Who is the greatest Grand Tour rider ever?

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...

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.

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Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).