The Russian Crank Rants: Ever since Eddy Merckx hung up his racing wheels there have been many pretenders to his throne, however all have come up quick. Our common contributor, Nikolai Razouvaev – ‘The Russian Crank’ has despatched his ideas as regards to the ‘subsequent Merckx’ to fellow ‘ranter’ Ed Hood. Can Tadej Pogačar measure as much as ‘Massive Ted’?
Tadej Pogačar – He’s good, however is he a Merckx?
Right here at PEZ we like a person who can rant, after all of the UK’s most outspoken biking pundit, Viktor is our soul mate and mentor. That’s why we like Nikolai Razouvaev – ‘The Russian Crank’ and have beforehand revealed his rants about disc brakes and time trial bikes. And bear in mind – the person has been a World Champion in his day so he’s no mere keyboard warrior.
Nikolai Razouvaev – ‘The Russian Crank’
Over to you, Comrade:
What number of instances have you ever heard that an up and coming rider is, ‘the subsequent Eddy Merckx?’ Me, I’ve misplaced rely. Right here’s a High 10 record I compiled two years of, ‘the subsequent Merckx’ once I argued why Remco Evenepoel is NOT the subsequent Eddy Merckx:
- Tom Boonen
- Peter Sagan
- Wilco Kelderman
- Edvald Boasson Hagen (c’mon)
- Damiano Cunego (sure, Cunego)
- Johan Museeuw
- Claude Criquielion [rest in peace]
- Frank Vandenbroucke [rest in peace]
- Eric Vanderaerden
- Freddy Maertens
[Nikolai could also have added Fons De Wolf and the late Danny Willems, ed.]
Remco is (thoughts you, this was two years in the past, and nonetheless true immediately) too younger to declare him the subsequent Eddy Merckx. Let’s wait to see him win a few Grand Excursions, the Ronde and issues like that.
Remco Evenepoel – Too quickly to inform
Since then, I’ve revised my opinion on this complete ‘The Subsequent Eddy Merckx’ thought. I primarily based my argument on what number of Grand Excursions, Monuments and whatnot a man should win earlier than bloggers and biking journalists ought to declare him, ‘The Subsequent Eddy Merckx’ with out trying silly.
What does the subsequent Eddy Merckx imply anyway?
I requested (and answered): What does the subsequent Eddy Merckx imply anyway?
Right here’s my standards because it stood two years in the past.
For me, the subsequent Eddy Merckx must win:
- All of the Monuments
- All of the Grand Excursions plus at the very least one double
- A minimum of 5 Tour de Frances
- A minimum of one highway world championship
- Greater than three Northern Classics
- A bunch of lesser Classics
- The cherry on the cake — the Hour Document
- Discover the way it’s all in regards to the wins.
That is mistaken.
Take Mark Cavendish. Final 12 months, he scored his thirty fourth Tour de France stage win to meet up with Merckx. That is nice besides Eddy received his 34 phases in each manner attainable: uphill and downhill, on the prime of the mountains and on the backside of the mountains (after consuming everybody alive within the course of), solo and from the bunch sprints. Mark, indubitably an important sprinter, received his from the bunch sprints off a well-oiled lead out prepare. Nothing mistaken with that. A win is a win.
Cavendish and Merckx – Not the identical factor
For me although, and you might disagree, the quantity, as a lot as it’s spectacular, has no weight once you drop it subsequent to Eddy Merckx. Mark Cavendish would possibly, and I believe he’ll, go on and win extra Tour phases. Bloggers and biking journalists will declare Eddy’s file fallen, champagne and beers will ooze down the throats however Eddy’s Tour wins will stay untouchable, at the very least for now, irrespective of what number of Tour phases Mark wins.
You should be a part of the ‘5 Tour wins’ membership
A quantity, by itself, has no that means; Mark’s 34 bunch dash wins don’t come anyplace close to Eddy’s 34 wins. Apples and oranges. As a professional, what would you’re taking — 5 dash wins no one will bear in mind or an epic annihilation of everybody nonetheless standing on the Alpe d’Huez?
Christophe Riblon on l’Alpe d’Huez within the 2013 Tour de France
I’m considering of Christophe Riblon’s 2013 win as one instance. They climbed d’Huez twice that day – only a informal point out. This brings me to the meat and potatoes of this dissertation — the most recent, subsequent Eddy Merckx, Tadej Pogačar (accent on the final syllable, please). A minimum of this time round, bloggers and biking journalists didn’t look as silly evaluating Pogačar to Merckx.
Boasson Hagen, the subsequent Merckx?
Once they thought Edvald Boasson Hagen was the subsequent Eddy Merckx and requested the Norwegian what he thought of that, he stated he didn’t know who Merckx was. That was a crimson flag. They need to’ve stopped the press and wrote a couple of new bike mannequin or another subject. They didn’t.
By no means underestimate your rivals
I’m scripting this in August 2022 and everyone knows what occurred in July. In July, Pogačar discovered a invaluable lesson delivered to him by Jonas Vingegaard, freed from cost. The lesson was — ‘don’t underestimate your rivals.’ Merckx knew that (which is why he was Merckx) and Pogačar didn’t (I hope he does now). From that standpoint, he nonetheless has to study some ropes and realise it’s not at all times simply in regards to the legs within the Tour de France.
One other downside for the subsequent Eddy Merckx crowd counting wins and different stats — Merckx received his 5 Excursions in a row. Pogačar would possibly do this and find yourself with seven wins however not in a row as Lance did – however no one has up to now talked about Armstrong’s title subsequent to Pogačar so we are able to overlook about seven for now.
No ‘7-in-a-row’ for Pog, in contrast to….
Lastly, the explanation I believe all this subsequent Eddy Merckx babble is a waste of bandwidth (besides this one) is the trail immediately’s skilled biking is on. When Merckx went on to win every thing underneath the solar, not a single professional had ever thought to give attention to a single race within the season (thanks Lance). [Shouldn’t that be, ‘thanks Greg,’ Nikolai ? ed.]. Nobody would ever enable them to even give it some thought. They needed to race and to race so much.
Eddy may do every thing
That is how Merckx received a lot within the first place — by racing all 12 months no matter was on the calendar. Grand Excursions, Classics, Monuments and every thing in between.
That’s the way it was once.
These counting wins and stats are on the wild goose chase as a result of the stats received’t ever attain Eddy’s benchmark the way in which immediately’s professionals construction their calendars. Not attainable.
Far more to return kind the Slovenian, however is he the subsequent Merckx?
What is feasible although is for Pogačar to make his personal benchmark. He’s bought the engine and, equally necessary, the panache of an important racer, an important racer of the Merckx high quality who has an urge for food for each race underneath the solar. Similar to Eddy Merckx had.
No want for Eddy to look over his shoulder
# There’s a lot knowledge in Nikolai’s phrases – however what do YOU assume? #