If you ride a bike, chances are you'll encourage your children to ride as well. If you're a professional cyclists your children may inherit enough of your pedigree to reach the professional ranks.

We’ve seen a few father and sons pass reach the highest level in cycling and here is a handful of the best – and a little wildcard at the end involving one of Britain’s best ever cyclists.

Eddy & Axek Merckx

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Axel and Eddy Merckx (Sunada)

Never has it been harder for a boy to follow in his father’s footsteps in professional cycling. While Axel Merckx had a decent career between 1993 and 2007 but a solitary stage win in the Giro d’Italia was no match for Eddy’s 24…and five overall victories.

Eddy Merckx won pretty much every race in existence – many of them multiple times. Grand Tours, cobbled classics, hilly classics, short stage races, hour records…Eddy did it all.

Axel has gone on to running the Axeon Cycling team, which has most recently helped develop young Brit Tao Geoghegan Hart.

Jean-Paul, Danny & Boy Van Poppel

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Jean-Paul van Poppel taught his boys well, with both Boy and Danny following his lead by becoming sprinters in the pro peloton. Pop van Poppel (I assume he’s known) won 22 Grand Tour stages in his career as well as the green jersey in 1987.

His lads, both riding for Trek Factory Racing in 2015, haven’t quite reached those heights but Danny, the younger by five years, is proving himself to be one of the best young sprinters this year with stage wins in the Tour de Wallonie and Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen.

Stephen & Nicolas Roche

Stephen and Nicolas Roche at the 2015 Tour de France (Sunada)

Stephen and Nicolas Roche at the 2015 Tour de France (Sunada)

Another rider who has his work cut out to match his father’s achievements is Nicolas Roche. His father, Stephen, is one of just two riders to have won cycling’s Triple Crown by taking the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and World Championships in the same year.

Nicolas spent many years as the Tour leader for Ag2r-La Mondiale but his best finish was 12th overall in 2012. After that season he moved to Tinkoff-Saxo, where he became one of Alberto Contador‘s most trusted domestique. In 2015 he moved to Team Sky and helped Chris Froome to his second Tour de France title.

Johny, Frank & Andy Schleck

Andy and dad Jonny Schleck on stage 13 of the 2007 Giro d'Italia

Andy and dad Johny Schleck on stage 13 of the 2007 Giro d’Italia

Like Jean-Paul van Poppel, Johny Schleck spawned two professional cyclists. Frank and Andy Schleck have been Grand Tour contenders for the best part of the last decade, with latter winning the 2010 Tour de France.

Father Johny competed in seven Tours, helping Jan Janssen and Luis Ocaña to their overall wins in 1968 and 1973 respectively. He finished in the top 20 twice in his own right as well.

Frank has finished in the top-10 of the Tour on four occasions, the highest being third place in 2011 behind his brother and Cadel Evans. Andy was awarded the 2010 Tour after Alberto Contador was banned for doping and finished second in both 2009 and 2011, before retiring through injury in 2014.

Erik & Rick Zabel

Erik and Rick Zabel at the 2015 Giro d'Italia (Sunada)

Erik and Rick Zabel at the 2015 Giro d’Italia (Sunada)

If Rick Zabel can have the kind of career his father Erik did he’ll surely be incredibly happy with his lot. The 21-year-old is racing with BMC, completing his first Grand Tour at the Giro in May.

His biggest wins so far are at the Tour of Austria and the Giro del Trentino, but he’ll surely have an eye on trying to emulate his old man. Erik won 20 Grand Tour stages, four Milan-San Remos and an Amstel Gold Race.

He now works as a consultant for Canyon Bikes, which is nice.

Davis & Taylor Phinney

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Taylor Phinney’s pursuit of his father’s achievements suffered a setback in 2014 when he suffered a horrific leg injury at the US National Championships. Back on his bike 14 months later, Taylor won stage one of the USA Pro Challenge and looks set to get his career back on track.

His father won two stages of the Tour de France in 1986 and 1987 as well as coming second in the points classification in 1988. He won the US National Championships in 1991, something which Taylor will surely do as well in years to come.

Davis was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 40 and established the Davis Phinney Foundation in 2004.

Beryl & Denise Burton

Beryl Burton

Beryl Burton

This is a wildcard because, obviously, Beryl and Denise Burton are mother and daughter, not father and son as the title suggests. But it would be amiss to ignore their story in this list.

Unlike the others on this list, the Burtons actually raced together, with daughter even beating mother to win the 1976 British Championships. The win caused a little tension, with Beryl reportedly refusing to shake Denise’s hand on the podium.

Beryl won two World Championships titles in 1960 and 1967, coming second in 1961. She also won 12 medals in the individual pursuit at the World Track Championships between 1959 and 1973.

Any we’ve missed? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Amendment: This article originally stated that Alain Gallopin is Tony Gallopin’s dad…he’s not. Tony’s dad is actually Joel Gallopin, a former rider who competed in four Tours de France in the late 70s and early 80s. Alain is Joel’s brother and therefore Tony’s uncle.

  • Neilo

    Eddy Planckaert / Francesco Planckaert / Walter Planckaert / Jo Planckaert / Willy Planckaert

    Frank Vdb / Jean-Jaques Vdb / Franklin Six / Jean-Denis Vdb / Sebastien Six / Jean-Luc Vdb

  • ridein

    You could’ve also added Connie Carpenter-Phinney as well, the mother of Taylor Phinney and also the first women’s gold medalist in the 84 Olympic road race.

  • racyrich

    Neil Martin / Dan Martin

    Gerrie Knetemann / Roxanne Knetemann

    Sergei Sukhoruchenkov / Olga Zabelinskaya

  • Neilo

    What about Gary Wiggins? Didn’t his son do a bit of cycling at one point?