Is the World Champion really the Champion of the World ?

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 ?


One thought on “Is the World Champion really the Champion of the World ?

  • December 15, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Hi Barry,I have to agree,a one day race can not justify a world champion,I love watching Cav sprint,he can not be questioned on his ability to cross the line first on any given day,but let’s face it,he would struggle going over the Vee :-). And let’s not forget that Cav finished outside the time limit on one stage of the tour this year,only to be saved by a rule that if a certain percentage of the field are outside the limit,they will be allowed race the following day. Great respect for Mark Cav,but as a sprinter,not a world champion.


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