Even if you are not a cycling fan then you have surely heard about Tour de France.
And most likely you know who Lance Armstrong is. If you are not familiar with cycling then he may be one of the only professional cyclists that you recognize by name.
But Lance Armstrong is not the only professional cyclist.
Here is a list and some photos of 10 other professional road cyclists who are super awesome, and they definitely need to be recognized for their pure cycling talent.
1. Yukiya ArashiroCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ichihara-hanpu/3884393894/in/photostream/
Yukiya Arashiro is a Japanese cyclist who first rode in the Tour De France in 2009. Until 2009 no Citizen of Japan had ever completed the Tour De France. In 2009 Yukiya Arashiro and Fumiyuki Beppu both completed the entire Tour De France becoming the first Japanese Citizens to ever accomplish that. Although bicycles are extremely common in Japan, there are only 4 professional Japanese cyclists. In Japan riding a bicycle is simply a way of life and not necessarily a sport. Because of the impact the Arashiro and Beppu have had you can expect more talented Japanese cyclists in the future.
2. Stef ClementCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dnet/3862575635/
Many casual cycling fans have never heard of Stef Clement. He has not yet ridden in a Tour De France but he is very talented. He specializes in time trials and holds the title as the Netherlands best time trial racer. He is a specialist, and unlike other riders such as Lance Armstrong Stef Clement is not the best all-around cyclist; however when it comes to time trials he is simply hard to beat. As je expands his racing skills look for him to race in many more high profile road cycling events including possible even a Tour De France time trail stage.
3. Niki TerpstraCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dnet/3862573629/in/photostream/
Dutch cyclist Niki Terpstra has been racing professionally since the early 2,000s. Although he is a very talented rider he is often overlooked by casual race fans. He is not at the level that Lance Armstrong once was, but in a head to head race today he would be the favorite to be Lance in a shorter race. Niki Terpstra specializes in events that are 3 days or less in length. His downfall is that he is not yet ready for longer races, and he may never reach that level. He is however great at what he does and should become even more successful before his career is over with.
4. David MillarCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smudge9000/766716531/
David Millar has won numerous race stages including 3 stages at the tour De France. As with many cyclists David Millar has had previous trouble with doping. He was even suspended for a year from the sport of cycling yet he has come back drug free and continues to raise eyebrows. Look for David Millar to win a few more stages before he finally retires for good from competitive cycling.
5. Alberto ContadorCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/murphyr/1408952119/
I am constantly amazed at non-cycling fans who do not know who Alberto Contador is. He is the second most famous cyclist behind Lance Armstrong. All cycling fans know who Alberto Contador and it is amazing that he does not have as much recognition as Armstrong does to non-cycling fans. Alberto Contador has won the 2007 and the 2010 Tour De France; however the 2010 Tour De France title was stripped from him because of doping. (Oh, now you non-cycle racing people know who I am talking about!)
Even without doping Alberto Contador would have gone down as one of the greatest cyclists ever.
6. Carlos SastreCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/celso/2709971356/
Carlos Sastre was the 2008 Tour De France winner. Carlos Sastre is now retired yet he had an amazing professional cycling career. The picture above is of Carlos Sastre wearing the yellow jersey during the 2008 Tour De France.
7. Mark Cavendish
I know of no cycling fan that does not know who the amazing sprinter Mark Cavendish is. If you are not a cycling fan then you need to head to YouTube and watch some videos of him sprinting on his bicycle. This dude is truly amazing and he could easily get you hooked to the sport of professional cycling.
8. Kjell CarlstromCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/colinedwards/197406274/
Kjell Carlstrom is a very talented cyclist who is now retired. He never won a Tour De France stage but he did place second in a stage at the Tour De France. Kjell Carlstrom cycled in 3 Tour De Frances. His contract with his team was not extended and he could not find another team to sign him so he was forced to retire from competitive cycle racing. Although he may no longer be racing on the World Stage, you can still expect to see him racing in Finland.
9. Jimmy CasperCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/colinedwards/197400519/in/photostream/
In 2011 Jimmy Casper won the Grand Prix de Denain cycling race. That’s pretty good for a guy that was born in 1978. Jimmy Casper is aging but expect for him to win some more stages this year at various cycling events throughout the World. Jimmy Casper is one of the cyclists that make the sport a lot of fun to watch.
10. Obese CyclistCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kyknoord/419776838/
The obese cyclist is able to represent what the sport of cycling is truly about. A man or woman is sitting at home on the couch eating and in danger of having a heart attack at any minute because of their obesity. The Tour de France or another cycling race comes on television and the begin watching it because they are too damned lazy to get off the couch to grab the remote.
A little bit later the overweight person jumps off the couch to grab the remote. They are not planning on switching the television channel but instead turning the volume up. They have begun to get interested in watching cycling as a sport. The addiction grows from here.
Now the fat dude is remembering how much he liked riding his bicycle as a child. He has a sudden urge to go bike riding. Initially he his leery because he knows people will laugh at a fat dude on a bicycle. He finally overcomes all hesitations and jumps into the world of cycling.
His goals are not to become a famous cyclist racing in the Tour de France. His goals are much more modest. He wants to lose weight so he can live longer. His other goal is purely selfish. This is the goal of him simply wanting to ride a bicycle because it is so much fun.
GO ahead and laugh at the guys that look like this on a bicycle, because in a few years you will not recognize them. These former fat people will have lost a lot of weight and be much healthier than you. In a few years these overweight people will be skinny and laughing at you. Unless of course…you start riding bicycles yourself.
Be inspired by illustrations of sport cycling
Decorate your walls with photos of vintage bikes or a cool Tour de France road cyclist. There are many cyclist posters and prints for sale on the Internet. Tour de France Posters sells the best looking Tour Posters, but also a collection of other cycling posters.
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