Who Has the Most Tour de France Appearances?

By : Mr Mamil
Updated :

For many professional cyclists, being picked by their trade team to race the Tour de France is a massive career milestone. Completing the three-week stage race in itself is a massive achievement, even for the last-placed rider, the lanterne rouge,

The stressful physical demands and risky nature of racing don’t allow a long career in professional cycling. The average career length of professional cyclists is around 10 to 12 years. Many cyclists start their professional careers in their early 20s and end before their mid 30’s.

There are exceptions such as Alejandro Valverde who is in his 21st year of professional cycling in 2022, and Chris Horner who did 23 years as a professional cyclist before retiring in 2019.

When it comes to racing and competing in the Tour de France, there are nine cyclists throughout history that competed and finished in 15 or more editions.

French cyclist, Sylvain Chavanel has the most Tour de France appearances with 18.

French cyclist, Sylvain Chavanel has the most Tour de France appearances with 18. He rode in consecutive years from 2001 to 2018 and finished 16 of them with the exception of 2007 and 2012.

Behind  Sylvain Chavanel, there are three cyclists who were active from the mid-90s to mid-2010s that rode the Tour de France 17 times.

  • Stuart O’Grady rode from 1997 to 2013, and finished 15 times, except in 2000 and 2007.
  • Jens Voigt rode from 1998 to 2014, and finished 14 times, except in 2003, 2005, and 2009.
  • George Hincapie rode from 1996 to 2012, and finished 13 times, except in 1996, 2004, 2005, and 2006.

The only active riders who have more than 10 Tour de France appearances are Alejandro Valverde (14 started, 10 finished) and Mark Cavendish (13 started, 7 finished). Both are also former World Road Race Champions.

Mark Cavendish holds the joint record for the most Tour de France stage wins with Eddy Merckx at 34 wins.

RiderStartsFinishes
Sylvain Chavanel18 (2001 to 2018)16 (2001 to 2006, 2008 to 2011, 2013 to 2018)
Stuart O’Grady17 (1997 to 2013)15 (1997 to 1999, 2001 to 2006, 2008 to 2013)
Jens Voigt17 (1998 to 2014)14 (1998 to 2002, 2004, 2006 to 2008, 2010 to 2014)
George Hincapie17 (1996 to 2012)13 (1997 to 2003, 2007 to 2012)[n 1]
Joop Zoetemelk16 (1970 to 1973, 1975 to 1986)16 (1970 to 1973, 1975 to 1986)
Haimar Zubeldia16 (2001 to 2009, 2011 to 2017)15 (2001 to 2003, 2005 to 2009, 2011 to 2017)
Lucien Van Impe15 (1969 to 1981, 1983, 1985)15 (1969 to 1981, 1983, 1985)
Viatcheslav Ekimov15 (1990 to 1998, 2000 to 2004, 2006)15 (1990 to 1998, 2000 to 2004, 2006)
Thomas Voeckler15 (2003 to 2017)15 (2003 to 2017)
Guy Nulens15 (1980 to 1994)13 (1981 to 1982, 1984 to 1994)
Christophe Moreau15 (1996 to 2010)11 (1996 to 1997, 1999 to 2000, 2003 to 2007, 2009 to 2010)
André Darrigade14 (1953 to 1966)13 (1953 to 1962, 1964 to 1966)
Erik Zabel14 (1994 to 2004, 2006 to 2008)13 (1995 to 2004, 2006 to 2008)
Sean Kelly14 (1978 to 1985, 1987 to 1992)12 (1978 to 1985, 1988 to 1990, 1992)
Raymond Poulidor14 (1962 to 1976)11 (1962 to 1965, 1967, 1969 to 1972, 1974 to 1976)
Alejandro Valverde14 (2005 to 2008, 2012 to 2021)10 (2007 to 2008, 2012 to 2016, 2018 to 2020)
Jules Deloffre14 (1908 to 1914, 1920 to 1928)7 (1909 to 1914, 1921)
Jérôme Pineau13 (2002 to 2014)13 (2002 to 2014)
Jean Dotto13 (1951 to 1963)10 (1951 to 1952, 1954, 1956 to 1957, 1959 to 1963)
Jean-Pierre Genet13 (1964 to 1976)10 (1964 to 1965, 1967 to 1971, 1973 to 1974, 1976)
Phil Anderson13 (1981 to 1988, 1989 to 1994)13 (1981 to 1988, 1989 to 1994)
Joaquim Agostinho13 (1969 to 1975, 1977 to 1981, 1983)12 (1969 to 1975, 1977 to 1980, 1983)
Gerrie Knetemann13 (1974 to 1982, 1984, 1986 to 1988)11 (1974 to 1975, 1977 to 1982, 1984, 1986 to 1987)
Henk Lubberding13 (1977 to 1989)11 (1977 to 1985, 1987, 1989)
Lance Armstrong13 (1993 to 1996, 1999 to 2005, 2009 to 2010)10 (1995, 1999 to 2005, 2009 to 2010)
François Mahé13 (1953 to 1965)9 (1953 to 1955, 1957, 1959 to 1960, 1962 to 1963, 1965)
Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle13 (1979 to 1983, 1985 to 1988, 1990 to 1993)9 (1979, 1981 to 1983, 1985, 1987 to 1988, 1990 to 1991)
Marc Wauters13 (1992 to 1997, 1999 to 2005)8 (1993 to 1994, 1996, 2000, 2002 to 2005)
Didier Rous13 (1994 to 2006)7 (1995, 1997, 2000 to 2001, 2003, 2005 to 2006)
Mark Cavendish13 (2007 to 2018, 2021)7 (2009 to 2013, 2015, 2021)