Most Famous Cyclist: A Journey Through Cycling Legends

most famous cyclist

Cycling has a rich history of extraordinary athletes who have carved their names into the annals of the sport. In this article, we embark on a journey to celebrate the most famous cyclist, both past and present. 

From the iconic achievements of Eddy Merckx and Lance Armstrong to the emerging talent of Tadej Pogačar, we explore the stories of these cycling legends and their lasting impact on the world of cycling.

Eddy Merckx: The Greatest Cyclist of All Time

Eddy Merckx

The Unmatched Dominance

Eddy Merckx, considered the greatest cyclist of all time, amassed an impressive 11 Grand Tour victories, making him a true powerhouse in the sport. His unyielding will to win and fierce competitive spirit set him apart from his contemporaries.

The Maestro of Monuments

Merckx also conquered five Monuments, showcasing his versatility and mastery over one-day classic races. His victories in races like Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, and Liège–Bastogne–Liège solidified his status as the Maestro of Monuments.

World Championships Glory

Adding to his accolades, Merckx secured three World Championships, proving his prowess on the global stage. His impact on cycling was so profound that he earned the nickname “The Cannibal” for his insatiable appetite for victories.

Lance Armstrong: Triumph, Controversy, and Redemption

Lance Armstrong

The Seven-Time Champion

Lance Armstrong’s seven consecutive Tour de France victories made him an iconic figure in the sport. His incredible feats on the bike and his cancer survival story inspired millions around the world.

The Doping Controversy

Unfortunately, Armstrong’s legacy was marred by doping allegations, leading to the stripping of his Tour de France titles. Despite the controversy, his Livestrong foundation and advocacy for cancer patients have left a lasting positive impact.

A Journey of Redemption

In recent years, Armstrong has sought redemption and acceptance, highlighting the complexity of his legacy. Regardless of the controversies, his achievements and impact on the cycling world cannot be denied.

Tadej Pogačar: A Rising Star

Tadej Pogačar

The Young Slovenian Sensation

Tadej Pogačar’s rise to the top of the cycling world has been nothing short of meteoric. The young Slovenian cyclist stunned the world by winning the Tour de France in both 2020 and 2021.

Back-to-Back Triumphs

Pogačar’s back-to-back Tour de France victories made him the youngest rider to achieve such a feat since 1983. His extraordinary climbing abilities and mature race tactics have made him a force to be reckoned with.

Mark Cavendish: The Sprinting Maestro

Mark Cavendish

A British Icon

Mark Cavendish, hailing from Britain, is revered for his unrivaled sprinting prowess. With an impressive tally of 30 Tour de France stage wins, he sits just behind the legendary Eddy Merckx on the all-time list.

The Sprint King’s Legacy

Cavendish’s explosive speed and tenacity in the final meters of a race have earned him the title “The Sprint King.” His victories and showmanship have endeared him to cycling fans worldwide.

Marianne Vos: The Queen of Women’s Cycling

Marianne Vos

A Dutch Dynamo

Marianne Vos, a Dutch cyclist, has left an indelible mark on women’s cycling with her numerous world championships and Olympic medals. Her versatility in road racing, track events, and cyclocross showcases her exceptional talent.

See also: Who Has the Maximum Number of Olympic Gold Medals in Cycling?

Empowering Women Cyclists

Vos’s achievements have paved the way for future generations of female cyclists, inspiring them to pursue their dreams and shatter barriers in the sport.

Sean Kelly: The Classic King

Sean Kelly

Ireland’s Cycling Legend

Sean Kelly, an Irish cyclist, earned the moniker “The Classic King” for his dominance in one-day classic races during the 1980s. His tactical acumen and tenacity on tough terrain made him a formidable force.

A Legacy of Classics Victories

Kelly’s impressive list of classic victories includes prestigious races like Paris-Roubaix and Liège–Bastogne–Liège, cementing his status as one of the greatest one-day racers in history.

Jacques Anquetil: The Time-Trial Specialist

Jacques Anquetil

French Cycling Great

Jacques Anquetil, a French cyclist, etched his name in history by winning the Tour de France five times during the 1960s. He was known for his ability to excel in individual time trials.

Riding Against the Clock

Anquetil’s unmatched prowess in time trials set him apart from his rivals, and his record of five Tour de France victories remained untouched for a considerable period.

Miguel Indurain: The Spanish Dynamo

Miguel Indurain

The Five-Time Tour de France Champion

Miguel Indurain, a Spanish cyclist, made his mark in the 1990s, winning the Tour de France five times consecutively. His remarkable time trial abilities and dominance in the mountains made him an exceptional all-around rider.

An Era of Spanish Cycling Greatness

Indurain’s triumphs in the Tour de France contributed to a golden era of Spanish cycling, inspiring future generations of riders.

Felice Gimondi: A True All-Rounder

Felice Gimondi

Conquering the Grand Tours

Felice Gimondi, an Italian cyclist, achieved the remarkable feat of winning all three Grand Tours—the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a España—during his illustrious career.

Consistency and Versatility

Gimondi’s ability to excel in various terrains and his consistent performance earned him respect as a true all-around rider.

Mario Cipollini: The Flamboyant Sprinter

Mario Cipollini

Italian Sprinting Icon

Mario Cipollini, an Italian cyclist, was known for his flamboyant personality and sprinting prowess. His aggressive racing style and numerous Giro d’Italia stage victories captivated fans worldwide.

A Dazzling Personality

Cipollini’s magnetic charisma and bold fashion choices made him a fan-favorite both on and off the bike.


As we conclude our journey through the history of cycling’s most famous cyclists, we are reminded of the remarkable impact these athletes have had on the sport. From the indomitable spirit of Eddy Merckx to the controversies and redemption of Lance Armstrong, and the rising stars like Tadej Pogačar, cycling continues to inspire and captivate enthusiasts worldwide. 

Each cyclist we’ve explored has left a unique and enduring legacy, shaping the sport’s rich history and motivating new generations of riders to pedal forward with determination and passion.


Who is the greatest cyclist in history?

Many consider Eddy Merckx to be the greatest cyclist in history. Merckx dominated professional cycling in the 1960s and 1970s, winning 525 races over his career, including a record 34 Tour de France stage wins. He won the Tour de France five times along with victories at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. His all-around ability across varied terrain made him a formidable competitor.

Who is the best cycling man in the world?

There is often debate over who the current best men’s cyclist is at any given time. In recent years, top contenders for this title have included Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Egan Bernal, Tadej Pogačar, Primož Roglič and Wout van Aert. At the peak of their powers, these riders have shown the all-around ability to win prestigious stage races as well as classics monuments.

Is Lance Armstrong the greatest cyclist of all time?

While Lance Armstrong dominated professional cycling in the early 2000s, including winning 7 consecutive Tour de France titles, he has been stripped of those titles due to doping offenses. So most experts do not consider him the greatest of all time despite his prior dominance. Others with less tainted careers like Merckx and Hinault tend to top greatest of all time lists instead.

Who is the cycling legend?

Eddy Merckx is considered by many to be the most legendary men’s professional cyclist in history. Known as “The Cannibal” for his ruthless, attacking style, the Belgian rider dominated in Grand Tours as well as one-day classics from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s. Other cycling legends include Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Fausto Coppi and Miguel Indurain.

Who is the father of cycling?

Often considered the father of cycling is Karl Drais, the German inventor who created an early velocipede-like machine called the draisine or hobby horse in 1817. This helped pave the way for more advanced bicycles in the 19th century. Others sometimes given the title include Pierre Michaux and Ernest Michaux, who were pioneering French bicycle manufacturers in the 1860s and 1870s.

Who was the cyclist who was killed?

There have unfortunately been a number of professional cyclists killed over the long history of bike racing. Some of the most high-profile deaths have included Fabio Casartelli, who died descending during the 1995 Tour de France, and Wouter Weylandt, who crashed on a descent in the 2011 Giro d’Italia. Both rider deaths led to improved safety measures in the pro peloton yet racing remains an inherently dangerous sport.

About The Author