Burton, Wiggins, Harris, Cooke, Cavendish, Obree... just a few of the names you came up with

Who do you think is Britain’s greatest-ever cyclist? It’s a simple question, but one that is actually quite hard to answer.

How do you define greatness? It is something more than being simply based on race results. To be truly great, that person also needs to be worthy of representing British cycling, to earn their status at the top of the all-time hall of fame.

Maybe they struggled against the odds, or raised the bar so significantly that no-one has matched them before or since. Or perhaps they were (or still are) a true ambassador for British cycling, a memorable personality that helped promote the sport to a wider audience.

Or perhaps it is a struggle to pick just one…

We recently asked Cycling Weekly‘s Facebook users who they would vote for as Britain’s greatest-ever cyclist and why they would hand that rider such an accolade. We received some well-considered answers, and present some of them below.

Do you agree with any of these answers? Has someone been missed out?

>>> Cycling Weekly’s all-time ranking of male British pro road riders

Reg Harris. Five times world sprint champion, two 1948 Olympic silver medals, all at a time when track sprinting was at its zenith – was Britain’s greatest cyclist and his record remains unbeaten. No TV, Pathé News films only, steel and aluminium materials, fixed-wheel training and no scandals about performance-enhancing drugs. My hero.
David Chadderton

Nicole Cooke. Olympic gold, world champion many times. World Cup winner at 20 plus about every women’s race on the calendar, despite early years with so many obstacles in her way from British Cycling. She stuck to it and got so little credit for it.
Stefan Pearce

David Millar. Winning Stages on the three big Tours, wearing all of the Tour de France jerseys, his honesty about being banned despite his ability to win a stage or two clean, and for being brave enough to take a stand against Lance Armstrong.
Jo Poole

Beryl Burton or Bradley Wiggins. Beryl for the domination and length of domination she was able to sustain. Brad for the variety of his success, stage races, one-day performances that riders aiming to win wouldn’t be disappointed with, track prowess. Olympic gold on the track and road. How many other riders have managed that?
Scott Church

Robert Millar in the 1990 Tour de France

Robert Millar in the 1990 Tour de France

Robert Millar’s achievements in the Eighties were arguably greater than Bradley Wiggins given that team support was in Millar’s day was zero, whereas Wiggo, Froome, etc have full support from cars, team-mates who lead them all the way. Remember that Millar often started the Tour with at least 65 days of racing in his legs. Nowadays that would shock most professionals, if not all.
John Russell

Bradley Wiggins gets my vote because he’s won multiple Olympic medals and a grand tour along with Paris-Nice and the Dauphiné. He’s won the national road race and time trial championships, and is the current world TT champion. What more does he need to go and win?
Ray Chessum

Mark Cavendish. World champion and only two men have ever won more stages of the Tour de France. The French have given him the accolade of the greatest ever sprinter, not just British!
Richie Watkin

Graeme Obree. He broke the mould several times. He overcame many barriers to achieve great feats and has still been an ambassador to the sport without the ego trip that a few others are hooked on.
Leon Lewis

Each week we ask ‘the Big Question’ on our Facebook page and publish the best answer in the following week’s Cycling Weekly magazine.

  • Roger davis

    Young cyclist from years ago, James dixon , big on the MTB xc scene , they reckon his natural ability was literally frightening, never heard anything about him for years, such a shame

  • The Awakening

    Steven Abraham is an aspiring greatest Britain’s cyclist.

  • NitroFan

    The Thai Cycling Association is like the rest of the Thais: Racist, xenophobic and discriminatory.

    Your own words Ian.

  • Pardon?

  • NitroFan

    If you say so. But from what you say about the Thais I am surprised you stay in a country whose people you appear to look down upon with such disdain.

  • Better to ride in Thailand in the sun, than La Planche in the rain.

  • briantrousers

    Hmmm. Specious question. My ten year old son asked me who the best runner in the world was. Over what distance or discipline I asked him. Blank face.

    People are chuntering about the lack of Hoy or Boardman. Where are the Athertons, Steve Peat or Danny MacAskill (he rides a bike)? Nick Sanders, Mark Beaumont, I could go on but hope I’ve given some food for thought which, after all, was probably the point of this in the first place.

  • Norfolk_n_Chance

    Ian Cammish!

  • Roger

    And that bowler hat. So stylish.

  • JohnnyRemo

    SCH – end of…

  • Matthew Milano

    What a load of politically correct rubbish. How many Grand Tour stages does Mark have to win to be among the headlining names?

  • NitroFan

    No you whoa there! Read my post again carefully I was saying you do not approve of or support doping!

  • Whoa there boy! Some of my posts indicate the opposite? Then perhaps you have not read them properly! You know I live in Thailand and I am coaching. One of my girl coachees told me her dad was trying to ‘give her hormones’? My response? I dropped her. Simple. But what I don’t do is distance myself from the sport I love just because some people have been doping.

  • IndependentThinker

    no mention of Chris Hoy or Sarah Storey?

  • NitroFan

    I was not actually referring to David, I do agree that he is a superb ambassador for the anti doping cause, however I will not pretend that I do not find it difficult to just forget.

    Whilst I do not suggest that you are advocating dopers indeed some of your posts indicate the absolute opposite, it is throwaway comments of a similar nature that have been the problem with cycling for so many years the “it happens you just have to accept it” attitude has prevailed and cheats were simply allowed to prosper unchallenged.

    And fans who do care about such things watched people doing the impossible and expected to accept it!

    I agree Nicole Cooke is an excellent candidate but even in the face of such competition Brad edges it for me for one simple reason, he really did make my wildest dream come true, I stood in France on the 22nd July 2012 bawling my eyes out! And again in the Olympics a few days later.

  • Forget that stuff and move on. There was only one serious dope that was sanctioned in the UK: and he’s a great clean cycling campaigner. Done the crime ….. served the time. Now move on.

  • James

    What about Chris hoy???????

  • NitroFan

    Are we including dopers?

  • On balance you have to Love all of these racers. But for me the outstanding candidate for number 1 is Nicole Cooke. A clean rider in a dubious era; a winner in face of opposition from her own federation; an Olympic and world champion. Thanks for the memories Nicole.

  • David Bassett

    As all round racing cyclists it would have to be Bradley and Beryl Burton, and I am surprised you would put Nicole Cooke in before Beryl and David Miller and
    miss out Chris Boardman.

  • Steve Hislop

    No mention of Tom Simpson. Multiple classics winner 1st brit to wear Yellow jersey. World road race champion……

  • David Bassett

    You put Graeme Obree in but not Chris Boardman. Graham is a brilliant character and a sensational bike rider but if he is included Chris has to be.