When you think about cycling, you immediately think of the Tour de France competition, and then you remember the scandal that rocked the sport – Lance Armstrong.
Lance Armstrong dominated the game for many years, and he is a man that defied the odds; he beat a cancer diagnosis that was meant to kill him. And, he still managed to become the best. So, we cannot have a list of the best worldwide cyclists without him.
Below is our list of the best worldwide cyclists of the 21st century, and these are some of the most powerful legs to have pedaled on the toughest terrains in Europe and also sprinted to the finish line, despite their fiery pains and other complicated problems. These are considered the best brutes in the cycling world.
Eddy Merckx was once nicknamed “a cannibal” because of his skills at eliminating his competition. In fact, he has been considered the closest thing to perfection in cycling. He has won five Tour de France competitions, five Giro victories, and he also won two Vuelta victories. For these reasons, he is ahead of Renault in our list of the best worldwide cyclists of the 21st century.
In 1969, he went all secretariat during the cycling tour and won with more than 18 minutes, and he captured the green, yellow, and polka dot jackets. He actually worked very hard for this and gave it his all, to the point where he needed some oxygen at the end of the tour. For every tour he entered, Merckx finished in the top 10.
Bernard comes in second on our list because of his many accomplishments. He is an absolute wrecking ball, and as much as he is untouchable on the bike, he is even scarier off of it. No one messes with him, and he is actually one of the most vicious and most feared figures in all of cycling history. He has a short temper and is also very bossy.
He won five Tour de France competitions, two Vuelta victories, and three Giro titles. He is certainly one of the most significant figures in cycling.
Coppi was a prisoner of war in Africa, and he became a big thorn in the world of cycling and took home two Tour de France titles. He also won the Giro cup four times. He competed in 28 one-day rare road races and won all of them. He is one of the greatest cyclists that ever lived and one that overcame plenty of difficulties in his life.
Miguel Induráin faced many allegations for doping throughout his cycling career, but he entered the cycling game at a time when performance-enhancing drugs were commonplace. He claimed five Tour de France competitions and Two Giro GC titles. He never did win the Vuelta competition, but he was named the youngest rider in the mammoth race in Spain at only 20 years old.
His other accolades include the Olympic time trial Gold and the World time trial competition, as well. No matter what he faced, he dominated cycling for many years, and this is the reason we felt he deserved a spot on the best cyclists of the 21st-century list.
As we said earlier, this list is incomplete without Lance Armstrong. Yes, we took into consideration his doping, his canceled trophies, his being a jerk and cheating allegations, but, we still believe he deserves to be mentioned as one of the greatest cyclists of the 21st century. Mostly because no one can talk about Tour de France without mentioning his name.
There was a time that he would win every single tour de France, and in fact, he did win seven years in a row. He did struggle in the other competitions, but he also did not participate in them as much. He was all about the yellow jersey, which he won more than any other cyclist in history. He came back from a near-death experience to win even more awards in his time as an athlete, and we definitely must appreciate all of this about him.
Even if Lance Armstrong was stripped of all his titles, we still remember him – the expectations, the anticipation, and the victories after each win.
This list is obviously not complete. We, of course, do not forget some of the greatest cyclists like Gino Bartali, Sean Kelly, and Alberto Contador. They did not make the cut for our list of the best worldwide cyclists of the 21st century, but we appreciate their contribution to the game and how they made it interesting for us. At the start of the new decade, we look forward to new and better cyclists who will make the game greater than it already is.