Top five Riders of All Time

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the 'cyclinghalloffame' website is okay, but I don't like the weighing of things. First, TdF winners get like 1.5 times the points as other GTs, which I think is a bit disproportionate, despite the fact that of course it's important. Also, they give more weight to Paris-Roubaix than any other 1 day race, which is kinda weird. They also ignore many more prominent minor races that still get top riders out and are, in my opinion, worthy of recognition. Aside from that, they only give points for top 3 or something, and nothing for stage wins, so guys like cipo are almost totally left out.

A much more comprehensive ranking has been carried out by Daniel Marszalyk, which used to be posted every year on the now-defunct cycling4all.com. It weighs much more evenly for races year-round (though you might argue that 100 points for winning the Tour and 90 for winning the Vuelta is not enough of a difference), gives points for stage wins, ranks top 10s in GTs, top 8 in the Worlds/Olympics and top 6 in classics/minor tours, and importantly, changes weighting of various races with what is known about the emphasis on each race over time.

I haven't seen a ranking for this year anywhere, but the 2007 ranking can be found here:

http://www.dailypeloton.com/displayarticle.asp?pk=12132

The top 25 or so hasn't changed in the past year anyway. For those who aren't into checking out the link (which has tons of interesting sub-analyses like top 1-day riders and top stage racers, top national 'teams', etc), here are the top 10:

1. Merckx (of course)
2. Hinault
3. Kelly
4. Anquetil
5. Moser (who no one has yet mentioned in this thread)
6. Bartali
7. Gimondi
8. Zoetemelk
9. Coppi
10. de Vlaeminck

It's a very interesting list, interesting to note: a) how far Merckx is ahead of everyone; b) how guys like Kelly and Zoetemelk look like they benefitted from a long career of consistent results, whereas someone like Coppi is lower than his legend suggests due to his shortened career; c) how, if you look at the whole list, Italy has by far the hugest pool of talent over history; d) how, if you look at current cyclists, it seems like French cycling is on life support, as they haven't had a rider in the top 200 since Virenque retired... many more observations can be made, but maybe it's just me that loves this stuff because I love numbers and rankings.

Anyway, combined with what I've read about riders' style/prominence/dominance, I'd list a top 5 of:

1. Merckx
2. Coppi
3. Hinault
4. Bartali
5. Anquetil

But it's all just an exercise in speculation. Good thing I happen to love that.
 
yetanothergreenworld said:
By the way, kudos to the guy who put Philippe Thys on his list. Thys was the first guy to win 3 TDFs, and he did it on either side of World War I (1913, 1914, 1919). Is there any doubt that, but for the war, he would have been the first five-timer . . . or even the first seven-timer?
I've often wondered the same when poring over cycling history stories, Thys' bookended wins are a tantalizing morsel for speculation, for sure. However, I've noticed that most of the pre-war Tour winners (and a lot of likely contenders) died in service in WWI. So it's hard to say, it's likely that the best chance for the Tour's first 5-time winner is probably buried in some field in Belgium.
 
Can't list five in exact order. Merckx is at the top to me. Hinault, Coppi, Bartali, next.

I think Kelly and Lemond both deserve high regards.

Anquitil, Indurain and Lance's careers were a bit tainted in my eyes, but they did win anyway.

No one mentioned Luis Ocana, who had it not been for Merckx, and an early retirement, would have won much more than he did.

Charley Gaul and Lucien Van Impe deserve high praise too.

Agree with Thys. He could easily be in any top five list and may have won many more Tours.

In recent years Laurent Jalabert impressed me as much as any other rider.

By the time he retires, Contador might find himself way up on this list.
 
Apr 12, 2009
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skidmark said:
They also ignore many more prominent minor races that still get top riders out and are, in my opinion, worthy of recognition. Aside from that, they only give points for top 3 or something, and nothing for stage wins, so guys like cipo are almost totally left out.
The problem with a lot of rankings is that they leave out the major one-week stage races, which have become much more important over the past two decades as the gap between classics riders and stage racers has widened. These days winning the Dauphine or Paris-Nice counts as a major accomplishment if you're someone like Evans or Valverde. Any rankings system ought to weight them at least as heavily as non-Monument classics like Amstel.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Another dimension to add would be riders who race in different disciplines, but then women would probably top the list! You can't under-value riders like Ina Yoko-Teutenberg, Nicole Cooke, or Marianne Vos.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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slowoldman said:
You can make the same argument for Gino Bartali. Had the question been posed as "Your Favorite 5 riders" Gino would have definitely made my list.
Bartali won the Tour in 1938 and again in 1948. Ten year span, the only rider to have done that. Classy on and off the bike.
He also never doped, unlike Coppi.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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franciep10 said:
1- Eddy Merckx
2- Fausto Coppi
3- Jacques Anquetil
4- Roger De Vlaeminck
5- Lance Armstrong
Gotta be riders who did it all, not just one or two races. That would eliminate DeVlaeminck and of course Armstrong.

Merckx, Anquetil, Coppi, Hinault, last one is tough.
 
Apr 10, 2009
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tashimi76 said:
Another dimension to add would be riders who race in different disciplines, but then women would probably top the list! You can't under-value riders like Ina Yoko-Teutenberg, Nicole Cooke, or Marianne Vos.
Or Jeannie Longo.
 
Pietro said:
Gotta be riders who did it all, not just one or two races. That would eliminate DeVlaeminck and of course Armstrong.
Ok, I'm not an Armstrong fan, but this is a bit of a misconception. He didn't always focus solely on the Tour. He won a bunch of races other than the Tour, among them the Dauphine twice, Tour de Suisse, Fleche Wallonne, San Sebastien, and of course there was that World Championship title. Several 2nds in classics as well - Liege(x2), Amstel(x2), San Sebastien, Zuri Metzgete.

Btw, I'm not saying that necessarily means he deserves to be on the list. Frankly I hate "best of all time" sports lists - to me it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to compare athletes in vastly different eras.
 
jaylew said:
Ok, I'm not an Armstrong fan, but this is a bit of a misconception. He didn't always focus solely on the Tour. He won a bunch of races other than the Tour, among them the Dauphine twice, Tour de Suisse, Fleche Wallonne, San Sebastien, and of course there was that World Championship title. Several 2nds in classics as well - Liege(x2), Amstel(x2), San Sebastien, Zuri Metzgete.

Btw, I'm not saying that means he deserves to be on the list. Frankly I hate "best of all time" sports lists - to me it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to compare athletes in vastly different eras.
Yeah, people always forget about his good one-day results b/c he became all about the Tour. If I were to make a list, Armstrong would be on it for sure, owing largely to the fact that he DID prove himself in one-days, small tours, and grand tours.

But I'm not going to make a list. So there. :p
 
Depends on whether you're talking about overall class throughout the season, pure results in terms of speed and wins in the mountains and time trials at le Tour, or raw talent (with or without necessarily the most wins).

Pure Class
1. Eddy Merckx
2. Fausto Coppi
3. Bernard Hinault
4. Jaques Anquetil
5. Gino Bartali

Speed and Wins in Mountains and Time Trials at the Tour
1. Armstrong
2. Merckx
3. Hinault
4. Indurain
5. Coppi

Raw Talent
1. Merckx
2. Coppi
3. Ullrich
4. Lemond
5. Hinault
 
rhubroma said:
Depends on whether you're talking about overall class throughout the season, pure results in terms of speed and wins in the mountains and time trials at le Tour, or raw talent (with or without necessarily the most wins).

Pure Class
1. Eddy Merckx
2. Fausto Coppi
3. Bernard Hinault
4. Jaques Anquetil
5. Gino Bartali

Speed and Wins in Mountains and Time Trials at the Tour
1. Armstrong
2. Merckx
3. Hinault
4. Indurain
5. Coppi

Raw Talent
1. Merckx
2. Coppi
3. Ullrich
4. Lemond
5. Hinault
Admittedly, this has to be one of the dumbest things I've every tried to do. Comparing different sports figures from different eras is futile. In any case, it seems that all the pundits agree on one thing: namely, after Merckx, 2nd, 3rd, 4th....put whoever you want. The guy was in a class all by himself with almost 600 wins in 1800 attempts.
 
Apr 12, 2009
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People how about this If you had a tour de france right know with the top riders from the past and now in their prime who would win on modern equipment. Give me your podium, and all the classifications and please no doping talk.



Podium: Lance Armstrong, Bernard Hinault, Contador
Sprint: Erik Zabel
Mountain: Richard Virenque
Young Rider: I have no clue about this one
 
So, no Merckx on your list?

Green goes to Sean Kelly. But Erik is a sound pick.

Young rider: Laurent Fignon, or Jan Ullrich.

No way Virenque is at the top of the mountain pick. He won his KOM points both doped to his eyeballs, and on KOM attacks only. Compare this to the way Lucien Van Impe and Charley Gaul won their KOM jerseys while also going for the GC win every time. I'd even rank Pantani above Virenque as far as climbing goes, though Marco had little interest in KOM points. Scrape all the drugs away from everyone, and Marco is still arguably the best climber ever.

Best single Grand Tour performance ever was Merckx 1969 Tour win. He won by nearly 18 minutes, won all three jerseys, and an amazing six stages, including the final sprint into Paris.
 
Apr 12, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
So, no Merckx on your list?

Young rider: Laurent Fignon, or Jan Ullrich.
I think Merckx is the greatest all-round rider but I don't think he could manage the acceleration of armstrong, If it was a top five Merckx would be 4th, Laurent Fignon sounds good
 
Mar 11, 2009
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perfect all- rounder:Eddy Merckxs even though he was cought doping twice;)
Perfect stage racer:Lance Armstrong

1: Lance Armstrong: 7 Tours, Worlds, Critérium du Dauphiné Libérés,Tour de Suisse,La Flèche Wallonne among others( palmares 107 victories)
(little races don't mean **** compared to the Tour de France!) Pray tell me would you win the Norvegian championship 15 times or win the World Cup of footbal once!? And don't get cute with me that cycing is not footbal, but the difference betwen races is huge!!

2. Eddy Merckx... (why 2nd?: didn't see him race + he was cought doping 2 times;), but he has an outstanding record of over 500 wins that can't be counted out, admire his attacking mentality)

3. Jan Ullrich: A true diesel and a great champion...he would be hailed as one of the greats if not for Lance! He could have taken on the greats of old any day, still has a palmares most would only dream of... a Tour and a Vuelta...

4. Miguel Indurain: 5 Tour in a row and 2 Giro's in modern times is a huge acomplishment, other than that he was the the nicest champion of them all...

5. Alberto Contador in a close battle...: Seems to be a replica of Lance in style and team tactics, only e participates in more stage races other than that of the Tour... Already a has a great palmares with one of each of the Grand Tours among a load of other smaller stage races and could easily move up in my list in time... a future great!
 
Apr 12, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
So, no Merckx on your list?

Green goes to Sean Kelly. But Erik is a sound pick.

Young rider: Laurent Fignon, or Jan Ullrich.

No way Virenque is at the top of the mountain pick. He won his KOM points both doped to his eyeballs, and on KOM attacks only. Compare this to the way Lucien Van Impe and Charley Gaul won their KOM jerseys while also going for the GC win every time. I'd even rank Pantani above Virenque as far as climbing goes, though Marco had little interest in KOM points. Scrape all the drugs away from everyone, and Marco is still arguably the best climber ever.

Best single Grand Tour performance ever was Merckx 1969 Tour win. He won by nearly 18 minutes, won all three jerseys, and an amazing six stages, including the final sprint into Paris.

let's not talk about doping, for this one thing pretend that we're all ignorant, as i said no doping talk please.
 

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