The Case Against an Impressive Palmares

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by gntlmn, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. gntlmn

    gntlmn New Member

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    Lance Armstrong is just about to win his 6th Tour de France at the age of 32. He'll be 33 in September.

    Eddy Merckx, popularly thought of as the best road racer ever, was finished when he was 29 years old. He has the best palmares of any, including a better than 1 out of 3 win record for every professional race he had ever raced in.

    Is this really what what we want to wish upon the other great riders, an early retirement? It seems that that is what we are doing by constantly complaining when the great riders do not enter almost every road race they can fit into their schedules instead of allowing them to focus only on select races.

    Heavyweight boxing began bareknuckled in the US in the early 1900's with no round limit. Gradually, the rules have put gloves on their hands and shortened the bouts. Most recently, the heavyweight title has been shortened from 15 rounds in the time of Ali/Frazier to the current 12 rounds. I suspect that the boxers will be less likely to permanently injure themselves.

    Is there such a concern in road racing? Is there a race schedule which is perhaps just a little bit too much? I admit, I hopped on that bandwagon for a while too, wanting to have a new tour which was exclusively hill climbs and no flat stages. Then I watched as Jose Maria Jimenez and Marco Pantani, two of the all time great climbers, died last year. And then I ask myself, is it really worth it? Without doubt, I want to see the best climbers climb, but I don't have to see them do this every day. As long as they stay in the game, there is hope that I will see them ply their craft once again.
     
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