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Jul 25, 2005



I am not a cycling afficianoado, but are you sure that Lance is the greatest. Some people say that he "cheated" by focusing exclusively on the Tour De France. I don't really have an opinion on this, but those people will assert that Eddie Merckx was better. I'd provide a link, but you don't allow html. Just google.


first of all, Typepad doesn't allow HTML (anymore). I didn't have any input on that decision, had I we surely would still have HTML.

I am pretty comfortable saying that Armstrong is the greatest ever, both for reasons of pure talent, physiological, and work ethic. Crikey, the guy's heart is 1/3 larger than the normal persons, this guy was born to be an endurance athlete.

Merckx raced in a different era, and of course there were the allegations of doping as well (he was tossed from his first Giro d'Italia, although it would appear the case is pretty weak on that front). By all accounts he would likely have won that 6th Tour were it not for the assault on him, which is probably why Armstrong went for 7. Merckx career is stunning, but to be the greatest champion of all time requires something more. Maybe it's a will to win that simply eclipses all others, and in cycling it's largely an ability to endure more pain than anyone else.

The competition is today's races is much more intense and specialized, which is why I think it's unlikely that we'll ever see a Tour where the winner takes the yellow, green, and polka dot jerseys, a feat that Merckx of course did accomplish.

As for focusing on the Tour, Armstrong still put in the 20,000 miles of training riding. It's not like he didn't have to work as hard or compete as hard. Tiger Woods focuses only on the major tournaments, nobody is accusing him of cheating. Pro baseball and basketball players live a life of luxory on the road compared to their predecessors, and play fewer games, nobody is suggesting they are cheating.


Didn't realize that typepad had changed the rules about html. I put cheat in quotes for two reasons. (1.) it isn't cheating the way that doping would be, and I don't want to jump on the stupid rumors that Lance was drugging himself. (2.) I'm not sure that I buy that it's unfair.

With that proviso in mind, I think it's pretty cool that Merckx did both the Italian and French tours on a regular basis. I would criticize the Williams sisters for not playing more.

I do think that modern athletes are sort of wimpy for the pampered life they lead, and I guess that I'd argue that excessive specialization and an inability to be a generalist means that they aren't, in at least one respect, as great as their predecessors.

But yeah, physically, Lance is a remarkable specimen.

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