Top 10 Best Cyclists of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Eddy Merckx

Wow, to watch The Cannibal at work was truly amazing. What a powerhouse. Even when he was not at his best, he made you suffer to rival his unending attacks. He would attack anywhere, and that's what made him dangerously unpredictable. How do you control a guy like that? Easy answer: Take his bike away.

A complete master of the pedals who excelled in all disciplines. No one will ever come close to matching or surpassing his palmarès. The nickname he earned, The Cannibal, is most fitting as he could devour any competitor foolish enough to present a challenge in his domain during his prime.

2 Lance Armstrong Lance Edward Armstrong is a former American professional road racing cyclist. At age 16, Armstrong began competing as a triathlete and was a national sprint-course triathlon champion in 1989 and 1990.

What can I say? I will never forget that stage when Lance and Ullrich were going at it and Ullrich crashed. Lance stopped for the big German, let him get back on his bike, then resumed the attack. That's a true sportsman, unlike the garbage Contador pulled on Andy Schleck when Andy's chain came off. Contador saw what happened and attacked, putting 30 seconds between himself and Andy. By the way, that's the deficit that won the race for Alberto.

Seriously, people, can anyone say for certain no one other than Lance Armstrong took enhancements in pro cycling? His critics, like Greg LeMond, could have been juicing as well. There were no drug tests back in those days.

France has stolen billions from American businesses over the years. The 7 titles they stole from Lance Armstrong should be returned to the man.

3 Miguel Indurain

In my opinion, Miguel Indurain is without a doubt in the top 3 of all time. Only two that are close are Merckx and Hinault. He won five consecutive Tours and could've easily won seven if he hadn't been babysitting Pedro Delgado in 1989 and 1990. That is with no doping and complete domination of his very good competition.

He also won two consecutive Giros, an Olympic Gold medal in '96, and a World Championship Gold medal in '95. A beast in time trials who demolished other great racers and a natural climber who almost never left his seat. On top of it all, he was a true sportsman and gentleman who doesn't get the respect he deserves. For those who never saw him race, please YouTube any of his races and see how great this guy was.

4 Fausto Coppi

Coppi won seven Grand Tours, a World Championship, the hour record, and many monument classics (including five times Milano-Sanremo!). He was the dominant international cyclist of the years each side of the Second World War but suffered from a five-year forced break during World War II. His successes have been exceeded only by Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault. How many more races could he have won without the World War II break?

The time gaps he inflicted on the second-place finishers were amazing, often 15-20 minutes or more. Coppi won his second Tour by 28 minutes and 27 seconds, and the organizers had to double the prizes for lower placings to keep other riders interested. He rode only three Tours de France and won two.

If Coppi isn't the greatest rider of all time, then he is second only to Eddy Merckx.

5 Peter Sagan

Merckx is unreachable because cycling has changed, but Sagan is the biggest star in at least 30 years. After Hinault and Indurain, but much more of a star than them. Much more capable in terms of communicating, not to mention the results. He's only midway through his career.

Who else can win the Green Jersey seven times, World Championship three times, Roubaix, Flanders, Tour of California Overall, and numerous sprint stages in various races? That is the answer to those who ask who the best cyclist is! Only Eddy was able to win more than Peter Sagan.

Peter brings fans to cycling. He is funny, kind, and the master of cycling. Many people watch the races just because of him. Peter makes the races exciting. A true champion!

6 Bernard Hinault

Last Frenchman to win the Tour de France, and he won it 5 times. He also won 3 Giros and was one of the most aggressive cyclists ever.

Best ever. Most exciting to watch.

7 Sean Kelly

Grand Tour winner, Green jerseys, Classics. He could have placed higher in Tour GC or won more Greens if he hadn't been trying to win both at the same time. Amazing talent.

Incredibly tough, a sprinter who could also climb, a master tactician who reigned supreme in the classics but also podiumed in the Grand Tours and won the Vuelta. Name a more complete cyclist since Kelly dominated the '80s.

Top sprinter, time trial winner, Grand Tour winner, Classics champion, and world number one for half a decade in the 1980s. Incredibly tough cyclist.

8 Jacques Anquetil

5 Tours de France, 2 Giros, absolute master of time trials. A phenomenal cyclist.

9 Felice Gimondi

How many races would he have won had Eddy not been participating?

10 Alberto Contador

No disrespect to Cancellara and Sagan, but how are they better overall riders than the nine-time winner of all Grand Tours? Let me make it short. I didn't know cycling, but I did know El Pistolero! He's a sheer fighter!

Remember what he did in Tour 2014? He climbed a relentless mountain with a broken leg over one and a half minutes faster than the bunch! Remember what he did in Mortirolo in Giro 2015? He just turned his rivals into ashes while he was one minute behind the peloton!

Sorry, I don't think of this guy as much of a sportsman. Yes, he is talented, but therein lies the problem. He knows it. Ask Andy Schleck about it.

The Contenders
11 Chris Froome

He should be much higher than this! Plus, it was very impressive when he ran up the hill in the Tour de France recently. It was also entertaining. Like others on this list, he is underrated.

Best rider of the present. Maybe he can win all 3 Grand Tours in one year, but this would be extremely hard.

Most complete rider of his generation and of this millennium.

12 Jan Ullrich

One of the greatest cycling talents. Unfortunately, he grew up in the Iron Curtain period, which made him susceptible to all kinds of temptations. Physically great, mentally weak, physically and technically unbelievable.

Best cycling young talent of the 20th century, and still managed to come 2nd without doping on the same level as Armstrong. He probably was the greatest rider of his generation of cyclists if drugs did not exist.

The greatest cycling talent ever. He could show up at the Tour at 85 kg and still end up 2nd! He would surely have won the Tour 6 times if not for reckless cheaters like Armstrong and Pantani.

13 Alfredo Binda

Binda and Guerra, those were the days.

14 Mario Cipollini

Very fast, good showman. Made the sport more popular.

15 Gino Bartali

He was stopped for 7 years from races because of the Second World War and because the fascist regime didn't want him to race outside Italy. He won the Tour for the first time at less than 22 and a second time at 32, with more than a 30-minute advantage over the second place finisher.

Not only the best of his era, in a career cut short by the war, but he was a war hero too. A fascinating life story and exceptional cyclist.

A great man, very strong cyclist whose duels with Coppi are legendary.

16 Greg LeMond

The greatest American cyclist of all time. Rode as a second and in support of Laurent Fignon in 1984 and second to Bernard Hinault in 1985. He was arguably the better rider both those years. Won his first Tour in 1986. He sat out 1987 and '88 after a horrible hunting accident where he was shot in the back and side with a shotgun. Sixty pellets lodged in his body and internal organs.

With 35 shotgun pellets still in his body, including three in the lining of his heart and five embedded in his liver, he came back in 1989 and won the Tour again. And again in 1990. This guy was an absolute monster, hence the nickname LeMonster given to him by the French fans. Top 5 of all time. Completely underrated. One of the most determined riders ever. Puts Armstrong to shame.

17 Mark Cavendish

He has tried so hard to be where he is today. Coaches have called him fat and said that he would never be able to be a pro. Well, look where he is today: 25 Tour de France stages, World Champion, British Champion, Green Jersey winner. Over 100 wins in his pro career. The figures speak for themselves. Cav, I respect you.

A rider to be proud of. Clean, and an absolute great sprinter.

Best sprinter ever. Practically unbeatable.

18 Andy Schleck
19 Fabian Cancellara

Not only good at time trials, Cancellara is a dominant one-day rider and a threat in any one-day event he enters. The greatest one-day rider of his generation. Also, unlike most sprinters and time-trialists, he is not useless in the mountains and can hold his own.

If you need to explain to someone why Spartacus is one of the greatest cyclists ever, they just aren't worth your time.

In time trials and on cobbles, he is just about unbeatable. He can kick up a little sprint too, so he must be the best.

20 Cadel Evans

An understated, versatile legend and a physiological freak who crushed world-class (and partially doped) cross-country MTB and road fields as a junior, a key indication of raw, natural talent. Unlucky that his road career coincided with the worst streak of systemic doping in the sport's history, but he stayed competitive despite uncompetitive teams with his drive and ability to turn himself absolutely inside-out and leave it all on the road.

It was so nice to see him achieve success (worlds, TDF) towards the backend of his career. With a level playing field, he'd have won five or more GTs and be right up this list.

21 Alejandro Valverde

How can you not include Valverde in the top 5 riders of all time? He has 123 professional wins, and in all of cycling's rankings, he is always listed in the top 10. He is the only rider currently racing who is listed in the top 10. There are only two riders in today's peloton who have more wins: Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel. Both of them are sprinters.

Valverde can do it all. He can sprint, climb, time-trial, and descend, and he is the best puncher in the world. Jens Voigt better? That is a joke. I do like Jens, but really? I do not know who is doing the voting, but even pros think Valverde is the best rider of this generation.

22 Marco Pantani

A great man and a great cyclist. He reminded me of the great Fausto Coppi.

The emotion he created, maybe no one else, never.

23 Tom Boonen

Boonen is, for me, the best cyclist ever. Great sprinter, very strong.

One of the best one-day riders of the past 30 years.

Three-time Tour of Flanders, four-time Paris-Roubaix, five-time E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, three-time Gent-Wevelgem, World Champion in 2005, and Green Jersey in the Tour. More than 100 victories so far.

24 Bradley Wiggins

I'd have put Bradley Wiggins somewhere near the top if not right at the top, which is where I would have put him. I can't think of another cyclist who has achieved as much in many various cycling events as Bradley Wiggins. He's a brilliant time trialist and was the only one to have achieved 19:57 at Knowsley Safari Park (Tour of Britain) in wet conditions. Remarkable!

Bradley Wiggins is my favourite cyclist because he was the first British Tour de France winner. He won Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandie, and the Dauphiné in the same season. He also won a time trial in the Olympics! Amazing!

25 Joop Zoetemelk

One of the greats of his time, a pure cyclist with a great personality to match. He could have been the most decorated Tour cyclist had things gone just a bit differently (6 second-place finishes and 1 win!).

Rode the Tour de France an amazing 16 times! One win, and 6 second-place finishes.

8Load More
PSearch List