Most Important Cycling Athlete of All-Time

The first item to talk about when deciding who should be on a ranking of the top cycling athletes of historical importance is prerequisites. Cycling is usually full of competitors, sprinters, climbing enthusiasts, domestics, and championship specialists; it is not straightforward to compare riders when their levels of expertise are so radically diverse.

This article focuses on how cyclists fared in a broader category at World Tours, paying less attention to various level races and trials. Ultimately, some cyclists are better at cycling than others. Below is a compilation of athletes with legs who have ever ridden across the world's most difficult ascents, successfully completed them despite fierce agony in their quadriceps, and won competitions intended to be unattainable. 

The Most Important Cycling Athletes

1. Fausto Coppi: Between the Years 1938 and 1960

Fausto became the world champion, a five-time Giro d'Italia victor, and a two-time French cycling race winner. He rightfully earned the moniker "champion of champions." Coppi was renowned for prevailing by huge margins, frequently exceeding a ten-minute period. He ruled the discipline during World War II, despite being imprisoned as a POW in the Horn of Africa.

Coppi and his renowned adversary Gino Bartali are fighting. Coppi remains the Bianchi brand's model ambassador.

Photo sources: Online 

2. Gino Bartali: Between the Years 1935 and 1954

Gino Bartali was Coppi's main rival. Their competition split Italy, and they themselves would have preferred not to compete rather than assist themselves while defending their homeland.

Bartali won the prestigious Tour de France a couple of times between 1938 and 1948, a decade apart. He also won the Giro three times. Nevertheless, Bartali's biggest accomplishment occurred away from his bicycle, and this only became known to the world in 2010.

During the Second World War, Bartali used his skills as an excuse for covert attempts to rescue oppressed Jews. Bartali saved the lives of a Jewish family by hiding them in his basement. He also used his bike to deliver notes and papers to the Italian Rebellion. On and off the tracks, he is an icon.

Photo sources: Online 

3. Jacques Anquetil: Between the Years 1953 and 1969

Jacques was the very first cyclist to take home the Tour de France medal on five occasions, which came with four straight victories from the early 1960s all the way to 1964.

Also known for his extraordinary talent, he brazenly declared ahead of the 1961 Tour de France his intention to wear the bright yellow jersey from start to finish. Surprisingly, he accomplished this, solidifying his place on our roster of heroes. He is one of only six cyclists to have won all three Major Tours, with victories in both the Vuelta and Giro adding to his Liège-Bastogne-Liège and five Paris-Nice championships.

Photo sources: Online 

4. Burton Beryl: between the years 1957 and 1978

Burton was on top of women's bike riding for a long time, collecting seven world championships on tracks, roads and over 90 British crowns. She declined to become an avid cyclist, rejecting a proposition from Raleigh Cycles in 1960 to stay a hobbyist.

Burton is best known for keeping the 12-hour mark among athletes for a span of two years, establishing it while passing her closest rival and giving him a licorice stick. Burton's journey lasted long enough that her child, Denise, competed against her and beat her to win the 1975 national championship. Burton became renowned for declining to congratulate her daughter on the stage, demonstrating her passionate rivalry.

Photo sources: Online 

5. Eddy Merckx: Between the Years 1965 and 1978

Eddy Merckx is essentially the best rider in the entire history of cycling. The guy dubbed "The Monster" took over elite riding like no other, winning every major event available to conquer.

He won the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France on five occasions, each ocasion taking up the accolades and point classifications in the process and the Vuelta a Espaa. His remarkable record of sixty-five overall stage wins places him at the top of the group, a mark no one may ever surpass in the foreseeable future.

Merckx's dominance was not only on the major tours. He swept all of cycling's championships numerous times, including the Milan-San Remo and was a global roadway race winner on three occasions. Add an hour-long record that spanned twenty-eight years and an overall record of five hundred twenty-five win; this is a remakable and unrivaled resume.

Photo sources: Online 

6. Bernard Hinault: Between the Years 1975 and 1986

Bernard won the Tour de France championship on five occasions, he made it a routine, winning all of the tours but also earning the title of cobblestone champion by conquering Paris-Roubaix in the year 1981. Hinault won the Tour that year as well, completing an unusual double.

Alongside a world championship and four of the five landmarks, there are not many cyclits with an otherwise remarkable resume. In the 1985 Tour de France, Hinault wore yellow, Luis Herrera wore the mountain shirt, and Hinault's colleague wore the combo jersey.

Photo sources: Online 

7. Kelly Sean between the years 1977 and 1994

Sean Kelly is arguably the most accomplished rider of the late 1970s and one of the greatest traditional cyclists ever, having won more than 190 competitive events during his tenure. He went on a single Grand Tour in 1988 with Cruz. Still, the Irish cyclist won nine landmarks, including three versions of the Race di Lombardia and two each of Milan-San Remo, Roubaix, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Sean also became a tremendous week-long road cyclist; winning seven Paris-Nice championships among the wins that helped him establish as one of the most adaptable cyclists in the world.

Mr. Kelly remains one of the best cyclists of all time. He won both the Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Paris-Roubaix races.

Photo sources: Online 

8. Mr. Greg Lemond: Between the Years 1981 and 1994

LeMond Greg, who has been a part of some of the most fascinating and exciting events in racing in the past, could not be taken off this list, he is the victor of the tightest Tour de France race in the past, thanks to his prevailing by just over eight seconds shortly after an outstanding final-stage race in 1989.

LeMond became the first person outside of Europe to take home the Tour de France on three occasions, as well as two global racing championships. After his retirement, LeMond became a vocal critic of drugs that boost performance.

LeMond took the prize in the Tour de France in 1989 after a final lap time trial victory, trampling Laurent Fignon. In 1983 and 1989, LeMond claimed the prestigious World Cycling Championship.

Photo sources: Online 

9. Indurain Miguel: Mid-1984s to 1996

Indurain is probably the cyclist with the biggest frame to have won the Tour de France, giving cyclists weighing more than 70 kilograms confidence that they can also win a major tour. And he got it on five occasions in a row. It is easy to see why he is one of the sport's genuine greats winning Giri d'Italia and a global ITT title under his belt.

Mr. Indurain almost cruised to winning the prestigious Tour de France in 1993. He was well-known for his powerful time-trialing abilities, which he relied on to win two Giro d'Italia championships. Indurain, at eighty kilos, didn't look like your average Grand Tour competitor.

Photo sources: Online 

10. From the late 1980s to 2008, Mario Cipollini

Mario Cipollini won 191 competitive races during his tenure, but he is most famous for his flamboyant fashion adventures. The greatest sprinter of his age frequently wore customized gear, which led to the UCI fining him countless Swiss francs.

Nevertheless, Cipollini was undoubtedly one of the racing icons, having won forty-two stage races of his native Giro dItalia, the Grand Tour, and twelve Tour de France levels.

Cipollini swept Milan-San Rocco and Gent-Wevelgem in 2002 to become the defending champion. He frequently missed the top stages in the major races because he was fond of relaxing on the shore; however, he won the Giro points championship three times.

Cipo won a stage of the Giro d'Italia, his favorite race. Cipollini commissioned several elaborate skinsuits for speed trials, and for this, he was frequently penalized. Cipollini claimed the International Cycling Race in 2002 and competed in the colorful rainbow bands during the Giro.

Photo sources: Online 

11. Vos Marianne OF 2006

Marianne Vos, the sole active cyclist on this list, deserves to be there for her accomplishments and for her range of skills as a racer. Vos, possibly the best road rider of her age, holds seven cyclocross titles, three world titles, two gold medals at the Olympics, and two track titles.

Given her debut at the cycling world championships at the young age, just 19, Vos has ruled women's riding. Vos has won the Giro Rosa multiple times, the most significant competition on the women's timeline, and won more than twenty stage races. She is a darling in nearly every competition she enters, and her record implies that although she is farly young, she remains at an elite level and has already become a legend.

Photo sources: Online 

12. Tom Boonen: From the Early 2000s to the Present

Tom Boonen, arguably the greatest racing cyclist of all time, won the Paris-Roubaix four times along with the Tour de France three times. Add to the list of semi-classic victories the five titles he won at E3 Harelbeke, and its obvious Boonen was a genuine cobble expert.

However, Boonen's triumph did not stop there. In 2007, he swept six of the Tour de France races along with the overall title, and in 2005, he also claimed international prizes.

In 2012, Boonen claimed the fourth Paris Roubaix. In the 2010 edition of the Tour of Flanders, Boonen climbed the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen in vibrant hues. In 2005, he earned the world championship and spent a season in the colorful jersey. Boonen became an extensive race expert, winning several sprints during his tenure.

Photo sources: Online 

13. Cancellara Fabian: In the Early 2000s to 2016

It is easy to argue that Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen are the greatest race cyclists of all time. In all the racing season, the Swiss's today competitors with Boonen were the toast of the town, and the duo kept up intense fights, each emerging victorious on various occasions.

Cancellara has three wins at Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, four international time trial titles, a Milan-San Remo, and a couple of medals at the Olympics in the solo time trial. He took a bike trial and took advantage of his abilities to capture eight stage victories and doning yellow jerseys during the Tour de France: a genuine classics icon.

Cancellara was a cobbled juggernaut, winning the Paris-Roubaix in 2010 cycling and the Tour of Flanders. Cancellara had fun with his Tour de Flanders victory in 2013. He went on to capture another title in 2014.

Cancellara also became a standout against the clock. In 2016, he earned the gold medal at the Olympics in the concluding race of his racing career in Rio de Janeiro. All through his tenure, Cancellara wore the yellow uniform on occasion. He fought valiantly to keep it in the first summit phase of the 2012 Tour de France, but ultimately lost it to ultimate victor Bradley Wiggins.

Photo sources: Online 


These athletes are the best known for their riding achievements and their personalities. There have been other cyclists throughout history and today, but the above are the finest. Many cyclist fans love seeing racing legends compete on tracks every year ranks as one of the sport's biggest attractions.

With each passing year, steadily skilled riders create a reputation for themselves through incredible acts of tenacity and ability. But, among all these great motorcyclists, only a few rise significantly above their peers.

Biking has had tumultuous historical events, and it's difficult to discuss the sport's best cyclists without looking at cyclists with controversial backgrounds. That being said, all of the athletes mentioned above have unquestionably added to the sport and achieved iconic status by means of their achievements and, in some instances, their efforts off the tracks. The athletes in this list are in no particular order, with the length of their careers beside their names.