Seventy five-year old Tom ‘Chops’ Kiely was in the shop recently and as a lifelong cycling fan made a point to Ray that the World Champion cyclist isn’t really the World Champion . He said that a one day race isn’t any sort of way to decide who should wear the World Champions’ rainbow stripes for the following year .
Chops makes a very valid point . The Formula one World Champion is decided over a season long series of races as is the World Rally Championship and a number of other sporting titles .
A puncture , a crash , a bout of illness or any myriad of other misfortunes can happen to deny the best rider of any particular season the chance to wear the Rainbow Jersey when a one day race decides who gets crowned World Champion .
Sean Kelly never got to wear the rainbow jersey , but was the World Number 1 cyclist for 5 years in a row .
The following is a list of the riders who were crowned World Champion during that 5 year period ;
1984 – Claude Criquielion
1985 – Joop Zoetemelk
1986 – Moreno Argentin
1987 – Stephen Roche
1988 – Maurizio Fondriest
Whilst these were contemporaries of Kelly’s , none apart from Roche in ’87 could possibly have come within an asses roar of Kelly for consistency of victories in the Worlds top races throughout each season .
Is the current format a real World Championship or is it another Classic race at the end of the season ?