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Caruut

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Froome's legend status
« on: September 20, 2017, 16:35 »
A wise man (just kidding, it was me) once said on these boards that, to be considered a true great, Froome would have to do something out of his routine. Winning a GT double, winning a classic, something like that. Well, he's got his double, and chapeau to him. But that's not enough for some: grumpy ol' Bernard Hinault has suggested that he needs to win a Giro too!

So is he a legend? Where does his palmares rank in terms of the sport's other legends? Is it fair to demand variety in an increasingly specialised sport? What should his goals be as he enters the late afternoon of his career if he wants to cement his sporting legacy?

From my view, the double is a quite supreme achievement. He joins a list of names that reads Coppi (2), Anquetil (2), Merckx (4), Hinault (3), Battaglin, Roche, Indurain (2), Pantani and Contador. The "career slam", so to speak, is a similarly exclusive list: lose Coppi, Battaglin, Roche, Indurain and Pantani and add in Gimondi and Nibali. So only Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault and Contador have done both: a truly select group.

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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #1 on: September 20, 2017, 16:58 »
     I think the fact that he did the July/August/September, Tour-Vuelta double has been completely under valued.
    A big difference from an April/July double that Mr Badger and his predecessor completed.
    On a par with a Giro-Tour double at least.
    So yeah.
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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #2 on: September 20, 2017, 17:08 »
    He still needs 1 day races or ITT wins to move into legend status. But he is top % of the greats now that is for sure
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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #3 on: September 20, 2017, 17:17 »
    I'm not Froome's biggest fan, but I respect his achievements.

    And he has achieved quite a lot:
    4 Tour wins, three of them back-to-back, and the latest of those followed up with a Vuelta win. Plus a medal in the ITT Worlds today.

    He'll probably never win a one-day race, but he's clearly the best stage racer at the moment.
    And he succeeded in doing what so many riders tried to do and failed at: A GT double. With not even 4 full weeks in between.
    The last one to win a GT double, Pantani in 1998, had almost 5 weeks in between. Indurain (1992 & 1993) had only 3 weeks in between.

    This Tour-Vuelta double is at least on the same level as the Giro-Tour doubles of others, and a far bigger achievement than a Giro-Vuelta double or a pre-1995 Vuelta-Tour double (although these are, of course, big achievements in their own right).


    However, for a rider to be considered a 'legend' in my book, it takes more than 'just' results. They have to be memorable results.
    And in Froome's case, there are several things that stick in your mind: Running up the Ventoux, attacking downhill when nobody expected it ... and several more.

    So, yes, Froome is a legend of the sport.
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    Francois the Postman

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #4 on: September 20, 2017, 17:59 »
    The calendars and teams are run so different these days, science backing and understanding is at a whole new level, I try not to compare them like for like, as I don't quite consider it the same sport any longer. Apple pies and oranges gels.

    MV: I'm fairly sure that Hinault did a Giro TdF double with less than 3 weeks in-between, and that was on the back of the Belgian Ardennes Classics and PR, in which he did great too. Before the Vuelta moved to its current slot, when all 3 GTs where held back to back, there was not much space between them, with the Vuelta usually starting straight after the Belgian Classics on top. What you call 'April' for the Vuelta was often a late April start with a mid-May finish. Giro middle May ending early in June. TdF often starting late June ending in mid July. Three 3-week GTs in the space of four months. The latter two usually over -what- 9 or 10 weeks.

    I think Hinault knows all about back-to-back with no real recovery, tbh, arguably more than Froome. With the Vuelta wedged up front, Giros and Tours (his more usual double) were as back to back then as the TdF Vuelta now, if not more, and when he did them back to back, he won them back to back. And on top of One Day Classics which he rode to win (and did).

    Not wanting to take anything way from Froome, I rank his double as high as it comes. But Hinault's doubles (3? and it would have been 1 more if not for a dodge knee making Zoutemelk not just the eternal #2), they were certainly not done under easier circumstances, as you suggest. Unless I seriously misremember. 



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  • « Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 18:11 by Francois the Postman »

    Mellow Velo

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #5 on: September 20, 2017, 19:29 »
    The calendars and teams are run so different these days, science backing and understanding is at a whole new level, I try not to compare them like for like, as I don't quite consider it the same sport any longer. Apple pies and oranges gels.

    MV: I'm fairly sure that Hinault did a Giro TdF double with less than 3 weeks in-between, and that was on the back of the Belgian Ardennes Classics and PR, in which he did great too. Before the Vuelta moved to its current slot, when all 3 GTs where held back to back, there was not much space between them, with the Vuelta usually starting straight after the Belgian Classics on top. What you call 'April' for the Vuelta was often a late April start with a mid-May finish. Giro middle May ending early in June. TdF often starting late June ending in mid July. Three 3-week GTs in the space of four months. The latter two usually over -what- 9 or 10 weeks.

    I think Hinault knows all about back-to-back with no real recovery, tbh, arguably more than Froome. With the Vuelta wedged up front, Giros and Tours (his more usual double) were as back to back then as the TdF Vuelta now, if not more, and when he did them back to back, he won them back to back. And on top of One Day Classics which he rode to win (and did).

    Not wanting to take anything way from Froome, I rank his double as high as it comes. But Hinault's doubles (3? and it would have been 1 more if not for a dodge knee making Zoutemelk not just the eternal #2), they were certainly not done under easier circumstances, as you suggest. Unless I seriously misremember.

    For sure, FtP.
    Not having a go at the venerable Mr H, just that in the case of French/Spanish doubles, it has to be harder, Froome's way around. In this instance the gap was 46 days.
    Hence, I did point out that I viewed this achievement as more akin to a Giro/Tour double.
    Just 19 days between his 1985 double.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #6 on: September 20, 2017, 20:50 »
    I would have said no, yesterday, anyway. Today is just a confirmation, no. Hinault was the best rouleur of his generation, making him to most complete rider. Froome is not the best rouleur of his generation. Cancellara was and now Dumoulin takes over. He's just the better rouleur among those who can climb, GT's of his era being biased towards climbers but Cancellara and Dumoulin have a bigger "motor". Only the former could not win GT's because of his weight. Least of all, those new GT's.

    Besides, as Madiot argues, he does not have a personality. Put him on the Champs-Élysées and nobody recognises him. That's because he's a GT winner in an era when cycling has lost popularity in the countries he's winning his races in. He's not to blame for this of course.


    Finally, he never races classics.

    Also, one should not forget that the Tour of Spain has long not even been considered a Grand Tour. Up until the eighties, there were but two GT's: the Tours of Italy and France. Along with about 6 or 7 major classics and the Worlds, they were the core of the cycling calendar up until Hinault's years. The Tour of Spain is far from being among Gimondi's biggest wins for instance. The field was really poor back then.
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    Francois the Postman

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #7 on: September 20, 2017, 21:26 »
    Also, one should not forget that the Tour of Spain has long not even been considered a Grand Tour. Up until the eighties, there were but two GT's: the Tours of Italy and France. Along with about 6 or 7 major classics and the Worlds, they were the core of the cycling calendar up until Hinault's years.

    I am certainly showing my age here, but I'll admit, in my head there is still a big difference between the way I look at the TdF and Giro, and the Vuelta. Not so much entertainment wise as the order would immediately be very different, but value-wise. I can certainly understand why Hinault is raising the Giro-TdF double as the (only) one to really impress with. Hinault is a product of his (and mine) era.

    And similarly to you, I suspect, I prefer absolute legends to have an all-round impact, and -not least important- flair. Not simply target a pretty specialized type of cycling and excel at that. But the same way I crow about Flandriens who I will not hesitate to call legendary, even if Flandrien was pretty much all they were, what Froome is doing with the GTs is equally impressive in his field of expertise, something which he has sustained. So labels like great and legendary are hard to argue about, through that particular looking glass.

    Then the difference between one of the greats and one of the legends becomes more about nitpicking the exact meaning of the terms. I can see why you say no, and others say yes. It might actually be more agreement than disagreement.

    I also sometimes wonder if we would conjure up the the same wide-spread heroic images of the sport's older statesmen if they all had been covered with the uniform personality depriving helmets and sunglasses of the current crop. Cycling won a heck of a lot of much-needed safety, but it also lost something significant over the years, (more) easily recognizable characters. And ear-pieces have probably nixed the chance for a lot of the remaining on-road character traits from tighter controlled (but far better paid) professionals to surface.

    Sagan is almost an exception who proves the rule.
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  • hiero

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #8 on: September 20, 2017, 21:36 »
    I'm not Froome's biggest fan, but I respect his achievements.

    And he has achieved quite a lot:
     . . .

    However, for a rider to be considered a 'legend' in my book, it takes more than 'just' results. They have to be memorable results.
    And in Froome's case, there are several things that stick in your mind: Running up the Ventoux, attacking downhill when nobody expected it ... and several more.
     . . .

    Froome HAS put in some memorable performances. It seems every year has seen some significant improvement in his ability and performance.

    He still needs 1 day races or ITT wins to move into legend status. But he is top % of the greats now that is for sure

    Greats - or legends - hmmmm.

    I would have said no, yesterday, anyway. Today is just a confirmation, no. Hinault was the best rouleur of his generation, making him to most complete rider. Froome is not the best rouleur of his generation. Cancellara was and now Dumoulin takes over. He's just the better rouleur among those who can climb, GT's of his era being biased towards climbers but Cancellara and Dumoulin have a bigger "motor". Only the former could not win GT's because of his weight. Least of all, those new GT's.
     . . .

    Rouleur, right, that. Merckx was the greatest rouleur - and the thing was, they could win under any circumstances. The Tour was considered the greater of the two (Giro / Tour) because it was supposedly more of an all-round test, whereas the Giro was a GT for climbers.


    I also have to add one more consideration. Sky. The team. None of the other greats, nor legends, that we have mentioned here has had the strength of team that Sky has had. The only other cyclist who has entered this status with this kind of team strength and focus has also been cast out of the halls of legend. Could Froome have done what he has done without Team Sky? I don't think so. LeMond and Merckx did. And others. As Echoes pointed out, although I wouldn't go quite so far:
    Quote
    The field was really poor back then.
    You have to go pre-Merckx to see real solo performances, I think, but still, the difference the team has made for Sky is phenomenal.

    He still needs 1 day races or ITT wins to move into legend status. But he is top % of the greats now that is for sure
    Ultimately, I like that conclusion. Froome has ridden into the "Greats" category. "Legends" is yet to come, IMHO.   :D
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    Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #9 on: September 20, 2017, 21:38 »
    For me a variety of wins is what would improve his status. Outside of the GTs I think he's only won Romandie and the Dauphine. So wins at Basque, Catalunya, PN, Tirenno would actually add something to his career. I would also say a Giro win would be worth more than a 5th Tour next year and if he does that then a monument win at either LBL or Lombardia would be the next thing to add something. It's something that I've thought about Contador is that over the last few years that a few big one day race would have added more to his career than an 8th/10th[1] GT.
     1. delete as applicable
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #10 on: September 21, 2017, 09:06 »
    Just to make it clear, when I said "the field was poor", I was referring to the 1960's Tour of Spain.  ;)
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #11 on: September 21, 2017, 10:03 »
    It's hard to untangle his 'greatness' from the fact that he is very difficult to warm to, on and off the bike. Even for most Brits I think there's a lack of emotional engagement that there was with Wiggins, Simpson way back when, or even Thomas if he could stay upright for longer than a week.

    To finish in the top 2 in a GT 9 times in 7 years is some going and I don't think his record in non-GTs is inferior to Contador's.

    Froome's big problem with regard to monuments and the Giro is that he is clearly a warm weather rider, it's not just the fact that the Giro can be run in miserable weather, it's the fact that all the warm up races would be too.

    If I was his agent, I'd want him to concentrate on TdFs rather than Giros. One more TdF makes him one of the all time greats, two more puts him a level above. Collecting the set of GTs puts him on an obscure list no-one but the geekiest cycling fans would even care about. Not being his agent and being one of the geekiest of cycling fans, I'd like to see him attempt the Giro.
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  • Caruut

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #12 on: September 22, 2017, 12:03 »
    The calendars and teams are run so different these days, science backing and understanding is at a whole new level, I try not to compare them like for like, as I don't quite consider it the same sport any longer. Apple pies and oranges gels.

    MV: I'm fairly sure that Hinault did a Giro TdF double with less than 3 weeks in-between, and that was on the back of the Belgian Ardennes Classics and PR, in which he did great too. Before the Vuelta moved to its current slot, when all 3 GTs where held back to back, there was not much space between them, with the Vuelta usually starting straight after the Belgian Classics on top. What you call 'April' for the Vuelta was often a late April start with a mid-May finish. Giro middle May ending early in June. TdF often starting late June ending in mid July. Three 3-week GTs in the space of four months. The latter two usually over -what- 9 or 10 weeks.

    I think Hinault knows all about back-to-back with no real recovery, tbh, arguably more than Froome. With the Vuelta wedged up front, Giros and Tours (his more usual double) were as back to back then as the TdF Vuelta now, if not more, and when he did them back to back, he won them back to back. And on top of One Day Classics which he rode to win (and did).

    Not wanting to take anything way from Froome, I rank his double as high as it comes. But Hinault's doubles (3? and it would have been 1 more if not for a dodge knee making Zoutemelk not just the eternal #2), they were certainly not done under easier circumstances, as you suggest. Unless I seriously misremember.

    Correct on the old Vuelta-Giro doubles. When Merckx won in 1973 he finished the Vuelta in San Sebastian on the 13th of May and was on the line for the start of the Giro (in Belgium) on the 18th. Battaglin finished his Vuelta on the 10th of May and started his Giro on the 13th! Mind boggling.
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  • Kiwirider

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #13 on: September 22, 2017, 12:05 »
    Greatness - or "legend status" - comes less from the boxes that you tick and much more from how you tick them.

    For that reason, as an example before moving to the Froome question, I would never put Indurain in a "legend" category for his GT wins - since they were boring and largely based off TT dominance. (We will leave the question of their chemical basis for another thread.)

    Froome's riding lacks excitement. So much is based off putting the train on the front and grinding down the opposition before a late burst ... or even a wheel suck across the line apart from that pre-ordained, pre-calculated, "DS in the earpiece" controlled burst. And again, the dreaded "let's win it in the TT" formula plays large.

    His apparent mental frailty also prevents him being a legend in my mind. True legends don't freak out when things go wrong like he does. They take adversity as extra fuel for their fire and push on harder and harder.

    Froome's riding is not legendary ... It's the cycling equivalent of gray ... of being managed by an accountant. It is winning by penny pinching rather than winning by enterprise.

    Before anyone says it - yes, I know that this is the now standard model for GT victory. All that means is that we are in a generation devoid of - or certainly lacking in - legends.

    Being a legend in any field is dependent on having that special something that sets your actions - much more than your results - apart from the herd.

    Froome doesn't have that.

    He is just the guy at the front of the herd.
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  • Flo

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #14 on: September 22, 2017, 12:23 »
    Completely agree with kiwirider. Froome is an amazing cyclist with a great palmares, but not a legend. Pantani, I would argue, is, while his palmares isn't as great. Very few riders become legends.
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    hiero

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #15 on: September 22, 2017, 15:37 »
    Greatness - or "legend status" - comes less from the boxes that you tick and much more from how you tick them.

    For that reason, as an example before moving to the Froome question, I would never put Indurain in a "legend" category for his GT wins - . . .

    Being a legend in any field is dependent on having that special something that sets your actions - much more than your results - apart from the herd.

    Froome doesn't have that.

    He is just the guy at the front of the herd.

    Completely agree with kiwirider. Froome is an amazing cyclist with a great palmares, but not a legend. Pantani, I would argue, is, while his palmares isn't as great. Very few riders become legends.

    Insightful comments! Pantani, good, bad, AND ugly all in one, and still a legend. True. Indurain? Not of legendary status? I would have to disagree, but not by much. I think he is probably one of the "least" of those who reside in Legendary Hall.

    However, you both have put tongue to a niggling thought dwelling in the back of my mind. Whether it is great, or Great, or legendary - and what does that take? To be legendary - to be among peers in the Hall of Legends - does not require particular wins, as so lucidly pointed out.

    Thinking about Froome, and his style, and his popularity (or lack of it), my thoughts want to reach out and grab something that is tickling at my memories: remembrances of stories of a rider who was rather unliked in his day by fans, due to his cold and aloof demeanor, and his metronomic riding style. My first thought was to remember a rider called "The Professor" - but that was Fignon. Now, Fignon did have some issues amongst the fans for his public coldness, but I don't think he is the rider my memory was seeking.

    I think it must have been stories I heard of Anquetil. He was known as a king of time trialists, and he was also known for an aloof and cold demeanor with the public. He was also noted for his mercenary attitude towards racing. None of this won him fans, one would think! So, in his time, Anquetil was not a legend. He was only a great. Looking back upon his history, at least casually, it would seem he shares characteristics with Froome. Poulidor was more well liked, especially among those fans who wanted riders who raced from the heart - and who attacked. Yet Poulidor lost to Anquetil, perhaps losing heart faced with Anquetil's machine-like consistency.

    Poulidor's career would go on past Anquetil. He later provided the same sort of 2nd place backdrop to Merckx's wins.

    But today, it is Anquetil who is remembered as a legend, whilst Poulidor resides in the Hall of the Eternal Seconds, where he is probably the most famous persona, followed closely by Ullrich.
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #16 on: September 22, 2017, 23:36 »
    For that reason, as an example before moving to the Froome question, I would never put Indurain in a "legend" category for his GT wins - since they were boring and largely based off TT dominance. (We will leave the question of their chemical basis for another thread.)

    I'll admit that i'm an Indurain Fanboy and i'll accept that a lot of his winning came from his dominance in the TT but he wasn't just that. He put up some other amazing performances. Hautacam in '94 and Liege and La Plagne in '95. They may all have been second places but the showed he was someone who wasn't just about TTing. I would also say that Indurains record in one day races was in some ways better than the current crop of GC riders twice 2nd at the worlds and also a 3rd.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #17 on: September 23, 2017, 10:09 »
    Here in Belgium, Jacques Anquetil has always been seen as that sad calculator who disregarded the classics and dismissed them as lotteries. Rik Van Looy claimed that he did not have that wait & see attitude and that he was often the one who set the tempo. Rik claimed he often helped him. Still he looked like a sad rider. My father never liked him.

    I'm however glad to see that Raymond Poulidor is less and less seen as the Eternal Second. That myth invented by French who only care about the Tour of France is not supported by facts. Even on the Tour of France he would rather finish third than second. But so many riders nowadays, even some of the best sprinters would have loved to win 75 official races, like he did! When you win Milan-Sanremo, the Walloon Arrow, 2 Paris-Nice against Merckx, a Grand Prix des Nations and many more you are not an Eternal Second.

    Paris-Nice 1972 in itself makes him a legend.

    I did post an article from Sport Magazine last year who agreed with me: http://velorooms.com/index.php?topic=3605.0


    Usually artists were the one to like Anquetil because of his aerodynamic position on the bike. The blue-collars and peasant liked Poulidor because he was himself a farm boy. I have more sympathies for working-class people than for artists.  ;)

    However both were champions compared to ... Pantani!

    Jeez please stop referring to this guy as a hero, come on. None of his victories are valid. He should be discussed in the Dark Side, not here.
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  • Kiwirider

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #18 on: September 23, 2017, 12:43 »
    I would also say that Indurains record in one day races was in some ways better than the current crop of GC riders twice 2nd at the worlds and also a 3rd.

    I know that this is not the thread to debate Indurain - but suffice to say that if you can pick three stages from something over 350 GT stages that he rode across the 3 GTs (let alone counting in smaller stage races and the one day rides) to argue that he wasn't just a TT rider, I'm not convinced ...

    And to use my previous comment as a response to your post in general and the quoted sentence of yours in particular:

    All that means is that we are in a generation devoid of - or certainly lacking in - legends.

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  • Flo

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #19 on: September 23, 2017, 13:27 »
    He still needs 1 day races or ITT wins to move into legend status. But he is top % of the greats now that is for sure
    The way I see it, there have been perhaps 25 to 30 "greats" in cycling. Maybe 10 or so true legends. And Froome is top % of the greats? Nah, not in my opinion.
    I guess I'm not as quick to consider someone a legend or one of the greats of the sport.
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  • Slow Rider

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    Re: Froome's legend status
    « Reply #20 on: September 24, 2017, 14:13 »
    Froome's palmares is definitely fast approaching legend status. He is the best stage racer I can remember - more consistent than even Contador at his best. Four Tour wins is incredible, the Tour-Vuelta double unprecedented in modern cycling. Add to that his wins in races such as the Dauphiné and Romandie, plus being amongst the top time triallists in the world, and you have a stage racing palmares that is better than anyone's in the current peloton.

    And yet I would never call Froome a legendary cyclist. He is just too dull, his wins too dependent on the incredible strength of his team, and the range of his wins too narrow. A legend of the sport needs to inspire. The only performances I can remember on the top of my head that could be called inspirational were his performance in the echelons and that downhill attack at the 2016 Tour.

    Then again, the status of legend is fickle. Cavendish is probably the best sprinter of all time, Martin one of the great time triallists - yet much like Froome, neither is a legend. Cancellara and Boonen, on the other hand, are definitely in legend territory.

    So I suppose it's all so subjective, it's basically pointless discussing it. Still fun though.
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