Pantani: Undisputable folk hero.

The Hero and the Villain

The Hero and the Villain

by / / 90 posts

I’m not saying I’m Batman; if I was Batman it would be a foolish thing to admit to and if I wasn’t Batman it would be a foolish thing to claim to be. What is true, however, is that Batman is pretty cool and it would probably be pretty cool to be a cool dude like Batman. It bears mentioning, however, that I have never been seen in the same room as him so you can’t prove that I’m not Batman so long as you can’t prove he isn’t real. While I’m on the subject, if I was Batman I’d definitely be the Christian Bale Batman – not Lewis Wilson and those absurd granny panties of his, or Robert Lowrey or Adam West (both were too Spandex-ey, I restrict my Lycra-wearing to Cycling, not running about town like a lunatic vigilante), or Keaton (too mouth-puckery), or Val Kilmer (too contemplative), or George Clooney (I can’t get on board with the sort of vanity that forces a grown billionaire to include fake nipples in their suit of ballistic armor).

Is Batman a hero or a villain? Vigilantes are frowned upon in real life; they are threats to society because they live outside its rules and people who live outside the rules are not to be trusted, like cats. In real life, Batman would probably be hated by about half the public and loved by the other half, with very few individuals faffing about with moderate feelings on the subject. On which side you fall would probably have less to do with logic or reason that it does with how you feel about who the vigilante targeted. It might also have something to do with how comfortable you are with not knowing what morals are guiding an individual’s actions. In the case of Batman, we know he’s a damaged but well-intentioned man motivated by a home brew of revenge and the desire to protect society at large from the agony of his own experiences. In the Real Life Batman*, we’d have no clue about what motivated him and all we’d know is some costumed dude with fun toys was beating people up and the people he was beating up were generally associated with crime; the rest is up to the individual to fill in with their imagination, bias, and predisposition. The question of whether the vigilante is a hero or a villain has less to do with their actions but with the context in which we view those actions.**

I love Marco Pantani. Even today I regard him as a hero. I admire the rider he was at his peak, and I sympathise with the wounded animal he became after his fall. Finally, I regard his passing on Valentines Day to be a Shakespearean tragedy played out in real life: a scapegoat who died of a broken heart on a day founded on the notion of martyrdom.

I despise Lance Armstrong. Even before his downfall I regarded him as a villain not unlike the sort Batman might target. I view his reign as the sort of plot for world domination that any number of DC Comic supervillains may have undertaken, provided they were keen Cyclists. I regard his fall as the triumph of Good over Evil in the fateful sense as plays out in Beowulf more so than the moral sense.

In essence, both perpetrated the same offense, yet I hold them in two entirely different and discrete views, separated by a chasm of irrational logic and untraceable emotion. How is it possible that a rational mind can hold these two opposing views? I have asked this question of myself many times. I suppose it has much to do with the part of my brain which we usually pretend lives in our chest. I throw a rope-bridge across the chasm by stating that the doping isn’t what I hold against Armstrong, it’s his being a bully and all-round ginormous poopy-butt. But in reality, I can’t separate the doping from his behavior any more than I can separate the doping from Patanti’s epic crushing of fools.

Pantani and Armstrong aren’t the only ones, there are many many more. Coppi, hero; Bartali, villain. Merckx, hero; Maertens, villain. Ullrich, hero; Riis, villain. Bugno, hero; Berzin, villain. Even Tyler Hamilton claiming he ate his own twin in the womb rather than admit doping didn’t make him a villain but Ricardo Rico almost killing himself by trying a DIY blood transfusion definitely did despite the tragic desperation inherent in that particular incident. We interpret which are the heros and which are the villains by how we interpret the context around their actions. Context is a malleable thing; by adjusting the aperture to compensate for the shutter, we can alter the nature of the photograph.

I’m not a subtle man. I don’t generally deal in the currency of moderation; I like to love riders and I like to hate riders. I prefer riders who polarize because they give you something real to chew on even when its something you don’t like. It seems the modern era has less of these sorts of riders than past eras. In the wee hours of the night, when the ghosts of all my mistakes and tasks left undone come knocking, I distract myself by entertaining the question of whether I liked the racing better when riders were treating EPO like any other vitamin. I don’t, of course, but the heroes and villains seemed easier to tell apart; these days they’ve gotten all mixed up. Wiggins and Froome are both typical modern Tour winners: ultra-specialized one-dimensional characters with a complete and total focus on their objective. Their ability to control the event during their prospective years was impressive, yet the lack of depth of their public personalities and style of riding made it hard to love them and even harder to hate them; the most you can do with that sort of rider is admire them idly or hope someone more interesting falls out of the sky to beat them. Nibali has much more depth and would be easier to love (or hate) but his too-close association with Count Dracula makes it impossible to view his victory with the innocence I had during the 80’s, 90’s, and even early 2000’s; I can no longer watch with unquestioning eyes.

I don’t think heroes and villains can be manufactured, they have to be a product of their environment. In fairness, I can’t blame the riders when I know the UCI has been manipulating them for the last twenty years in the pursuit of their own villainy, which hasn’t left much room for anything else; like grasping a lump of slurry, the more they tightened their grip on the sport, the more it squeezed out through their fingers. (Princess Leia also had something to say on this matter.*)

The UCI is on the right track; Brian Cookson is showing positive signs. I think opening up the Hour to UCI-approved track ITT bikes is a sensible first step. The next step is to take away the basic obstacles to innovation such as the double-triangle frame and wild handlebar positions. I’m a traditionalist more than anyone else, but innovation is polarizing and polarizing gives everyone on both sides something to sink our talons into. And talons bring out the heroes and villains.

* I don’t want to confuse too many characters from too many fictional stories that I fell asleep during and might have mixed up. That being said, a good parallel for Batman in the sense that when we know the motives of the character is Billy’s Jack o’ Diamonds in Seven Psychopaths with whom we can sympathise; in real life, we’d just see some bloke shooting other blokes, which is frowned upon in most societies. The Empire in Star Wars is possibly the most perfect parallel of power gone wrong to that of the UCI that I can think of, apart from the many examples from actual history that haven’t been packaged up in tidy six-film epics.

** I have clumsily tried to crystallize in one paragraph a question that Chuck Klosterman spent the better part of an entire book examining. For a much more interesting (and funny) examination of the hero and the villain, read I Wear the Black Hat.

// Defining Moments // Evanescent Riders // Nostalgia // Reverent

  1. @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @brett

    @frank

    Along these lines, no Brett?

    Frank spots a Rules violator.




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  2. See I love Bertie. He may have doped, probably did but I don’t care. He stood up to Gunderson and Co in 2009, won the Vuelta on his return with a stage long attack, wasn’t really in the hunt at the Tour in 2011 but attacked from the gun on the Galibier/Huez stage etc. Every race he is in is more interesting for his presence, never lies down.




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  3. @Rob

    @Gianni

    @buck rogers is never going to read this.

    I will offer Buck my Cliffs Notes:

    Bat Man may or may not exist but if he does its in a suit without tits. Since we can never know the real Bat Man we can’t know if he’s a hero or vigilante. Frank loves Marco, hates Lance even though they both were shits, he also hates many others… As well as boring people. The UCI was bad and now is good, innovation will polarize our claws and clawing is what villains do to heroes.

    Fuck I’ve missed your editing of Frank’s ramblings, this needs to happen more often.




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  4. @frank

    Wiggins has great fashion sense (apart from most of his hairstyles and that mopey The Who look on his face all the time) but I can’t get on board with his riding style, unless he wins Roubaix next year in which case I’ll likely do an about-face without any hesitation whatsoever.

    Cav is an excellent example of a very polarizing rider. Love him, hate him. Hardly anyone is neutral on him, which is his most redeeming quality. Also, as he’s matured, I’ve gotten to like him.

    Do you have a problem with Wiggin’s riding style, or the style of the team he rides in? Because in a time trial I think he looks brilliant on the bike. The fact that he’s said he’s going to give winning Roubaix a go next year makes me like him more.

    What I like about Wiggo, and Cav, is when they get a microphone stuck under their nose they say what they think/feel, rather than the dull soundbite that is expected. That’s also why I am a huge fan of Geraint Thomas. Apart from him being a local boy, he says some brilliant things.




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  5. @RobSandy

    Do you have a problem with Wiggin’s riding style, or the style of the team he rides in? Because in a time trial I think he looks brilliant on the bike. The fact that he’s said he’s going to give winning Roubaix a go next year makes me like him more.

    Oh, on a time-trial bike he’s glorious. I think my problem is he rides the same way on his road-bike: Careful, planned precision. Or at least he used to – maybe Roubaix was a sign of things to come? You can’t finish top-10 at Roubaix if you’re careful and planned. Also at the ToC he looked much more aggressive, much less reliant on the Skybots than before.




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  6. @Mikael Liddy

    @Rob

    @Gianni

    @buck rogers is never going to read this.

    I will offer Buck my Cliffs Notes:

    Bat Man may or may not exist but if he does its in a suit without tits. Since we can never know the real Bat Man we can’t know if he’s a hero or vigilante. Frank loves Marco, hates Lance even though they both were shits, he also hates many others… As well as boring people. The UCI was bad and now is good, innovation will polarize our claws and clawing is what villains do to heroes.

    Fuck I’ve missed your editing of Frank’s ramblings, this needs to happen more often.

    Fuck, I so did not read this that I even missed Gianni’s and Rob’s comments!




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  7. God is with me! I have a new resident rotator in my clinic for the next week. Usually they are not too interesting, just marking their time and waiting to be done with eyes but this guy is 33 years old and born and raised in France. Moved to the US 14 years ago and get this: His Grandfather raced Paris Roubaix in the 20’s. I am trying to verify this but cannot find him. His Grandfather’s name was Arsene Gotard if anyone can find him. My student’s Dad still has his granddad’s old bike and trophies in France. And, even better, this guy is a rider! He loves cycling. Going for a ride together tomorrow afternoon and he wants to join us for the 200(NOT)-on-100 in June! Oh yeah, he is also a 1st degree blackbelt in TKD getting ready to test for his 2nd degree and just signed up at the same Korean run dojang that I train at and is about to go to his first class. Fuck’in perfect! Now to just convince him to become an ophtho!!!




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  8. @Simon

    @kixsand Really? I can’t stand Valverde, possibly more than any other rider, ever, and there’s been quite a long list…

    Didn’t much like anyone on Carrera post ’87, hated Theunisse because of his hair, Rooks because he looked too much like Theunisse. Bugno because he looked like an airline pilot and I didn’t like Indurain when he was winning because it was all so boringly predictable – Ullrich because his turning up overweight was even more so. Loved and hated Robbie McEwan in equal measure because being an Australian sprinter’s a double whammy of good and bad – sort of a personality amplifier. Vino and Hincapie have gone, but I’m still remembering to hate both of them at least once a week.

    Of the current crop apart from Valverde, I can’t be doing with Voeckler’s nose, or that much of the rest of him. Not a lot of time for anyone who rides for Sky who isn’t in the hunt for a GT because I can’t imagine sweating my bollocks off to get to the top and then chucking it away for the cash just to become part of a big, ugly machine.

    None of this makes sense, especially seeing as how I’ll grudgingly admit that the my two principal current detestations probably race with more panache than just about everyone else, but still – one’s an unrepentant doping hypocrite and the other just comes across as a complete wanker. Shortage of riders to hate? Never.

    So Valverde and Voeckler, that’s it?

    I almost gave Voeckler mention in my post – he is a bit of an irritating little twit on a bike.




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  9. @Buck Rogers

    God is with me! I have a new resident rotator in my clinic for the next week. Usually they are not too interesting, just marking their time and waiting to be done with eyes but this guy is 33 years old and born and raised in France. Moved to the US 14 years ago and get this: His Grandfather raced Paris Roubaix in the 20’s. I am trying to verify this but cannot find him. His Grandfather’s name was Arsene Gotard if anyone can find him. My student’s Dad still has his granddad’s old bike and trophies in France. And, even better, this guy is a rider! He loves cycling. Going for a ride together tomorrow afternoon and he wants to join us for the 200(NOT)-on-100 in June! Oh yeah, he is also a 1st degree blackbelt in TKD getting ready to test for his 2nd degree and just signed up at the same Korean run dojang that I train at and is about to go to his first class. Fuck’in perfect! Now to just convince him to become an ophtho!!!

    Buck, that’s fabulous. Hope it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    But, “Gotard“? Are you quite sure he’s not having you on?




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  10. Arse-in’ Go-tard?




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  11. @gilly

    Big piece Frank, glad I took the time to read it. I’ve had the same thoughts as you and have sometimes struggled to justify them. I can only feel sorrow for Marco and only contempt for Armstrong. I need to see some evidence of frailty in those that I admire, in sport and in life, that they are both human and humane. Armstrong was, is, what Bricktop would call an ‘orrible cunt, devoid of integrity, humility, humanity. He also had the panache gene deficiency, the one that Marco carried a donor card for. Armstrong’s treatment of Chris Bassons finished our relationship and although I am a generally benevolent type of fella, I felt only contempt for him on Oprah when his train derailed. While I’m keen to not over romanticise things, Marco just raced the right way, from the heart, with instinct and a need to attack that rivalled his need to breathe. I justify this dichotomy by the firmly held belief that if all things were equal, on a juice free playing field, Marco would have killed him in the mountains. And that is good enough for me.

    Top marks on the Snatch reference, such an excellent movie.

    I agree if all things were equal and drug-free, no one could have touched Pantani. His attacking in the ’98 Giro was the best example of his style and panache, just try try try again, get caught, try again the next day. That final climb into Oropa was possibly the most exciting stage ever.

    @Simon

    @kixsand Really? I can’t stand Valverde, possibly more than any other rider, ever, and there’s been quite a long list…

    Didn’t much like anyone on Carrera post ’87, hated Theunisse because of his hair, Rooks because he looked too much like Theunisse. Bugno because he looked like an airline pilot and I didn’t like Indurain when he was winning because it was all so boringly predictable – Ullrich because his turning up overweight was even more so. Loved and hated Robbie McEwan in equal measure because being an Australian sprinter’s a double whammy of good and bad – sort of a personality amplifier. Vino and Hincapie have gone, but I’m still remembering to hate both of them at least once a week.

    Of the current crop apart from Valverde, I can’t be doing with Voeckler’s nose, or that much of the rest of him. Not a lot of time for anyone who rides for Sky who isn’t in the hunt for a GT because I can’t imagine sweating my bollocks off to get to the top and then chucking it away for the cash just to become part of a big, ugly machine.

    None of this makes sense, especially seeing as how I’ll grudgingly admit that the my two principal current detestations probably race with more panache than just about everyone else, but still – one’s an unrepentant doping hypocrite and the other just comes across as a complete wanker. Shortage of riders to hate? Never.

    Oh, this is possibly the best rider-hate rant of all time! I love it, despite disagreeing with many of the views. Theunisse’s hair and bouncy style was awful, but how can you hate someone who moves to l’Alpe d’Huez and does repeats of that hill just to prove a point to himself? Gerraint Thomas is a stud and quite frankly the only Sky rider I really like.

    Who are these two riders you claim to like? You’ve named more than half the peloton in your hate mail.




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  12. @VeloVita

    @Ccos

    I’m actually torn with Horner – I don’t believe for a second that he won the Vuelta clean and the fact that he’s essentially the only well known American rider of his generation to not have any role in the Armstrong/Reasoned Decision case leaves me with more of a bad taste. That said, I like how affable and candid he is during interviews and how he finished that stage in the 2011 Tour after crashing and not really knowing how he even got to the finish line was gutsy (and stupid) as hell. There are times I really like the guy and times I can’t stand him.

    I’m with you; he’s hard to love and hard to hate. Perfect example of what’s wrong with these guys. His interviews tend to make me chuckle though.

    @Deakus

    On a second note, you have to be careful with all batman worship, it can go to far!

    Oh boy!




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  13. @TBONE

    On the topic of dope, when did the Spinacis stop being dope? Why are we not riding them around anymore? I had a set, and rolled dirrty with them quite a bit. Pro tip: they suck for cornering. What do we have to do to make them have a comeback?

    A lobotomy?




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  14. @Chris

    @frank

    @wiscot

    That being said, Freddy Maertens and Roger De Vlaeminck? Freddy is definitely the good one there.

    Freddie is obviously a massive legend but the whole world champs thing has me putting him in the dog house always.

    Apart from the Worlds incident I’d always had Freddy down as the good guy but De Vlaeminck could have been the biggest cunt around and it wouldn’t matter. He had too much style on and off the bike to be anything other than the hero.

    Just being in his presence has caused Mr Check Jacket to have a “moment”

    That first picture is absolute solid pure uranium. Fuck gold.




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  15. Pantani rimane Pantani, senza discussioni.




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  16. @Daccordi Rider

    See I love Bertie. He may have doped, probably did but I don’t care. He stood up to Gunderson and Co in 2009, won the Vuelta on his return with a stage long attack, wasn’t really in the hunt at the Tour in 2011 but attacked from the gun on the Galibier/Huez stage etc. Every race he is in is more interesting for his presence, never lies down.

    This is interesting because I’ve always hated his guts but I’m finding him less and less detestable. His Vuelta win was awesome a couple years back, he definitely deserves some kudos for that.

    @RobSandy

    @frank

    Wiggins has great fashion sense (apart from most of his hairstyles and that mopey The Who look on his face all the time) but I can’t get on board with his riding style, unless he wins Roubaix next year in which case I’ll likely do an about-face without any hesitation whatsoever.

    Cav is an excellent example of a very polarizing rider. Love him, hate him. Hardly anyone is neutral on him, which is his most redeeming quality. Also, as he’s matured, I’ve gotten to like him.

    Do you have a problem with Wiggin’s riding style, or the style of the team he rides in? Because in a time trial I think he looks brilliant on the bike. The fact that he’s said he’s going to give winning Roubaix a go next year makes me like him more.

    What I like about Wiggo, and Cav, is when they get a microphone stuck under their nose they say what they think/feel, rather than the dull soundbite that is expected. That’s also why I am a huge fan of Geraint Thomas. Apart from him being a local boy, he says some brilliant things.

    Geraint is awesome for sure. Wiggo on a TT bike is great, but I hate his “rotated at the hips, flat back” riding style on the road. It looks very very forced to me. And don’t start me on his Goldilocks Principle violations.

    This, in all fairness, is not too bad though, apart from his shoes which are so much less awesome than his old Bonts:




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  17. @PeakInTwoYears

    Arse-in’ Go-tard?

    + 1 badge to you. But you will be getting a bill for my replacement keyboard if the coffee fucked it up too much.




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  18. Wiggans can definitely ride like a hero. Cool? Check. Style? Check. Class? Check.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOkUgA4v2Vs

    TOC Diablo mo’ fo….




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  19. @frank

    @PeakInTwoYears

    Arse-in’ Go-tard?

    1 badge to you. But you will be getting a bill for my replacement keyboard if the coffee fucked it up too much.

    @frank

    @Daccordi Rider

    See I love Bertie. He may have doped, probably did but I don’t care. He stood up to Gunderson and Co in 2009, won the Vuelta on his return with a stage long attack, wasn’t really in the hunt at the Tour in 2011 but attacked from the gun on the Galibier/Huez stage etc. Every race he is in is more interesting for his presence, never lies down.

    This is interesting because I’ve always hated his guts but I’m finding him less and less detestable. His Vuelta win was awesome a couple years back, he definitely deserves some kudos for that.

    @RobSandy

    @frank

    Wiggins has great fashion sense (apart from most of his hairstyles and that mopey The Who look on his face all the time) but I can’t get on board with his riding style, unless he wins Roubaix next year in which case I’ll likely do an about-face without any hesitation whatsoever.

    Cav is an excellent example of a very polarizing rider. Love him, hate him. Hardly anyone is neutral on him, which is his most redeeming quality. Also, as he’s matured, I’ve gotten to like him.

    Do you have a problem with Wiggin’s riding style, or the style of the team he rides in? Because in a time trial I think he looks brilliant on the bike. The fact that he’s said he’s going to give winning Roubaix a go next year makes me like him more.

    What I like about Wiggo, and Cav, is when they get a microphone stuck under their nose they say what they think/feel, rather than the dull soundbite that is expected. That’s also why I am a huge fan of Geraint Thomas. Apart from him being a local boy, he says some brilliant things.

    Geraint is awesome for sure. Wiggo on a TT bike is great, but I hate his “rotated at the hips, flat back” riding style on the road. It looks very very forced to me. And don’t start me on his Goldilocks Principle violations.

    This, in all fairness, is not too bad though, apart from his shoes which are so much less awesome than his old Bonts:

    How dare you, how dare you criticise Sir Bradley have-my-children Wiggins. Your taste in riders is occassionally impeccable, but often frankly ridiculous – if I’d read the whole article instead of scanning it and flipping through the pics in the comments, I might conclude it wasn’t a magnum opus on Gunderson, but fuck reading.

    But in all seriousness, I don’t think Wiggins has a position on the bike that is based on hip rotation – Arione’s don’t really enable that. I think what you are seeing is an extreme amount of flexibility in a professional athlete, who can still lay down massive amounts of V with every fibre of his physical self.

    And let’s be honest, if he was a Yank, you’d be all




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  20. @frank

    @PeakInTwoYears

    Arse-in’ Go-tard?

    1 badge to you. But you will be getting a bill for my replacement keyboard if the coffee fucked it up too much.

    You’re welcome. I know you have a soft spot for a go-tard.




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  21. @minion

    How dare you, how dare you criticise Sir Bradley have-my-children Wiggins. Your taste in riders is occassionally impeccable, but often frankly ridiculous – if I’d read the whole article instead of scanning it and flipping through the pics in the comments, I might conclude it wasn’t a magnum opus on Gunderson, but fuck reading.

    But in all seriousness, I don’t think Wiggins has a position on the bike that is based on hip rotation – Arione’s don’t really enable that. I think what you are seeing is an extreme amount of flexibility in a professional athlete, who can still lay down massive amounts of V with every fibre of his physical self.

    And let’s be honest, if he was a Yank, you’d be all

    Oh, there you are! I see @Marcus let you off the leash again to pop up here like a little Kiwi whack-a-mole.

    You circular logic in the last bit is glorious; you do recall Pharmy’s nationality, yes? Please explain.

    @PeakInTwoYears

    That’s why I like you so much. And @Minion.




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  22. @Beers In a strange ” stop it, I like it ” kinda way, your post rings true to my thinking also.

    Best of the best in a tainted bunch.

    Maybe Mr Bassons is the only real hero thus far ?




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  23. @frank

    From your LA is a villain paragraph, Batman is a part of the DC universe, not Marvel. Yes, the two houses did a lot of crossover stuff, but the storylines had as much impact on the main character arcs as the Tour of Beijing has on the World Tour.

    To keep the make-believe crossovers going, Wiggo was a Darth Vader type, until you realized Sith Lord Brailsford had a new apprentice in Froome, and that he took advantage of Bradakin…




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  24. Mixed feelings about The Badger. Heroic rides, but so much agro off the bike.

    BTW, Happy Birthday Badger!

    http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/news/57297/hinault-punches-on-at-sixty#__federated=1

    still looks like he’d kick major ass!




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  25. @frank

    Geraint is awesome for sure. Wiggo on a TT bike is great, but I hate his “rotated at the hips, flat back” riding style on the road. It looks very very forced to me. And don’t start me on his Goldilocks Principle violations.

    I must admit I’m not a fan of his overmatching of jerseys (maillot jaune or WC jersey), bikes and sunglasses. But at least he’s wearing black shorts.

    Having read his recent book I have concluded that Wiggins is a driven, flawed and sometimes difficult person. And that’s cool with me.




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  26. @frank What? You mean you lot weren’t all roiling bags of testosterone when Lance Oakley Nikestrong was busy winning the super obesity cycling bowl 17 times? My memory mustn’t be what it once was.




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  27. @sthilzy

    Mixed feelings about The Badger. Heroic rides, but so much agro off the bike.

    BTW, Happy Birthday Badger!

    http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/news/57297/hinault-punches-on-at-sixty#__federated=1

    still looks like he’d kick major ass!

    Agreed. But, you know what, He was a fighter and everyone knew this.

    Lemond should have said “Fuck You” and attacked in ’85 but that was not his style, for better and for worse. I LOVE LeMan, he is one of the main reasons I started riding in ’86 and racing in ’87 but I think Fignon said it best when he said that LeMan NEVER attacked, never. Fignon said that LeMan just ALWAYS sat on and waited and followed, no panache. And, while I love him, it is pretty true.

    One should not hate Le Blaireau b/c he was a mean fighter, he could not be any other way. And LeMan, who is indeed awesome, was a bit mentally weak and whiney, but that is who he is and both of them are great, even with these “faults”.

    Love them both.




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  28. This vaguely relevant to this discussion (it mentions COTHO, as well as John Teirnan-Locke).

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/cycling/29959937

    I’m interested to hear what you think.




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  29. @frank

    @minion

    How dare you, how dare you criticise Sir Bradley have-my-children Wiggins. Your taste in riders is occassionally impeccable, but often frankly ridiculous – if I’d read the whole article instead of scanning it and flipping through the pics in the comments, I might conclude it wasn’t a magnum opus on Gunderson, but fuck reading.

    But in all seriousness, I don’t think Wiggins has a position on the bike that is based on hip rotation – Arione’s don’t really enable that. I think what you are seeing is an extreme amount of flexibility in a professional athlete, who can still lay down massive amounts of V with every fibre of his physical self.

    And let’s be honest, if he was a Yank, you’d be all

    Oh, there you are! I see @Marcus let you off the leash again to pop up here like a little Kiwi whack-a-mole.

    You circular logic in the last bit is glorious; you do recall Pharmy’s nationality, yes? Please explain.

    @PeakInTwoYears

    That’s why I like you so much. And @Minion.

    Pharmy’s nationality? That was Texan, wasn’t it?




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  30. @RobSandy

    This vaguely relevant to this discussion (it mentions COTHO, as well as John Teirnan-Locke).

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/cycling/29959937

    I’m interested to hear what you think.

    I think, athlete or not, the amount of booze JTL consumed was crazy. That’s the kind of behavior that gets you admitted to emergency rooms – or a morgue.




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  31. @minion Bed Bath and Beyond – Fuck Yeah! Classic. It’s what makes this country great.




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  32. @Stephen

    @frank

    From your LA is a villain paragraph, Batman is a part of the DC universe, not Marvel. Yes, the two houses did a lot of crossover stuff, but the storylines had as much impact on the main character arcs as the Tour of Beijing has on the World Tour.

    I am oddly satisfied that I didn’t know that. But thanks, and corrected.

    To keep the make-believe crossovers going, Wiggo was a Darth Vader type, until you realized Sith Lord Brailsford had a new apprentice in Froome, and that he took advantage of Bradakin…

    I think you got a bit mixed up here; Wiggo was Count Dooku and Froome Anakin; Lord Brailsford allowed one to slay the other to see which was the stronger.

    Dooku and Wiggo even have the same mopey look on their faces.




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  33. @RobSandy

    This vaguely relevant to this discussion (it mentions COTHO, as well as John Teirnan-Locke).

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/cycling/29959937

    I’m interested to hear what you think.

    I’m surprised that they did not mention Jeptoo in their high profile cases. The Kenyans have been running on more than just altitude for a number of years and it is finally catching up with them.

    Good article.




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  34. @Buck Rogers

    @sthilzy

    Mixed feelings about The Badger. Heroic rides, but so much agro off the bike.

    BTW, Happy Birthday Badger!

    http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/news/57297/hinault-punches-on-at-sixty#__federated=1

    still looks like he’d kick major ass!

    Agreed. But, you know what, He was a fighter and everyone knew this.

    Lemond should have said “Fuck You” and attacked in ’85 but that was not his style, for better and for worse. I LOVE LeMan, he is one of the main reasons I started riding in ’86 and racing in ’87 but I think Fignon said it best when he said that LeMan NEVER attacked, never. Fignon said that LeMan just ALWAYS sat on and waited and followed, no panache. And, while I love him, it is pretty true.

    One should not hate Le Blaireau b/c he was a mean fighter, he could not be any other way. And LeMan, who is indeed awesome, was a bit mentally weak and whiney, but that is who he is and both of them are great, even with these “faults”.

    Love them both.

    I agree with you 100%, but there was one occasion where he showed some serious panache, and that won him his third Tour.




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  35. @frank Yup, agreed. That was his perfect ride. He WAS capable of panache but I think that it almost took an animal stimulus to bring it out in him.

    That ride also cemented my dislike for Big Mig. Guy sat on LeMan’s wheel the whole way and then took the win. Paah!

    But, for the record, I LOVE LeMan. I have a poster of him in my office at work and dream of meeting him and riding with him one day just to let him know how he inspired me and changed my life.




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  36. @frank

    fair enough. I agree that is a better analogy. But I’m not sure anyone ever came around to ‘loving’ Dooku again.

    Maybe Lando instead? We thought he was okay, then he did some douchey stuff, then we come to find he was played and was only doing what he did to save his own hide, and we went back to hating the correct characters and seeing him as just misinterpreted.




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  37. @wiscot

    @minion Bed Bath and Beyond – Fuck Yeah! Classic. It’s what makes this country great.

    I disagree. I actually took the time the other week to bike over to one of those shitholes. I wanted one of those pot colanders that just hugs the lip of a pot and lets you pour the water out. Guess what? In a store full of endless crap…they didn’t have that one piece of crap I was after. Fuck. The place is floor-to-ceiling junk you don’t need, invented to keep bored housewives buying new shit. They couldn’t even sell me the new shit I wanted. Damnit.




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  38. @Buck Rogers

    @frank Yup, agreed. That was his perfect ride. He WAS capable of panache but I think that it almost took an animal stimulus to bring it out in him.

    That ride also cemented my dislike for Big Mig. Guy sat on LeMan‘s wheel the whole way and then took the win. Paah!

    But, for the record, I LOVE LeMan. I have a poster of him in my office at work and dream of meeting him and riding with him one day just to let him know how he inspired me and changed my life.

    Is there anything to like about Indurain? He was generally boring to watch race and now…he’s a mute because he knows if he says too much he’ll open himself up to doping questions. A boring mute, they’re no fun. Some of the Banesto jerseys were cool, so was the Banesto Pinarello.




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  39. @Ron

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank Yup, agreed. That was his perfect ride. He WAS capable of panache but I think that it almost took an animal stimulus to bring it out in him.

    That ride also cemented my dislike for Big Mig. Guy sat on LeMan‘s wheel the whole way and then took the win. Paah!

    But, for the record, I LOVE LeMan. I have a poster of him in my office at work and dream of meeting him and riding with him one day just to let him know how he inspired me and changed my life.

    Is there anything to like about Indurain? He was generally boring to watch race and now…he’s a mute because he knows if he says too much he’ll open himself up to doping questions. A boring mute, they’re no fun. Some of the Banesto jerseys were cool, so was the Banesto Pinarello.

    You’ve kind of hinted at the only good thing about him: He did look FABULOUS on a bike. But, yes, boring as fuck and almost assuredly doped to the gills. No love for him at all.




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  40. @Buck Rogers

    @Ron

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank Yup, agreed. That was his perfect ride. He WAS capable of panache but I think that it almost took an animal stimulus to bring it out in him.

    That ride also cemented my dislike for Big Mig. Guy sat on LeMan‘s wheel the whole way and then took the win. Paah!

    But, for the record, I LOVE LeMan. I have a poster of him in my office at work and dream of meeting him and riding with him one day just to let him know how he inspired me and changed my life.

    Is there anything to like about Indurain? He was generally boring to watch race and now…he’s a mute because he knows if he says too much he’ll open himself up to doping questions. A boring mute, they’re no fun. Some of the Banesto jerseys were cool, so was the Banesto Pinarello.

    You’ve kind of hinted at the only good thing about him: He did look FABULOUS on a bike. But, yes, boring as fuck and almost assuredly doped to the gills. No love for him at all.

    No one could luft a cycling cap like big mig. Hafta give him that.




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  41. @Ron

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank Yup, agreed. That was his perfect ride. He WAS capable of panache but I think that it almost took an animal stimulus to bring it out in him.

    That ride also cemented my dislike for Big Mig. Guy sat on LeMan‘s wheel the whole way and then took the win. Paah!

    But, for the record, I LOVE LeMan. I have a poster of him in my office at work and dream of meeting him and riding with him one day just to let him know how he inspired me and changed my life.

    Is there anything to like about Indurain? He was generally boring to watch race and now…he’s a mute because he knows if he says too much he’ll open himself up to doping questions. A boring mute, they’re no fun. Some of the Banesto jerseys were cool, so was the Banesto Pinarello.

    Miguel Indurain doped? There’s only one way to reply to that kind of allegation: cover one’s ears with one’s hands, close eyes and yell la,la, la, la, la at the top of one’s voice.

    For a variety of reasons much of the cycling scene in the 90s and early 2000s were off my radar. (For one thing, I wasn’t riding.) TBH I’m not that bothered. I was totally connected in the 80s and I’ll take that decade over the 90s any day.




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  42. @Ron

    @wiscot

    @minion Bed Bath and Beyond – Fuck Yeah! Classic. It’s what makes this country great.

    I disagree. I actually took the time the other week to bike over to one of those shitholes. I wanted one of those pot colanders that just hugs the lip of a pot and lets you pour the water out. Guess what? In a store full of endless crap…they didn’t have that one piece of crap I was after. Fuck. The place is floor-to-ceiling junk you don’t need, invented to keep bored housewives buying new shit. They couldn’t even sell me the new shit I wanted. Damnit.

    Man , I wish there was a permissable emoticon for sarcasm! I may have been in one once, many, many years ago. If I never do so again, I’ll die happy.

    If we’re talking about useless retail shite, the Sky Mall mag you get in airplanes tops my list. Personally, I don’t want to know anyone who buys a 6′ high resin sasquatch for their garden or a lamp that looks like a pair of ladies’ legs.




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  43. @Barracuda

    @Beers In a strange ” stop it, I like it ” kinda way, your post rings true to my thinking also.

    Best of the best in a tainted bunch.

    Maybe Mr Bassons is the only real hero thus far ?

    Yeah, it feels dirty doesn’t it? But, as above, it doesn’t mean because they were the best of a bad bunch that you have to like them. And I don’t like the Texan Shitcake.

    But don’t align yourself with my view, lest the bunch send you to the loony bin also…

    @Buck Rogers

    @Ron

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank Yup, agreed. That was his perfect ride. He WAS capable of panache but I think that it almost took an animal stimulus to bring it out in him.

    That ride also cemented my dislike for Big Mig. Guy sat on LeMan‘s wheel the whole way and then took the win. Paah!

    But, for the record, I LOVE LeMan. I have a poster of him in my office at work and dream of meeting him and riding with him one day just to let him know how he inspired me and changed my life.

    Is there anything to like about Indurain? He was generally boring to watch race and now…he’s a mute because he knows if he says too much he’ll open himself up to doping questions. A boring mute, they’re no fun. Some of the Banesto jerseys were cool, so was the Banesto Pinarello.

    You’ve kind of hinted at the only good thing about him: He did look FABULOUS on a bike. But, yes, boring as fuck and almost assuredly doped to the gills. No love for him at all.

    I guess this is what I was getting at. Apart form the panache part (as much personality as a 2×4), everyone else was the fucking same, and now keep their mouths shut. I don’t see a difference.

    You guys know big mig had one of the best V02 max records in cycling, only 4mmol short of Leman, proven much later in life after his retirement also to still be carrying that ability, as well as one of the slowest heartbeats ever recorded? At least he had a physiological possibility of being a superior freak. Add in what everyone was doing, and you get and even more superior, superior freak, but at least there is the possibility he was doing it au naturele.

    We are but human, and hypocritically revering some and disparaging others who, in basic terms, have done the same shit is just what we do. And god, goodness, or the Dark Lords of the Sith know, I’m one of the leaders of that pack…




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  44. @RobSandy

    Have any facts and figures about Merckx’s physiology been recorded/speculated on?

    Surely he must have been physical freak in the same sort of mould as Mig and LeMan.

    Google is your friend, I found this http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=8170

    Seems to be not exceptional in terms of cycling VO2, but over 440w for an hour sure is amazing! VO2 and HR are of course only indications, you can make up for it in efficiency, tactics or sheer doggedness on the road..




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  45. @Beers

    @RobSandy

    Have any facts and figures about Merckx’s physiology been recorded/speculated on?

    Surely he must have been physical freak in the same sort of mould as Mig and LeMan.

    Google is your friend, I found this http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=8170

    Seems to be not exceptional in terms of cycling VO2, but over 440w for an hour sure is amazing! VO2 and HR are of course only indications, you can make up for it in efficiency, tactics or sheer doggedness on the road..

    From reading Fotheringham’s biography of Merckx recently, that’s the impression I got: naturally gifted, but also willing to train harder than anyone else and with an insatiable desire to crush everyone else, all the time.




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  46. Wonderful article. As a newcomer to the Sport, I’m slowly working my way through various portions of Cycling Lore; I’ve yet to go into depth on M. Pantani, but he’s on the list of characters to look at.




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  47. @VeloVita

    @Ccos

    I’m actually torn with Horner – I don’t believe for a second that he won the Vuelta clean and the fact that he’s essentially the only well known American rider of his generation to not have any role in the Armstrong/Reasoned Decision case leaves me with more of a bad taste. That said, I like how affable and candid he is during interviews and how he finished that stage in the 2011 Tour after crashing and not really knowing how he even got to the finish line was gutsy (and stupid) as hell. There are times I really like the guy and times I can’t stand him.

    = Torner

    @wiscot

    Miguel Indurain doped? There’s only one way to reply to that kind of allegation: cover one’s ears with one’s hands, close eyes and yell la,la, la, la, la at the top of one’s voice.

    I’m with you on this one. All of this Big Mig bashing is messing with my psyche. Sure, I wish he would have attacked in the mountains more, but he could climb along side the best of them, then crush it in the TTs. Plus, humble, stylish and no scandals – let’s keep it that way!




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  48. @MangoDave

    @VeloVita

    @Ccos

    I’m actually torn with Horner – I don’t believe for a second that he won the Vuelta clean and the fact that he’s essentially the only well known American rider of his generation to not have any role in the Armstrong/Reasoned Decision case leaves me with more of a bad taste. That said, I like how affable and candid he is during interviews and how he finished that stage in the 2011 Tour after crashing and not really knowing how he even got to the finish line was gutsy (and stupid) as hell. There are times I really like the guy and times I can’t stand him.

    = Torner

    @wiscot

    Miguel Indurain doped? There’s only one way to reply to that kind of allegation: cover one’s ears with one’s hands, close eyes and yell la,la, la, la, la at the top of one’s voice.

    I’m with you on this one. All of this Big Mig bashing is messing with my psyche. Sure, I wish he would have attacked in the mountains more, but he could climb along side the best of them, then crush it in the TTs. Plus, humble, stylish and no scandals – let’s keep it that way!

    Top marks on both, especially the Big Mig jet fuel Epics.bug as a house, climbs with Pantani. What?

    @RobSandy

    @Beers

    @RobSandy

    Have any facts and figures about Merckx’s physiology been recorded/speculated on?

    Surely he must have been physical freak in the same sort of mould as Mig and LeMan.

    Google is your friend, I found this http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=8170

    Seems to be not exceptional in terms of cycling VO2, but over 440w for an hour sure is amazing! VO2 and HR are of course only indications, you can make up for it in efficiency, tactics or sheer doggedness on the road..

    From reading Fotheringham’s biography of Merckx recently, that’s the impression I got: naturally gifted, but also willing to train harder than anyone else and with an insatiable desire to crush everyone else, all the time.

    Yeah, agreed based on not knowing him at all and just reading stuff. And I never sweat the content Because that way I can read faster.




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  49. @frank

    @Stephen

    @frank

    From your LA is a villain paragraph, Batman is a part of the DC universe, not Marvel. Yes, the two houses did a lot of crossover stuff, but the storylines had as much impact on the main character arcs as the Tour of Beijing has on the World Tour.

    I am oddly satisfied that I didn’t know that. But thanks, and corrected.

    To keep the make-believe crossovers going, Wiggo was a Darth Vader type, until you realized Sith Lord Brailsford had a new apprentice in Froome, and that he took advantage of Bradakin…

    I think you got a bit mixed up here; Wiggo was Count Dooku and Froome Anakin; Lord Brailsford allowed one to slay the other to see which was the stronger.

    Dooku and Wiggo even have the same mopey look on their faces.

    The results are never prettu when nerds collide.




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