Who is the Greatest American Cyclist of all Time?
Cycling has a long and storied history in the United States, with many accomplished athletes who have left their mark on the sport. From Olympic champions to Tour de France winners, American cyclists have achieved great success on both the national and international stages. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at some of the greatest cyclists in American history.
Lance Armstrong is undoubtedly one of the most well-known American cyclists of all time. His seven consecutive wins in the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005 captured the attention of cycling enthusiasts around the world, and helped to popularize the sport in the United States. However, Armstrong's career has been tarnished by his admission of using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career, which led to him being stripped of his Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life. While Armstrong's accomplishments are impressive, it's difficult to consider him the greatest American cyclist given his cheating.
In stark contrast stands Greg LeMond, the first American to conquer the Tour de France. No one-hit wonder, he claimed the yellow jersey not once, but three times in 1986, 1989, and 1990. LeMond's victories etched American cycling onto the world stage, securing his place as a true legend. His story of resilience, overcoming a near-fatal shooting to reclaim his glory, further cements his status as an inspiration for generations of cyclists.
Shifting gears to the world of women's cycling, we encounter the powerhouse that is Kristin Armstrong. This three-time Olympic gold medalist in the individual time trial (2008, 2012, 2016) and two-time world champion in the same event has rewritten the record books. Her dominance in a discipline known for its grueling demands of precision and power stands as a testament to her unwavering dedication and exceptional talent. Kristin's achievements are particularly significant in light of the historical struggle for equality and recognition faced by women in cycling, making her a beacon of inspiration for aspiring female athletes.
Other notable American cyclists include Davis Phinney, who won stages in both the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia in the 1980s, and Connie Carpenter-Phinney, who won the first-ever women's Olympic road race in 1984. More recently, Tejay van Garderen has been a top American cyclist, finishing in the top 10 of the Tour de France twice, and winning the Tour of California in 2013 and 2014.
While Lance Armstrong's accomplishments cannot be ignored, it's difficult to consider him the greatest American cyclist given his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Instead, cyclists like Greg LeMond, Kristin Armstrong, Davis Phinney, and Connie Carpenter-Phinney stand out as some of the greatest in American history. Their accomplishments have helped to shape the sport of cycling in the United States, and inspire the next generation of cyclists to achieve great things.
Here is my next post: Pros and Cons of Bicycle Commuting to Work