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BrooklynVelo
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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so in a number of threads in various forums I have seen discussion of Landis' thusfar excellent season (at the very least amazing spring). These cyclists are ranking Floyd as one of the top 4 or 5 American cyclists ever. This would be among Armstrong, Dave Z, and Tom Danielson. Maybe if you're lucky they throw in a Lemond. The problem of course being that they are often completely overlooking the other amazing racers that this country has had.

I appreciate their love of the sport, but how does one go about explaining that cyclists such as Davis Phinney, Andy Hampsten, Eric Heiden, Major Taylor, Connie Carpenter, et. al belong on that list? Do you outline Davis' 300+ wins (just make sure to highlight the 2 TdF stage wins, including the first by an American, and the US PRO title)? Maybe a few pics of Hampsten on the Gavia or on the podium at the Giro? Connie's gold medal in the 84 Olympics?

I think that the problem arises from the fact that newer riders don't really know about the challenges that were faced by Americans venturing to Europe in 80's. So how does one educate the cycling masses? How do you go about the task of introducing cyclists to the 7-Eleven cyclists? The Levis/Raleigh domestic squad?
 

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The big problem is there is only the barest of cultures around pro cycling fandom. Aside from Lemond and Armstrong, who has made an impact in popular culture? Compare that to baseball, where, scores of years later, people still consider Babe Ruth a standard. Remember, in the era you're talking about, you were lucky if you could find a one hour recap of the TdF or box scores of a stage, much less daily shows of any length and multi-paragraph summaries.

However, the pioneers are still with us. Most are running tour operation (Hampsten, for instance). However, I think there are some things that could be done (some in everyone's power, not so much):

<ul>
<li>Get riders out to where the legends are. For instance, annually in Cincinnati, Davis Phinney and Connie Carptenter-Phinney ride the Sunflower Revolution (a fundraiser for the Davis Phinney Foundation).
<li>If you are part of a bike club, see if they might be interested in speaking. Invite them to a ride (try to make it a big one)
<li>I would love for a "Legends of Cycling" video. Perhaps a Ken Burns-type presentation, taking it from Jock Boyer to the present. If we were really lucky, Bobke could host.
</ul>

Any other ideas?
 

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daneil said:
Ok, so in a number of threads in various forums I have seen discussion of Landis' thusfar excellent season (at the very least amazing spring). These cyclists are ranking Floyd as one of the top 4 or 5 American cyclists ever. This would be among Armstrong, Dave Z, and Tom Danielson. Maybe if you're lucky they throw in a Lemond. The problem of course being that they are often completely overlooking the other amazing racers that this country has had.

I appreciate their love of the sport, but how does one go about explaining that cyclists such as Davis Phinney, Andy Hampsten, Eric Heiden, Major Taylor, Connie Carpenter, et. al belong on that list? Do you outline Davis' 300+ wins (just make sure to highlight the 2 TdF stage wins, including the first by an American, and the US PRO title)? Maybe a few pics of Hampsten on the Gavia or on the podium at the Giro? Connie's gold medal in the 84 Olympics?

I think that the problem arises from the fact that newer riders don't really know about the challenges that were faced by Americans venturing to Europe in 80's. So how does one educate the cycling masses? How do you go about the task of introducing cyclists to the 7-Eleven cyclists? The Levis/Raleigh domestic squad?
So far the posts in this thread are all very interesting. The history of any sport here in the USA is sometimes long forgotten when you have a very dominant figure, ie; Armstong in cycling, Michael Jordan in basketball, etc.

I agree that Major Taylor was the first to make a name in cycling for a US citizen, but lets not forget the folks between the Major Taylor era and the late 70s/early 80s. Folks like John Sinbaldi, who races in the Olympics in the 30s and continued riding and racing in his age group until shortly before his death.

A Ken Burns documentary on cycling would be great as I've watched all of the films he's made.
 

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most Americans on this board

are part of the Armstrong era and thus lack any sort of historical knowledge of the sport. Pretty much as simple as that.They barely know who Lemond was (they know he won some TdF's and was the 'best American' before Lance) and if you spoke of Hampsten on the Gavia they'd look at you like a dog. But I think I'd have to put Major Taylor at the top. Absolutely dominated the sport even overall and this is with him avoiding all races in the South.
So most are 'newbies' stuffed full of the latest and greatest but seemingly little knowledge or interest in the full history of the sport.
 

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BrooklynVelo
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Discussion Starter #5
chbarr said:
The big problem is there is only the barest of cultures around pro cycling fandom. Aside from Lemond and Armstrong, who has made an impact in popular culture? Compare that to baseball, where, scores of years later, people still consider Babe Ruth a standard. Remember, in the era you're talking about, you were lucky if you could find a one hour recap of the TdF or box scores of a stage, much less daily shows of any length and multi-paragraph summaries.

However, the pioneers are still with us. Most are running tour operation (Hampsten, for instance). However, I think there are some things that could be done (some in everyone's power, not so much):

<ul>
<li>Get riders out to where the legends are. For instance, annually in Cincinnati, Davis Phinney and Connie Carptenter-Phinney ride the Sunflower Revolution (a fundraiser for the Davis Phinney Foundation).
<li>If you are part of a bike club, see if they might be interested in speaking. Invite them to a ride (try to make it a big one)
<li>I would love for a "Legends of Cycling" video. Perhaps a Ken Burns-type presentation, taking it from Jock Boyer to the present. If we were really lucky, Bobke could host.
</ul>

Any other ideas?
I'd love to see a Ken Burns-style film on the history of American Cycling. That would be, and Roll would make a fine host, at least for that video :). I definately didn't mean to exclude riders like Sinibaldi (18x national champs definately deserve to be noted), but i'm sure that there are others that I'm overlooking as well.

Anyone else remember the 7-Eleven cycling team Slurpee cups? I had one in my room for a good year or two in the early 80's.
 
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atpjunkie said:
are part of the Armstrong era and thus lack any sort of historical knowledge of the sport. Pretty much as simple as that.They barely know who Lemond was (they know he won some TdF's and was the 'best American' before Lance) and if you spoke of Hampsten on the Gavia they'd look at you like a dog. But I think I'd have to put Major Taylor at the top. Absolutely dominated the sport even overall and this is with him avoiding all races in the South.
So most are 'newbies' stuffed full of the latest and greatest but seemingly little knowledge or interest in the full history of the sport.
Bingo. My interest in competitive cycling began in 2000 - while I was vacationing in France and we drove past the TdF peleton on a parallel road (and thought to myself, cool, and holy smokes they're going fast!). And it wasn't till 2005, when I began to bike again, that I *really* started following the sport.
 

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I started riding in college ('89-'92), so I was in what I might call the transition years--when the "pioneers" were starting to retire, and the new breed were starting up. Basically, the last years of 7-Eleven, and the first few years of Motorolla (as well as Coors Light and AC Pinarello).

daneil said:
Anyone else remember the 7-Eleven cycling team Slurpee cups? I had one in my room for a good year or two in the early 80's.
I don't remember those. What I remember was Kellog Nutrigrain bars having a promotion where, if you sent 3-4 box tops, you would get a free Motorolla water bottle. I remember being excited because Lance Armstorng was on the back (sorry to go back around to the "new guy," but the epoc makes me feel justified).

Part of the problem is comparing sports figures (of any sort) of different eras. I was thinking about this when reading about Lemond's new bike: he never competed in the Olympics; Armstrong had like three games (and could have done 2004 if he wanted), walking away with a bronze at some point.

The main difference (aside from the Cold War) was the fact that, back in the day, athletes had to choose between going pro, and the Olympics. The norm (regardless of discipline, if there was a professional level) was one games, then you go pro. Now, you get two or three shots.

(I think this seriously dilutes the gold. Armstrong's 2000 games had him competing in the road race just a few weeks after the Tour de France. How special is Olympic gold when compared to a Maillot Jaune? Not very, if you are eligible for both).
 

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Connie Carpenter, Alexi Grewel, Steve Hegg, Mark Gorski, Rebecca Twigg.

Sheila Young, Sue Novarra, Connie Paraskevin, Audrey McElmury, Beth Heiden.

World and/or Olympic champions all (I likely missed a few....)
 

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chbarr said:
(I think this seriously dilutes the gold. Armstrong's 2000 games had him competing in the road race just a few weeks after the Tour de France. How special is Olympic gold when compared to a Maillot Jaune? Not very, if you are eligible for both).
Over four years, there are 84 chances to win a maillot jaune, and one chance to win an Olympic medal. I'd say that makes a gold medal pretty special.
 

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so my memories of cycling go back toward the end of eddy's career

but I'd say late 70's early 80's was when I got 'in to it'. They used to run a mtn stage of the Coors tour through my town. Still have a la Vie Claire water bottle and jersey from the era.
Back in the day when the Soviets had a squad. But I still did my research and learned about the greats all the way back. I didn't lock myself in 'my era' I read the Coppi story and major taylor's biography.I learned about the Anquetil / Poulidor rivlary.What kills me about the LA era American fans is their absolute ignorance and lack of respect for the history of this grand sport.
 

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awwww horseapples!!
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Damn Kids!

atpjunkie said:
but I'd say late 70's early 80's was when I got 'in to it'. They used to run a mtn stage of the Coors tour through my town. Still have a la Vie Claire water bottle and jersey from the era.
Back in the day when the Soviets had a squad. But I still did my research and learned about the greats all the way back. I didn't lock myself in 'my era' I read the Coppi story and major taylor's biography.I learned about the Anquetil / Poulidor rivlary.What kills me about the LA era American fans is their absolute ignorance and lack of respect for the history of this grand sport.

It would seem that as far as 99% of the country is concerned, the rise/genesis/golden age of american cycling is right now in this lance/post lance era. It seems similar to the sort of golden age of baseball (Babe Ruth, etc); times of great success in the sport. Yes, NOW we often look to the heros of the earlier days of baseball, but only because the truely media and people friendly faces of the sport paved the way by making it part of popular culture. Part of paving the way, is sometimes being culturally sh*t upon.

So now we have this fan base, these "armstrong era" folks, and they are hooked. So what? We educated them, we do our best. A cycling fan, is a fan, is a fan; regardless of when they started enjoying the sport.
 

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I know the sports writer John Feinstein (google him, he's one of the most published and prolific sports writers around), and I tried to interest him in a book about cycling. He all but exploded about how he CAN'T STAND cycling.
Part of the reason why is that all of the local clubs ride through his neighborhood. He encounters the local pelotons probably three or four days a week, and all he sees are speed bumps on two wheels.
 

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As Nixon said (who?) the public has a short memory. It's not at all limited to cycling. In all sports people have a strong tendency to think the latest stars are the greatest ever even though in many cases their stats are paltry in comparison.
 

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I like new fans, the more the better

I just dislike new fans with no historical knowledge spouting off like they are experts.
Just learn as you go, keep humble and don't think you can 'know it all' in 2 years. Hell,I've been a bike fan for decades and I still have heaps to learn.
 

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AJL said:
Bingo. My interest in competitive cycling began in 2000 - while I was vacationing in France and we drove past the TdF peleton on a parallel road (and thought to myself, cool, and holy smokes they're going fast!). And it wasn't till 2005, when I began to bike again, that I *really* started following the sport.
In all fairness, in the past couple of years US had more top american riders than in any era. No disrespect to Hampsten, Griwall, Lemond, but look at last year's Tour - in addition to Lance you had Landis, Leipheimer in top 10, Hincapie winning a stage and Zabriskie in yellow. Paris-Nice was won by Julich last year and Landis this year.

In number of top american riders, especially in leadership roles, the last couple of years really have no precedent in the past.
 

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awesometown said:
It would seem that as far as 99% of the country is concerned, the rise/genesis/golden age of american cycling is right now in this lance/post lance era. It seems similar to the sort of golden age of baseball (Babe Ruth, etc); times of great success in the sport. Yes, NOW we often look to the heros of the earlier days of baseball, but only because the truely media and people friendly faces of the sport paved the way by making it part of popular culture. Part of paving the way, is sometimes being culturally sh*t upon.

So now we have this fan base, these "armstrong era" folks, and they are hooked. So what? We educated them, we do our best. A cycling fan, is a fan, is a fan; regardless of when they started enjoying the sport.
I'm your damn kid! :)
However, I guess I somewhat buck the trend. I don't think Lance was that great, I like Eddy and Major Taylor.
The big problem, I think, is not that we don't care. It's that we don't <i>know</i>. For example, I learned about Major Taylor because I was at Barnes and Noble, in the cycling section, and saw SHELVES of lance books, and one Eddy (i think) book that i'd already read, and a book about Major Taylor. Thus, I learned about Major Taylor.
The information's not really out there, it seems, or its too hard to find when a Lance book is at hand.
Maybe that could be a new project for RBR members, construct a comprehensive history, and stick it into a PDF or Word Document, for us new riders to learn about the greats :)

I know I'd read it, and a couple guys at my HS too... (Old riding partners, who dont like going fast, so they don't ride with me anymore... They get tired of me talking about Merckx when they don't know who he is, so they've been rooting around some)

-estone2
 

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Top 15 American Road riders

I'm sure this will get some comment and bring back some memories
1. Lance Armstrong
2. Greg Lemond
3. Andy Hampsten
4. Bobby Julich
5. George Hincapie
6. Ron Kiefel
7. Davis Phinney
8. Tyler Hamilton
9. Floyd Landis
10. Frankie Andreu
11.Jonathon Boyer
12. George Mount
13. Chris Horner
14. Jeff Pierce
15. Bob Roll (seriously)
 

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duh...
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one word- n00bs

for brock (and BTW, it was lycra and WOOL, or maybe just wool):
<img src="https://www.bicycleposters.com/Graphic1.jpg">
 

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duh...
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steelbikerider said:
I'm sure this will get some comment and bring back some memories
1. Lance Armstrong
2. Greg Lemond
3. Andy Hampsten
4. Bobby Julich
5. George Hincapie
6. Ron Kiefel
7. Davis Phinney
8. Tyler Hamilton
9. Floyd Landis
10. Frankie Andreu
11.Jonathon Boyer
12. George Mount
13. Chris Horner
14. Jeff Pierce
15. Bob Roll (seriously)


Kiefel ahead of Phinney? What about Alexi Grewal, or are you talking pro accomplishments only? What about Scott Moninger, or are you talking non-domestic European accomplishments only? Is the name Marianne Martin significant? There's also plenty of trackies.
 
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