Geek Love

What did we do to fritter away copious amounts of time in the days prior to the Internets? I spent one summer on the road, way back in 1989, living out of a suitcase for nearly four months racing all over the place. A big chunk of time was spent in my one and only venture to Superweek, and significant amounts of my downtime (not spent drinking beer, eating burritos, or documenting what happens when teammates’ bikes abruptly disappear from the roof of a speeding car) was spent poring over Tour de France results buried in the fine print of the New York Times. I had a few teammates with me, and we would cut out the Tour results everyday and quiz each other. Questions like:

“Who finished fourth on the 17th stage to Alpe d’Huez?”
“Well…is there any doubt that it’s Colombian Abelardo Rondon?”

“Ok smart guy…who finished 6th in the 11th stage to Blagnac?”
“Of course that’s none other than the ever suave style-meister Ronny Van Holen, making his solitary appearance in the top ten.”

Sad, but true, that’s how many hours were spent keeping our minds occupied while driving around Wisconsin. I can’t speak for my partners in crime that summer, but I’ve never quit poring over the fine print of race results, and nowadays the corpus of results is nigh overwhelming. But for those with a shred of perseverance there’s nuggets of trivia to uncover…like how many pros since 1998 have finished all five Monuments of Cycling.

Why 1998? Well…that’s how far back cyclingnews.com archives reach. During the 11 seasons from 1998 to the present approximately 1100 pros finished at least one Monument, but only 33 finished all five:

Name Milan-San Remo Tour of Flanders Paris-Roubaix Liege-Bastogne-Liege Tour of Lombardy Monuments Finished/Won
Aerts, Mario 6…18th 3…32nd 1…18th 7…11th 3…17th 20/0
Arvesen, Kurt-Asle 4…10th 3…7th 2…26th 2…65th 1…26th 12/0
Ballan, Alessandro 4…8th 5…1st 4…3rd 1…19th 1…56th 15/1
Ballerini, Franco 2…43rd 5…3rd 6…1st 2…45th 2…3rd 17/2
Barredo, Carlos 3…85th 2…24th 1…52nd 2…65th 2…73rd 10/0
Bartoli, Michele 7…8th 8…1st 1…21st 7…1st 6…1st 29/5
Chavanel, Sylvain 3…52nd 1…30th 1…52nd 4…46th 1…85th 10/0
Den Bakker, Maarten 6…61st 8…18th 2…58th 6…3rd 2…26th 24/0
Devolder, Stijn 1…60th 5…1st 3…7th 1…112th 2…42nd 12/1
Dion, Renaud 2…35th 1…93rd 2…85th 1…57th 1…49th 7/0
Elmiger, Martin 5…9th 7…22nd 4…18th 1…95th 2…8th 19/0
Farazijn, Peter 5…35th 4…17th 3…23rd 3…12th 1…20th 16/0
Flecha, Juan Antonio 5…21st 7…3rd 6…2nd 4…40th 2…18th 24/0
Florencio Cabre, Xavier 5…34th 1…18th 1…44th 1…99th 1…24th 9/0
Gilbert, Philippe 5…3rd 2…15th 1…52nd 4…16th 1…74th 13/0
Gusev, Vladimir 3…23rd 3…5th 3…12th 3…37th 4…15th 16/0
Konyshev, Dimitri 5…20th 2…13th 2…25th 1…70th 1…5th 11/0
Kroon, Karsten 7…39th 8…4th 2…37th 5…17th 3…25th 25/0
LeMond, Greg 5…2nd 6…7th 4…4th 4…3rd 1…3rd 20/0
Ljungqvist, Marcus 3…73rd 3…20th 4…16th 1…31st 1…52nd 12/0
Magnien, Emmanuel 2…2nd 2…4th 3…21st 1…17th 1…22nd 9/0
Murn, Uros 3…22nd 2…36th 1…54th 1…83rd 2…41st 9/0
Nardello, Daniele 2…64th 6…5th 4…8th 3…56th 9…2nd 24/0
Oroz, Juan Jose 1…144th 1…50th 1…91st 1…42nd 1…92nd 5/0
Reynes, Vicente 3…9th 2…39th 1…67th 1…45th 1…17th 8/0
Righi, Daniele 1…107th 1…82nd 1…107th 2…58th 1…38th 6/0
Roll, Bob 3…21st 1…61st 3…25th 2…17th 1…58th 10/0
Sciandri, Maximilian 6…3rd 5…7th 4…12th 3…38th 3…3rd 21/0
Serpellini, Marco 4…37th 6…17th 3…13th 1…63rd 4…4th 18/0
Sorensen, Rolf 4…2nd 7…1st 4…6th 3…1st 2…12th 20/2
Tafi, Andrea 5…57th 6…1st 9…1st 1…65th 5…1st 26/3
Tankink, Bram 2…44th 2…39th 2…37th 5…32nd 1…40th 12/0
Tchmil, Andre 5…1st 6…1st 6…1st 4…17th 2…14th 23/3
Vainsteins, Romans 5…3rd 5…3rd 4…3rd 1…50th 1…33rd 16/0
Vasseur, Cedric 4…57th 2…38th 1…42nd 2…19th 6…6th 15/0

A few notes about the table…The first number in each race column is how many times the rider finished that particular Monument, the number in italics is his best finish. Some of the pros had results which stretched back prior to 1998. If they finished on the podium the results are included, but other finishes aren’t listed. Riders such as Andre Tchmil, Andrea Tafi, Franco Ballerini, Michele Bartoli, and Max Sciandri very likely finished more Monuments than I’ve listed, but all podium places throughout their careers are here.

Greg LeMond and Bob Roll are highlighted in yellow since their palmares were prior to the time period of the other riders, but these two are the only Americans to finish all five Monuments so I thought I’d include them. 

I can’t say enough about Greg LeMond. I started following his career as a junior world champion and world-class amateur in the late 1970s before I even owned a road bike. I followed his duel with the Russians at the 1981 Coors Classic, my first issue of VeloNews chronicled his 1983 pro road title earned at Altenrhein, Switzerland, I still own the Oakley Factory Pilots purchased by my parents in 1986 to commemorate my high school graduation. That summer in 1989 was spent totally enthralled by LeMond’s Tour victory. Prior to his gunshot wound, LeMond raced a full Euro calendar. Maybe it was just a different era, but nobody since LeMond has finished top ten in the Ronde and Paris-Roubaix and rocked the Grand Tours (Giro and Tour) all in the same season. Think what you want about LeMond’s trials and tribulations these days, but to me he will always be one of the all time greats on the bike during my lifetime.

And what about Bob “Bobke” Roll. Top 25 finishes in Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege are nothing to sneeze at. The 7-Eleven era of Euro cycling is one of my favorites. Lately, Andy Hampsten has been omnipresent in any and all pro racing publications, both print and online, in honor of the 20 year anniversary of his Giro triumph. What absolutely stunned me about Hampsten’s first Giro (in 1985) is that he was basically a 23 year old Cat. 1 amateur in America when 7-Eleven came calling. He was hired initially only for the Giro, and he took out a pro license just for that event. Imagine your first pro event being the Giro d’Italia! And then you win a stage to boot and finish 20th overall on GC.

Comments (12) to “Geek Love”

  1. Another outstanding post, thank you. I remember riding around the roads of Redmond (home of the track and road nationals in the mid-80’s!) in my heavy, three pocket, Italian colored, racing jersey pretending we were Lemond and Hinault. Gathering the results from the paper and trying to imagine what it all looked like. And yes, Lemond ALWAYS won in our races, he is the original and the best.

  2. […] 28, 2008 in Uncategorized thanks for the memories, Bobke. Those were the days! No Comments Leave a Commenttrackback addressThere was an error with your […]

  3. this is cool Peter. I’m also impressed with the numbers that guys like Flecha and Kroon could bang out by the time they pack it in. I remember watching the fianl stage of the 89 tour through the window of a bar at the Fond du Lac crit at Superweek. Wisconsin Rocks…you coming to illadelphia?

  4. Dana-
    I think I should have popped some anti-nausea pills before Fond du Lac. I think my race was like 135 laps long! But damn, I made a shitload of money that day.

    Sorry…no Philly this year. We’ll be back next year for sure. Hopefully Botero will be back, too.

  5. I didn’t make any money in the race, I managed to lap the field and still finish out of the money, what a dork! Bummer we wont see you this year…

    Dana

  6. Fignon also gets credit in my book for being one of the last (maybe _tbe_ last?) riders to seriously play his cards at everything from Milan-San Remo to Paris-Roubaix to the Giro and the Tour. And in fact he was more successful than Lemond at the classics: two MSR wins, a Fleche, and a podium at Roubaix. I always wondered why Greg couldn’t pull one out of the bag. He had at least four good seasons before his accident, and came close many times, but it just never happened.

  7. Great post.

    Bugno did the grand tour and classics thing, apart from Paris to Roubaix. Wins at the the Tour of Flanders and L’Alpe d’Huez are quite a contrast.

    Also, Hampsten was more than just a cat 1 just before he rode the Tour of Italy for the first time. He was part of the top ten guys in the US and had ridden *major* international amateur races. think

  8. Awesome post Peter.

    Fond du Lac was my favorite race. I remember being the fifth guy through the fourth corner and still seeing guys leaving the start line.
    i may be making this up. but it seems soooo real!

  9. Sebastian–Good call on Fignon. And I agree…if only LeMond could have won one of the Monuments. Who would have guessed that only Tyler Hamilton can claim that feat among American pros.

    JT–Yeah…you rightfully busted me about Hampsten. Anyone who was a national champion, 2 time Junior Worlds medalist, and a teammate of Matt Eaton in his victorious Milk Race is no mere Cat. 1. Plus, he’s also a world class ghost bike rider…something which I witnessed in person. (read the last paragraph). But to start your pro career with a Grand Tour takes some moxy. And Bugno’s win at the Ronde was pretty sweet.

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