wiggle followers have spoken. We asked our 741,000 Facebook followers and 80,400 Instagram followers who is the world’s greatest cyclist of all time. now we have the answer.
It’s been a few years since we last compiled our top ten professional cyclists. has anything changed? Well it turns out yes.
Reading: Best cyclists in the world
So, no point wasting time with preamble: here’s your new and updated top ten for 2022 of the greatest cyclists of all time, ranked from your votes.
1. eddie merckx
for a long time, the most voted greatest cyclist of all time is the cannibal, eddy merckx. With an unrivaled 11 Grand Tour wins, conquering all five Monuments and three World Championships (plus many other wins and feats to his name), Eddy is the most respected and probably the most frequently cited cyclist of all time. /p>
Among his contemporaries he was more than respected, he was feared, even by his teammates. In his book, Eddy Merckx: The Cannibal, Daniel Friebe interviewed Vittorio Adorni, who rode alongside Merckx at his zenith and revealed much about the intensity of his competitive advantage: “Anquetil [once considered the greatest] showed up unannounced , as silent and deadly as a dagger in the back. his pedal stroke was ‘smooth’, ‘velvety’. he arrived with a murmur. he was gone in a heartbeat.
“here was the difference between ‘master jacques’ and merkx… you heard merkx. I felt it…not the normal hum of pedals and wheels, but a thud through the atmosphere.”
2. cavendish brand
Photo: Brendan A Ryan, Creative Commons
your second favorite cyclist of all time is ranked number two, making a huge jump from his previous position of number ten when you voted in 2020. he is almost certainly the greatest sprinter of all time, with championship titles world on the way And road between the main achievements of him, cav’s career has been far from smooth in recent years.
The epstein-barr virus sidelined him in 2017 and inconsistent performances since then have led to speculation among the cycling media that he could hang up his cleats for good. However, after several difficult years battling the disease, the Manx missile made a fairytale comeback at the 2021 Tour de France.
although sam bennett had been signed for sprinting on the deceuninck-quickstep team, a knee injury meant cav was substituted at the last minute. In jaw-dropping sprints reminiscent of his younger days, aided by his formidable leader Michael Mørkøv, CAV secured four stage wins for a total of 34, equaling Eddy Mercx’s record.
3. marianne you
photo: anmarton, creative commons
marianne vos continues to shine as one of the greats of the sport. With twelve world championships in cyclocross, track and mountain bike, two Olympic gold medals and a record 32 stage wins in the women’s tour (at the time of writing), you remain a force to be reckoned with and we can see her continuing to add to her impressive track record for years to come.
In addition to her accomplishments on the bike, you have also been an outspoken advocate for the growth and professionalization of women’s cycling. having competed at the elite level from a young age, vos has experienced firsthand the challenges female cyclists face, such as poor team management, poor race organization, limited coverage and low wages. Since its launch in 2017, Vos has acted as an advisor to the Cyclists Alliance, a union founded by former professionals that aims to offer contractual and educational support, professional advice, and legal and retirement assistance to all women with a uci license. She was also instrumental in persuading Tour de France organizers to launch a women’s race.
A consummate professional and respected for her conduct off the bike as much as her accomplishments on it, Marianne’s positive legacy is surely a welcome one.
4. beryl burton
Image courtesy of Wikicommons by Brian Townsley.
beryl burton, the only ‘amateur’ cyclist on the list, turned down several offers to ride professionally in raleigh. instead, she juggled her training with a grueling job on a rhubarb farm, as well as caring for her husband and daughter, which makes her accomplishments all the more amazing.
He won more than 90 national championships, held seven world titles and set numerous national records, but his most iconic achievement is without a doubt his record in the 12-hour time trial, which beat the men’s record for two years. it was only surpassed by a female cyclist for the first time in 2017, some 50 years later. The Leeds cyclist never turned pro, never had a formal coach, and yet many of her times remain out of reach even for professional cyclists on carbon bikes who benefit from much of today’s technology.
“I remember one day I rode to the hull and back, about 130 miles,” he once said. “I always made sure I was on time to cook dinner for Charlie [her husband], and after that I stayed for about three hours ironing.” – not sure even eddie merckx can handle that.
5. lance armstrong
image courtesy of wikicommons user hase.
You voted him the second greatest cyclist of all time in our 2020 poll. Slipping down to a still respectable fifth, the controversial Lance Armstrong continues to divide opinion. To some he remains an icon, while to others he will always be a cheater, but regardless of what you think of Big Tex’s legacy and how he achieved it, there is no disagreement that what he created also destroyed it.
brought professional cycling to a mainstream audience it hadn’t been able to reach for a long time before undoing everything it had helped achieve. it’s a legacy that some believe still taints the sport.
But before he was stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles and kicked out of the sport’s pantheon, Lance inspired a generation of cyclists to take up life on two wheels (including Geraint Thomas!). when you put that together with his arguably huge contribution to cancer charities, is anything redeemed? well, that’s up to you.
6. tadej pogacar
Image: Ray’s Professional Cycling Page, Creative Commons
Our first new entry into the top ten could well one day take the number one spot if it continues on its current meteoric trajectory.
At just 23 years old, the Slovenian superstar has already won the Tour de France twice. both times she also won the junior and mountain classifications, becoming the only rider in tour history to do so. Unusually for a GC racer, she has also won two Monuments (Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Giro di Lombardia), and has twice won the prestigious Tirreno-Adriatico.
The young cyclist has become a national hero in his home country and even owns his own ‘pogi team’ which develops other young cyclists and offers them a route into the sport.
7. chris fromome
image courtesy of wikicommons user jaguar mena.
in froomey’s battle against wiggo, it’s chris who wins among wiggo’s followers.
The Kenyan-born, South African-educated British passport holder’s rivalry with Belgium-born, London-raised Sir Bradley Wiggins lit many fires under the embers of Le Tour. but it was seeing him running mes ventoux in the yellow jersey in 2016 that will remain in the minds of many when they hear his name.
a climbing and time trial specialist who made “osymetric” a household name among cyclists, developed the “supertuck” and gave clumsy riders with protruding limbs everywhere some hope. chris froome is still a master of the sport.
8. mathieu van der poel
Image: Lieven De Cock, Creative Commons
Our second newcomer to the top ten, Dutch cyclist mathieu van der poel, was born into the sport. His father, Adri, was a six-time Dutch national champion and his grandfather was none other than the beloved French cyclist and runner-up on the eternal tour, Raymond Poulidor.
Early in his professional career, van der poel excelled in cyclocross, scoring four rainbow jerseys and winning European and national championships. Along the way, he has become a force to be reckoned with in the one-day classics and his resume boasts wins at such prestigious events as Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold and the Tour of Flanders.
although not an overall contender on the grand tours, van der poel’s attacking style of riding makes him a fan favorite for stage wins on the toughest days and he has even worn the leader’s jersey both in the tour de france and in the giro d’ italia
9. chris today
Photo: Sum_Of_Marc, Creative Commons
The third and final rider to debut in the wiggle top ten is track cycling icon sir chris today. Today’s successes in the keirin and sprint disciplines make him arguably the UK’s greatest track runner of all time. In 2008 he became the first British athlete to win three Olympic gold medals in the same year and by 2012 he had a total of six golds, a record only surpassed by Jason Kenny on track.
Although you can still occasionally find him on zwift, today he retired in 2013. He keeps his hand in the sport with appearances as a TV commentator and through his namesake bike brand.
10. Marco Pantani
image courtesy of aldo bolzan under wikicommons license.
Take probably the greatest climber of all time, mix it with a tragic end for alcohol and cocaine abuse, add police investigations, add rumors of mob-related interference and you have one of the most compelling stories in the sport.
The pirate’s exceptional life has been told through countless books and documentaries, but despite the controversies that surrounded him, he remains revered for his accomplishments and natural charisma.
One of the rock stars of his day, his attacking style and risk-it-all approach is unlikely to be replicated, as are his achievements.