We all have done cycling in our lives, some still do. And why not, it has got many health benefits attached to it. Though cycling is not just a physical exercise or a mode to commute, it is also a widely followed sport.
Cycling as a sport has evolved remarkably over the years, officially recognized on May 31, 1868, with a 1,200-metre (1,312-yard) race between the fountains and the entrance of Saint-Cloud Park (near Paris).
There are several categories of cycle racing. The list includes road bicycle racing, time trailing, cyclo-cross, mountain bike racing, track cycling, BMX, and cycle speedway. Cycle races are popular all over the world, but is followed remarkably in Europe.
The sport is governed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) which organizes the UCI’s annual World Championships for men and women.
Considering the worldwide popularity of the sport, DSPORT has picked up the top ten greatest cyclists of all time. Have a look:
Eddy Merckx is a Belgian former professional road and track bicycle racer who has won the Tour de France five times. Cycling fans consider him to be the most successful cyclist in history, with 525 competitions to his name. In 1968, Merckx became the first Belgian in history to win the Tour of Italy (the Giro). Apart from Tour de France, he is the owner of five Giro victories and two Vuelta victories.
Bernard Hinault’s career had all of the ingredients required to make his case of being the greatest rider of all time a strong one. Nicknamed “The Badger” because of his fighting style when cornered, Hinault was a complete rider like Merckx who could climb, sprint, and time trial with the best. His record of ten Grand Tour victories is second only to Merckx’s eleven Grand Tour victories.
Hinault’s record of over 250 professional victories, including 52-time trial victories, is quite impressive. He was also an accomplished one-day rider and won the World Championship Road Race and a total of five victories in cycling’s monuments (he never won the Tour of Flanders or the Milan-San Remo).
Fausto Coppi was one of the champions during one of the cycling’s great eras, the Post World War II years. His successes earned him the title of ‘The Champion of Champions’. He was an all-round racing cyclist: he excelled in both climbing and time trialing and was also a great sprinter. He won the Giro d’Italia five times (1940, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953), the Tour de France twice (1949 and 1952), and the World Championship in 1953.
Miguel Indurain is a retired Spanish road-racing cyclist. Indurain claimed five Tour de France titles for consecutive years from 1991 to 1995. Miguel won two Giro d’Itialia. At the age of eighteen, he became the youngest rider ever to win the Spanish Amateur national road Championship. At the age of 20, he became the youngest rider to lead the VueltaaEspana.
John James Sean Kelly is an Irish former professional road bicycle racer. He was one of the finest and successful riders. Kelly has never won Tour de France but has won nine monument classics and 193 professional races in his professional career. Kelly won two bronze medals in the World Road Race Championship. He won Paris–Nice race for seven years in a row and the first UCI Road World Cup in 1989. He won 1988 VueltaaEspana and had multiple wins in the Giro di Lombardia, Milan–San Remo, Paris–Roubaix, and Liege–Bastogne–Liege.
Alfredo Binda was an Italian cyclist of the 1920s and 1930s. Binda was the first cyclist to win five editions of Giro d’Italia. He won Milan-San Remo twice and the Tour of Lombardy four times. Alfredo was a three-time world champion. He managed the Italian national team, Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, and GastoneNencini all triumphed at the Tour de France under him.
Gino Bartali nicknamed Gino the Pious was the most renowned Italian Cyclist before World War-II. He won Tour de France two times, twenty-four classics, Giro d’Italia three times and he won six consecutive mountain classifications at the Giro.
Jacques Anquetil was a French road racing cyclist and the first cyclist to win Tour de France five times. He’s known as Monsieur Chrono for his exceptional ability to ride alone against the clock in individual time trial stages. He won Giro d’Italia twice and Vuelta a Espana once. Jacques won Paris–Nice five times, Four Days of Dunkirk two times and Criterium du Dauphine Libere two times.
Cipollini is a retired Italian professional road cyclist most noted for his sprinting ability, the longevity of his dominance and his colorful personality. He is regarded as one of the best sprinters of his generation.
Lance Edward Armstrong is an American former professional road racing cyclist. He is the 1993 professional World Champion. His career was halted by testicular cancer, but Armstrong returned to win a record seven consecutive Tour de France races beginning in 1999.