Who really is/was the greatest?

by levermonkey   March 1, 2014  

The other night in the pub (where else?) a very heated discussion started about who exactly "Was or is the greatest cyclist ever?" After the imbibing of much 'falling down water' some sort of consensus emerged.

Here are the results of the 'HP Lovecraft Holiday Funclub' Jury.
Greatest Rider of all time (either sex) - Beryl Burton
Greatest Female Rider - 1st Beryl Burton, 2nd Marianne Vos
Greatest Male Rider - Eddie Merckx, 2nd No Consensus

What do you think? Thinking

21 user comments

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Greatest ever: Merckx
Greatest female: BB
Greatest track rider: Peter Post
Greatest British rider ever: A tie between Cav, Boardman, Ian Cammish and Alf Engers
Greatest mountain bike rider ever: Not one, a contradiction in terms Rolling On The Floor

posted by Welsh boy [102 posts]
1st March 2014 - 20:34

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Greatest Female : Marianne Vos
Greatest Male : Jacques Anquetil
Greatest Track : Chris Hoy
Greatest Britain : Tom Simpson
Greatest EVER : Miguel Indurain

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posted by Gkam84 [8789 posts]
1st March 2014 - 22:06

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Greatest ever: Indurain
Greatest Brit: At the mo Cav, in the future Froome.
Greatest Track: Hoy
Greatest Woman: Vos

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2697 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 0:08

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lance armstrong <3

posted by Lost faith in t... [119 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 14:11

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I don't know how anyone could overlook Robert Millar to jump to Tom Simpson?

Also Eddy Merckx work rate was phenomenal, tours, world records, classics, that type of riding no longer exists and for that reason he is absolutely the greatest, not a one trick pony.

I don't understand the concept of Sprinters, so I can't plump for Cav, for me you need to put in a shift all day, not sprint for the last few hundred metres.

Why are you so down on Wiggins? The guy made the transition from the highest level at the track, is arguably our best ever Olympian and then made the transition to the Road and won the tour? I cut the guy slack for odd flat performance on the road, as where he came from, the track, he didn't ever dissapoint.

hoy obviously dominated the track in the modern era, but I suspect there are some unsung heroes from the past I don't know about,so don't have a track favourite.

Finally, like Merckx, we are highly unlikely to see anyone with as diverse and long career like that ever again, dominated several generations of riders!

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [520 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 15:07

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Reg Harris?

posted by felixcat [208 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 15:15

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Flying Scot wrote:

Why are you so down on Wiggins? The guy made the transition from the highest level at the track, is arguably our best ever Olympian and then made the transition to the Road and won the tour? I cut the guy slack for odd flat performance on the road, as where he came from, the track, he didn't ever dissapoint.

Same here.
2 GT Podiums (3 if take 2009) and a smattering of other stage race wins.
11 Track Worlds medals. 7 Olympic medals. 3 Commonwealth. 2 Worlds TT medals.
If that doens't make him among the UK's greatest cylist I don't know aht would do, perhaps if he wasn't riding in Rapha...

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posted by glynr36 [350 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 17:09

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Greatest of all: Merckx
Greatest male: ditto
Greatest female: Vos
Track: Hoy
Brit: Wiggins

Really, though?

posted by workhard [377 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 18:12

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You see! It's not as easy as you first think is it?

Reg Harris is a superb left-field suggestion for best Brit. Cool

posted by levermonkey [356 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 19:48

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The reason I cannot take Merckx over Indurain.

Merckx definitely doped. Indurain to my knowledge has never had anything even against him, not even in any investigations (I suspect he did dope) but he never denied it, unlike Merckx

That being the same reason I picked Anquetil as the greatest male he's been implicated in things, so could not greatest my ever.

Tom Simpson talked openly about doping, saying that riders did drugs, he never denied doing it, he said that you couldn't do it alot though. Of course, drugs would lead to his death.

I think, out of the top 10 greatest riders I would have, Indurain is the only one not classed as a doper, the only thing he ever tested positive for was salbutamol and as an asthma suffered, he was allowed to use it

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posted by Gkam84 [8789 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 20:07

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Why has Graeme Obree not been mentioned yet?
Designed and made his own bikes, showed the world what they could do and let them use his ideas to improve their own riding! Boardman was using "Superman" to break the hour record.

Never doped, has fought his own demons since he was a small child and bit his thumb at the UCI more than once!

Greatest of all time: Graeme Obree
Greatest Female: Beryl Burton (Vos always seems so smug!)
Greatest Male: Cav

posted by Jaltham [67 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 20:32

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I think the reason Obree isn't getting a mention and in my eyes is not up there though, yes, great rider and designed, but did nothing on the road and not a lot more on the track, more known for his records.

Greatest male....Cav? Really, he's a sprinter, maybe greatest sprinter (for just now), but not greatest male.

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posted by Gkam84 [8789 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 20:43

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I admit Cav isn't the best choice in the eyes of many, but he just seems to be more down to earth and sensible to me than most. In that ITV4 documentary his eyes lit up when he got a new fixie from Pinarello, alongside the hydraulic brakes he was rocking this year, you can tell he is really passionate about bikes and bike kit. That's what we need! Not riders who are solely motivated by money, but "old fashioned" ones who like to ride bikes!
Might just be me though!

posted by Jaltham [67 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 21:12

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Greatest of all time: Vos
Greatest Male: Merckx

posted by Gordon Watt [8 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 21:31

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Greatest ever: Merckx, this is just obvious, nobody elese even comes close to his achievments, regardless of doping or who is your favourite rider. I can't believe there is any debate on this.
Greatest woman: Vos
Greatest Brit: Beryl Burton, for me Cav is a one trick pony, same with Hoy, Froome isn't British, Wiggo would have it if he won another Tour and Boardman is great but for more reasons than sporting success.

posted by drfabulous0 [292 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 21:37

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Brits: Brian Robinson, Tom Simpson and Robert Millar: for doing it all on their own, as much as I think Brad & Cav's success is stunning. Barry Hoban too.
Best ever: Hinault - seems to me he overcame adversity more often than Merckx, and never had quite as dedicated a team (apologies to Fignon, Madiot and LeMond). Anquetil was too calculating - 'sh*t or bust' is what makes things interesting, surely? Indurain was a robot (sorry).
Pantani for his unpredictability and heart-on-sleeve falibility. The human side of the sport, warts and all.
Best woman: Beryl Burton, Marianne Vos. Or Jeannie Longo (this last one just to start a riot, even though she allegedly/possibly has used PEDs, but has to be no more than her male counterparts).
Track rider: Surely Daniel Morelon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Morelon
Joker in the pack: Graeme Obree for being the fly in the restricive straight-jacket UCI ointment, an engineer, a sensitve thinker, a left-field genius.

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posted by curdins [24 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 21:38

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Hahahahahahahahahahahaha at the idea that Big Mig didn't dope. Can I say it again? Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Ha.
In fact, if we assume Merckx doped - he always maintained he was spiked or set up, which is a lot less likely than the fact he was just caught for doing the same amphetamines everyone else was doing - all he really had access to was the amphetamines, rather than the far more sophisticated EPO, steroids etc of Indurain's era.
Looking at what Merckx won, and the way he won them, even if he had a doping program like Armstrong's, you'd still have to pick him as the greatest. There's simply no one to compare his drive, desire and above all, his record. It's insane.

posted by bashthebox [637 posts]
3rd March 2014 - 14:18

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Put me down with a vote for Indurain for all time. For no better reason than he was my idol when I was cycling in my formative years. That familiarity beats Merckx into second place. The shear power of the guy was formidable. Look up the metrics for heart rate, lung capacity and everything else for Indurain, it's quite amazing. He was certainly like an engine but it was a super charged V8 for sure.
Best British, well it has to be Cavendish just for the number of wins. Call him a one trick pony if you like but he has to be there at the finish to use his trick and lets face it it's a dammed good trick.
Vos gets the female podium for pretty much the same reason as Cav where level of success, though some of the UK track team are right up there in terms of profile.

posted by paulrbarnard [110 posts]
3rd March 2014 - 14:38

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drfabulous0 wrote:
Greatest ever: Merckx, this is just obvious, nobody elese even comes close to his achievments, regardless of doping or who is your favourite rider. I can't believe there is any debate on this.
Greatest woman: Vos
Greatest Brit: Beryl Burton, for me Cav is a one trick pony, same with Hoy, Froome isn't British, Wiggo would have it if he won another Tour and Boardman is great but for more reasons than sporting success.

What I love about this, is how many British riders we've got to choose from! Anyone remember the time when, during the TdF highlights, the results would come up, showing all these foreign riders, then Phil and Paul would also mention that in 66, 109 and 142 place were the three brits, all on different teams, just working for someone else and who you would never see? Now we're arguing over a bunch of guys who all hold some of the most prestigious prizes in the sport.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3073 posts]
3rd March 2014 - 14:40

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Greatest Female Road: Marianne Vos
Greatest Male Road : Eddy Merckx
Greatest Track : either Hoy or Vicky Pendleton
Greatest Briton : Sadly Biggins
Greatest EVER : Eddy Merckx

I was deeply tempted to put Armstrong as greatest road... I still personally consider that he won the seven tours despite despising the methods involved. But I think Merckx beats him anyway.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [809 posts]
3rd March 2014 - 14:44

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notfastenough wrote:
drfabulous0 wrote:
Greatest ever: Merckx, this is just obvious, nobody elese even comes close to his achievments, regardless of doping or who is your favourite rider. I can't believe there is any debate on this.
Greatest woman: Vos
Greatest Brit: Beryl Burton, for me Cav is a one trick pony, same with Hoy, Froome isn't British, Wiggo would have it if he won another Tour and Boardman is great but for more reasons than sporting success.

What I love about this, is how many British riders we've got to choose from! Anyone remember the time when, during the TdF highlights, the results would come up, showing all these foreign riders, then Phil and Paul would also mention that in 66, 109 and 142 place were the three brits, all on different teams, just working for someone else and who you would never see? Now we're arguing over a bunch of guys who all hold some of the most prestigious prizes in the sport.


Agreed. The 'other guys' are still there too - Dowsett, Cummings, Blythe etc.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [809 posts]
3rd March 2014 - 14:52

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