Armstrong's place in history

Discussion in 'Professional Cycling' started by Rich Nic, Jul 23, 2005.

  1. Rich Nic

    Rich Nic New Member

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    First of all, I'll say that as far as palmares is concerned Merckx is undisputed no. 1 and the Badger is almost certainly no.2.

    On the simple basis of palmares Armstrong, to some, would be outside the top 5. But is this being at little harsh? I feel that there are two major factors to consider when considering his (and Indurain's) acheivements.

    1. Specialisation. Some would say this started with Anquetil, but it properly started with Greg LeMond - who realised that only the TdF and World Champs meant anything (if you weren't Italian or Spanish). In Merckx's day they had to do all the races to make their money. Thanks to LeMond, they get better salaries and can pick and chose.
    You can critisize Armstrong for not trying to win the pre TdF races, but who in the top 10 has - Basso and Vino, that's it.
    On the other hand, who's winning the classics - DiLuca, Pettachi, Rebelliin, Friere, Bettini, Wessemann, Van Pettegam - none of them at the tour.

    2. Globalisation. When Merckx won his last tour in 1974, only nine countries were represented. This year there were 28 countries. If your could take a time machine back to 1974 and say that the yellow jersey was on an American, the polka dot on a Dane, the white on a Ukrainian/Russian, and the green is a battle between a Norwegian and some Aussies, they would have laughed in your face. If you added that the most aggressive rider was from Kazakhstan - they would have accused you of making up countries.

    Anyway, my point is that Armstrong should be considered in the top 3 of the cycling parthenon (Coppi would have been - he would have won in the war, but he didn't).

    Really, my point is, that I'm disappointed that so many cycling fans can't recognise the greatest cyclist of my time (I'm 33 and loved LeMond and Roche)

    Notes:
    1. I'm not a Lance groupie. I'm a big Ullrich fan and like Basso a lot. I don't think Armstrong is a particularly nice person but I admire him (see also Schumacher, Woods etc)
    2. I'll admit to a little dislike for Indurain. I like tours to be won in the moutains, not by taking 4 minutes out of everyone in the TT.
    3. Drugs - let's make this discussion about cycling achievements and not about insinuation - every rider is a product of his time and they are all tainted by gossip.
     
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  2. Le_cannibale

    Le_cannibale New Member

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    1. Coppi & Merckx
    Coppi's career was split in two by WWII. If he had not been in the war and the races held, we would probably say that he is by far the greatest of all time. Merckx has better palmares and was an amazing cyclist. I can't choose which one though.
    2. Hinault
    3. Anquetil
    4. Armstrong
    5. Indurain
    6. Poulidor "Eternal second"
     
  3. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    A very balanced post - that you make here, Rich.

    I need to go away and think about what you have outlined here.

    Good to see that you acknowledge Merckx and Hinault.

    Merckx is the pinnacle - no doubt.
    The badger on his day, might nick a result from EM but that would be seldom.

    As to where LA fits in on the alltime list - personally I need to think about the Coppi's, Kelly's, LeMonds to see where I would rate LA.

    But you've raised a good question.
     
  4. spockroyaltea

    spockroyaltea New Member

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    wow, great post..you really thought throw all that stuff.
    i think i agree with you, while i'm not a huge lance fan either- he has done great things for the sport. i'm only 19 and kinda new to watching the sport. quite honestly, i wouldn't know what the tour de france was if it wasnt for lance. for that i am greatful.
     
  5. iBanesto

    iBanesto New Member

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    Lance is the "Greatest TDF rider of All Time".

    This can not be argued with, maybe only Coppi could compare to Lance's physical and mental strengths.
     
  6. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    In defence of Lance:

    Amongst his many other achievments, he has probably brought the greatest number of new people into cycling. That has to count for something.

    In defence of the classic riders:

    They didn't have the huge budget to focus only on one or two races. Cycling was literally a full time occupation when the salaries were more modest.


    Lance may be remembered as bringing maturity and precision to cycling team management. It isn't so much his individual performance as a team devoted to backing him up that got him seven tours. Had Lance been on a less dedicated team, he would certainly have lost in 2003, and possibly in 2000 or 2001 as well.
     
  7. wilmar13

    wilmar13 New Member

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    There is no way to deny LA is the most successful cyclist in history if you define success in terms of money and name recognition outside cycling.
     
  8. steve26

    steve26 New Member

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    It is complete nonsense to compare athletes to one another from different time periods. The athletes of the present day will always be better than the athletes of the past.

    It only makes sense to compare how an athlete dominated a sport compared to others in there era.

    If you want to get into that argument, no athlete in history of sports has dominated there sport more than Babe Ruth dominated baseball.

    The best pitcher and the best hitter.

    But would he compare present day to Barry Bonds....Not a chance.
     
  9. mitosis

    mitosis New Member

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    Anyone else experiencing deja vu?
     
  10. whiteboytrash

    whiteboytrash New Member

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    I thought this was interesting on the procycling.com website that Armstrong might attempt a marathon or the Ironman in the future...... he may win 7 New York marathons as well !

    On how he will now channel his energies:
    I can’t promise that I won’t show up at a few cyclo-cross races and a few mountain bike races, and a few triathlons and a few 10k runs. I’m an athlete — I’ve been an athlete my entire life. I began running and swimming competitively when I was 12 years old. It’s not as if I’m going to sit around and be a fat slob now, I have to do something. And with exercise it’s nice to set goals. Why couldn’t I take a couple of years and say, let’s do a marathon and see how fast I can do it? I’m a competitive person, but I don’t need to do it in a big-time sport, I don’t need to come back and do the Ironman in two years — although I’ve thought about it….

     
  11. wolfix

    wolfix New Member

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    I was kinda thinking the same thing ...... But I could not find the exact words for it. The only word I could come up with was "flashback" and whenever I think about that word I lose my train of concentration. But these "deja vu" posts are easy to answer too..... Just go back to the original Lance Vs Eddy threads and "Cut & Paste " the arguments you like right here.
     
  12. wolfix

    wolfix New Member

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    I just had a great idea!!!!! I need to write a guide to the argument "Lance vs Eddy." That way , when Lance rides his 8th attempt to the TDF podium we can have just one thread titled "Lance vs Eddy." And then references could be made to individual arguments on individual pages throughout the guide.
     
  13. mitosis

    mitosis New Member

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    Funny, I was thinking the same myself. It would not be too hard to go through this forum and provide the links to the endless arguments already presented - maybe someone with too much time on their hands could do it, its too much effort for me after the stress of the last three weeks. :D
     
  14. Catabolic_Jones

    Catabolic_Jones New Member

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    To me, the marvel of Armstrong is not so much his accomplishments -- which, must be admitted are great, although specific -- but both the way in which he revolutionized his sport, and also transcended it.

    No one will train the same way, prepare the same way any more, at least for the Grand Tours. It is human nature to attribute his successes to something beyond physiology or genetics; one must assume there is something revolutionary in his preparation (Flyer, oh Flyer?).

    But the real magic of Armstrong is the way in which he has used his fame to positive ends. How many athletes do this? I think he's a rarity in this regard. People can take inspiration from Armstrong, from both his cycling triumphs and his defeat of cancer, and apply it to their personal life. In other words, he appeals to everyone, not just cyclists. Without sounding pretentious, I think he will -- if he hasn't already -- attain a mythic stature. He goes way beyond pedalling.
     
  15. wolfix

    wolfix New Member

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    Now that the TDF is over I am not sure what to do. I had a close call this afternoon after watching the re-runs of the last day. When I realized the importance of this day I started to shake and cry. I was blubbering like a fool in front of all my friends. Thank god they thought quickly and ran across the street and bought me some Tex-Mex and a few Shinerbocks. When I calmed down to a point where they could load me up into a car , they hustled me over to the local TREK dealer. It was close, but I will make it.
     
  16. mitosis

    mitosis New Member

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    You have my sympathy. I still have some of the mountain stages that I've only seen highlghts of to enjoy while on the wind trainer over the next few weeks but its not quite the same now its over.

    And to think some people say its just a bike race.
     
  17. haynen

    haynen New Member

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    Hehe, pretty funny wolfix.
    I wondered the same thing -:D what to do with all this time?
     
  18. mitosis

    mitosis New Member

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    I just watched the last two hours of stage 10. The last climb, IMO was where Armstrong won the race. His team, and then Armstrong really turned the screws. Its funny to go back over the race and see something that ends up being a crucial turning point.

    If you've got a chance to do it look over some of the earlier stages, it may help you to ease back in to normal life.
     
  19. Frihed89

    Frihed89 New Member

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    Question: Who is the best tennis player? Answer: Could Rod Laver, at his prime, beat Roger Federer in his prime? Answer, No. The game has changed radically; the technology has improved; the competition is better; sports training methods have improved; and so on. How do you hold all these things constant? You can't.

    Under today's conditions, the newest superhero in every sport would outperform the past superheroes. Cy Young wouldn't win even 200 games. Federer would destroy Laver. Ian Thorpe would crush Johnny Weismuller, and so on.

    Put Armstrong in the cycling hall of fame. Put him in the tour de france hall of fame. Along with all the other greats. They all share in common one thing: They were the very best at what they did when they were doing it.

    Isn't that good enough?
     
  20. luv2ride

    luv2ride New Member

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    I agree completley with Frihed89. The sport has changed over the years. It is'nt so easy anymore to go out and win a bunch of races like Merckx. The athletes today must decide that they want to peak at certain points in the season. For Lance, that is the TdF; for George, it may be Tour of Flanders-Paris Roubaix week; for Pettachi, it may be Milan-San Remo and Worlds. The list goes on and on. Well, how come George did so well in the Tour and Paris-Roubaix or Milan-San Remo and Worlds are spaced out over couple months you might say. How come Lance can't do the same thing and peakmultiple times like others? The answer is simple. You can peak multiple times, when you have a sufficient amount of time to recover between those peaks. That is why Danilo Di Luca is able to race the Giro and the Vuelta. So, let me wrap up by saying, each great rider is great in his own way for his own things. Your friend in cycling,
    Alder ;)
     
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