Chasing the Yellow Jersey: The Legends of Tour de France

In this exploration, we delve into the inspiring stories of these cycling titans who have left an indelible mark on the Tour de France, showcasing their triumphs and the obstacles they conquered on their way to the iconic yellow jersey

1. Jacques Anquetil - The Maître

Years of Victory: 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964

Total Stage Wins: 16

Jacques Anquetil's journey to the yellow jersey was marked by moments of elegance and strategic brilliance. His victory in 1957, making him the first rider to win the Tour five times, was a moment of historic significance. The 1963 Tour saw him assert his dominance with an unprecedented display of time trial mastery. His ability to manage his efforts and calculate risks earned him the nickname "The Maître," the master.

2. Eddy Merckx - The Cannibal

Years of Victory: 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974

Total Stage Wins: 34

Eddy Merckx's legend was forged in moments that remain etched in Tour history. In his debut victory in 1969, he won with a 17-minute lead and claimed the points classification and King of the Mountains titles—an unmatched feat. The 1974 Tour showcased his dominance with 8 out of 10 stage wins, underlining his versatility. A defining rivalry emerged in 1971 with Luis Ocaña, culminating in a legendary mountain duel where Merckx's tenacity prevailed.

Eddy Merckx - Tour de France 1972
Eddy Merckx - Tour de France 1972

3. Bernard Hinault - The Badger

Years of Victory: 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985

Total Stage Wins: 28

Bernard Hinault's legacy was marked by awe-inspiring moments of triumph. In the 1980 Tour, the Alpe d'Huez time trial displayed his resilience as he surged to victory with a fractured nose, securing his second title. His "5-5-5" strategy in 1985—winning five stages, claiming a fifth yellow jersey, and achieving his fifth Tour victory—showcased his strategic brilliance. His unyielding nature was evident in his fierce battles against competitors, defining his nickname "The Badger."

July 1978, Paris, France - Hinault celebrates with spectators after winning the 65th Tour de France
July 1978, Paris, France - Hinault celebrates with spectators after winning the 65th Tour de France

4. Miguel Indurain - The Big Mig

Years of Victory: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995

Total Stage Wins: 12

Miguel Indurain's moments of greatness were marked by his unwavering composure and unparalleled time trial skills. The 1992 Tour featured his stunning stage 9 time trial victory, where he demolished the competition and seized the yellow jersey, setting the tone for his consecutive victories. His mastery on the mountains came to light in 1995, when he triumphed on the grueling ascent of Hautacam, solidifying his nickname "The Big Mig" and confirming his dominance in both the race against the clock and the mountains.

Miguel Indurain at the Tour de France 1990
Miguel Indurain at the Tour de France 1990

5. Chris Froome - Master of the Mountains

Years of Victory: 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017

Total Stage Wins: 8

Chris Froome's modern legend is woven with moments of brilliance. His defining moment came in the 2013 Tour on Mont Ventoux, where he attacked to victory and the yellow jersey. The 2015 uphill assault on La Pierre-Saint-Martin underscored his climbing prowess. His 2016 stage 19 time trial win post-crash was a testament to his unwavering spirit. Froome's return from injury and subsequent victories epitomize his modern-day greatness.


The legends of the Tour de France have indelibly shaped its history, each contributing a unique chapter. Jacques Anquetil introduced calculated finesse, Eddy Merckx redefined versatility, Bernard Hinault exemplified tactical prowess, Miguel Indurain showcased controlled power, and Chris Froome modernized technique. Through iconic moments and unwavering spirit, these legends have left an enduring legacy that continues to inspire cyclists to redefine limits and etch their own mark on the storied canvas of the Tour de France.