Cycling is a sport that everyone has practiced from an early age. From small wheels to the slopes of the Huez Alps, the great road cycling champions have had to turn their pedals more than once! As the calves stiffen, the faces grimace and the gourdes empty, the peloton of riders gets closer to the finish line to battle out the victory in the final sprint. Cycling is a sport of great athletes, sometimes it may seem inhuman to us, but champions are always present every year to break all the records of the past. In this article, we will pause in our prognostications to remember the victories of the most illustrious cyclists in history. Put on your helmet, and go to meet five athletes who have made many Belgian children dream.
We’re chauvinists, but not that much! Our beloved Belgian is undoubtedly the greatest road cyclist of all time. Professional in the ’70s, The “Cannibal” won 525 victories, just that! Versatile, we can also add his 98 consecrations on the track and 2 first places in cyclo-cross.
In any case, the 1970s and the whole history of cycling were marked by Eddy Merckx. The runner won 11 Grand tours, including 5 times the prestigious Tour de France between 1969 and 1974. What’s more, The “Cannibal” was not content to follow his teammates as he was known to attack anywhere and anytime, to claim memorable stage wins. In total, Merckx ran 64 stages of the biggest laps. His record could make the other great sportsmen of the story all the more pale as he appeared in the film, “the price of the feat” with Kevin Costner ! Eddy is our national pride, no doubt.
Nicknamed The “Badger” because of his blood temper. Bernard Hinault has always advocated an attack cycling that has served him well in his career! A professional racer between 1975 and 1986, Hinault has the most distinguished record of French cyclists. 5 laps from France, 3 from Italy and 2 from Spain, no road could resist it. In total, the “Blaireau” alone represents 216 victories and 41 stages won on the Grand tours.
In addition to this, Hinault even took the luxury of owning the climber’s polka dot jersey and the green one, the best sprinter. It is, therefore, a real champion that the French rewarded with the Légion d’honneur in 1986.
The French have contributed to the development of road cycling, which is why they have exceptional references in this sport. “Maître Jacques” dominated the pedal World Between 1953 and 1969 by winning 8 Grand tours for a total of 184 stage wins. With a career marked by his rivalry with Raymond Poulidor known as ” Poupou, L’éternel second “, Jacques Anquetil is still the first cyclist to win the formidable Tour de France 5 times thanks to his extraordinary time-trial performances!
The Spaniard, a runner in the eighties and nineties, did not participate in many classic races. The “extraterrestrial” has always wanted to dedicate itself to the Tour de France, the only competition that had value in his eyes. And you could say he did the right thing! Five times winner of the Grand Boucle, he is the first and only to have won it five times in a row. Indurain has always been known for his fair play, he, the runner who clung to the best climbers in the highest passes of France !
We end our great story of the greatest cyclists by evoking a runner who marked the 40s and 50s. Coppi, the Italian was able to win the Tour de France twice, but especially the Tour d’italie 5 times! The “Heron” has notably marked the history of sport by adopting a new approach to cycling through its attachment to Dietetics, the evolution of the bicycle mechanism and new training methods.