Grand Tour overall wins are the ultimate test of pro cyclists – but who is the best of all time? Is it Merckx with 11 wins? Coppi or Contador with seven each? Let the debate begin...

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For some, this won’t even be a debate. After all, while there are many ways to slice through the mountains of data that surround professional cycling, pretty much any list of significance you can put together is going to be topped by Eddy Merckx.

But we’re open to the possibility that there might be a little bit more to it than that. Here, then, is a brief look at some of the greatest in history, and a few suggestions as to why each one might be the best of all.

Eddy Merckx

11 wins (Tour 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974; Giro 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974; Vuelta 1973)

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 18.06.27

Eddy Merckx at the 1971 Tour de France (Photo: UPI)

For the encyclopaedists at the renowned procyclingstats.com website, this probably wouldn’t be a debate. Their ranking system has Eddy Merckx streets ahead of his nearest rival, Bernard Hinault, and frankly, it’s pretty hard to argue.

The Belgian has the most career victories in history (525 as a professional and amateur); he won 28 Classics, three World Championships, and held the Hour Record between 1972 and 1984. What is more, he is the only man to have won all three main jerseys at the same Tour, in 1969.

Most importantly though, he has perhaps the most enviable Grand Tour record, winning all the of three of them, the Giro d’Italia (five times), the Tour de France (five times) and the Vuelta a España (once).

And all, reportedly, despite a heart condition – non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – which these days would probably prevent him from racing.

Bernard Hinault

10 wins (Tour 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985; Giro 1980, 1982, 1985; Vuelta 1978, 1983)

Bernard Hinault at the 1985 Tour de France

Bernard Hinault at the 1985 Tour de France (Photo: Graham Watson)

Step forward ‘The Badger’, who finished either first or second in every Tour he completed – perhaps unlike Merckx, he didn’t need to win every race he entered, but when he wanted to win, he tended to find a way to do so. And never was that better illustrated than in his final Grand Tour victory, the Tour of 1985.

Greg LeMond may feel that he could have made up the few minutes that separated him from his team-mate had the American been allowed to attack Stephen Roche on stage 17. The simple fact, though, that the Frenchman was able to battle through the race’s last week after suffering a broken nose in a crash three days before stands as testament to his grit.

Hinault retired just a year later, at the relatively early age of 32. Past his best? Hardly – he had just finished his final Tour second only to LeMond.

>>> The Hour Record: An interactive timeline

Jacques Anquetil

Eight wins (Tour 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964; Giro 1960, 1964; Vuelta 1963)

Jacques Anquetil

Jacques Anquetil at the 1957 Tour de France

Another to have won his first Grand Tour, with victory in the 1957 Tour de France, and another not to finish off the podium when making it through the race. Unbeaten in six top-level rides between the 1961 and 1964 seasons, he had a style and grace on the bike that few have matched to such success.

‘Monsieur Chrono’, the king of the time trial, was also a holder of the Hour Record, taking over from Fausto Coppi on his third attempt after posting 46.159km in June 1956. And throughout a career that featured a significant level of doping controversy, he maintained a taste for the high life: “To prepare for a race,” he once said, “there is nothing better than a good pheasant, some champagne and a woman.”

>>>What is it like to ride in a team time trial? Cofidis shows you (video)

Miguel Indurain

Seven wins (Tour 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995; Giro 1992, 1993)

Miguel Indurain at the 1995 Tour de France

Miguel Indurain at the 1995 Tour de France (Photo: Graham Watson)

The only man to win five Tours back-to-back, ‘Big Mig’ took a little while to come to the boil compared to others, with his first Grand Tour victory coming at the 1991 Tour de France, six years after he had first entered the Vuelta.

For the next five years, though, he was almost unassailable, with his only defeat in eight outings coming in the 1994 Giro, where he came third. His was an era which rewarded the racing against the clock in which he excelled, with many Tours featuring more than double the amount of time trialling than more recent editions.

The youngest man to lead the Vuelta (at the age of 20), and yet another man to post a record distance for the hour – his 53.040km in 1994 beat the mark of Graeme Obree – his light shone relatively briefly, but fiercely bright.

Fausto Coppi

Seven wins (Tour 1949, 1952; Giro 1940, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953)

Fausto Coppi at the 1955 Tour de France (Photo: Keystone)

Fausto Coppi at the 1955 Tour de France (Photo: Keystone)

Five times a Giro winner, Fausto Coppi won his first title at the age of 20, before his career was interrupted by the Second World War. He was also deprived of a meaningful shot at the Vuelta, which until 1955 was not even an annual race, and had seen its early years dogged by Spanish parochialism.

In 1942, the Italian set his own Hour Record at 45.798km, a figure which would stand for 14 years until the advent of Anquetil. He is commemorated in the Cima Coppi, a title given to the highest peak in each year’s running of the Giro.

Alberto Contador

Seven wins (Tour 2007, 2009; Giro 2008, 2015; Vuelta 2008, 2012, 2014)

Giro d'Italia - Stage 21

Alberto Contador at the 2015 Giro d’Italia (Photo: Graham Watson)

Alberto Contador’s victory at the 2015 Giro d’Italia took him to seven Grand Tour wins, although the Spaniard has celebrated nine times atop a Grand Tour podium, with the 2010 Tour and 2011 Giro titles stripped after a doping ban. He was the youngest man to win all three Grand Tours (completing the set in 2008 at the age of 25).

He won the Giro and the Vuelta in the same year (in 2008), but between 2015 and his retirement in 2017 he was unable to add another title – which would have taken him ahead of Indurain and Coppi in terms of total Grand Tour wins.

A divisive figure, Contador nevertheless used his attacking flair to become the greatest Grand Tour rider of his generation and certainly worthy of being mentioned among the all-time Grand Tour greats.

Felice Gimondi

Five wins (Tour 1965, Giro 1967, 1969, 1976, Vuelta 1968)

Felice Gimondi at the 1967 Giro d’Italia (WikiCommons)

 

The great Italian perhaps would have been higher up this list had it not been for the dominance of Merckx through the late 60s and early 70s.

Gimondi finished second to the Belgian three times in Grand Tours and finished behind him on numerous other occasions, taking runner-up spot to him in the Tour in 1972 and in the Giro in 1970 and ’73.

Still, Gimondi was able to record five Grand Tour wins, including taking three pink jerseys in his home race. He won his first three-week race at the Tour at the tender age of 22, but was unable to take another yellow jersey, finishing on the podium only once more.

He holds the record for most podium finishes at the Giro d’Italia though with nine between his third place finish in 1965 and his final title in 1976.

Gino Bartali

Five wins (Tour 1938, 1948; Giro 1936, 1937, 1946)

Gino Bartali at the 1952 Tour de France

Gino Bartali at the 1952 Tour de France

Gino Bartali’s rivalry with fellow Italian Fausto Coppi may have divided the country, but it drove the sport. Another man whose palmarès would surely have been even more impressive but for the war and the initially inward-looking nature of the Vuelta, he was a Giro winner in 1936 at the age of 21, defending his title a year later and then picking up the Tour de France in 1938.

His staying power saw him through 22 Grand Tours, 20 of which he completed, and his only two non-top ten finishes came in the final years of his career as his 40s approached. His crowning achievement, though, may have been the three consecutive mountain stage wins in the 1948 Tour, a record as yet unmatched.

Chris Froome

Five wins (Tour 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, Vuelta 2017)

Chris Froome on his way to winning a fourth Tour de France title in 2017 (ASO)

Since taking a first Grand Tour podium in Vuelta in 2011, Chris Froome has become the dominant Grand Tour rider of this decade.

With an exceptionally strong team behind him, Froome has taken four titles in the Tour de France and added a Vuelta title in 2017. Not only that, the Briton became the first man since Contador in 2008 to win two Grand Tours in the same year with the Tour/Vuelta double.

To add to that, Froome has finished on the podium on four other occasions at Grand Tours; second at the Tour de France in 2012 and second three times at the Vuelta in ’11, ’14, ’16.

While Froome may be some way off topping this list having never targeted the Giro, he is the only rider aside from Contador to have won the Vuelta in perhaps its more difficult incarnation at the back-end of the year rather than in spring time.

  • Nicco Leone

    Lance Armstrong cheated. Lance Armstrong took performance enhancing drugs. Lance Armstrong had his medals revoked. Lance Armstrong is a stain on the sport. Lance Armstrong does not count.

  • wallymann

    this is always a fun debate, but the moment you said the words “…open to the possibility that there might be a little bit more to it…” you’ve made your case even tougher.

    if you stick only to Grand Tours, other riders are in with a shout. but when you open up to their complete palmares…1 rider stands alone: Eddy.

    why you ask? one number: 525 — total wins.

  • ummm…

    Just leaving france right now actually. Been visiting family and tasting the wine. It is hot as he11. Hope you brought enough water!

  • fan.tenis

    Contador proved he is far the best of his generation. He is unlucky that he lives in an faked era of battleling wih drugs…

  • rshimizu12

    The worst part about Lance is that he only doped. But he threatened and coerced other rider into doing so. So in my mind Lance deserved to stripped of his victories.

    Lance had the chance to settle with DoJ awhile back but was to arrogant to do so. Now Lance will lose everything with the exception of his house.

  • David Bassett

    The main thing. Get out on your bike and enjoy what got all the so called stars into racing. The love of riding a bike. Me and my much better half are off next week to watch the start of that big race that’s chases a yellow jersey,

  • ummm…

    Ah, we’re friends! However, I can be a bit snarky at times. And I certainly was to Phil. Everyone will be comforted to know that my better half points that out to me constantly. It’s an affliction that extends into the real world.

  • David Bassett

    I think we are singing off the same hymn sheet on several things, I think what upset me was you comment ” Or forgetting disappointment, do you recognize the parallel? I think I am capable of seeing parallels. I am not sure we need to exchange email address on this site. I am not saying I don’t want emails off you, but I get enough email as it is without putting my address for all to see,

  • ummm…

    if it really means that much to you I can tell you my real name. Just give me your email address and I’ll send you a picture of me along with my name.

  • ummm…

    Say what? As far as I’m concerned I was having a conversation with Phil (many of us were) – not to say you don’t have the right to be part of the dialogue. The point was, the list is dumb because it is full of dopers and omits LA. I dislike LA, but I was critiquing the value of the list. What are you upset at me about, now? If I offended you then I apologize, although I don’t know how I could have. What did I say to you, because I don’t care to read all the comments until I find something that may have offended you directly or indirectly. Also, I’ve heard this “use your own name” argument before. Nothing I’ve said I wouldn’t say on international television. What is your point?

  • David Bassett

    If someone wishes to bad mouth someone else they should have the balls to do so using their own name. I have not once said that either Eddy Mercks or Lance were right in doing what they did. So my disappointment would have been the same, if it had happened at the same time. I could not say exactly how I felt, a young boy just starting to race on a bike verses someone who had finished racing competitively looking at things through older and hopefully wiser eyes. Most people would have known what Lance was up to, so would not have been quite so shocked. A youngster would not have known what Merckx was up to.

  • ummm…

    Yes, I would say that he was asked more, and had to defend himself more. He could have taken a different tact. However, would the others have taken different tacts, or where they even challenged enough to put them in such a position? Not excusing LA. But, for me the dialogue is simple. They all doped. Doping should be what DQs you from the list, not how much of a jerk you where. Plus, I bet a lot of these guys were known as jerks within the circle, especially Merckx

  • ummm…

    I see from your other posts that you may be absolving the other riders on this list because of time passed and hushed doping histories. I for one can’t do that because I don’t think that time or current media scrutiny mean anything when it comes to fact. That whole list doped.

  • ummm…

    I was just drawing a parallel between his palmares and his documented drug use along with LAs palmares and drug use. If there are quite similar then where is your disappointment with him? Or forgetting disappointment, do you recognize the parallel?

  • David Bassett

    I see the guy that compared Lance to Hitler has had his comments removed, with mine stating my repulsion of his comment.

  • David Bassett

    It is all such a long time ago, but what does pee me off is people just a bit older than Lance saying it all started with him. He is not to blame. Actually the doctors are who sell the stuff are more to blame.

  • David Bassett

    It might be for idiots but it is quick and to the point. And for those who were not around in 1969 at the start of their time in cycling to see the so called great man getting sent home. I am not sure on this but if my old idiots brain serves me correctly Merckx had a brother who was a chemist.

  • David Bassett

    Oh yes Eddy Merckx has tested positive three times, but never at the Tour de France. He was expelled from the 1969 Giro d’Italia after testing positive for Reactivan. He tested positive for Mucantil after winning the 1973 Giro di Lombardia. The drug was later taken off the banned list. In the 1977 Flèche Wallonne, Merckx tested positive for Stimul (pemoline), along
    with Freddy Maertens and Michel Pollentier.

  • David Bassett

    That’s good someone who has no place in cycling saying someone else has no place I cycling. Pot kettle black glass houses and stones.
    I do hope that I live long enough to get to hear the whole truth of what went on during Lance Armstrongs time, and all the others both sides of the fence.
    It is nothing new though, drugs were used in the 18 hundreds on rides like the end to end on penny-farthings

  • David Bassett

    I don’t quite understand the last bit about Eddy Marckx, sorry

  • skelto99

    Indeed. It’s very convenient to divert the attention and blame for all doping in sport onto the cycling scapegoat, after all it certainly has previous well publicised form. Clearly the establishment doesn’t want the lid to be lifted on the big money sports like soccer and tennis because there’s far too much to lose there. I’m sure it will all come out (not) when FIFA reinvents itself after Blatter departs.

  • Phil

    I really don’t know if the riders mentioned were clean. It actually doesn’t interest me that much. It was a long time ago. I find the idea of making wild accusations with no more basis fhan “everyone was doing it” pretty repugnant though.

    Also, I think you are wrong to compare weight lifting with illegal doping. Surely the whole point of any competitive sport is to strive to be as good as possible within the framework of the objectives and rules of that sport. The weight lifter whose body reacted better to training is a more talented weight lifter. He was doing what weight lifters set out to do, and he was better at it. Someone whose body reacts better to doping is a more talented doper. He is not necessarily a better cyclist.

  • Byong

    …”And as for your accusations regarding the other two: prove it.” was a comment you made. Are you not trying to argue that the people listed in this article are all clean?
    I can understand the Armstrong sentiment as he is a sociopath and he, as of today has proven to be the worst of the worst. But denying Merckx was a doper…I can’t quite fathom your thinking.
    Also on another topic, someone was saying how since everybody was doping it was an even playing field. I have to agree. The guy that argued with something along the lines of, “Armstrong just reacted better to the drug than others….” I find a bit odd. If you try hard enough, someone is bound to find some reason or excuse. Eg. I’ll argue that 2 men lifting weights and on the same program as each other; would you argue that the man who’s gotten stronger shouldn’t count as his body reacted better to the same program?
    Cycling is a great sport, it’s just a pity there’s such a long history and culture of doping that it’s hard not to doubt that in another 10 years time, science will once again expose some “legends” to be the same old frauds. (I hope I am wrong)

  • Phil

    What are you on? This costs me virtually no energy, and I have no interest in “villainizing” anybody. Also, I am not in a position to absolve anyone.

  • Phil

    So what have I denied then?

  • Byong

    Hahaha!! So let’s just live in blissful ignorance!! Hahaha!! If the records show he was busted doping, yet you still want to deny, then that’s your right I guess. Hahaha!!
    Have a good one Phil.
    You remind me of a liberal party voting Aussie with their heads buried in the sand. Hahahaha!!

  • Tony Franklin

    Merckx was actually busted 3 (possibly 4) times in an era where you had to go some to get even tested. He was thrown off the ’69 Giro d’Italia, ’73 Giro di Lombardia, also caught doping at the ’79 Flesche Wallonne.
    Yeah probably the greatest but to get caught that often during such a lean period of testing pretty much highlights how systematic he was.
    Anqutil at least openly admitted they (including himself) were all on it.

  • Phil

    Nope. Google is for idiots who have forgotten how to use their brains.

  • Man in motion

    Is that an idiomatic expression somewhere? Can’t find the damn meaning of “prannit” anywhere (no joke here. I’m really curious. Like the sound of it but don’t know what it means)

  • Man in motion

    I guess there are two ways to answer that. From the perspective of a magazine, the officiality must be enough of a line in the sand. Otherwise it would be impossible to get anything written. They cover themselves with that. From a pure observer’s PoV, like you and I, then I would say the only difference is that ol’boy Lance really set himself up for becoming a cautionary example. As some people have written in this same forum, he not only doped, but he was relentless in selling himself as the example of a clean rider, and when I say “selling” I’m talking literally. He went as far as filming Nike adds (“what are you on?”) saying he was clean when nobody was asking. In addition he also sold himself as a selfless man who won races only for cancer victims (again, a Nike add with plenty of cancer patients in it), a persona that contrasted with the dirty scoundrel he realy was with the likes of O’Reilly, Bassons, the Andreus, Lemond, et al. the list goes on. And then, of course, who could ever forget his finger pointing to everyone and anyone who didn’t old him in the highest esteem during his 7th TdF speech along the lines of “for those cynics that don’t believe in cycling, I feel sorry for you” ? A holier-than-thou attitude from such a low life is difficult not to take into account. It was all his own making. You make the bed, you “lie” in it.

  • Bob

    easy answer this one, Merckx – when you factor in all the other stuff he did like classics, Crits, 6 days, in fact everything on top of the tours, no-one I can think of comes close.

  • ummm…

    I like your point about multiple GTs in one year. Have all the above riders done so? If they have and we know they have doped, does it really matter anyway. Maybe Lance was lazier. Nonetheless, I agree that there is a line of thinking that some athletes gain more via PEDs. I won’t debate that. However, I think the real debate here is what seperates Lance from the others on this list, besides “official records” (so official they are forced to constantly scratch people or leave blank). If we look at the above list, when it gets down to brass tacks, there is little difference.

  • David Sundheim

    Hinault, was the most consistent of anyone! If you hear mention of him in either a giro or Vuelta you already know the ending. He won! Never lost a Giro or Vuelta he entered, and never was off the podium in a Tour, never even touched the 3rs step. Except the year he withdrew and did so whilst wearing yellow. If the Topic is just Grand tours, it’s easy for me that’s Hinault territory.

  • ummm…

    I just learned a new word – prannit. Thanks. Also, what does this mean? Because Armstrong is a prannit. I agree he was, maybe he has learned his lesson. Do you disagree that this list is a bit of a joke? That is at the core of my comments in this thread.

  • ummm…

    Yeah I immediately realized I should have used a different word after I posted. He didn’t need help making himself into a villain, except for the acquiescence of his lawyers.

  • Byong

    PHIL you must be joking right? Merckx doped throughout.
    You say prove it, but have you checked the history books!?
    Oh how ignorance is bliss!!
    In this day and age you really should do some homework
    Try “(insert name) and doping” into Google

  • Man in motion

    I’m not sure what you mean by the “two fingers” and take his punsihment. He did take his punishment and kept mostly quiet. You have to accept he was in a catch-22. If you accept your punishment gracefully then you accept your guilt, something that not even the TAS did, if you don’t then you are arrogant for not accepting it (but I still think he did accept it as something that he had to). I mentioned Rasmussen only as circumstancial evidence of Contador not always being able to drop everyone. I then remembered how he lost the 2009 Dauphiné when he had a bad day the ver last day of racing. So he, like any human being, has shown he has bad days from time to time, something that, for comparison and within the subject, I don’t remember Armstrong having. I agree with your assesment of cycling. BTW the trailer for the Armstrong movie is out today. Have you seen it?

  • David Bassett

    I am in agreement with you re Leonardo, there are too many people that just brand all Professional cyclists as drug cheats. I can’t remember which year it was but I had a conversation with one of the British anti dope brigade whilst working at the Tour of Britain when it stared in Glasgow. He was telling me (shock horror) that the UCI had proof (again a bit sketchy with time ) that Lance took drugs and were going for him. I would think they had a few names. And they are a bit like a dog with a bone. I would think that is why they went for Contador. You would be an Ignorant person to say that Contador is not one of the all time greats but I do think it was awful how he gave two fingers to the rest of this great sport and refused to take his punishment. You mention Rasmussen, he was only caught out for not being were he told the UCI were he was going to be. Another rider who never climbed up the ladder he fell off. One could go on, but at least as I say to friends who only believe what the see on the TV or in print, we are not the only sport to have problems. But we are one who do not shy away from doing it’s washing in public. That is why people who don’t know what goes on think that ours is the only sport that has problems.

  • Man in motion

    The “level playing field” is not only a false argument, but an easy one to debunk. He was, if anything, the athlete that best reacted to PEDs. Think of this. When you and a friend have a headache, you may both take the same medicine and it works for one but not for the other, while a different medicine may have the opposite effect. Two people share a bottle of wine and one gets drunk while the other feels perfectly normal. When he was not on drugs the best he could do was 36th in the Tour, he was also a lousy climber. Others may have also doped, but he had better reaction to drugs, it could be argued than not only PEDs but those that saved his life, how many people do you know who had cancer spread to their brains and recovered? Besides, I think to be a contender for best ever you have to win two GTs, preferably the Giro and Tour, in the same year. Peaking twice is way more difficult than doing it once only.

  • Man in motion

    No joke, no. He was good, but a one-trick pony. Almost anyone winning the Giro and Tour om the same year one-ups him.

  • Man in motion

    Really Armstrong needs no help in that department. He’s the main culprit in making himself a villain. I don’t think his off-the-bike ruthlessness and lack of empathy for those who stood in his way are a question for anyone.

  • Man in motion

    I agree you have an argument. But I think there are other interpretations, one is that the explosiveness had a peak in 09-11 and has eroded with age. Probably Verbien 2009 is in your mind, but in 2007 he could not dust off Rasmussen and in the Giro 2011 (when I argue he must’ve been clean) he was more dominant in the mountains than ever. He’s also smarter and more tactical. While before he would attack even if it was the TV motorcycle passing him, now he manages leads, as in last year’s Vuelta where he would sit on Froome’s wheel until he decided it was time to go, usually 1 k or less from the finish line. Who knows? I’m nobody’s apologist, but get tired of the kind of comment made by Leonardo. No argument, just damming conclusions.

  • David Bassett

    I think that you could be slightly wrong. His performance has dropped dramatically, before his ban (that he did not serve) if he attacked no one could live with him. Power readings from Astana showed him to have had far higher power levels than Lance Armstrong ever had. Now he Is just great, but others can and do go with him and even bring him back after he has attacked. Looking at records the only people stay with the fond guilty Alberto Contador have failed drug tests, in general.

  • Man in motion

    The vitriol against Armstrong, while it may not have to do with his athletic prowess, PED induced or not, is however not unrelated to cycling. The way he managed himself in the cycling world was more reminiscent of The Sopranos than of Friday Night Lights. Add to that the arrogant attitude that Armstrong continues to take to this day, deciding who has the right to speak against doping instead of simply collaborating, and truly he, as that hypocrite McQuaid said, “has no place in cycling”.

  • Man in motion

    For the same reason Contador is listed as winner of 7, not 9, GTs. It’s official wins that they are counting. A magazine has to make that kind of decisions. Had they included Armstrong, then you would have as many, or more, people complaining about his inclusion. Plus he was a jerk like no other (non-sequitur, but emocionally linking) , so I don’t mind not seeing him here or anywhere.

  • Man in motion

    You have two options. Either you accept the verict of the TAS or you don’t. What you don’t get to do is to state as fact that he took drugs to win, for he has been officialy exonerated from that. What the TAS said was that they didn’t think Contador had cheated and that the Clem had got into his body as probably the result of contaminated food suplement. But that according to the “strict liability” clause, that basically says you are guilty until proven innocent, he had to be handed a punishment nonetheless. Let’s bear in mind two additional things. One is that Clem is used by riders who have a problem with weight, one thing that Contador has never had. You can believe that that is because he used Clem, but he didn’t have problems even during the 2011 Giro, when he was under the closest oversight as his case was pending, nor afterwards. Which brings me to the second point. His performance has not taken a dip at any time. This was even the case during, again, the 2011 Giro, when, it can be argued, he would’ve been extra careful not to take drugs (if he had before) as he was being watched and tested more ofte as a result of his open case. Same can be said for the 4 years that have passed since. He did bad in 2013, changed drastically his training rutine and is back in shape.

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    Because Armstrong is a prannit?

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    Lance doped so much nobody stood a chance, all his teammates did it too. AND he prostituted a charity, bribed the UCI, took the mickey out of the French, cynically used the ASO, bullied and threatened dozens of people… the list goes on. He might have got away with the doping if he’d had half the modesty of Big Mig, but he didn’t, instead he deified himself. His ego just grew and grew and GREW.

    The man isn’t a legend, he’s a prannit.

  • ummm…

    OK, you may have just gone too far. But thats OK. Strangely enough I’ve found myself defending LA here. Very strange territory for me.

  • ummm…

    its true. However he did it, he basically won everything.

  • ummm…

    Whats you angle? Why all your energy towards villainizing Armstrong and absolving others?

  • ummm…

    Well Froome and Wiggins haven’t really been picked apart too much just yet, but there could be something there. I mean getting TUEs to dope legally and then going on to claim a minor GC isn’t exactly kosher is it? I am hesitant to point the finger at them, although common sense tells me too. But, the guys on the above list all admitted to it, or were sanctioned/caught.

  • ummm…

    Phil I refused to believe that you are such a lemming. You can give us the PR release talk, but you can’t trick us into surrendering our life experience, common sense, and study. If they put my name as a winner, would I have won? Lets be real. I get it how things that are black and white help you sleep, but don’t surrender your brain so that you can not be haunted by reality. I don’t know who took what either, but I know that basically anybody in pro sport admits to PEDs at the elite level – of anything.

  • ummm…

    doping is as old as prostitution.

  • ummm…

    Yes, this!!!!!! Stuffed shirts! Wall pissing! I love it all. I wanted to see Lance fall so bad. Once it happened I felt like such a turd because I knew I had been duped to a degree. The cyclist journalists continue to compound one lie with another. Who can blame them? You dope to win races. You pander to win advertising an access.

  • Riders have been doping since the first tour.

  • Armstrong won every one of he tours he was stripped of. The second, third, fourth and fifth in line to the top spot on the podium were all doping, too. Where were we the past two years? Thumbing our nose at the arrogance and sideways looking numb nuts who thought they could re-write the history books with a pen full of invisible ink. Armstrong’s wins will be reinstated, and maybe someday when the stuffed shirts get honest with themselves and the sport, they’ll actually fix something instead of pissing on a wall.

  • Lance Armstrong. He won the most Tours de France, and despite the sideways looking hypocrites who falsely stripped him of the wins he acquired amid a field of dopers (level playing field), I put my vote in for him simply because you excluded him. He may have been a vindictive @hole but he was the best of the best at a time when you couldn’t win for losing or lose for winning. Livestrong!

  • David Bassett

    I am not accusing anybody. But I suppose that Operation
    Puerto is all false. The judge has so far refused to allow Dr. Fuentes to discuss names outside of cycling, but Fuentes has said that he treated soccer players at his Madrid clinic. Fuentes has not been asked to reveal the code names attached to the 200 blood bags he was found with in 2006. It is a shame that the judge is not allowing the truth to come out. It would be good to see some other sports face the music. Oh I am sorry it is only cyclist that take drugs, silly me.

  • Phil

    Great. People accuse Froome, Wiggins and David Cameron of stuff too. It must all be true.

  • Phil

    I am saying nothing of the sort. I don’t know who took what. I don’t know the riders, I wasn’t there. However, that is beside the point. The winners are those on the official results lists. They are determined by the organisers, not by you. If I remember rightly, there have been 59 winners. Armstrong was not one of them. That is a fact.

  • David Bassett

    Roche was accused of taking EPO in 1993 as part of an investigation in
    Italy into the practices of Francesco Conconi[92]

  • Tim lewis

    Dave basset I applaud you.. Very good answer ..

  • Tim lewis

    Phil!! Do you honestly really honestly believe that there was no doping of any kind in pro cycling for the last 70 + years.. It’s a fact epo was rampant in the peloton during the 90s .. It’s a FACT that you seem to thing lance Armstrong was the ONLY one using drugs to win the tour!! Get over it mate ,, before epo there was amphetamines being used by riders like Merckx and his rivals..

  • David Bassett

    Miguel Indurain tested positive for salbutamol in 1994, however both the IOC and UCI allowed Indurain, and asthma sufferers to use Salbutomol at the time. Eddy Merckx tested positive for Mucantil after winning the 1973 Giro di Lombardia. The drug was later taken off the banned list.[101 In the 1977 Flèche Wallonne, Merckx tested positive for Stimul (pemoline), along with Freddy Maertens and Michel Pollentier .[102]
    Jacques Anquetil Debated with French government minister on television, saying “Leave me in peace; everybody takes dope.” After winning Liège–Bastogne–Liège in 1966, was temporarily disqualified afterrefusing a drug test, saying he had already been to the toilet. He was later reinstated after he engaged a lawyer as the case was never heard.
    But of course no one took dope until Armstrong.

  • saintlymark

    Bartali and Coppi both lost chances to win more grand tours because of war, but Merckx would be my pick all day long. Cycling’s one true all time sporting great.

  • ummm…

    WOOWWW Phil please. We are all adults here right? We all have common sense and eyes to read history. Was it Coppi and Bartoli or whatever that sung a “jokey” song about how they have to dope to win? Was it Aque–oh wathever that admitted to doping (if you dont think his quotes admit to it you are dense) DId Merckx serve doping suspensions? Big Mig probably couldn’t climb a baby if he wasn’t juicing. I know you are probably an intelligent and contributing member of society, but you are dafffffttttt my friend. Who do you think you are talking to – idiots? Should I go down the rest of the list? Are you unaware of what pro sport is?

  • ummm…

    so you have none? (cynical but 9 out of 10 times right – according to one source in CIRC) What counts as a drug these days anyway? And what counts as winning? Why can’t we all root for our pro athletes and their drugs? Why do we have to pretend that they don’t? If our federations really cared, then there would be life time bans. It appears that everyone but you has come to terms that finding a “clean” athlete is…tough. But I understand your black and white views on this.

  • Ali Ryd

    No joke, Lance Armstrong

  • Phil

    Unless you have been fast asleep for the past two years you must be fully aware that Armstrong won no Tours. And as for your accusations regarding the other two: prove it.

  • Tim lewis

    Lance Armstrong won 7 tours by doping.. Miguel indurain won 5 tours by doping.. Eddy Merckx won 5 tours by doping .. So could someone please explain why lance Armstrong wasn’t included on this list..

  • Phil

    Where are you? You won at least as many Grand Tours as he. And presumably without the aid of a sophisticated medical programme.

  • Phil

    Indeed. I also wonder what Lemond might have achieved if he hadn’t been shot. He lost two of his potentially best years completely and maybe performed less well after his comeback than he would have if ge hadn’t been carrying all that lead around.

    And what might Roche have done if his career hadn’t been messed up by his crash at the Paris Six?

  • Phil

    You are so sad. He won no Grand Tours. He is a non-winner and of zero relevance to this discussion.

  • Leonardo Coral Prada

    Anyone who does not use drugs to win.

  • Phil Canavan

    Where’s Armstorng on your list?

  • Phil Oakley

    Hinault – was very close to winning 5 tours in a row if not for a dodgy knee in 1980. Could have won in 1986 too. Only blemish was a total thrashing by Fignon in 1984 when coming back from surgery. A great rider.

  • ummm…

    so who is your favorite?

  • ummm…

    also, guys on this list have written songs about doping, have very well known quotes about their doping, have been caught doping etc. etc. This was an editorial blunder. Do you think we are on this site because we are ignorant of cycling history?

  • ummm…

    Where is Armstrong? We come to this website because we like cycling, not by accident. It is INSULTING that Lance Armstrong wasn’t included on this list. I get it, you guys make money off of this sport so it is important that you tow the company line and brown nose the monied opinions. I was never an LA apologist, however I think it is lame that he wasn’t even given a nod in small letters in the final paragraph. Most of the guys on this list admitted to, or where caught doping. Thanks for breaking up my day. Good to get the blood boiling.

  • Tim lewis

    Merckx probably won all his tours full of dope!! No doping controls back then.. Indurain won 5 tours de France during the epo era.. Before a test for epo was available.. So why not include lance Armstrong in this list as well then!!!

  • Pogo

    I fully agree with you – Lance Armstrong deserves to be on this list

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    Big Ted.

  • Leonardo Coral Prada

    Clembuterol…
    Dopping’s king

  • Anser Abd Arrahman

    Alberto Contador 9 GRAND TOURS & I proud

  • Nigel Rue

    Lance Armstrong

  • Pete Whittle

    Anquetil was always my hero, but Merckx is a very close second