Lance Armstrong became one of the most inspirational stories after he survived cancer and went on to win seven consecutive Tour de France races from 1999 to 2005. He was considered one of the greatest road racing cyclists ever before he was stripped of all of his achievements starting from August 1998 due to his involvement in a doping scandal.
Eddy Merckx is a Belgian former road and track bicycle racer. Widely regarded as the most successful rider in competitive cycling history, Merckx achieved several important victories, such as 11 Grand Tours, three World Championships, and all five Monuments. He is also considered the greatest cyclist of all time. After retiring, he coached his national cycling team for 11 years.
Greg LeMond is an American former road racing cyclist and anti-doping advocate. Widely regarded as the greatest American cyclist ever, LeMond is a three-time Tour de France winner and a two-time Road Race World Championship winner. Greg LeMond is also regarded as an icon of the sport's globalization and is counted among the greatest all-round cyclists of the present era.
Chris Hoy is a British racing driver and former track cyclist. A highly decorated Olympic cyclist, he is the recipient of six gold and one silver medals. He is also an 11-time World Champion. He announced his retirement from competitive cycling in 2013. He is also interested in motorsport and competed at the 2015 Race of Champions.
Bernard Hinault is a French former professional cyclist, often counted among the best cyclists of all time. He has 147 professional victories, including five in the Tour de France, to his name. In 1986, he was given the Legion of Honour; he retired the same year. He turned to farming after his retirement.
Tour de France-winning Australian cyclist Cadel Evans is also a four-time Olympian. His career took off when he earned a scholarship to the mountain biking program of the Australian Institute of Sport. An avid philanthropist, he has an adopted son from Ethiopia, along with a son from his second wife.
Jacques Anquetil was a French professional road racing cyclist. He was the first person to win five Tour de France races. At the time of his retirement, Anquetil had won eight Grand Tours, which was a record at that time. He was also a controversial figure who spoke openly about his dependency on drugs to compete in races.
Of his 16-year-long stint as a professional cyclist, Sean Kelly has spent 5 years as the world’s number one racer. A specialist in classic races, he was the Paris–Nice winner for 7 consecutive times. Regarded as the second-best cyclist ever, he later had a successful career as a Eurosport commentator.
Laurent Fignon was a French professional road bicycle racer. He won the Tour de France in 1983 and 1984. He became the FICP World No. 1 in 1989 and also won the Giro d'Italia the same year. One of the most successful cyclists of his era, he won many classic races. He retired in 1993.
Legendary British cyclist Beryl Burton dominated the British women’s racing scene from the 1950s to the 1980s. Apart from being a 5-time world champion, she set a new women’s record for the 25-mile time trial, which surpassed the men’s record for 2 years. Her achievements inspired a radio play.
Retired Belgian cyclist Johan Museeuw, also known as The Lion of Flanders, was regarded as a master of classic races. Apart from being an Olympian, he was also a 3-time winner of both the Tour of Flanders and Paris–Roubaix. He also recorded multiple Tour de France wins.
Roger De Vlaeminck is a Belgian retired racing cyclist. One of the most talented racing cyclists of his generation, De Vlaeminck is best known for winning a gold medal for his country at the 1975 World Championships. He also won a silver medal in the same tournament. He was inducted into the Union Cycliste Internationale Hall of Fame in 2002.
Retired Belgian cyclist Freddy Maertens enjoyed success in phases. While he initially won numerous junior races and went on to become a Belgian and world champion, he was later plagued by debt and alcoholism. However, he bounced back later with a Tour de France green jersey and a World Championship win.
Tyler Hamilton is an American former road bicycle racer who played an important role as a teammate of Lance Armstrong in the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Tours de France. Hamilton is the only American to win one of the five classic cycle races known as the Monuments. In 2004, he was suspended for two years after failing a dope test.
English sports broadcaster Phil Liggett is known for his commentary of the Tour de France and other cycling events. Though he had fancied a career as a cyclist earlier, he later chose sports journalism instead. He is now a wildlife conservationist, who protects rhinos in a South African game reserve.
English cyclist Paul Sherwen was raised in Kenya, where his father worked. Initially devoted to swimming, he had even competed in swimming contests in Kenya and Britain but deviated toward cycling at 16. Part of the group of cyclists known as the Foreign Legion, he later turned into a successful broadcaster, too.
George Hincapie is a former road bicycle racer. As a domestique for Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans, Hincapie played a major role in helping Contador and Evans win the 2007 and 2011 Tour de France, respectively. Hincapie was also an important domestique of Lance Armstrong. In 2012, George Hincapie admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs between 2004 and 2006.
Tom Simpson was a British professional cyclist who specialized in pursuit racing. One of most successful and popular cyclists of Britain, Simpson is best remembered for winning a bronze medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. He then went on to win a gold medal at the 1965 UCI Road World Championships in San Sebastián, Spain.
Raymond Poulidor, or Pou-Pou, was an acclaimed French cyclist who had a life-long association with Mercier. His lack of wins at the Tour de France, in spite of 8 podium finishes, earned him the tag of The Eternal Second. Born to farmers, he took up racing at 16 after reading a sports magazine.
Malaysian track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang, also known as The Pocket Rocketman, has both an Olympic bronze and silver in his kitty. Adopted as a child, he took up cycling at age 10. While studying sports science in Australia, he became the first non-Australian to get a Blue Award from Victoria University.
Dave Mirra was an American BMX rider who set the X Games record for most medals won in BMX Freestyle. He was also a rallycross racer, competing alongside the Subaru Rally Team USA for many years. Dave Mirra committed suicide in 2016. Later that year, he was inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame.
Major Taylor was a professional cyclist who set many world records between 1898 and 1899. In 1899, he became the first African American to win the sprint event at the world track championships and only the second black athlete to emerge victorious in a world championship irrespective of the sport.
Rik Van Looy is a Belgian retired professional cyclist best known for winning a gold medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland. He also won gold medals at the 1960 and 1961 World Championships. Nicknamed the King of the Classics, Rik Van Looy is ninth on the all-time Grand Tour stage winners list with 37 victories.
Known as Jaja, for his love for wine, Laurent Jalabert is a former world number one cyclist from France, who, unfortunately, never won a Tour de France title. With his Vuelta a España win in 1995, he became the second cyclist, after Eddy Merckx, to win three jerseys in a Grand Tour.
Known for his boyish looks and his reputation as a mountain climber, Richard Virenque is a three-time Olympian who has also won the Tour de France King of the Mountains contest 7 times. He was involved in the Festina doping scandal, and though he wasn’t implicated, he later admitted to doping.
Rik Van Steenbergen was a Belgian racing cyclist who is often counted among the greatest Belgian cyclists of all time. A three-time world champion, Steenbergen was made an inductee of the UCI Hall of Fame in 2002. A statue of Rik Van Steenbergen was unveiled in Arendonk in 2004.
Frankie Andreu is a former professional cyclist who led the U.S. Postal Service cycling team for three consecutive years starting from 1998. Andreu's testimony played a major role in the eventual outcome of the US Anti-Doping Agency's investigation of Lance Armstrong's doping practices.