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December 15, 2017
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  • Garry Wallah

    Where is the boss Lance Armstrong? Plenty of other dopers on this list..

    • Big J

      Just stop. Seriously.

    • Michele


    • velocite

      This will never settle down. My view of Lance is out of focus, or like an analogue TV picture with bad reception. On the one hand I remember the excitement of his destruction of the opposition on mountain stages, but our current knowledge of the power of what fueled his exploits has turned them into something like fake news – even though they really happened. We were robbed.

    • Bruce Mackey

      Just No.

    • Guillaume Causse

      I am more than agree all the others are dopers
      He was still the one of the first one to ride with power meters and with a high cadence.

    • Long live the king!

    • Teddy Dove

      It wasn t just the drug taking it was the disgusting bullying people destroying way he done it….if anyone deserved to take the bullets it was Lance….

  • Kieran Degan

    Nice list. A notable mention could be given to Alfonsina Strada. She raced the 1924 Giro one of only 38 to complete the ridiculously grueling race. She has an amazing story.

  • Uncle Bob

    Jacques Anquetil was very open about taking amphetamines. I think it was him who said you would have to be crazy to consider the Tour without drugs.

    • James

      As was Coppi. When asked if he used amphetamines he replied only when necessary. The interviewer asked him when that was. Coppi replied – almost always…different eras with different attitudes and I don’t think it’s fair to judge people by today’s standards. Values evolve and norms in society change. Amphetamines came into prominence to keep soldiers going during WW11 so were viewed quite differently at the time.

      • jules

        also is the fact amphetamines were believed to improve performance and probably did in some ways, to a degree. but oxygen vector doping in the 90’s turned mules into thoroughbreds. that’s why dopers in different eras are judged differently. Coppi’s achievements were more-or-less the real deal.

      • Dermot Lane

        I don’t think they were even illegal for much of Coppi’s career

  • SCR

    Great list, but Lance deserves a mention.

    • Xavier Melendez

      No. Lance Pharmstrong does not need to be mentioned. Look up any official results list and almost ALL of his exploits have been removed.

      • Quickdraw

        You can’t remove the fact that he did win the Tour de France 7 times.

        • Spartacus

          Yeah. You can. They did.

          • annie

            His name can be removed on paper, stricken from official history, but the fact remains he did, in reality, win. He cheated to do it, but he still won.

            • GH0STP1X3L
            • Spartacus

              I literally can’t even begin to explain this to you Annie.

              • annie

                You don’t need to, I understand completely. I also know what I saw, I saw Lance “win” those races. His name has been stricken from the records, he was stripped of his titles & he has been banned for life, as he should have been. But the fact still remains he finished each of those 7 Tours wearing yellow. It doesn’t make him the winner but he did win them at the time.

                • Spartacus

                  Yep, like I said.

                • Wayne Crowley

                  Agree with you Annie. Watch icarus and see the capabilities of dopers not getting caught. Lance was the best of his era. Came across as an arrogant bloke which is probably why he got nutted in the end. however wonderful to watch him attack.

                  • annie

                    Thank you, Wayne.

      • Xavier is new to cycling.

    • A mention perhaps, but only a dishonourable mention in the footnotes, for being the person who most egregiously brought the sport into disrepute. Not merely for the most systematic doping programme of all time but also the bullying and the coercion; and also for being the only person to lose the Tour de France seven times.

    • Bob Dobbins

      It wasn’t a list of the greatest, just ones we are supposed to be able to discuss at the end of the day without starting another fight about Lance.

  • Stuttgart5

    How about the great Andy Hampsten?? The one and only Lemond !!

  • PeteJM

    Entirely depends on the criteria.

  • Koronin

    Alejandro Valverde (2002 – current) over 100 race wins including a record number of Vuelta a Murcia and Vuelta a Andalucia wins, a record number of Fleche Wallone wins, a record number of Ardennes double wins, 4 Liege wins. 1 GT, 2009 Vuelta a Espana. Has 8 GT podiums including at least 1 in each Grand Tour along with at least 1 stage win in each Grand Tour. Is one podium shy of the record number of Vuelta a Espana podiums. Owns the record for most World’s podiums. Plus just missed getting a top 10 in all three Grand Tours in one season in 2016.

  • James

    Great list but definitely would have found a spot for the Gypsy of Flanders, Roger de Vlaeminck…..the only rider to win all the classics back in the day when Paris-Tours was regarded much higher than it is now and Fleche Wallone and Ghent-Wevelgem also counted alongside the five monuments.

    • Xavier Melendez

      Yes, Roger de Vlaminck, Joop Zoetemelk (sp?), Laurent Jalabert, Graeme Obree, Gino Bartali, Francesco Moser, Fausto Coppi, Davis Phinney, Rebecca Twigg, Eric Vanderaerden, Fabio Casartelli, Luis Herrera, Raymond Poulidor, Tom Simpson

  • jules

    we need a bad boys/girls list.

    1. Lance. 7 straight. no matter how much EPO he took, that’s an unbelievable achievement. it was a level playing field anyway. (I’m not buying the “some riders respond better to oxygen vector doping – some riders are gifted physiologically, we celebrate them – same difference)

    2. Pantani. he climbed like an angel. partly because he was high as a kite, on EPO and angel dust. but the raw talent and panache was incredible to witness. a troubled soul who would have won a lot more if not for his mental demons and meddling doping controls.

    3. Jeannie Longo. won just about everything in women’s cycling, repeatedly. never caught (from memory) doping, but her exclusion on the CT list is likely from common knowledge/assumptions that she was doped to the gills. apparently she’s still smashing A grade men in club races in france.

    4. Valverde. a racer’s racer – he just keeps winning. served time as a client of Fuentes but like Lance, his winning record is just so good you have to be impressed anyway. an absolute monster on the bike who is still going at full tilt.

    5. Contador. it wasn’t the steak. but Bertie was another racer’s racer – attacking relentlessly, riding stages of the Tour with a broken leg, coming back from a brain aneurism. he didn’t compromise in his famously meticulous preparation and I mean.. he didn’t compromise, on anything.

    6. Moreno Argentin. a prolific winner of almost all the classics including Liege, Fleche, Ronde, Il Lombardia – multiple times for most. part of the ridiculous Gewiss outfit that took 1-2-3 at ’94 Fleche that made some people wonder what was going on.

    7. Laurent Fignon. a prolific winner that included 2 Tours de France. it could have been many more, but for an injury-plagued career. Fignon dominated the famous ’89 Tour and rode rings around Lemond, but lost after some un-tactical riding in which he attacked needlessly while in the maillot jaune and then suffered a severe saddle sore that caused him a lot of pain and he could hardly sit down. still only lost by 8 secs. also won a Giro and a host of classics.

    • Koronin

      And Valverde is saying he’s close to being fully recovered from the injury. He’s also recently been asked about retiring and his comment was he has two years left on his contract which he fully intends on racing and after that said we’ll look at it, but is hinting he wants at least one more contract as he’s also said he’s not close to being ready to retire.

      Good list of riders who should be included on any list like this.

    • Lyrebird_Cycles

      Nice list and well written. You sure you’re not angling for a job with CT?

      • jules

        I’ve asked them repeatedly but Wade isn’t taking my calls anymore and his solicitor says I’m crossing some kind of boundary!

        • Il_falcone


    • DaveRides

      8. Djamolidne Abdoujaparov, aka the Tashkent Terror. A deserving villain of the sport, and also a deserving token sprinter on the list.

    • gundhi

      Pretty disrespectful to the clean riders of the time to say that it “was a level playing field” without any proof whatsoever to back that claim!

      • jules

        it wasn’t a level playing field with the clean riders, obviously. but it was with his major competitors. due to the dynamics of pro cycling at that time, those were mostly the prime talent and clean riders were mostly the also-rans who didn’t see doping as worth it. I know that’s unfair and imperfect but that’s, or was pro cycling.

        • Will

          Ignoring the some riders respond better to doping, financially it wasn’t a level playing field. Lance was a big earner and the cost of drugs wasn’t a problem for him or his team, unlike other poorly funded teams at the time.

          • jules

            that’s not what a level playing field is. it just means they all had the same opportunity. the disadvantages of being a poor team extend beyond doping programs, that’s part of the sport. I’m not arguing that’s fair, it’s just what it is/was.

    • Raffer

      Indurain is on the list. I guess he gets a pass for being a nice guy?

      • jules

        he gets a pass from ‘my’ list cos he was on the main one. I think most people acknowledge that differentiating between Lance and Big Mig is in the end subjective and partly reflects the anger so many people hold against Lance for getting cau.. sorry doping.

  • JessMc

    Where is Bartali?

    • jules

      2nd on list

  • Brett Davis

    Jeannie Longo i thought would be there along with Gianni Bugno Steve Bauer Andy Hampsten and Laurent Fignon

    • jules

      what did Bauer do?

  • hamncheeze

    Rik Van Looy probably deserves to be in there instead of Boonen.


    Eight monuments each, but Van Looy won MSR, Liege and Lombardia as well as the Ronde and P-R. In GTs he won 30 stages to Boonen’s 8. And he won 2 rainbow jerseys to Boonen’s one.

    • hamncheeze

      These lists certainly become absurd. It is impossible to compare riders in different eras, as the races themselves have changed, plus the sport has changed. For example, Liege-Bastogne-Liege used to have a less hilly parcours and finished on the flat. RvV has had quite a few changes in course and finish, and critically the number of flat kilometers to the finish. Milan-San Remo did not have the Cipressa or the Poggio way back when. And the sport has changed. Teams have multiple leaders. It is truly international which has opened up the level competition. The number of potential winners at the start of a monument in 2017 is a lot different than 1967.

      • Notso Swift

        Supporting that sentiment, there is a great quote attributed to Jim Clarke when some one was bragging they had won a race of some notoriety “But who was Second?”
        The level of competition is definitely broader now, that is not saying the best wouldn’t have still been the best, but the gap between number 1 and 100 is a lot smaller

  • Big J

    LeMond is a legend indeed!

  • Andrew L

    no mention of Graeme Obree ?? fuck you !

    • jules

      are you an Obree fan then?

    • Notso Swift

      True legend as a track cyclist, but this is, after all, a Road list

    • Michele

      That’s it. Put a big FU in there. That fixes it.

    • Wow

    • Sean

      He wasn’t a ‘great’ road rider, in fact he wouldn’t make a list of the 1,000 best road riders of all time.

  • Notso Swift

    You can’t talk classics without RdV…

    • jules

      do you mean VdB?

      • krashdavage

        TdR was good too! Perhaps not a legend though.

      • Michele


      • Notso Swift

        Roger de Vlaeminck,
        Like Boonan and Cancellara make each other greater, same as my comment above, it is also about the competition, so he was fighting Moser, Merckx, Hinault, and did the monument set.

  • Marcus

    Glad to see Marianne on there. For me, she is one of the greatest cyclists ever.

    • Owlaugen

      Agreed. Her career hearkens back to the era when pro cyclists participated in multiple disciplines of the sport, and her achievements are all the more impressive in this age of specialists.

  • Rayzor


    • DaveRides

      Never mind the boss, what about Matty Goss?

  • Rayzor


    • Michele

      Leigh Howard?

      • jules

        so salty!

      • Sean

        Yep Leigh should be on the list.

  • Rayzor


  • Ben Brown

    Where is Marco Pantani? Or Contador? Or if still competing Froome and Cavendish?

  • David Skalicky

    I’d add two names Jeannie Longo as women legend and Laurent Fignon….

  • aradilon

    -Philippe Gilbert! He won alot more classics than Boonen and Cancellara, in both the climbclassics as in the cobble classics! Also won alot of stages in grand-tours.
    -Valverde no need to explain!

  • Michele


    Or Louis Bobet, Tony Rominger, Roger De Vlaeminick, Erik Zabel, Laurent Fignon, Charly Gaul, Phillipa York, Marco Pantani, Francesco Moser, Fiorenzo Magni?

  • Vaclav Cernohorsky

    You knew, what you’re up to. You enter grey area with Coppi, Merckx, Anquetil, Cipollini, Indurain etc. and then you omit Armstrong, Pantani for wathever reason… (btw. what about Binda, Bobet, Obree?)

  • DaveRides

    Johan Museeuw?

  • velocite

    All cycling fans have their own list in their head, depending first on their knowledge and understanding and just what touches them. Also their location, because this is a Euro list. Top of my list is Russell Mockridge, described as a ‘once in a hundred years cyclist’. But if you’re not Australian Mockridge won’t be on your list, and even if you are it helps to older – quite a lot older – because the cycling literature is dominated by Europe.

  • Adrian

    People. It’s legends you should know about. Not the best ever list. Seriously, get a grip peoples.

  • Roel

    Great cover picture: Hinault with a grimace on his face, the only rider using clipless pedals. And Lemond in the multicolor jersey using the downtube shifter.

  • Coogs

    Even ignoring the doping debate, unless the list is of indefinite length, readers will always say ‘yeah, but what about x?’ But yes, a recognised doper and non-doper list would be interesting…

  • Will

    Coppi was a prisoner of war in North Africa, not North America.

  • Cycle Sierra Nevada

    No need to mention Cancellara’s use of a motor in some of those wins that you mentioned.

    • Michele


      • Cycle Sierra Nevada

        Based upon years of watching cycling. Now Michele, I realise you’ll say that isn’t proof, which is fair enough, but nothing will convince me that he didn’t use a motor. However, watching him accelerate in the saddle like he did, IMO it is simply not possible.

        • Michele

          You’re right. It isn’t proof. It’s definitely highly suspicious.

          But fortunately, highly suspicious and proof are not the same thing.

          • Cycle Sierra Nevada

            You’re right Michele, suspicion and proof aren’t the same thing. Just like the way I was suspicious and was actually convinced Lance was cheating before he was banned. Lance never failed a test, which was proof, to those that believed in him, that he was clean.

            This isn’t a court of law, it’s the gallery of public opinion and for me to witness something that is beyond human possibilities is all the proof I need to be convinced that someone is a cheat or in this case that Cancellara used a motor to win some of the Classics he’s accredited of winning.

            • Michele

              Cancellara and Armstrong = Chalk and cheese.

              There was plenty of evidence – circumstantial and otherwise showing LA was on PEDs well before he got busted.

              Heck, there were entire books dedicated to it. Including testimonies, transcripts, phone recordings.

              Anyone with an open mind knew LA was on the stuff by the time LA Confidential came out. Or at the very least, from Lance to Landis.

              Haven’t read too many books about FC. Let alone a single testimony which proves he doped mechanically.

              If anything, there’s more circumstantial evidence he used more traditional forms of doping.

              • Cycle Sierra Nevada


                The book LA Confidential was based on circumstantial evidence, but you have already argued circumstantial evidence isn’t proof…. Which is correct! The fact is that most people believed that was clean Lance for most of his career, it was only at the end that things started to fall apart.

                Testimony… how was the testimony brought out in the case against Lance?

                Why would you even expect testimony in any case like Cancellara? How many other cycling doping cases have we had that cyclists informed on their colleagues? Perhaps you’ve heard of the term omerta or saying ‘do not spit in the soup.’

                The fact is, is that most riders in the peloton suspect that Cancellara used a motor. Even the Belgium television, Sporza, had a short documentary on mechanical doping and the brand of the bike they used was a…. SPARTAKUS. I wonder who they might of been referring to?

                As I have said before seeing is believing or rather as in this case not believing.

                All the best,

  • Ross

    What about Jens Voigt?!

    • annie

      He’ll always be a legend to me!!! Absolutely loved watching him going out on his own & making others work so hard to catch him. I got to see him in his final American race, broke my heart to think I’d never get the chance to see him race again. “Shut up legs”

  • Ryan Pesch

    Stephen Roche deserves a mention for the triple crown

  • Cristian Dal Ben

    all the climbers

  • jorge

    Who the heck is Boonen (never a Tour!). Cancellara is just cheater who was caught red handed with an assisted bike. Coppi, the founder of doping!!! Where is Francesco Moser, Luis Herrera, N. Quintana???

    • Michele

      Boonen – don’t have to win the Tour to
      be a legend. After all, Nairo hasn’t and you want him on the list.

      Cancellara got caught red handed? When?

      Coppi founded doping? You need to be schooled. Moser? I guess he’d be grateful (in your world at least) for Coppi founding PEDs.

      • jorge

        gotta stop BSing:
        Boone: Aussies love the so as to make them blind! unlike Quintana, never made to tour’s podium
        Cancellara: if this is enough, get new glasses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Nd13ARuvVE
        Coppi: “Fausto Coppi
        of Italy admitted in a television interview in 1952 that he used ‘la
        Bomba’ as there was no alternative if you wanted to remain competitive.
        This referred to amphetamines,
        which had been developed for military use during World War II to keep
        aircrew, merchant seamen and submariners awake, alert and energetic.
        After the war they found a ready market among endurance sportsmen.[17] Coppi also said, “One day I will take the wrong pill and pedal backward.”[20] He also joked on camera that he only took drugs when absolutely necessary, which is nearly always.[21][22]. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_doping_cases_in_cycling)
        So, the one whoneed to be schooled is not me.

        • Michele

          Jorge … do yourself a favour and review the 13 legends in this piece. Review the other suggestions made in the comments section.

          Tell me, are all 13 legends? I think they are. I don’t believe they are the ‘only’ legends; hence the debate in the comments section. Now, out of the 13, have all won the Tour de France? No. Is Sean Kelly a legend? Absolutely.

          Conversely, winning the Tour doesn’t make you a legend. Is Carlos Sastre a legend? I don’t believe so, and he isn’t getting too many nominations in here either.

          So your whole point about Boonen not being a Legend because he never won the Tour is a moot point. It’s totally irrelevant.

          Now, onto Cancellara. Everyone who has followed cycling whilst Fabian rode professionally has probably seen that video. I have – several times. That video is not evidence. It is not proof. Cancellara has not been caught red-handed. How many victories have been taken away from him due to mechanical doping? Zero. But did Cancellara cheat? I can’t categorically say he didn’t, just as you can’t categorically say he did. We can only give our opinion on whether we think he did or didn’t. Your opinion is he did. Until he is actually found guilty of bike doping, your opinion remains as worthless as mine.

          Even the video you point to doesn’t claim he doped mechanically. Check out the still from the first 10 seconds.

          Finally, onto Coppi. Did Coppi dope? Of course he did.

          Was he the “founder of doping”? [Or, in other words, did doping originate with him?] Of course he wasn’t.

          If you think he founded doping, then you obviously think no one doped before him. And if you believe that, you need to be schooled on the origins of doping in cycling.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5bbcf65a19524cae8ae0d357a1439c0b734f319c3dd96f43eba9466c7ebc8a0d.png .

          • jorge

            A list of racers you like may not be the one most fans like. So don’t push your very arbitrary list on readers, specially when you are fixated on racers whose achievents are not the highgest in racing world, not to say in denying published/well known evidence.
            Your list may be of “legends” in your cycling universe, not in others’
            Now, please, let’s stop the blabber.

  • bernardvictor

    How about Raphael Geminiani. He was my favourite at the time. I rode half way across France to see him win the Paris-Clermont Ferrand, but can’t remember which year that was.

  • Michael Green

    This is why Lance deserves his place here. The era in which Lance rode was the era where everyone was on drugs. From Telekom to Banesto to Once to Kelme. It was a level playing field in that sense because everyone had the drugs. I still don’t quite get why Jan Ullrich is never talked about as this big doper and stripped of his race tittles. Let’s see. He was caught in the infamous operation puerto and he tested positive for EPO in the 1998 Tour de France. It is the same with just about everyone from their era. So why the hell were the Americans the only one’s stripped of wins? Were they the only dopers? No! Were they the only ones caught? No! Just about everyone from that era should have been stripped of everything. The 2004 retest of the 1998 samples says it all. Everyone was a cheat. Drugs or no drugs what Lance did was still spectacular. The dude came back from cancer and then won the Tour de France seven times. Not to mention before all this he was the youngest world champion and a winner of several major classics.

  • Michael Green

    Plus what about Laurent Jalabert and Mark Cavendish on this list?

  • Mark Hespenheide

    I’m quite sure that Fausto Coppi wasn’t held as a prisoner of war in North America. You mean “North Africa”, where he was captured by the British in 1943.

  • Chris Coulter

    Possible additions:

    J. Longo
    F. Bahamontes
    L. Armstrong
    P. Sagan
    S. Roche
    C. Gaul

  • Garoid Walsh

    Think Stephen Roche should be considered: Giro, TdF, Worlds RR in one glorious season

  • Ivan Sinigaglia

    Marco Pantani

  • midringrider

    Why does Mr. average weekend pleasure ride need to know these riders? Not explained. Why do commuters need to know these riders? Not explained. Nice write ups on the riders though.

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