in his career there was a hierarchy that limited his ability to take the win. The fact that he's made the podium 6 times on varying terrains is a testament to his extraordinary ability.
I always thought that was the post-race feedback Valverde gave after 2006 when Bettini won after Sanchez, IIRC, created a gap.
 
Re: Re:

Nick C. said:
Angliru said:
Red Rick said:
It shows he's got a shot at more diffrerent parcourses. Climber, so always in winning group, good enough sprint to always challenge the sprint, somehow always beaten. Was he ever the strongest on the WCRR. I don't think so
The year Boonen won, Sammie Sanchez seemed to think that Valverde would have won had he been in the correct gear in the final sprint.
The year Costa won, had Valverde stuck to Costa's wheel, I'm pretty certain that he would've out sprinted him but Valverde said that he didn't have the legs to follow Costa so...whether you believe that or not will determine if you think he could've actually won that year.
The year Astarloa won, Valverde was working for him but still had the energy to make the podium in the end. I believe he could have won that year also but at that point in his career there was a hierarchy that limited his ability to take the win. The fact that he's made the podium 6 times on varying terrains is a testament to his extraordinary ability.
I always thought that was the post-race feedback Valverde gave after 2006 when Bettini won after Sanchez, IIRC, created a gap.
I thought it was versus Boonen, I believe in Spain and that Sanchez made the statement, not Valverde. I could be wrong though. The image I have in my mind is of the final sprint on a downtown street with a tall, mirrored skyscraper/building in the background.

Edit: You are correct. It was the year Bettini won, although I recall Sammie Sanchez making the statement.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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I think that is depending on your POV the biggest gripe with Valverde. He has been in the position to win so many big races, but hasn't. That is either proof of lameness of a sort or awesomeness.
 
Oct 22, 2009
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This is a fun question.

It all comes down to how you interpret the question, and what you value. If I approach it from the perspective of what they accomplished, I would have to say:

1. Valverde
2. Contador
3. Cance
4. Boonen

To be competitive for the win in almost any race you enter from Feb- Oct for over a decade requires the most rare talent. I am not a cycling historian, but I can only think of Hinault and Merckx as comparable. There have been many dominant GC riders and many classic talents, but very few who can threaten to win both. For this reason Valverde gets the nod.

Having said that, if I had to rank my "favorite", I would put Valverde a distant fourth.
 
joe_papp said:
fan of the GC riders since LeMond retired. I was 14 in '89 and GL's TdF win that year was when pro road cycling really came on my radar; LeMond was so incredibly talented, I doubt people who started following the sport after he retired even understand just how physiologically gifted LeMonster really was.
I was 39 in '89 but that Tour still ranks as the most exciting race I've ever seen before or since.

I couldn't agree more with your assessment on LeMond's talent. He was one of the Very Special ones, truly genetically gifted. If he hadn't been shot and missed 2 years I have little doubt he would have won 5 straight tours.
 
El Pistolero said:
joe_papp said:
...
Valverde has entertained me as a fan the most, followed by Boonen, then Contador, and finally, Cancellara, who - while awesome - I just feel no affinity for (except as a necessary rival to elevate Boonen lol)...
What's your opinion on Nibali?
Well, he's a four-time GT winner with 7 other GT podium finishes, plus he was twice Italian road champion, double Trentino winner, double Tirreno winner, and victor of one edition of Lombardia, so he's obviously pretty great.

He's a bit enigmatic to me the fan, however, and isn't a rider who I've been very interested in.

And since my Italian isn't even remotely close to my Spanish, I've never followed his exploits by listening to him give interviews on RAI or reading about him in the Gazzetta, for example (does he even speak English?). With Valverde, I'm always straight onto the interviews he gives to Spanish media and don't mind reading coverage of him direct from the Spanish press.

You know what I mean? It's easier for me personally to be interested in Valverde because when he speaks, I understand him. Idk if that's odd or not, but it's just my bias.

Are you a big Nibs fan?

note: I love the Giro though! It's my fav' GT, and the Vuelta is my least fav'! Hoping that makes up for my lack of affinity for Nibs ;)
 
Carols said:
joe_papp said:
fan of the GC riders since LeMond retired. I was 14 in '89 and GL's TdF win that year was when pro road cycling really came on my radar; LeMond was so incredibly talented, I doubt people who started following the sport after he retired even understand just how physiologically gifted LeMonster really was.
I was 39 in '89 but that Tour still ranks as the most exciting race I've ever seen before or since.

I couldn't agree more with your assessment on LeMond's talent. He was one of the Very Special ones, truly genetically gifted. If he hadn't been shot and missed 2 years I have little doubt he would have won 5 straight tours.
Agreed. Really amazingly talented natural athlete. And to think he came to cycling from freestyle skiing. So random lol.

You know, I've never been the hugest fan of John Wilcockson (is that guy even still alive?), but I thought his use of the term fuoriclasse to describe LeMond was perfect. (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_LeMond#cite_note-32)

And omg LeMond's '89 WC win! Holy crap!

And from the '89 Tour, if you can listen to Liggett's original live commentary of Fignon's ITT finish in Paris...wow. That gave me goosebumps when I heard it (though it also turned me off forever to the Famous Cycling Video (FCV) product since I then realized Phil & Paul did all the voice-over much later, in the studio lol).

Oh and to the person upthread complaining about a thread subjectively ranking four contemporaneous riders - pfffffffft! lol

update: Look! I found a clip of Liggett's commentary. YouTube is amazing lol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zzjv1XpGJnc
 
One reason why Contador can never be considered a true cycling giant, is the fact that he only ever targeted stage races. A true great would also target monuments and the worlds. Contador, in spite of his massive talent, has never done that. That is a terrible shame, I believe.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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joe_papp said:
El Pistolero said:
joe_papp said:
...
Valverde has entertained me as a fan the most, followed by Boonen, then Contador, and finally, Cancellara, who - while awesome - I just feel no affinity for (except as a necessary rival to elevate Boonen lol)...
What's your opinion on Nibali?
Well, he's a four-time GT winner with 7 other GT podium finishes, plus he was twice Italian road champion, double Trentino winner, double Tirreno winner, and victor of one edition of Lombardia, so he's obviously pretty great.

He's a bit enigmatic to me the fan, however, and isn't a rider who I've been very interested in.

And since my Italian isn't even remotely close to my Spanish, I've never followed his exploits by listening to him give interviews on RAI or reading about him in the Gazzetta, for example (does he even speak English?). With Valverde, I'm always straight onto the interviews he gives to Spanish media and don't mind reading coverage of him direct from the Spanish press.

You know what I mean? It's easier for me personally to be interested in Valverde because when he speaks, I understand him. Idk if that's odd or not, but it's just my bias.

Are you a big Nibs fan?

note: I love the Giro though! It's my fav' GT, and the Vuelta is my least fav'! Hoping that makes up for my lack of affinity for Nibs ;)
Yeah, I'm a big nibs fan because of the way he rides (risking everything for the win, not caring for second or third), but it is indeed annoying he doesn't speak English very well. I've seen him speak a bit of English, but it's not great.
 
Re:

Jagartrott said:
One reason why Contador can never be considered a true cycling giant, is the fact that he only ever targeted stage races. A true great would also target monuments and the worlds. Contador, in spite of his massive talent, has never done that. That is a terrible shame, I believe.
Honestly I think the era of gc riders who wo win many one day races too is just over. There are still a few who target both (purito, Bala, nibali) but I think in 20 years nobody will care that contador didn't win monuments.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Also, let's not act like Valverde is the only one of the GT riders to have targeted classics successfully. Just look at Joaquim Rodriguez and Vincenzo Nibali. I'm personally more impressed by the way Nibali rode at the mini-Roubaix stage in the Tour of 2014. He rode the likes of Cancellara and Sagan off his wheel. He was a beast back then. Also when was the last time a GT winner landed on the podium of Milan-San Remo before Nibali?

(The answer is 1995)
 
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