The Greatest Road Cyclists Of All Time

For generations, sports fans and outdoor enthusiasts have had the fortunes of watching plenty of all time great road cyclists revolutionize the industry in multiple ways.

Professional road cycling has been one of the world’s most followed sports for over a century now. From the likes of Gino Bartali to Eddy Merckx to Lance Armstrong to Alejandro Valverde, the sport hasn’t lacked in athletes who brought more attention and valuable changes to the road cycling universe.

In May 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), which gave each state the freedom to launch mobile/online and in-person sports betting if they so desired.

Many cycling events are including in the sports betting world, such as the Tour de France and the Road World Championship Odds. DraftKings has Jonas Vingegaard as the early favorite to win the 2023 Tour de France at -120, followed by Tadej Pogačar (+175), Remco Evenepoel (+600) and Primož Roglič (+600).

The Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, two of the three Grand Tour races, have been entertaining fans all over the globe for more than 100 years. The number of Grand Tour wins is an effective way to measure the best of the very best in the road cycling industry.

With that, all said, here’s a dive into the careers of the greatest road cyclists of all time.

Eddy Merckx

You can’t hold a discussion for the greatest road cyclist of all time without mentioning Eddy Merckx.

Born in Meensel-Kiezegem, Belgium, Merckx pieced together the most storied road cycling career in history. He is one of seven cyclists to have won each of the Grand Tour Races (Vuelta a España, Giro d’Italia), along with Chris Froome, Bernard Hinault, Felice Gimondi, Jacques Anquetil, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali.

Merckx holds the record for the most Grand Tour victories with 11, having won both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France five times apiece as well as the Vuelta a España on one occasion in 1973. On top of the Grand Tour victories, Merckx won three UCI Road World Championships over an eight-year span (1967, 1971 and 1974).

At this point, it’s not too early to suggest that nobody will match Merckx’s record of 11 Grand Tour victories.

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    Bernard Hinault

    Hinault had to compete against a very stacked field throughout his professional career, but it didn’t stop him from cementing himself as one of the most decorated and dominant road cyclists ever.

    The French sports icon won 10 Grand Tour tournaments, the second-most ever behind only Merckx. Hinault is tied with Merckx, Miguel Induráin and Jacques Anquetil for the most career Tour de France victories with five apiece. Hinault dominated the event over an eight-year period, winning it all five times between 1978 and 1985.

    Hinault is also one of eight cyclists to have won the Giro d’Italia race at least three times; he won the event in 1980, 1982 and ‘85. Only Merckx, Alfredo Binda and Fausto Coppi have more titles with five each.

    Hinault’s other two Grand Tour victories came at the Vuelta a España, which he won in 1978 and ‘83. He also won the UCI Road World Championship race in 1980.

    Miguel Induráin

    As previously noted, Indurain is in the special club of road cyclists to have won the Tour de France five times. Induráin won it an unprecedented five years in a row from 1991 to ‘95, and that record stands more than a quarter-century later.

    Induráin’s dominance of the ‘90s continued at the Giro d’Italia tournament. He was victorious in back-to-back years in 1992 and ‘93. Induráin also had second-place finishes at thE UCI Road World Championships, losing to Lance Armstrong (1993) and Abraham Olano (1995).

    Gino Bartali

    Nicknamed “Gino the Pious”, Bartali was one of the first road cyclists to reach legendary status.

    Bartali won the 1938 and 1948 Tour de France races and back-to-back Giro d’Italia events in 1936 and 1937. Bartali for his efficient riding through difficult journeys like the mountains.

    There’s no telling how many more Grand Tour races Bartali could have won, either. World War II and an early retirement (age 40 due to injuries) prevented Bartali from adding more to an already impressive trophy room.

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