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Teams & Riders Who are The Top 10 Climbers of All Time

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So difficult to discern what true potential was/is
It's not difficult, it's impossible. There's no actual way of measuring such a thing as potential. There are so many factors contributing to performance that optimising all of them is never possible in real world, and estimating the impact of most of those factors with any kind of accuracy is not possible either.

You can maybe try to estimate the impact of modern equipment with some accuracy but good luck knowing the exact impact different training methods, nutrition, supplements, mental wellbeing, various small health issues etc. on a given body. For all we know, Francis De Greef might have won Tour de France 8 times had he had different childhood experience.
 
Is Vingegaard the best climber of all time by true potential?
I doubt he could ever be better than Marco Pantani. Not possible based upon anything I have seen.

For an example for younger members, remember stage 15 of 1998 TdF - a long range attack then Marco rode away from everyone on the final climb to Les deux Alpes. Then there were examples in the Giro. Pretty sure there have been technological advancements since 1998, including aero and carbon frames. Pantani did his magic on a aluminium frame (remember those?), although Marco's 1998 rim braked bike was similar weight to today's (~7Kg).

According to Wiki Pantani was 57Kg.

Thank you Google:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6auUDTslPw
 
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One thing that could be an interesting experiment, but would unfortunately be basically impossible to do, would be to take some of the best climbers of the current peloton, and have them ride climbs on retro-bikes from various periods through the 20th Century. Then compare their climbing times to those set during the days those bikes were actually used.
Unfortunately, that only answers the question of how today's riders would do if they had to use older equipment, not how riders from the earlier times would do if they had access to modern equipment.
 
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One thing that could be an interesting experiment, but would unfortunately be basically impossible to do, would be to take some of the best climbers of the current peloton, and have them ride climbs on retro-bikes from various periods through the 20th Century. Then compare their climbing times to those set during the days those bikes were actually used.
Unfortunately, that only answers the question of how today's riders would do if they had to use older equipment, not how riders from the earlier times would do if they had access to modern equipment.
The road should also be in same condition as it was back then.
 
One thing that could be an interesting experiment, but would unfortunately be basically impossible to do, would be to take some of the best climbers of the current peloton, and have them ride climbs on retro-bikes from various periods through the 20th Century. Then compare their climbing times to those set during the days those bikes were actually used.
Unfortunately, that only answers the question of how today's riders would do if they had to use older equipment, not how riders from the earlier times would do if they had access to modern equipment.
Not to mention the impact of proper training, peaking and nutrition
 
Marco cannot be forget, probably the rider that did more to the popularity of cycling.
Yes. I was watching cycling closely back then. Every night we taped stages of the 1998 TdF, I think I still have the VHS of that day somewhere with Ligget and Sherwin I would never throw it out. Glad we have YouTube.

We were used to time trialing machines like Ullrich and Indurain dominating. Then when this little climber from Italy did what he did I couldn't believe my eyes. I wish younger fans today might have witnessed it. This thread would not be required.
 
Yes. I was watching cycling closely back then. Every night we taped stages of the 1998 TdF, I think I still have the VHS of that day somewhere with Ligget and Sherwin I would never throw it out. Glad we have YouTube.

We were used to time trialing machines like Ullrich and Indurain dominating. Then when this little climber from Italy did what he did I couldn't believe my eyes. I wish younger fans today might have witnessed it. This thread would not be required.
Was Marco on totally different level than the rest ?
 
It's not difficult, it's impossible. There's no actual way of measuring such a thing as potential. There are so many factors contributing to performance that optimising all of them is never possible in real world, and estimating the impact of most of those factors with any kind of accuracy is not possible either.

You can maybe try to estimate the impact of modern equipment with some accuracy but good luck knowing the exact impact different training methods, nutrition, supplements, mental wellbeing, various small health issues etc. on a given body. For all we know, Francis De Greef might have won Tour de France 8 times had he had different childhood experience.
I think teams do this exact thing when assessing talent and what separates the good from the great are youth development programs. i think we can extrapolate some data and learn something from the past. You can't quantify what they won't tell us they were doing, but at least we can work with some data points like weight as a starter.
 
Chronologically: Coppi, Bahamontes, Gaul, Ocana, Van Impe, Pantani, Armstrong, Heras, Contador, Vingegaard. Just off the top of my head.
Obviously there are many other guys that could make it into the top10 (I could forget some of them), it also depends on criteria (pure speed (best in 90s), domination over rivals etc). IMO Pantani (or Coppi) is the greatest climber of all time. I put Vingo in top10 (and not Pogacar) due to last two TdF races but Teddy can easily make it into top10 soon.
 
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Was Marco on totally different level than the rest ?
Watch the video above. He completely demolished everyone. Ullrich was no slouch. Ullrich holds one of the fastest ascents of Alpe D'Huez even though Marco left him behind that day as well (in 1995). On that day he even missed the final turn in setting the fastest ascent in history. Here it is.


Footnote: Yes we know what "helped" this, but look at what he did compared to everyone else back then.
 
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