10 Famous French Cyclists Tour De France

Famous french cyclists tour de france

In the world of cycling, some famous French cyclists tour de France have certainly left their mark. We’ll walk you through the legends who will leave you in awe.

France has a rich history of exceptional cyclists who have made their mark in the prestigious Tour de France. This race is considered the most important and challenging cycling event in the world, garnering the attention of professional cyclists and sports enthusiasts alike. Some French riders have not only captured the hearts of their fans but also etched their names into the annals of cycling history through their remarkable achievements.

The Tour de France has seen many extraordinary French riders over the years, each displaying unique talents and unwavering determination. Their passion for the sport inspired future generations to push the limits of human endurance. 

These legendary cyclists have established France as a powerhouse of the cycling world, and their accomplishments continue to resonate with fans worldwide. Check out these badass cycling quotes for more inspiration. 

Early French Champions

1. Henri Cornet

Henri Cornet was born in 1884 in Desvres. He won the 1904 Tour de France, making him the youngest winner as he was just shy of his 20th birthday.

Cornet’s victory was declared after the original top four finishers were disqualified, placing him in the spotlight. Despite the unusual circumstances, his win goes down in history as part of France’s rich cycling legacy.

2. Eugène Christophe

Eugène Christophe was an important figure in the early days of the Tour de France. Born in 1885 in Paris, he competed in 11 Tours, starting in 1906. Christophe was a resilient and hardworking cyclist known for his incredible determination and persistence in the face of challenges.

He had the misfortune of having his forks break in the 1913 Tour, forcing him to walk 14 kilometers to repair them. This incident led to a rule change allowing for assistance during technical issues. Still, Christophe demonstrated an admirable fighting spirit by finishing 7th overall despite the setback.

In 1919, Christophe became the first cyclist to wear the yellow jersey, which has now become one of the most iconic symbols in the sport. Although he never actually won the Tour, his career was full of accomplishments, including three first-place finishes in the Milan-San Remo race.

3. Antonin Magne

Famous french cyclists tour de france
The 1931 victory was particularly impressive, as he held the yellow jersey for an impressive 23 days

Antonin Magne, born in Ytrac in 1904, was another French cyclist who left a significant mark on the Tour de France. Nicknamed “The Monk,” he was known for his dedication and humble nature.

Magne won the Tour de France twice, in 1931 and 1934. The 1931 victory was particularly impressive, as he held the yellow jersey for an impressive 23 days. He took part in a total of 12 Tours, consistently placing well and demonstrating his exceptional skills as a cyclist.

Apart from his Tour de France victories, Magne also had several other notable accomplishments. Some of these include winning the French National Road Race Championship in 1927 and 1934, as well as the 1931 Paris-Nice race.

Magne went on to become a mentor and road captain for later Tour de France champions, such as Louison Bobet and Jacques Anquetil. His impact on the sport of cycling in France, both as a competitor and mentor, has left a lasting legacy. You might also be interested in learning about these famous track cyclists

Post-War Cyclists

4. Louison Bobet

Louison Bobet was a prominent French cyclist in the post-war era. Born in Saint-Méen-le-Grand in 1925, Bobet became the first rider to win the Tour de France three consecutive times, from 1953 to 1955. Known for his determination and hard work, Bobet is still regarded as one of the greatest cyclists in the history of the sport.

5. Raymond Poulidor

Raymond Poulidor, affectionately known as “The Eternal Second,” was born in Masbaraud-Mérignat in 1936. Despite never winning the Tour de France, Poulidor earned a reputation for being a reliable and consistent performer. 

He finished on the podium eight times between 1962 and 1976 and secured several victories in other prestigious races. Poulidor’s unwavering determination and sportsmanship throughout his career continue to be celebrated today.

6. Jacques Anquetil

Jacques Anquetil, born in 1934 in Mont-Saint-Aignan, was a dominant figure in the world of cycling during the post-war era. He became the first-ever cyclist to win the Tour de France a staggering five times, achieving this remarkable feat between 1957 and 1964. Known for his time-trialing prowess, Anquetil’s impressive track record and tactical brilliance put him in a league of his own.

1970s-1990s Stars

7. Bernard Hinault

Bernard Hinault
Hinault’s achievements earned him the Legion of Honour in 1986, the same year he retired

Bernard Hinault, born in Yffiniac in 1954, is one of the most well-known French cyclists of all time. He has an impressive record of 147 professional victories, including five Tour de France wins. Hinault’s achievements earned him the Legion of Honour in 1986, the same year he retired.

8. Laurent Fignon

Laurent Fignon, another French star, was born in 1960 in Paris. He took the world by storm in the 1980s. 

The athlete won the Tour de France twice, in 1983 and 1984, and quickly became a household name. Fignon was known for his powerful riding style and the distinctive ponytail he sported during races.

Modern Era

9. Richard Virenque

Richard Virenque is a retired French professional cyclist who was widely popular during his career. Born in Casablanca, Morocco, he moved to France as a child. Throughout his career, Virenque became well-known for his aggressive climbing style and strong performances in both the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. 

He secured seven King of the Mountains titles, making him one of the most decorated mountain climbers in the history of the Tour. Virenque had a string of successes in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with standout performances including a stage win in the 1997 Tour and an overall third place in the 1996 race. 

However, his career was not without controversy, as he became embroiled in the infamous Festina doping scandal. Despite this setback, Virenque continued to race and achieved numerous victories before retiring in 2004.

10. Thomas Voeckler

Thomas Voeckler
His success in the tour de france, voeckler also claimed victory in some prestigious one-day races and smaller stage races

Thomas Voeckler, another French cyclist, achieved considerable fame for his perseverance and attacking style in the Tour de France. Born in Schiltigheim, Alsace, Voeckler turned professional in 2001 and was a fixture in the peloton until his retirement in 2017. Voeckler’s career was marked by numerous stage wins, as well as two memorable stints in the maillot jaune, or yellow jersey, signifying the overall leader of the race.

Voeckler is remembered for his tenacious efforts to protect the yellow jersey, holding onto it for ten days in 2004 and again for another ten days in 2011. Besides his success in the Tour de France, Voeckler also claimed victory in some prestigious one-day races and smaller stage races, sealing his place as one of France’s most popular riders in the modern era.

This article was researched with the help of OpenAI and fact-checked and edited by our human editor.