"Gobsmackingly Brilliant" rides of 2000
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.
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
Casagrande's Day Out
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Best rider of 2000? That could only be Francesco Casagrande, being
the only rider excellent in grand tours and the classics.
E H Elzinga
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?
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