The British cycling scene is filled with talented, successful athletes, and the list of famous UK cyclists expands year after year, so let’s look at the legends.
The rich history of British cycling has seen many outstanding talents emerge through the years, etching their names as some of the sport’s all-time greats. From up-and-comers like Ethan Hayter to contemporary icons such as Chris Froome, these formidable cyclists have left a significant impact on the world of cycling.
As the birthplace of modern competitive cycling, the UK boasts numerous athletes who have achieved incredible feats both on the track and the open road. Overcoming grueling tests of skill and endurance, these cyclists have claimed victory in prestigious races like the Tour de France and the Olympics, earning unrivaled recognition and accolades.
In this article, we explore the lives and accomplishments of these remarkable British cyclists. Delve into their individual journeys, triumphs, and contributions to the sport, and learn how they have shaped the path for upcoming talent and fueled the nation’s love for cycling. You can also check out our round-up of famous Welsh cyclists.
- 1 Men’s Road Cycling
- 2 Women’s Road Cycling
- 3 Track Cycling
- 4 11. Sir Jason Kenny
- 5 BMX And Mountain Biking
- 6 Paralympic Cycling
- 7 Up And Coming Cyclists
Men’s Road Cycling
1. Sir Bradley Wiggins
Bradley Wiggins was born in Belgium but raised in England. He is a well-known athlete who became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France in 2012. He has also won numerous track cycling world championships and is one of the most decorated British athletes, with eight Olympic medals.
2. Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish, another outstanding British cyclist, was born on the Isle of Man and began his professional career in 2007. Known for his incredible sprinting abilities, Cavendish has earned numerous stage wins in various Grand Tours and 162 professional wins in total. Key accomplishments include:
- 34 Tour de France stage wins
- 17 Giro d’Italia stage wins
- 3 Vuelta a España stage wins
3. Chris Froome
Chris Froome, born in Kenya to English parents, has had a significant impact on British road cycling. After turning professional in 2007, he went on to win the Tour de France four times. Froome has also won other prestigious races throughout his career, such as the Vuelta a España twice and Giro d’Italia once.
4. Geraint Thomas
Geraint Thomas is a prominent British cyclist from Cardiff, Wales. Since the start of his professional career, Thomas has secured notable achievements, including breaking a world record. At the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Thomas, along with Edward Clancy, Peter Kennaugh, and Steven Burke, broke the previous record at the time when they posted 53.295 seconds in the men’s 4,000m team pursuit.
A quick highlight of Thomas’ accomplishments are:
- One Tour de France victory in 2018
- Two Olympic gold medals in 2008 & 2012
Women’s Road Cycling
5. Lizzie Deignan
Lizzie Deignan (née Armitstead) is a British cyclist, born in West Yorkshire, England, who has had an impressive career in track and road cycling. Deignan has won numerous titles and accolades throughout her career, including:
- 2014 & 2015 UCI Women’s Road World Cup Champion
- 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist in the road race
- First overall in the 2012 Tour de Suisse
6. Nicole Cooke
Nicole Cooke is a retired cyclist hailing from Swansea, Wales, who quickly became one of the most successful British female cyclists of her time. In 2008, she won the road race at the UCI World Championships and an Olympic gold medal, making her the first cyclist to come first in both events in one year. She is also a 10-time British National Road Race champion.
7. Emma Pooley
Emma Pooley, born in London, England, is a well-accomplished cyclist in the world of women’s road racing. Though she eventually retired to focus on her triathlon career, her achievements in cycling are still highly respected. Some key accomplishments include:
- 2010 UCI Road World Time Trial Champion
- Olympic Silver medalist in the 2008 Beijing Games (time trial event)
- 2015 Alpe D’Huez Triathlon Champion
8. Chris Hoy
Sir Chris Hoy is a legendary British track cyclist, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, who dominated the sport for over a decade, becoming one of the most decorated Olympic cyclists of all time. His incredible achievements include six gold Olympic medals, 11 World Championship titles, and two Commonwealth Games golds. You might also be interested in our round-up of famous Scottish cyclists.
9. Victoria Pendleton
Victoria Pendleton is a stellar British track cyclist from Stotfold, England. She made her mark on the international stage, capturing hearts with her captivating performances.
Pendleton is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, winning in individual sprints at Beijing (2008) and London (2012). She also boasts of nine World Championship titles and one Commonwealth Games gold. During her career, Pendleton specialized in the sprint, team sprint, and keirin events.
10. Dame Laura Kenny
Laura Kenny, formerly known as Laura Trott, is a prominent British track cyclist whose skill and dominance in the sport have led her to become a five-time Olympic gold medalist. She took the gold in both the team pursuit and omnium at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games. When she won the madison at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, she became the first British woman to claim a gold medal in three Games in a row.
In addition to her Olympic success, the athlete, who was born in Harlow, England, has collected seven World Championship titles and two European Championship golds.
11. Sir Jason Kenny
Jason Kenny, husband to Laura Kenny, is another force to be reckoned with in British track cycling. Born in Bolton, England, he is a seven-time Olympic gold medalist, making them the ultimate power couple in the sport. Jason has won golds in the individual sprint, team sprint, and keirin events at the Beijing, London, and Rio Olympics.
His career accomplishments also encompass multiple World Championship titles and European Championship golds, solidifying his place as one of the best track cyclists in British history.
BMX And Mountain Biking
12. Shanaze Reade
Shanaze Reade is a celebrated British BMX cyclist born in Crewe, England. She started taking cycling seriously at just ten years old and went on to become a three-time UCI BMX World Champion. She represented Team GB in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. After the London Olympics, she briefly ventured into track cycling but eventually returned to her roots in BMX racing.
13. Annie Last
Annie Last is a prominent British mountain biker born in Derbyshire, England. She specializes in mountain bike cross-country races, and her career took off in 2012 when she finished an impressive 8th place at the London Olympics.
Last demonstrated her outstanding skills in 2017 by becoming the first British woman in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup to win a cross-country race in two decades. Her consistent drive and performance led her to secure several national titles and participate in various World Championships.
14. Dame Sarah Storey
Dame Sarah Storey is a true icon in the world of Paralympic cycling. Born in Manchester, England, with an underdeveloped left hand, she has achieved enormous success in both swimming and cycling.
Storey has represented Great Britain in a remarkable eight Paralympic Games, starting in Barcelona in 1992 as a swimmer and then switching to cycling in 2005. During her career, Storey has won a stunning 28 Paralympic medals, including 17 gold medals.
15. David Stone
David Stone, a British Paralympic cyclist from Birmingham, England, shines in the area of tricycle racing. Born with cerebral palsy, Stone began his Paralympic journey in 2000 at the Sydney Games. He went on to win two gold medals in the time trial and road race events in Beijing in 2008.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Stone continued to excel in his discipline and won gold in the road race at the 2012 Paralympics.
16. Jody Cundy
Jody Cundy, at his core, is an extraordinary athlete who found his calling in both swimming and cycling. Born in Wisbech, England, the amputee initially made a name for himself as a swimmer. In 2006, he switched to Paralympic cycling and hasn’t looked back.
He has 12 Paralympic medals in total. In 2021, he became the first man from Britain to win a medal at seven Paralympics in a row.
Up And Coming Cyclists
17. Tom Pidcock
Tom Pidcock is a young British cyclist from Leeds, England, who’s been making waves in the cycling world. He has victories in the Junior National Trophy Series, UCI World Junior Championships, UEC European Junior Championships, and National Junior Championships.
Pidcock’s accomplishments include:
- 2020 U23 Cross-Country World Champion
- Cross-country winner at the 2020 Olympic Games
18. Ethan Hayter
Ethan Hayter is another rising UK cycling star from London, England, who has already made a name for himself at quite a young age. He joined Team INEOS Grenadiers in 2020, and since then, he has been showcasing his remarkable talent.
Some of Hayter’s notable achievements include:
- Gold in the time trial at the 2021 National Championships
- 2022 Tour of Norway winner
- First overall in the 2022 Tour de Pologne
This article was researched with the help of OpenAI and fact-checked and edited by our human editor.