My Cycling Dream Team

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Cyclingnews has been doing this dream team thing for the past few weeks.  They have asked a bunch of retired pros what team they would create if they could pick some former team mates, from any team they rode on, to make up their ultimate perfect team.  So far they have had a bunch of English speaking guys like Allan Peiper, Robert Millar, Phil Anderson, then the token Spaniard with Carlos Sastré.  Plus, like yesterday’s post addresses, David Millar. I guess British Cycling isn’t that thrilled about David’s picks, as I wasn’t yesterday. Or Lee at Crankpunk.  He has some choice opinions, of course.

Anyway, I thought I’d make up my own dream team.  Here it is, in no particular order.

Greg Lemond

Enough said.  The best cyclist I’ve ever personally witnessed race. By far.  Just having him as his own one man team would beat David Millar’s whole team in most races.  I’d take Greg’s form from anytime from when he was 17 to when he was shot in 1987, so to when he was 26.

Bernard Hinault

Bernard could fill in as a GC rider when Greg wanted to vacation.  Otherwise, he would have to be a climbing domestique the rest of the time.  I don’t think that would sit that well with Bernard, but since he has to ride on my team, then that would be his place.

Andy Hampsten

Since Andy is a Grand Tour winner, he gets to ride for GC too sometimes.  But in reality, he gets to go up the road on suicide breaks to cherry pick mountain stages so Greg can relax.  Plus Andy knows where the highest quality food and wine is just about anywhere in the world, so I’d use him to refine my palate.

Phil Anderson

Super domestique and classics guy.  He knew where to ride at all times in nearly every situation. He positioned himself better in the field than any rider I’ve seen.  He would be the guy to negotiate any deals that needed to be made on the road.

Michael Engleman

You might not know of Michael, but I rode with him for a few years, lived with him in Boulder and know him about as well as anyone, I think.  He could climb with the best riders in the world. Better sometimes.  I personally witnessed him ride wheel to wheel with the best riders in the world at various times in his career. He would be a climbing domestique.  I think racing in Europe would of been better for him than the States, but he never really had the opportunity for that. Another plus, he is well read, so he could be my current book to read picker.

Brian Jensen

Brian is a current team mate of mine.  He has been for the past decade.  He has more power than he knows what to do with.  He came over to the US from Denmark as a long distance runner.  He started cycling relatively late compared to most of us, in his mid 20’s.  Brian can set tempo like no one I’ve seen.  He would be responsible for all the flat riding.  His wattage is off the charts, as anyone that has had the “pleasure” of being in a break with him can attest to.

Roy Knickman

Roy and I go way back.  He is like Brian, a ton of power and always looking for somewhere to expend it.  He was and is so crazy about the sport it is contagious.  Roy and Brian setting tempo would kill the rest of the field.

Tim Hinz

Hardly any of you know of Tim.  He is from Ames, Iowa and was an alternate on the 1984 Olympic Track team when he was a junior.  He has 3 medals from Junior World Championships, but really never had a chance to see how great of a cyclist he could have been.  Tim is one of my best friends and since that is the case, I pick him to ride with me on my team.

And me.

I have to be on my own team.  I wouldn’t miss it.  I like racing and I think I could keep these personalities in line, somewhat.  Maybe not Andy.  Or Bernard.  These guys all have their own quirks and all could use some direction.

Team Director – Michael Fatka

Michael isn’t what you would think of as a normal team director.  He is sort of an inventor and organizer.  He let the riders make nearly all the decisions about any given race.  I figure if you have the right guys on your team, there really isn’t anything someone in a car can offer. Michael took care of his riders better than any modern day team director I’ve known.

So that is the Cyclingnews 9 rider team.  But since this is my post, not Cyclingnews’, I don’t have to follow Cyclingnew’s rules, so I want a few more.


So I’d take 5 more guys –

Hugh Walton.  Hugh was faster than he even thought he was and just needed a few opportunities and could have won a ton of major races that finished in a sprint.

Davis Phinney.  Davis is nearly like Lemond.  He did what he did about better than anyone else. He could win US criteriums and stages of the Tour.

Ron Kiefel.  Ron would compliment Brian and Roy during their pull fests.  Plus, he could ride with Phil at the classics.  Super strong and loyal rider.

Michel Vaarten.  He was also super fast like Hugh.  Was World Champion in the Kerin, but when he put in the miles, he was a force on the road.   Plus, a super nice and funny guy.  Great to hang with, so I would, hang with him.

Thurlow Rogers.  Thurlow and I rode a long time together with Roy, Andy and Tim, so it would be a shame not having him around.  He could do just about anything he wanted on a bike. He couldn’t climb with the best, but good enough to make it to hard finishes.  Get him to the front with 3 km to go and let him go and the field would be hatin’ it.  Super leadout guy.

Okay, that is it.  Davis and Ron are kind of a stretch since we only really rode on the same team for one race, Cyclocross National Championships in Pacifica California.  But, that still works. Actually I think Ron rode the Coors Classic for SRC in 1979 ( I didn’t get selected and rode for Anchor Steam Beer).   I need Davis and Ron because I like to ride criteriums, so along with Hugh and Michel, we would have an unbeatable criterium team.  UHC wouldn’t stand a chance.

Me, Thurlow and Bernard down in the RCN in Columbia.

Me, Thurlow and Bernard down in the RCN in Colombia.

Tucker likes sleeping with his head hanging.

Tucker likes sleeping with his head hanging.



33 thoughts on “My Cycling Dream Team

  1. Jim Sully

    I’d throw Johnny Rutherford in there to spice up the team and serve as co captain, all racers all the time gets staid,fun trash talkers are a must in any fantasy team.
    Glad ya have a new pup Tilly,he rounds out your team too.

  2. wallymann

    great list, love all the choices!

    next and related question: of all the guys you rode with, who had the classiest pedalstroke. completely smooth and a great position overall?

  3. Mike the Bike

    Been looking forward to this column since yesterday. Interesting choices. But can you just clarify your inclusion of Hinault? He never failed a drugs test but…

    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      MIke – Yeah, I can see how you might think Hinault is questionable, but all his results were pre- EPO era. I raced against him a ton over the years and he wasn’t doing anything special. Pre and post oxygen vector drug times are like night and day. So, even if he was doing what all the other guys doing back then, it wasn’t enough to make the sport ridiculous like it has been recently.

    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      Fausto-I was considering Ned. Mainly because I would love to see how great of a road rider he could have been. Ned doesn’t have a fast learning curve. He gets better slowly, by a slow trial and error process. That really isn’t great for bicycle racing on the road. But it is the reason that he can still haul ass at over 60.

  4. Krakatoa East of Java

    As far as Tim Hinz, he would have been a junior during the ’84 Olympics. He was only 13 years old in 1980.

    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      Gavin – I didn’t even put you in the running. I didn’t remember riding on the same team as you. But that year I rode Redlands for BMC and you were directing, that should qualify you. I would replace me with you. You have a better mind to manage this volatile group of personalities.

  5. Ben

    Of Miller…from Lee at Crankpunk

    ‘Millar’s importance “in the newly emerging field of doping consultants.”’


    1. Krakatoa East of Java

      We never needed a “force for anti-doping” in the peloton. We just needed people to choose not to do so.

  6. Brockman

    Your post really took me back. I was from Ames and rode as a junior under Michael for a few years. I remember Hinz going up the road at Iowa junior championship one year while a couple of us slowed the field as best we could – he put the hurt on all the time during training as well. Enjoy all your posts.

  7. Steve Tilford Post author

    Dang, I didn’t really consider Steve Bauer until now. Not sure who would have to replace, so maybe there isn’t any room for him. I will just add him to the “extra” list. Steve is a super guy and one of the best bike racers I have had the pleasure to meet. Super strong, fast, tenacious and a really nice guy. Had more 2nd place finishes than he deserved. Should have won many more huge monuments.

    This also goes for Mike McCarthy. I only rode a early season spring deal with him at Visalia, but that qualifies. He was World Pursuit Champion and super crafty. He would be on my US criterium team, every once in a while doing classics.

  8. GaryD

    Thurlow – ughhhh! I mean that in a good way:). I’m in the same age group nationality, but not the same caliber! I remember Franky A coming back and racing locally, and I could hold his wheel, but Thurlow – never!

  9. mike crum

    steve, if michael engelman could climb with the best climbers in the world, why didnt he ride on a world class euro team? i imagine they would have found a place on their team if he was that good..race in the tour de france, tour of italy or tour of spain. the hilly mountainous tour build up races. tour of switzeland. etc… just curious as why he stayed in the states if he was that good..

    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      mike – There was nearly more money racing here in the US. Plus, the US was less polluted with drugs. I’ll give you an example.

      We were staying in Switzerland for a couple months after the Professional World Road Championships. We were down by Aigle and they were doing the Swiss National Hillclimb Championships. Initially, the promoters said we could race. But come race day, they said no since we were Americans.

      Some of the best climbers in the world at that time were from Switzerland. Tony Romminger, Pascal Richard (1996 Olympic Road Race Gold Medalist). So we had to just watch the race and ride back to our apartment.

      The next day, Michael and I rode over to the course and he rode it hard. He beat the winning time by 30 seconds in 20 minutes. That was not in a race situation, just training.

      We raced a big National event that finished on a climb the next weekend. Michael finished 2nd and La Vie Claire (World Tour Team) signed the guys that finished 3rd and 4th. They though Michael was too old at 30 years old. How times have changed in that regard.

  10. dave

    Steve….how dare you!! Skipping Jeff Bradley from your team just ain’t right! Has time fogged your memory?

    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      dave-Jeff should have been on the last list. Jeff’s only issue was that he started racing nearly when he was in diapers, so he was a little burnt out early in his career. No question the guy was a super bike racer and extremely smart at positioning. Plus, faster than shit. He didn’t much like racing in Europe or at altitude here in the US.

      I hang out with Jeff more now than I did when he was racing. He is a very good guy.

  11. paul

    There’s a great video on his website of present day LeMond climbing the gravel mountain road in Italy they climb in the giro on one of his new steel bikes. Seems like a pretty humble guy at the core: as most of the true greats are. Guys like LeMond and his contemporary in F1 understood their staggering God given talent came with the responsibility of making the most of it treating the “little guys” well along the way.!/

  12. Charles Dostale

    Great list. One thing about Michael as a Director – that was before race radios, the job has become different now. However I think Michael had a hyper-kinetic force field energy where he could communicate without a radio 😉

    I loved riding with Scooby. I built the pursuit bike he took to LA. Rode it to the Post Office and back with the seat all the way down to make sure it was OK, thinking about what it would be like on the oval if he got the chance. He would have ridden a funny bike anyway.

    Not sure if you remember Davis riding a cyclo-cross season for Michael, so he definitely would qualify as a teammate.

    I remember Michael getting off the phone with Thurlow after he finished the Peace Race. I learned what toughness was from the stories Michael recounted.

    I particularly like that you included off-the-bike reasons, most people don’t realize how much that makes a team.


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