Echelons during Tour de France 2019

The Best Cyclists of All Time

Ranking the best cyclists of all time is an endless debate. It's impossible to compare cycling eras and there's always a personal preference involved. However, the question of who's the greatest cyclist of all time is easy to answer and cannot be debated. Based on the points schema of the King of the Echelon cycling ranking, these 10 legends make up the all-time cycling hall of fame.


Andy Williams The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

If you're curious about the details of the points schema, I wrote about it in this blog post: Pointless rider rankings are useful.



10. Felice GIMONDI (ITA) - 6393pts

Can you imagine: Felice Gimondi is the 10th best rider ever, while Eddy Merckx was his main opponent. It really makes you wonder what his palmares would have looked like without Merckx. But it's not like his Italian gentleman had to complain about what he díd win during this 13-year career as a professional cyclist.


Together with Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault, Gimondi is the only rider who won the 3 Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España) and the World Championship. Additionally, Felice Gimondi displayed his versatility by winning the 3 most diverse Monuments: Milano-Sanremo, Paris-Roubaix and Il Lombardia


Skip career achievements and jump to n° 9

Tour de France

1st (1965)

2nd (1972)

4th (1969)

Giro d'Italia

1st (1967, 1969, 1976)

2nd (1970, 1973)

3rd (1965, 1968, 1974, 1975)

5th (1966)

Vuelta a España

1st (1968)

World Championship Road Race

1st (1973)

2nd (1971)

3rd (1970)

Il Lombardia

1st (1966, 1973)

2nd (1967, 1970)

3rd (1972)

Milano-Sanremo

1st (1974)

2nd (1971)

3rd (1973)

Paris-Roubaix

1st (1966)

Ronde van Vlaanderen

2nd (1969)

Tirreno-Adriatico

3rd (1970)

Tour de Romandie

1st (1969)

Volta a Catalunya

1st (1972)

2nd (1968)

Gent-Wevelgem

2nd (1972)

3rd (1968)

Flèche Wallonne

2nd (1965)

Paris-Bruxelles

1st (1966, 1976)

GP des Nations

1st (1967, 1968)

2nd (1966)

Giro dell'Emilia

2nd (1975)

3rd (1969, 1972)

Giro del Lazio

1st (1967)

2nd (1977)

Giro del Veneto

2nd (1970)

Giro del Piemonte

1st (1971, 1973)

2nd (1972)

Tour de France Green Jersey

3rd (1965)

Tour de France stage wins

3x (1965)

2x (1967)

1x (1969)

1x (1975)

Giro d'Italia stage wins

1x (1966)

1x (1968)

2x (1971)

1x (1973)

1x (1976)


9. Alejandro VALVERDE (ESP) - 6671pts

Anno 2022, 42-year-old Alejandro Valverde is the only active rider to figure in the top-10 of greatest cyclists ever. "El Imbatido" achieved this thanks to his dominance in some of the most important races, versatility, and consistency throughout his 20-year career.


In spite of winning the Tour of Spain and some of the top-tier one-week stage races, the Tour and Giro were out of his reach. Something Alejandro Valverde compensated by a large number of victories in the biggest one-day races on the calendar.


Some stellar numbers:

  • 7 podiums at the Vuelta & España (of which 1 victory),

  • 7 podiums at the World Championship (of which 1 victory),

  • 7 podiums at Liège-Bastogne-Liège (of which 4! victories),

  • 6 podiums at Clasica San Sebastian (of which 2 victories),

  • 9 podiums at Flèche Wallonne (holds the record with 5! victories).

Skip career achievements and jump to n° 8

Tour de France

3rd (2015)

4th (2014)

Giro d'Italia

3rd (2016)

Vuelta a España

1st (2009)

2nd (2006, 2019)

3rd (2003, 2012, 2013, 2014)

4th (2004)

5th (2008, 2018)

World Championship Road Race

1st (2018)

2nd (2003, 2005)

3rd (2006, 2012, 2013, 2014)

5th (2015)

Il Lombardia

2nd (2013, 2014, 2019)

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

1st (2006, 2008, 2015, 2017)

2nd (2007, 2014)

3rd (2013)

Paris-Nice

2nd (2005)

3rd (2012)

Critérium du Dauphiné

1st (2008, 2009)

Tour de Romandie

3rd (2006)

Volta a Catalunya

1st (2009, 2017, 2018)

2nd (2015)

Vuelta al País Vasco

1st (2017)

2nd (2006)

Amstel Gold Race

2nd (2013, 2015)

3rd (2008)

Clasica San Sebastian

1st (2008, 2014)

2nd (2013)

3rd (2007, 2015, 2016)

Flèche Wallonne

1st (2006, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)

2nd (2007, 2018, 2022)

3rd (2021)

Strade Bianche

2nd (2022)

3rd (2014, 2015)

Giro del Lazio

1st (2014)

Milano-Torino

2nd (2019)

3rd (2018)

Critérium International

3rd (2007)

Tour de France stage wins

1x (2005)

2x (2008)

1x (2012)

Giro d'Italia stage win

1x (2016)


8. Francesco MOSER (ITA) - 6916pts

The Italian powerhouse was one of the most feared riders of his generation. Giro d'Italia winner, classics king, world champion, 23-times Giro stage winner, 273 professional victories: Francesco Moser in a nutshell.


Tripple Paris-Roubaix (7 podiums!) winner Moser was the main competitor of Monsieur Paris-Roubaix Roger De Vlaeminck, beating him on 2 occasions (1978 & 1979). Despite being more limited in the high mountains, the Italian still won his homeland Grand Tour thanks to his exquisite time trialing skills.


That talent allowed Francesco Moser to break the 12-year-old World Hour Record of Eddy Merckx by 1.4 kilometer, becoming the first rider to cross the 50km mark (50.808km)


Skip career achievements and jump to n° 7

Giro d'Italia

1st (1984)

2nd (1977, 1979, 1985)

3rd (1978, 1986)

4th (1976)

World Championship Road Race

1st (1977)

2nd (1976, 1978)

Il Lombardia

1st (1975, 1978)

3rd (1982)

Milano-Sanremo

1st (1984)

2nd (1975)

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

3rd (1978)

Paris-Roubaix

1st (1978, 1979, 1980)

2nd (1974, 1976)

3rd (1981, 1983)

Ronde van Vlaanderen

2nd (1976, 1980)

Tirreno-Adriatico

1st (1980, 1981)

2nd (1977, 1986)

3rd (1978, 1983)

Critérium du Dauphiné

2nd (1975)

Volta a Catalunya

1st (1978)

Vuelta al País Vasco

3rd (1982)

Amstel Gold Race

2nd (1978)

Gent-Wevelgem

1st (1979)

3rd (1978)

Züri Metzgete

1st (1977)

2nd (1978, 1979)

3rd (1975)

Flèche Wallonne

1st (1977)

Giro dell'Emilia

1st (1974, 1979)

2nd (1981)

Giro del Lazio

1st (1977, 1978, 1984)

2nd (1983)

Giro del Piemonte

1st (1974)

3rd (1983)

GP Frankfurt

2nd (1980)

GP des Nations

2nd (1978, 1979)

3rd (1980

Milano-Torino

1st (1983)

2nd (1980)

Paris-Tours

1st (1974)

Giro del Veneto

1st (1979)

Midi Libre

1st (1975)

2nd (1982

Tour de France Green Jersey

3rd (1975)

Tour de France stage wins

2x (1975)

Giro d'Italia stage wins

1x (1973)

3x (1976)

4x (1978)

3x (1979)

1x (1980)

1x (1981)

2x (1982)

4x (1984)

3x (1985)

1x (1986)


7. Sean KELLY (IRL) - 7021pts

Sean "King" Kelly is very much the Alejandro Valverde of the 1980's. Winning the Vuelta a España, multiple top-tier stage races (7 times Paris-Nice winner!) and numerous Monuments and classics made the Irishman one of the last riders that mastered almost all types of races.


Blessed with a sharp sprint, above-average climbing skills, and excellent endurance, Sean Kelly basically owned the Tour de France points jersey during the 80's. Those very same skills allowed him to be successful in 4 out of the 5 Monuments (totaling 9 victories).


Kelly is definitely a rider that should have been on the list of riders that won all Monuments (Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck, and Rik Van Looy; if it hadn't been for Adrie van der Poel. The dutchman caused a huge upset by outsprinting Sean Kelly for victory at the 1986 Ronde van Vlaanderen.


Skip career achievements and jump to n° 6

Tour de France

4th (1985)

5th (1984)

Vuelta a España

1st (1988)

3rd (1986)

4th (1980)

World Championship Road Race

3rd (1982, 1989)

5th (1985, 1987, 1990)

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

1st (1984, 1989)

Milano-Sanremo

1st (1986, 1992)

2nd (1984)

Il Lombardia

1st (1983, 1985, 1991)

2nd (1986)

Paris-Roubaix

1st (1984, 1986)

3rd (1985)

Ronde van Vlaanderen

2nd (1984, 1986, 1987)

Paris-Nice

1st (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988)

Volta a Catalunya

1st (1984, 1986)

2nd (1985)

Vuelta al Paìs Vasco

1st (1984, 1986, 1987)

Tour de Suisse

1st (1983, 1990)

Amstel Gold Race

3rd (1980)

Clasica San Sebastian

3rd (1990)

Gent-Wevelgem

1st (1988)

Paris-Tours

1st (1984)

3rd (1985, 1988)

E3 Harelbeke

2nd (1980)

GP des Nations

1st (1986)

2nd (1984)

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

2nd (1989)

3rd (1980, 1982)

Paris-Bruxelles

2nd (1986)

Giro del Piemonte

2nd (1983)

GP Frankfurt

3rd (1982, 1984)

4 Jours de Dunkerque

2nd (1981)

Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde

1st (1980)