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.
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.
French cyclist Julian Alaphilippe is the brother of another prominent cyclist, Bryan Alaphilippe. The son of an orchestra conductor, he loved playing the drums as a child, but switched to cycling at age 13. Named France’s best sportsman more than once, he is the current UCI World Road Champion.
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.
Apart from being an acclaimed cyclist, Romain Bardet is also a business management degree holder and has worked as a PR agent, too. Known for both his prowess as an athlete and his uncanny resemblance to Benedict Cumberbatch, he now represents the UCI World Team cycling team DSM.
With famous cyclists in her family, Marion Rousse became a talented cyclist in her own right. A champion for women’s cycling, she now heads the Tour de France Femmes as its director. She is also a successful TV consultant who has appeared on shows such as Les rois de la pédale.
Born to parents who ran a bicycle school, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and her two siblings gained an interest in racing in their early years. Apart from winning the XCO world championship thrice, she also became the first to hold the road, the cyclocross, and the mountain bike world titles simultaneously.
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.
Arnaud Démare is a French road racing cyclist who won the UCI World Under-23 Road Race Championship title in 2011. Démare, who currently rides for the popular cycling team Groupama–FDJ, also won the Milan–San Remo in 2016.
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.
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.
Regarded as one of the greatest cross-country mountain bikers ever, Julien Absalon is a 7-time mountain bike cross-country World Cup winner. He is also a 4-time Olympian and has an Olympic gold medal in his kitty, too. While he was previously with Bianchi and Orbea, he now represents the BMC Racing Team.
The son of the mayor of Mélisey, Thibaut Pinot had started cycling at age 8 and later rose to become one of the most celebrated cyclists in France. While he initially wished to become a footballer, he later switched to cycling and now represents Groupama–FDJ for UCI WorldTeam.
David Gaudu is a French cyclist who rides for the professional cycling team Groupama–FDJ. Gaudu won the prestigious Tour de l'Avenir, an U23 cycling race, in 2016. He then went on to win the Peace Race U23, after which he earned a two-year contract with Groupama–FDJ.
Guillaume Martin, who plays for the UCI team Cofidis, has competed in the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España. He is also an Olympian. The son of an aikido teacher father, he is well-versed in martial arts. A philosophy major, too, he has penned the book Socrates By Bike.
Born in Italy, Maurice Garin initially worked as a chimney sweep and later continued with his profession in Belgium and France. He later launched a cycle shop with his brothers and gradually moved on to professional racing. He eventually created history by becoming the first Tour de France winner.
A former cyclist with Team Sky, Nicolas Portal later headed the organization as its manager and then as its lead directeur sportif. Part of the backroom team that led to Chris Froome’s four Tour de France wins, Portal stunned his co-workers and fans with his abrupt death of a heart attack at 40.
Éric Barone is a French sportsman and cyclist. He holds the world record for having achieved the highest speed for bicycles on both gravel and snow. His speed record on snow is 141.499 mph, while his record on gravel is 107 mph. Barone has also acted as stunt double for actors like Adrian Paul, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Sylvester Stallone.
Henri Desgrange was a French sports journalist and bicycle racer. During his illustrious racing career, Desgrange set 12 track cycling records, such as the hour record. Henri Desgrange is also remembered as the founder of the Tour de France and served as the event's first organizer. Desgrange is also credited with inspiring a generation of people to practice physical exercises.
Initially a fire fighter in Paris, cyclist Robert Marchand was also a World War II prisoner of war. He became a Guinness record holder as the world’s oldest competitive cyclist, at 105. Initially discouraged from cycling for his 5-foot frame, he returned to cycling at 68 and created history.
Louison Bobet was a French road racing cyclist who became the first competitor to win the prestigious Tour de France for three consecutive years starting from 1953. Widely regarded as one of the greatest French riders of the post-war period, Louison Bobet also won several other races, including the National Road Championship, Milan–San Remo, and the World Road Championship.
British-French motor racer, aviator, and aircraft manufacturer Maurice Farman was also a champion in tandem cycling. He and his brother, Henri, completed the world’s first circular flight of over 1km. He also made pioneering studies in aerial radiotelephony, while his company introduced the world’s first long-distance passenger plane, Goliath.
François Faber was a Luxembourgian professional road racing cyclist. In 1909, Faber became the first non-native to win the prestigious Tour de France, although he considered himself French. Faber's record of winning five successive stages in Tour de France remains unbeaten. François Faber died at the age of 28 while fighting for France during the First World War.
Antonin Magne was a French professional cyclist best remembered for winning the popular Tour de France twice. Magne went on to become a team manager after competing as a professional from 1927 to 1939. His introverted nature earned him the sobriquet The Monk.
Bernard Thevenet is a French former professional cyclist. Although he won the prestigious Tour de France twice, bringing an end to the reign of five-time champion Eddy Merckx in the process, Thévenet's image as a sportsperson was tarnished when he admitted to using steroids as a cyclist after his retirement. He is also a two-time winner of the Dauphiné Libéré.
Andre Darrigade is a French former professional road bicycle racer who competed from 1951 to 1966. Widely regarded as one of the greatest sprinters of his generation, Darrigade won the World Championship as a road sprinter in 1959. He also won 22 stages of the prestigious Tour de France.