It’s a question that sparks heated debate whenever it is asked. Who is Britain’s greatest male professional road racer of all time?

For some it is a no-brainer. Bradley Wiggins. Britain’s first Tour de France champion and winner of Paris-Nice, Criterium du Dauphine, Tour of Romandy and stages of the Tour and Giro d’Italia.

Or Tom Simpson. World champion and winner of three of the five one-day monuments of professional cycling – Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and the Tour of Lombardy.

What about Barry Hoban? Eight Tour de France stage wins and the Ghent-Wevelgem classic is an impressive record.

But in terms of the number of wins, Mark Cavendish has a watertight case. When the Manxman won stage two of the 2009 Tour de France, he jumped past Chris Boardman in our table, with an incredible tally of wins since turning professional in 2007.

Cavendish is, in terms of wins, Britain’s most successful pro rider in history.

See Cycling Weekly’s all-time ranking of British pro riders>>

CYCLING WEEKLY’S BEST OF BRITISH
Who are the most prolific British male professional riders of all time? Here’s our league table of the most successful riders, based purely on the number of wins in top international professional races.

What we have included
All international one-day and stage races, including overall classifications – including races that no longer exist. The Kellogg’s Tour, PruTour and Tour of Britain

What we have not included
Minor European races
Pro-am races, such as the Milk Race and Peace Race
Criteriums, kermesse races or exhibition races
Team time trials or two-up time trials
Domestic events in the USA
Other classifications, such as king of the mountains or points competition titles

Where’s Max Sciandri? Surely he won enough races?
The Derby-born rider rode much of his career as an Italian. He declared for Great Britain in 1995, in order to ride the Olympic Games in Atlanta the following year. However, he did not win 10 professional races in his years as a British rider

Black 1x600 rule line

1 MARK CAVENDISH
119 professional wins, 2007 to date

2007 – 11
Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen
Two Four Days of Dunkirk stages
Two Tour of Catalonia stages
Ster Elektrotoer stage
Tour of Denmark stage
ENECO Tour stage
Tour of Britain prologue
Tour of Britain stage
Circuit Franco Belge stage

2008 – 17
Two Three Days of De Panne stages
Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen
Tour of Romandy prologue
Two Giro d’Italia stages
Ster Elektrotoer stage
Four Tour de France stages
Three Tour of Ireland stages
Three Tour of Missouri stages

2009 – 23
Two Tour of Qatar stages
Two Tour of California stages
Tirreno-Adriatico stage
Milan-San Remo
Two Three Days of De Panne stages
Three Giro d’Italia stages
Two Tour of Switzerland stages
Six Tour de France stages
Sparkasse Giro
Tour of Ireland stage
Two Tour of Missouri stages

2010 – 11 
Tour of Catalonia stage
Tour of Romandy stage
Tour of California stage
Five Tour de France stages
Three Vuelta a Espana stages

2011 – 12
Tour of Oman stage
Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen
Two Giro d’Italia stages
Five Tour de France stages
Two Tour of Britain stages
World Champion, road race
(NB: Also won London Surrey Cycle Classic Olympic test event, not counted here as only ranked UCI 1.2)

2012 – 15
Two Tour of Qatar stages
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
Tirreno-Adriatico stage
Three Giro d’Italia stages
Ster ZLM Toer overall
Three Tour de France stages
Tour of Denmark stage
Three Tour of Britain stages

2013 – 19
Tour de San Luis stage
Four Tour of Qatar stages and overall
Three Days of De Panne stage
Five Giro d’Italia stages
Two Tour de France stages
National championship road race
Tour of Denmark stage
Three Tour of Britain stages

2014 – 11
Tour of the Algarve stage
Tirreno-Adriatico stage
Four Tour of Turkey stages
Two Tour of California stages
Tour de Suisse stage
Two Tour du Poitou Charentes stages

Black 1x600 rule line

2 CHRIS BOARDMAN
41 professional wins, 1993-99

1993 – 2
Chrono des Herbiers
GP Eddy Merckx

1994 – 8
Tour of Murcia prologue
Tour or Murcia stage
Dauphine Libere prologue
Two Dauphine Libere stages
Tour of Switzerland stage
Tour de France prologue
World Championship time trial

1995 – 4
Tour de l’Oise stage
Four Days of Dunkirk stage
Dauphine Libere stage
Midi Libre stage

1996 – 8
Paris-Nice stage
Criterium International overall
Four Days of Dunkirk stage
Route du Sud stage
GP des Nations
GP Eddy Merckx
Chrono des Herbiers
Josef Vogeli Memorial

1997 – 7
Tour of Valencia stage
Tour of Romandy prologue
Tour of Romandy stage
Two Tour of Catalonia stages
Dauphine Libere stage
Tour de France prologue

1998 – 8
PruTour prologue
PruTour stage one
Two Tour of Catalonia stages
Dauphine Libere prologue
Dauphine Libere stage
Tour de France prologue
Tour de l’Ain stage

1999 – 4
Paris-Nice stage
Criterium International stage
PruTour stage
Josef Vogeli Memorial

Black 1x600 rule line

3= MALCOLM ELLIOTT
31 professional wins, 1987-95

1987 – 3
Three Nissan Classic stages

1988 – 5
Vuelta a Espana stage
Tour of Aragon stage
Kellogg’s Tour of Britain prologue
Kellogg’s Tour of Britain stage
Kellogg’s Tour of Britain overall

1989 – 9
Three Semaine Catalan stages
Two Vuelta a Espana stages
Two Castilla y Leon stages
Tour of Galicia stage
Kellogg’s Tour of Britain prologue

1990 – 9
Three Tour of the Americas stages
Two Tour of Cantabria stages
Two Tour of Catalonia stages
Kellogg’s Tour of Britain stage
Tour of the Basque Country stage

1991 – 1
Trofeo Masferrer

1992 – 1
Tour of the Mining Valleys stage

1993 – 2
National road race
Tour DuPont stage

1995 – 1
Tour DuPont stage

Black 1x600 rule line

3= DAVID MILLAR
31 professional wins, 1997 to date

1997 – 1
Tour de l’Avenir prologue

1998 – 3
Three Days of De Panne stage
Tour de l’Avenir prologue
Tour de l’Avenir stage

2000 – 2
Route du Sud stage
Tour de France stage

2001 – 8
Two Circuit de la Sarthe stages
Circuit de la Sarthe overall
Euzkal Bizicleta stage
Tour of Denmark stage
Tour of Denmark overall
Vuelta a Espana prologue
Vuelta a Espana stage

2002 – 1
Tour de France stage

2003 – 5
Three Days of West Flanders prologue
Tour of Picardie overall
Tour of Burgos stage
Tour de France stage
Vuelta a Espana stage

2006 – 1
Vuelta a Espana stage

2007 – 3
Paris-Nice prologue
National Championship road race
National Championship time trial

2009 – 1
Vuelta a Espana stage

2010 – 4
Criterium International stage
Three Days of De Panne stage
Three Days of De Panne overall
Chrono des Herbiers

2011 – 1
Giro d’Italia stage

2012 – 1
Tour de France stage

Black 1x600 rule line

5 BRADLEY WIGGINS
31
professional wins 2003 to date

2003 – 1
Tour de l’Avenir stage

2005 – 2
Circuit de Lorraine stage
Tour de l’Avenir stage

2007 – 3
Four Days of Dunkirk stage
Dauphiné Libéré prologue
Tour du Poitou-Charentes stage

2009 – 4
Three Days of De Panne stage
British National Time Trial Championships
Herald Sun Tour stage and overall

2010 – 2
Giro d’Italia stage
British National Time Trial Championships

2011 – 3
Bayern Rundfahrt stage
Criterium du Dauphine overall
British National Road Race Championships

2012 – 10
Tour of the Algarve stage
Paris-Nice stage
Paris-Nice overall
Two Tour de Romandie stages
Tour de Romandie overall
Criterium du Dauphine stage
Criterium du Dauphine overall
Two Tour de France stages
Tour de France overall

2013 – 3
Tour of Poland stage
Tour of Britain stage and overall

2014 – 2
Tour of California stage and overall

Black 1x600 rule line

6 TOM SIMPSON
24 professional wins, 1959-1967

1959 – 5
Rennes-Fougeres-Rennes time trial
Tour de l’Essor Breton stage
Two Tour de l’Ouest stages
Route de France stage

1960 – 3
Course Mont Faron
Tour du Sud-Est overall
Polymultipliee

1961 – 2
Tour of Flanders
GP d’Eibar stage

1963 – 3
Tour du Var stage
Bordeaux-Paris
Circuit du Provencal stage

1964 – 2
Milan-San Remo
Circuit du Provencal stage

1965 – 4
World Championship road race
Tour of Lombardy
Harelbeke-Antwerp-Harelbeke
Criterium des As

1966 – 1
Criterium des As

1967 – 4
Paris-Nice overall
Two Vuelta a Espana stages
Tour of Sardinia stage

Black 1x600 rule line

7= BARRY HOBAN
21 professional wins, 1964-1978
Barry Hoban

1964 – 3
Two Vuelta a Espana stages
Midi Libre stage

1966 – 1
Rund um den Henninger Turm

1967 – 1
Tour de France stage

1968 – 1
Tour de France stage

1969 – 3
Two Tour de France stages
Four Days of Dunkirk stage

1970 – 1
Four Days of Dunkirk stage

1971 – 1
GP Fourmies

1973 – 2
Two Tour de France stages

1974 – 6
Ghent-Wevelgem
Two Midi Libre stages
Tour de France stage
Paris-Bourges
Tour d’Indre-et-Loire stage

1975 – 1
Tour de France stage

1978 – 1
Four Days of Dunkirk stage

Black 1x600 rule line

7= MICHAEL WRIGHT
21 professional wins, 1962-1973

1962 – 1
GP Brabant

1964 – 4
Tour du Condroz
GP Denain
Brussels-Nandrin
Tour du Nord stage

1965 – 2
Hoeilaart-Diest-Hoeilaart
Tour de France stage

1966 – 1
Brussels-Verviers

1967 – 1
Tour de France stage

1968 – 4
Fleche Hesbignonne
Tour of Luxembourg stage
Two Vuelta a Espana stages

1969 – 7
Tour du Condroz
Two Vuelta a Espana stages
Tour of the Basque Country stage
Two Tour du Nord stages
Tour of Catalonia stage

1973 – 1
Tour de France stage

Black 1x600 rule line

7= JEREMY HUNT
21 professional wins, 1997 to date

1997 – 8
Circuit de Getxo
GP Minho stage
Two Tour de l’Avenir stages
Circuit de la Sarthe stage
Tour of Aragon stage
Tour of Rioja stage
National Championship road race

1998 – 3
Tour of Majorca stage
Two Tour of Portugal stages

2000 – 2
Australian National Championship road race
Tour of the Mediterranean stage

2001 – 2
Tour of the Somme stage
Circuit Franco-Belge stage

2002 – 1
GP Ouest France Plouay

2003 – 1
Tour of Picardie stage

2005 – 1
Tour de la Region Wallonne stage

2007 – 1
GP d’Ouverture La Marseillaise

2008 – 1
Tour of Langkawi stage

2009 – 1
Tour of Denmark stage

Black 1x600 rule line

7= CHRIS FROOME
21 professional wins, 2007 to date

2011 – 1
Vuelta a Espana stage

2012 – 1
Tour de France stage

2013 – 13
Tour of Oman stage and overall
Tirreno-Adriatico stage
Criterium International stage and overall
Tour de Romandie stage and overall
Criterium du Dauphine stage and overall
Three Tour de France stages and overall

2014 – 6
Tour of Oman stage and overall
Tour of Romandie stage and overall
Two Criterium du Dauphine stages

Black 1x600 rule line

11 ROBERT MILLAR
16 professional wins, 1983-1995

1983 – 1
Tour de France stage

1984 – 3
Tour of Romandy stage
Midi Libre stage
Tour de France stage

1985 – 1
Tour of Catalonia overall

1986 – 1
Vuelta a Espana stage

1987 – 2
Tour of the Mediterranean stage
Giro d’Italia stage

1989 – 4
Tour of Romandy stage
Dauphine Libere stage
Tour de France stage
Kellogg’s Tour of Britain overall

1990 – 2
Tour of Romandy stage
Dauphine Libere overall

1991 – 1
Tour of Switzerland stage

1995 – 1
National Championship road race

Black 1x600 rule line

12 SEAN YATES
14 professional wins, 1984-1994

1984 – 1
Four Days of Dunkirk prologue

1988 – 4
Paris-Nice stage
Vuelta a Espana stage
Midi Libre stage
Tour de France stage

1989 – 5
GP Eddy Merckx
Tour of Holland prologue
Two Tour of Belgium stages
Tour of Belgium overall

1991 – 2
Dauphine Libere stage
Nissan Classic stage

1992 – 1
National Championship road race

1994 – 1
USPro Champs

Black 1x600 rule line

13 BEN SWIFT
13 professional wins, 2009 to date

2009 – 1
Tour of Britain stage

2010 – 2
Tour de Picardie stage and overall

2011 – 5
Two Tour Down Under stages
Vuelta a Castilla y Leon stage
Tour de Romandie stage
Tour of California stage

2012 – 2
Two Tour of Poland stages

2014 – 3
Tour of the Basque Country stage
Settimana Coppi e Bartali stage 1a

14 = BRIAN ROBINSON
11 professional wins, 1954-1961

1954 – 1
Tour d’Europe stage

1957 – 2
GP Fortreuse
GP Nice

1958 – 2
Tour du Sud-Est stage
Tour de France stage

1959 – 1
Tour de France stage

1960 – 2
Tour de l’Aude stage
Midi Libre stage

1961 – 3
Dauphine Libere stage
Dauphine Libere overall
Monts d’Auvergne stage

Black 1x600 rule line

14 = ROGER HAMMOND
11 professional wins, 1996 to 2011

2000 - 2
Guldensporentweedaagse stage
GP Bodson

2002 - 2
GP Mei Prijs Hoboken
Tour Beneden-Maas

2003 - 3

Uniqa Classic Tour overall
Uniqa Classic stage
National Championship road race

2004 - 1
National Championship road race

2005 - 1
Tour of Britain stage

2006 - 1
Tour of Britain stage

2009 - 1
Tour of Qatar stage

Black 1x600 rule line

Related links
Cycling Weekly’s all-time ranking of British pro riders

  • KJ

    wiggins should now be in third place following his British TT win. I don’t see why the olympic TT doesn’t t count?

    • KJ

      Come on CW. You’ve updated for Cav at Poitou Charentes but still haven’t credited Wiggins for the British TT champs!

  • Dave

    Froome didn’t win the Tour of Turkey, Adam Yates did. Froome took Romandie though…

    • http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/ Simon R

      Thanks Dave, you’re quite right. We’ve updated the piece, should filter through in next 20 minutes or so.

  • Dave

    Isn’t it about time that Swifty gets credit for his two wins this year?

  • df

    shouldn’t chris froome be on this list now. he has 7 or 8 just this year.

  • stirlo

    That’s at least 9 now for Tiernan Locke, just this year. He won the Vuelta Ciclistia a Lyon in 2011 and the Ras in 2010. Those don’t appear on CW’s list of British pro wins in 2010 and 2011, but I’m not sure why not. Erick Rowsell was listed for his Tour de Normandie win which is as 2.2 like Tiernan-Locke’s 2010 and 2011 wins. So by my reckoning the little man has won 11 races already.

  • Stirlo

    Has Jonathan Tiernan-Locke not won 10 pro races? I think he’s won 8 this year and had at least a couple in prior years. I’m not talking about domestic events, but UCI classified events, mainly 2.2, but some 2.1s too.

  • JD

    Actually this just shows how long the Brits ignored cycling for a generation – Malcom Elliot’s distinguished career would be celebrated today. It’s a scandal how we ignored such talented athletes.

  • Harry C. Tenney

    Seems to me that you must not have any good professional female riders in your country as you don’t list any here.

    I believe that one of the commentators above made a very good point: Give the same coverage to your ladies there in the United Kingdom and you will see your sunscriptions grow.

    It’s beginning to show me why you British are not winning in many sports (tennis, cycling, football shooting, etc) anymore simply because everyone there is losing interest and it’s all male oriented.

    Get with the program and get creative or continue losing.

    A cyclist from El Paso, TX, USA

  • Tim

    Dear CW,

    Please can the women be listed too?

    May I suggest one ‘greatest’ list for the men (as above) and a separate ‘greatest’ list for the women, both being updated as and when wins occur.

    Thank you

  • dan price

    If Robert Millar hadn”t been “jobbed” in the 85 Vuelta, he would be number 1 no doubt. Simply as the winner of a grand tour. He won the polka dot jersey & Giro Green jersey. 3 times he was runner up in a grand tour! You can”t compare his wins to a sprinter, they don”t win as much, its far harder to win in the mountains! No other Brit has been on the podium 3 times in a grand tour. Tommy Simpson would be number 2.

  • Mike

    Typical of the Brit cycling fraternity.
    Cavendish, who incidentaly was informed early on, at at BC test day, that he would not make a pro cyclist as his “numbers” were not good enough, Is one of the worlds top cyclists.
    A multi Grand Tour stage winner and the only Englishman to ever win the Green jersey. He is still young in cycling terms but has already won the World road race championship and a one day monument, Milan San Remo.
    But stll there are those who want to bellitle what he has achieved.
    He has won more major pro races than any other British Male rider, end of story.
    Why not just enjoy and support a world class rider rather than looking for ways to knock him?

  • JD

    Robert Millar is hugely underrated but I’d still put him behind Cavendish – Cavendish not only has the most but they are of world-class quality – only Simpson comes close.

    Cav, Simpson and Robert Millar the the top three.

  • J Dunn

    Robert Millar was our best GC, Simpson the best all-rounder.

    But no British rider has ever dominated a discipline like Cavendish. The Tour de France even modified their 2011 course to take acount of him – that’s never happened before.

  • Lionel Birnie

    Jaybee, the Criterium du Dauphine is not a ‘criterium’.

    For the purposes of this article, the definition of a criterium is a short circuit race, often an exhibition race, which carries no UCI ranking points. In Belgium they are called ‘kermesses’.

    The Criterium du Dauphine is a major international stage race.

    Circuit races held on city centre circuits that form part of a UCI-ranked stage race (such as the London stage of the Tour of Britain) are counted.

    The distinction between which races are included and which are not is quite clear.

  • Jaybee

    You say that you have not considere criteriums; however, looking down the list I see a large number of crits have been included, culminating in Wiggins’ win at the Criterium (sic) de Dauphine. Worth revisiting your guidelines I think!

  • Tim

    CW, this is a great article and I’m a huge fan but please, please, please can the same be done for the women each time the list is published for the men? It would be great to compare titles and wins.

    I totally agree with the ladies views in last week’s issue (and those above) and thanks for publishing them by the way. Women should be given the same exposure as the men. I really cannot fathom why they don’t get decent regular and continual column inches in any press, yet we have some of the most successful women in the world.

    Nice to see more female journalists too, thanks.

    I just wish cycling in general would move away from promoting itself as male only / dominated.

    Thank you.

    PS: Tip; if CW and indeed the other IPC cycling mags covered women’s cycling to the same level as they do the men, that would be a huge selling point. Such a missed opportunity, I believe.

  • Matt Overton

    Angharad, as the piece says: Who is Britain’s greatest *male* professional road racer of all time? The article was prompted by Wiggins gaining pink.

  • anthony bowles

    Tommy Simpson won his world jersey by his go it alone tactics. Cippolini won with the backing of a very strong Italian team. I may be wrong but Cav will be lacking in both departments, but then again he has confounded most knowledgable critics.

  • val

    Robert – 4th on the UCI world rankings list as at 10.8.09. Cav has 304 points behind Roman Kreuziger 310, Andy Schleck 334, and Contador on 527. just search: ‘cycling world rankings 2009′ and you should find the UCI site.

  • Robert

    Now that he leads the British list, any idea where Cavendish comes in a world list of winners?

  • Lionel Birnie

    It’s a list of British male riders by the number of wins. Put very simply, Robert Millar is ninth because eight British riders achieved more race victories than him.

    This isn’t a subjective list. It’s a league table of pro wins.

    If you want to see CW’s British pro rider ranking go here: http://tinyurl.com/llvu3x

  • Angharad

    I agree with Robert Millar as the best of his day. But what about the highest ranked British rider now – Nicole Cooke, and Beryl Burton before her; or don’t women count? (Nothing new there then!)

    Angharad

  • Chris

    I know who’s palmares I’d rather have.To me Robert Millar is our greatest roadman,followed by Mark Cavendish.It doesn’t matter which way you try and dress it up.

  • lorry88

    You forgot to put down one thing that you also included in the count. Whether the rider in question is male. This is a boys only list. On another forum they are asking the question – is road cycling racist. Cycling Weekly please ditch your ideas on the sexes that hark from the Victorian age and grow up.

  • Charlie

    Can’t believe you could rate it like this, Robert Millar was the most consistently placed british rider in Grand Tours for years, including 2nd in the Giro and Vuelta and 4th in the Tour along with KOM in numerous races. The ONLY British rider to have won the KOM in the Tour at 9th place? Have a word…