Tour de France All-Time Top 25 Riders (No. 15-11)
Typically I would have worked my way through the winners to get the middle of this countdown, and then of course riders like Erik Zabel who won 6 straight Green jerseys would fall in this range above one or two time Yellow jersey winners.
I even reworked the numbers giving lesser jerseys (not lesser if you are as sprinter of course) a little more value and Zabel moved up and riders like the top of our list moved even further clear of the pack...and three time winner Alberto Contador would drop back to 26 or 27 and out of the top 25.
I will give a rundown after the 25 are revealed with a couple different formulas and how it changes the list in a pretty drastic way.
But for now we will continue on course and with a tip of the hat to Erik, he is our cover boy today.
14 T. Lousion Bobet
Louison Bobet did not start out a grand tour rider in the class of Coppi, or Bartali, but he did what no one up to his time had accomplished.
He won three straight from 1953-1955.
The last of these left him with boils that had to be operated on, and he was never again to win the Tour.
Like Armstrong nearly 50 years later, his first win was seen as a "Tour without Stars" and his victory was, therefore, discounted as such.
After another two wins, he had cemented his place in Tour lore and has a rightful place in the top 15 of this list.
14 T. Philippe Thys
Philippe Thys, like Bartali after him, had his era cut short by a World War.
Thys was up until Bobet's 1955 win, the only three time-winner of the Tour.
Tour founder Henri Desgrange said after his third win:
"France is not unaware that, without the war, the crack rider from Anderlecht would be celebrating not his third Tour, but his fifth or sixth".
One can only wonder how many victories Thys would have earned were it not for WWI...
Thys will be one of the riders in a future Speculative History list of great riders, along with LeMond, Fignon, and François Faber could have been far higher on this list. How many wins would these and others have had were it not for injuries, war, and directors decisions?
13. Gustave Garrigou
Yet another rider who could have won more if not for team dynamics.
Gustave Garrigou only managed one win at the Tour, but his six podiums are the most of his era. Of 117 stages, he won eight, finished in 65 times in the top five, and came in among the first ten 96 times.
Garrigon rode as a teammate to three Tour winners, as well as his one win, three seconds, and two third place finishes.
In eight Tours, Garrigon never finished worse than fifth.
11 T. Frederico Bahamontes
This is one of those picks, that shows how important it is to not only win a tour or three, but finish on the podium and score wins outside of the GC for this formula.
Before Virenque it was Frederico Bahamontes that owned the Polka Dot Jersey, but unlike Richard, he won a Tour and that gave him 1 extra podium and a big point boost for his one win.
Surprising as this one is, don't expect the rest to be any less outside the box.
11 T. Andre Leducq
André Leducq won twice in '30 and '32. This in itself is a pretty fantastic accomplishment, but his 24 stage victories from 1927-35 are what set him apart from other two-time winners.