Who had the best season in the last 20 years?

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Who had the best season in the last 20 years?

  • Gilbert 2011

    Votes: 47 46.1%
  • Cipollini 2002

    Votes: 2 2.0%
  • Cavendish 2009

    Votes: 5 4.9%
  • Pantani 1998

    Votes: 26 25.5%
  • Cancellara 2008

    Votes: 3 2.9%
  • Boonen 2005

    Votes: 6 5.9%
  • Petacchi 2003 or 2004

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • Contador 2008

    Votes: 8 7.8%
  • Zabel 2001

    Votes: 4 3.9%

  • Total voters
    102
Basso attempted it in 2005, and planned to do so again in 2006.
Basso would have had a great chance in 2006 but dr Fuentes said "hello". Ivan was in ET mode back then.
As for comparing Pog's season with Pantani's it's difficult for me to decide. Pog's season was more versatile, victories in many various races across the whole season but Giro-Tour double is so big and the way Pantani won the Tour was amazing.
 
Basso attempted it in 2005, and planned to do so again in 2006.
That's why I said the best GT RIDER. Basso wasn't in 2005. Armstrong was. In 2006..however.
Also, Quintana wasn't the best GT rider in 2017.
I believe that at least one of Armstrong or Froome would do it. Armstrong if ever tried, Froome if he tried earlier. Contador maybe as well, with a better team and not a Zomegnan Giro.
 
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GT riders that tried:
Basso 2005 and 2006 tried
Menchov tried in 2008.
Contador 2011 and 2015
Nibali 2016
Quintana 2017
Froome and Dumoulin 2018

Pantani had a great season and like was pointed out the whole Clinical affair before the Tour left a mark. On top of the double could have been stopped if Ullrich wisely decided to wear a jacket on the descents.

Two GTs are definitely harder on the body. I think if Pogacar won Flanders, LBL/GdL, and Tour that would absolutely be higher. While monuments are hard to win, those two are the easiest for GT riders to win with their skill set.
 
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For me it's Pogacar 2021. Doubt we will ever see better.

Maybe he can do a GT double plus monument.
3600+ CQ points, 349 more than 2nd best since 99

one DNF, one 37th and one 12th place and for the rest only top 10.
I think that Pogačar might ride the Tour and Vuelta next year with LBL earlier in the season but it will be hard to win all these. He could even ride MSR but there his chances would be significantly lower.
 
I am surprised that I am arguing Pogacar > Pantani here, since I’ve always been a GT fan rather than a classics one.

But let’s look at this another way. Could Pantani have ever done what Pogacar did? Not a hope in hell. Could Pogacar do what Pantani did? Quite possibly.

It takes different skills to win a three week race vs. a one day race. Many have been successful in one, but not the other (at least during the last 30 years). In addition to that, Pogacar had to win sprint finishers to win his monuments. Okay, so he only beat one opponent in Lombardia, but he had to outsprint four in LBL, including the world champion. He is on a different level to Pantani.

Regarding more specifically the double; Indurain won one Tour, then tried the double and succeeded twice. How hard is it really (compared to winning GT’s and monuments)? Lance won the Tour in 99. Hypothetically he could have tried to do the double any one of the next six seasons. He didn’t care to try. Contador is the next big gun to look at. His 2011 effort wasn’t really a proper attempt. Remember that he was racing under the conditions of a likely impending ban, which is the only reason that he raced that Giro to begin with. And by 2015 he was probably slightly past his past. Then there is Froome. He became a GT contender at the 2011 Vuelta, but he didn’t race the Giro in 2012 or 2013. After winning the Tour he still decided to bypass an attempt at the double for four more seasons. And when he did finally attempt it, he wasn’t actually that far off doing it (and it wouldn't have been a 'normal' double attempt either, being 4 consecutive GT's!). Dumoulin wasn’t even that far off doing it, and he’s never even won a Tour.

What recent Tour winners have been close to doing what Pogacar did in those monuments?
 
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I think Purito in 2012 could have been the best season of the last 10 years if he could finish the job at giro and vuelta. Giro + Vuelta + Lombardia + flechee wallone. If only he could time trial a bit better.

Similarly in 2013 he could have done LBL + Worlds + Lombardia + Tour podium.
In 2012 it wasn't really a TT problem but being a pussy in the Giro and having a meltdown in the Vuelta. I mean, he waited the last kilometer of the Stelvio to attack and only going after Scarponi, otherwise he would have probably waited even more, and collapsed mentally in Fuente Dé where Contador outfoxed him despite being inferior the entire race, just think that Valverde that attacked with around 10 kilometers to go was just some hundred of meters away from catching him after clawing back some 2 minutes and an half and the whole Vuelta Purito level was very similar to Valverde's one.
 
Sticking to the thread question palmares wise i think there are no doubts that Boonen has the edge but i had to vote Gilbert because i can't avoid considering the whole picture.

Gilbert in 2011 extended the god mode he had in the fall the two previous years for the whole season and was just unplayable almost everywhere except the Tour where still was very good in a race where he never delivered before and after and he didn't like compared to the other two GTs. And the consistency he had, in Algarve he started winning a sprinter stage just going away in a bump that wasn't a lot more than a bridge, won Strade, won a stage in Tirreno and was there fighting with the climbers in other two + a top 10 in the GC, in Sanremo he basically towed the group of survivors up the Poggio making possible to catch Greg that otherwise would have won, in the Ronde was there fighting for the win, won Brabantse, Amstel, Fleche and Liege in a row, break of a month, won Tour of Belgium + a stage, a second in the ITT and 11th in a bunch sprint won by his team mate Greipel, won ZLM Toer + a stage, won the National Championship. Then comes the Tour, as i said the only race he wasn't god mode but still won the first stage, 4th on Mur de Bretagne, 2nd in the slightly uphill bunch sprint in Cap Fréhel, 7th in Lisieux and started to fight also for the points jersey, 2nd and the strongest on Super Besse and even 23rd on Luz Ardiden trying to hang on for the GC. After the Tour resumes the god mode and won San Sebastian, won ITT National Championship, 2nd in Benelux + a stage, won Quebec, 3rd in Montreal, won GP de Wallonie, 15th in the criterium Worlds and 8th in an harder Lombardia compared to the previous years. What else can we say? If it wasn't for Jalabert would have been the most dominant season since Kelly.
 
He's trying to show restraint, but I have a feeling that the 3rd in Montreal is going to tip him over the edge.
Nah Costa was built dif those years. If anything it’s the fact Gilbert’s LBL win is better than any of Nibali’s since he actually beat a GT podium rider and GT winner while Nibali just beat some sprinters and Purito 0.5 for two of his ;)

All kidding aside, for Gilbert’s 2011 season to be a little higher he needed to win another monument or more stages at the Tour. Phenomenal year and took a lot out of him. I know some at the time we’re saying he had it easy since Valverde wasn’t there. I’m sure some could try and make the case that 2012 Boonen > 2011 Gilbert.
 
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Nah Costa was built dif those years. If anything it’s the fact Gilbert’s LBL win is better than any of Nibali’s since he actually beat a GT podium rider and GT winner while Nibali just beat some sprinters and Purito 0.5 for two of his ;)

All kidding aside, for Gilbert’s 2011 season to be a little higher he needed to win another monument or more stages at the Tour. Phenomenal year and took a lot out of him. I know some at the time we’re saying he had it easy since Valverde wasn’t there. I’m sure some could try and make the case that 2012 Boonen > 2011 Gilbert.
Yeah, they're awfully hard to win, but he needs to throw in either MSR, Flanders or Lombardia.

Plus outsprint Cadel freakin' Evans up a mere hill.

P.S. Maybe that year from Gilbert is a little bit like Thomas Muster's best tennis year? He won one grand slam (the French obviously), plus a ton of other tournaments, but didn't do very well in the other slams. Or a bit like very early (05ish) Nadal.
 
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Sticking to the thread question palmares wise i think there are no doubts that Boonen has the edge but i had to vote Gilbert because i can't avoid considering the whole picture.

Gilbert in 2011 extended the god mode he had in the fall the two previous years for the whole season and was just unplayable almost everywhere except the Tour where still was very good in a race where he never delivered before and after and he didn't like compared to the other two GTs. And the consistency he had, in Algarve he started winning a sprinter stage just going away in a bump that wasn't a lot more than a bridge, won Strade, won a stage in Tirreno and was there fighting with the climbers in other two + a top 10 in the GC, in Sanremo he basically towed the group of survivors up the Poggio making possible to catch Greg that otherwise would have won, in the Ronde was there fighting for the win, won Brabantse, Amstel, Fleche and Liege in a row, break of a month, won Tour of Belgium + a stage, a second in the ITT and 11th in a bunch sprint won by his team mate Greipel, won ZLM Toer + a stage, won the National Championship. Then comes the Tour, as i said the only race he wasn't god mode but still won the first stage, 4th on Mur de Bretagne, 2nd in the slightly uphill bunch sprint in Cap Fréhel, 7th in Lisieux and started to fight also for the points jersey, 2nd and the strongest on Super Besse and even 23rd on Luz Ardiden trying to hang on for the GC. After the Tour resumes the god mode and won San Sebastian, won ITT National Championship, 2nd in Benelux + a stage, won Quebec, 3rd in Montreal, won GP de Wallonie, 15th in the criterium Worlds and 8th in an harder Lombardia compared to the previous years. What else can we say? If it wasn't for Jalabert would have been the most dominant season since Kelly.
God mode was over by the time he started Lombardia, and iirc he showed nothing extraordinary in Copenhagen. Compare his season to Sagan's, who had a far weaker team than Gilbert and faced far better competition. The only thing in Gilbert's favour is wins in *** small races, and that he didn't have Sagan's misfortune (MSR). Sagan was a beast from Omloop to Doha, including a far more impressive Tour.
 
GT riders that tried:
Basso 2005 and 2006 tried
Menchov tried in 2008.
Contador 2011 and 2015
Nibali 2016
Quintana 2017
Froome and Dumoulin 2018

Pantani had a great season and like was pointed out the whole Clinical affair before the Tour left a mark. On top of the double could have been stopped if Ullrich wisely decided to wear a jacket on the descents.

Two GTs are definitely harder on the body. I think if Pogacar won Flanders, LBL/GdL, and Tour that would absolutely be higher. While monuments are hard to win, those two are the easiest for GT riders to win with their skill set.
Simoni in 2003 as well started the Tour with the goal of challenging Armstrong, as far as I remember, but it didn't went very well either.

But I think that the Giros of that period (2001-2004, probably extending into 2008-9) were a bit less competitive regarding depth of the field than the ones of the '10s.
 
GT riders that tried:
Basso 2005 and 2006 tried
Menchov tried in 2008.
Contador 2011 and 2015
Nibali 2016
Quintana 2017
Froome and Dumoulin 2018

Pantani had a great season and like was pointed out the whole Clinical affair before the Tour left a mark. On top of the double could have been stopped if Ullrich wisely decided to wear a jacket on the descents.

Two GTs are definitely harder on the body. I think if Pogacar won Flanders, LBL/GdL, and Tour that would absolutely be higher. While monuments are hard to win, those two are the easiest for GT riders to win with their skill set.
Nibali didn't try giro tour double in 2016, he never went to TDF with gc ambitions, it was Rio training.

Landa tried in 2019.
 
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