In La Fleche Live Thread, Chris asked when is the last time someone got a big lead that early and made it stick all the way in? I threw out Michele Bartoli’s name as a possibility, without actually checking any facts or detailed race results. I don’t know if it was the last time, but Bartoli definitely threw down on the Mur de Huy in 1999. Fast forward to today where I spent a good, solid 4 minutes on the Googler checking out one of my favorite riders from the 90’s.
Bartoli won La Doyenne twice – back-to-back in ‘97 & ’98. I remember the L-B-L race in ’97 where he literally rode Jalabert off his wheel in the last Km. Check him out looking back for JaJa's teammate, Zulle before he puts his nose on the stem. In ’98, he decimated the field to solo home in yet a more dominating fashion. Speaking of fashion & 1998, note the purple & orange colors of his Asics/Carrera kit and the Briko Stingers. (I mention the purple kit because it occasionally comes up for discussion).
Michele Bartoli was the first classics style rider that made me start to pay more than cursory attention to one day racing. Look at his palmares. Dude was a bike racer.