The roll-call of Tour de France winners contains the names of many of the world’s best bike riders through time.
The most illustrious of the three Grand Tours, the Tour de France has been taking place on an annual bases since 1903 – with two breaks in its history, one for each of the World Wars.
The most prolific winner would have been Lance Armstrong, who wore the yellow jersey in Paris for seven consecutive years between 1999 and 2005. However, he was stripped of all of his titles in 2012 following investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Next in line, we have a prolific quartet of Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain. All four have five titles to their names, Anquitel was the first to do it but Mercx is still the only person to have won the general, points and king of the mountains classifications in the same Tour – a feat he accomplished in 1969.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) has four wins to his name – he won in in 2013 and then consecutively from 2015 to 2017 – and looks to equalise the giants of cycling history with victory in 2018.
|1903||Maurice Garin||France||La Française|
|1915||First World War|
|1916||First World War|
|1917||First World War|
|1918||First World War|
|1919||Firmin Lambot||Belgium||La Sportive|
|1920||Philippe Thys||Belgium||La Sportive|
|1921||Léon Scieur||Belgium||La Sportive|
|1929||Maurice De Waele||Belgium||Alcyon|
|1940||Second World War|
|1941||Second World War|
|1942||Second World War|
|1943||Second World War|
|1944||Second World War|
|1945||Second World War|
|1946||Second World War|
|1976||Lucien Van Impe||Belgium||Gitane–Campagnolo|
|1985||Bernard Hinault||France||La Vie Claire|
|1986||Greg LeMond||United States||La Vie Claire|
|1987||Stephen Roche||Ireland||Carrera Jeans-Vagabond|
|1989||Greg LeMond||United States||ADR Agrigel|
|1990||Greg LeMond||United States||Z Vêtements|
|1996||Bjarne Riis||Denmark||Team Telekom|
|1997||Jan Ullrich||Germany||Team Telekom|
|1998||Marco Pantani||Italy||Mercatone Uno-Bianchi|
|2006||Óscar Pereiro||Spain||Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears|
|2007||Alberto Contador||Spain||Discovery Channel|
|2008||Carlos Sastre||Spain||Team CSC|
|2010||Andy Schleck||Luxembourg||Team Saxo Bank|
|2011||Cadel Evans||Australia||BMC Racing Team|
|2012||Bradley Wiggins||Great Britain||Team Sky|
|2013||Chris Froome||Great Britain||Team Sky|
|2015||Chris Froome||Great Britain||Team Sky|
|2016||Chris Froome||Great Britain||Team Sky|
|2017||Chris Froome||Great Britain||Team Sky|
Tour de France titles won between 1999-2005 were formerly allocated to Lance Armstrong (USA) but stripped after he was found guilty of doping. No alternative winner has been announced for these years.
How do you win the Tour de France?
In the first ever edition of the race, the winner of the General Classification earned their place based on overall riding time. However, following the disqualification of its 1904 victor, Maurice Garin, the organisers introduced a points based system.
Then, in 1912 they reverted back to awarding the win based on time. This remains the case today – the rider with the lowest overall accumulated time leads the General Classification and whoever holds that position once the peloton arrives in Paris is crowned the winner.
Youngest ever Tour de France winner
Henri Cornet, 19-years-old
Oldest ever Tour de France winner
Firmin Lambot, 36-years-old
First Tour de France winner
The first ever win went to a rider from the race’s home country – Maurice Garin, in 1903.
First ever Tour de France GC disqualification
Also Garin. The Frenchman also won in 1904, however he was disqualified for allegedly using means of transport outside of the bicycle (car, rail).
The result was that Henri Cornet took his place, and at 19-years-old he will no doubt remain the youngest ever for a long time, if not indefinitely.
There have been quite a few disqualifications since, mostly for doping (Armstrong, 1999-2005, Floyd Landis, 2006, Alberto Contador, 2010).
First non-French Tour de France winner
The winner’s list for the early years of the race is dominated by Frenchman. The first winner from outside the country of origin was 1909 leader François Faber of Luxembourg.
Britain took a while to catch up – the first British rider of the men’s Tour de France race was Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) in 2012.
Smallest ever winning margin
In 1989, American Greg LeMond won over Laurent Fignon by just eight seconds.