"Gobsmackingly Brilliant" rides of 2000

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Francesco Casagrande


Who had The Right Stuff in 2000? I agree with Mr. Lucke: Francesco Casagrande on San Pelegrino. The breakaway, the chase by DiLuca, the insanity of the fans.

Scott Worden
Berkley, Michigan, USA
Wednesday, December 6


I agree that Francesco Casagrande's win in Abetone was spectacular, too, though. His attack on the 20 per cent gradients of the Valico di San Pellegrino was really impressive. In fact, lots of guys deserve to be mentioned : Viatcheslav Ekimov and Jan Ullrich at the Olympics (go Eki!); Johan Museeuw in Roubaix; Roberto Heras on the Joux-Plane and the Alto de el Anglirú; Santiago Botero's win in Briançon; Chris Boardman's tremendous hour record (he beat Merckx' record, people! [and at sea level too! - Letters Ed] ); and Dimitrij Konychev's stage win in the Giro when he out-sprinted Jeroen Blijlevens.

Anders P. Jensen
Haslev, Denmark
Wednesday, December 6


Casagrande's Day Out
Big House left everything on the road that day on the road to Abetone. Watching him climb up to San Pelegrino in Alpe was unbelievable. The best of the best, les meilleurs grimpeurs, le piu brave scalatore, gradually fell to pieces trying to stay on his wheel. On the last, final cruel pitches of that climb, only Danilo Di Luca remained, his eyes popping, teeth clenched, pushing with all his might. And House just stepped it up again, and he was alone.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, in the Tour to compare to the difficulty of that one, tortured narrow stretch of road high in the Apuan Alps. What House did on that road, though it ultimately meant that he was left without the reserves to fight till the end of the Giro, forever endeared the great Tuscan to my heart.
And yes, under Ferretti, he will bloom, and will rise to fulfil the destiny he mapped that one day in June.

I am sorry, too that he could not ride the Tour, but as has been noted countless times, racing is different these days. He gave everything to win the Giro, and I can imagine that he was simply unable to pull it all back together in time for Le Grande Boucle. He is Italian, he rides for a purely Italian team, forgive him this trespass. House raced at the front all year, and in my mind that more than makes up for one three week transgression.)

Justin Lucke
Santa Barbara, California USA
Friday, December 1


Francesco Casagrande. He rode a superb season. His best day certainly was the Giro-stage to Abetone. Fantastic! Killing 'em all on the climb and then perhaps the best descent we have seen this season. Very spectacular.

Ivo Habets,
Den Haag - Netherlands
Mon, 11 Dec


Best ride for 2000: Casagrande winning Fleche Wallonne. His form was unbelievable, in fact he didn't even need to open him mouth. He just put down the power down to catch a flying Axel Merckx, and then simply rode away on the Mur de Huy. It looked so easy.

His attempted defence of the pink jersey during the final time trial stage of the Giro was remarkable in its contrast to his ride in Fleche Wallonne. On that day he looked decidedly ill - foaming water pouring from his mouth - yet he was giving it everything. It was a pity he couldn't hold the Maglia Rosa. Lets hope he can grab it next year.

Ben Cleveland
Melbourne, Australia
Sat, 9 Dec


Best rider of 2000? That could only be Francesco Casagrande, being the only rider excellent in grand tours and the classics.

E H Elzinga
Wed, 13 Dec


Casagrande, period. Unlike the rest of the rides listed here, Casagrande's ride started in March with the KOM at Paris-Nice and went all the way to the final sprint for victory at Lombardia.... and he performed throughout. In this day and age of keying on one or two races a year who else has had a ride like that recently?

Mon, 11 Dec


Casagrande was the rider of the year. From Fleche all the way into late September, which is the mark of a true champion. Think how much more respect he would have if all those world cup second places and the Giro had been wins! He could have reasonably won the world cup if things had been different earlier in the season. It's been a long time since someone has had a palmares like that. And now under Ferretti's wing he will do even better next year, but will probably be overshadowed by Bartoli.

Matt Jennings
Tue, 12 Dec