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The Most Famous

CYCLISTS from Netherlands

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This page contains a list of the greatest Dutch Cyclists. The pantheon dataset contains 1,214 Cyclists, 81 of which were born in Netherlands. This makes Netherlands the birth place of the 6th most number of Cyclists behind Belgium and Germany.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Dutch Cyclists of all time. This list of famous Dutch Cyclists is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Dutch Cyclists.

Photo of Joop Zoetemelk

1. Joop Zoetemelk (1946 - )

With an HPI of 56.15, Joop Zoetemelk is the most famous Dutch Cyclist.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages on wikipedia.

Hendrik Gerardus Joseph "Joop" Zoetemelk (pronounced [ˈjoːp ˈsutəmɛl(ə)k]; born 3 December 1946) is a Dutch former professional racing cyclist. He started and finished the Tour de France 16 times, which were both records when he retired. He also holds the distance record in Tour de France history with 62,885 km ridden. He won the 1979 Vuelta a España and the 1980 Tour de France. He finished the Tour in 8th, 5th, 4th (three times) and 2nd (six times) for a total of eleven top 5 finishes which is also a record. He was the first rider to wear the Tour de France's polka dot jersey as the King of the Mountains and even though he never won this classification in the Tour de France, he did win it in the 1971 Vuelta a España and was considered one of the best climbers of his generation. If not for a ten minute time penalty for a doping infraction in 1977, he would have finished in the top 5 in each of the first 12 Tours he entered. He won the World Professional Road Championship in 1985 at the age of 38, with a late attack surprising the favorites of LeMond, Roche, Argentin and Millar. He completed a total of 16 World Championships which is notable considering more than half the field abandons nearly every World Championship and in addition to his win he has come in the top 10 seven other times. As of 2020, he is the oldest men's individual road race world champion.His record number of starts in the Tour de France was surpassed when George Hincapie started for the 17th time, but Hincapie was disqualified from three tours in October 2012, for doping offenses, giving the number of starts record back to Zoetemelk. Nobody other than Zoetemelk achieved sixteen Tour de France finishes until Sylvain Chavanel did so in the 2018 Tour de France. Currently, three riders have had more than 16 starts in the Tour de France, but no one has yet exceeded the record of finishing the event 16 times. He retired from the sport to run a hotel at Meaux, France.

Photo of Jan Janssen

2. Jan Janssen (1940 - )

With an HPI of 55.39, Jan Janssen is the 2nd most famous Dutch Cyclist.  His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

Johannes Adrianus "Jan" Janssen (born 19 May 1940) is a Dutch former professional cyclist (1962–1972). He was world champion and winner of the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, the first Dutch rider to win either. He rode the Tour de France eight times and finished all but the first time. He won seven stages and wore the yellow jersey for two days (after stage 16 in 1966 and after stage 22B in 1968). He was easily spotted in the peloton because of his blond hair and his glasses. As of the death of Federico Bahamontes in August 2023, he is the oldest surviving winner of the Tour de France.

Photo of Hennie Kuiper

3. Hennie Kuiper (1949 - )

With an HPI of 49.95, Hennie Kuiper is the 3rd most famous Dutch Cyclist.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Hendrikus Andreas "Hennie" Kuiper (born 3 February 1949) is a Dutch former professional road racing cyclist. His career includes a gold medal in the Olympic road race at Munich in 1972, becoming world professional road race champion in 1975, as well as winning four of the five "Monument" classics. He rode the Tour de France 12 times, finishing second twice and winning the stage to Alpe d'Huez on two occasions. Kuiper, Ercole Baldini and Paolo Bettini are the only riders to have won both the Olympic road race and the world professional road race.

Photo of Adri van der Poel

4. Adri van der Poel (1959 - )

With an HPI of 48.47, Adri van der Poel is the 4th most famous Dutch Cyclist.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Adri van der Poel (born 17 June 1959) is a retired Dutch cyclist. Van der Poel was a professional from 1981 to 2000. His biggest wins included six classics, two stages of the Tour de France and the World Cyclo-Cross Championships in 1996. He also obtained the second place and silver medal in the World Road Championships in 1983 behind Greg LeMond and five second places in the World Cyclo-Cross championships. The Grand Prix Adrie van der Poel is named after him.

Photo of Arie den Hartog

5. Arie den Hartog (1941 - 2018)

With an HPI of 48.16, Arie den Hartog is the 5th most famous Dutch Cyclist.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Arie den Hartog (23 April 1941 – 7 June 2018) was a Dutch road bicycle racer. Den Hartog won the Milan–San Remo Classic in 1965, as well as the Amstel Gold Race in 1967.

Photo of Jan Raas

6. Jan Raas (1952 - )

With an HPI of 47.44, Jan Raas is the 6th most famous Dutch Cyclist.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Jan Raas (born 8 November 1952) is a Dutch former professional cyclist whose 115 wins include the 1979 World Road Race Championship in Valkenburg, he also won the Tour of Flanders in 1979 and 1983, Paris–Roubaix in 1982 and Milan–San Remo in 1977. He won ten stages in the Tour de France. In six starts, Raas won the Amstel Gold Race five times. In his entire career he competed in 23 of the highly contested "Monument" Races and he finished on the podium in almost half of them: 1st place four times and 3rd place six times. Raas was a tactician and clever sprinter. He struggled on the long steep climbs but excelled on the short climbs characteristic of the northern classics.

Photo of Peter Post

7. Peter Post (1933 - 2011)

With an HPI of 47.16, Peter Post is the 7th most famous Dutch Cyclist.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Peter Post (12 November 1933 – 14 January 2011) was a Dutch professional cyclist whose career lasted from 1956 to 1972. Post competed in road and track racing. As a rider he is best remembered for Six-day racing, having competed in 155 races and won 65. Because of this success he was known as “De Keizer van de Zesdaagse” or “The Emperor of the Six Days”. In road racing his main achievements were winning the 1964 Paris–Roubaix and becoming national road race champion in 1963. He was on the podium three times at the La Flèche Wallonne but never won. Post’s other nickname was “de Lange” or “Big Man” because he was tall for a cyclist. After retiring from racing he had success as a Directeur sportif. Peter Post died in Amstelveen on 14 January 2011.

Photo of Gerrit Voorting

8. Gerrit Voorting (1923 - 2015)

With an HPI of 47.08, Gerrit Voorting is the 8th most famous Dutch Cyclist.  Her biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Gerardus "Gerrit" Petrus Voorting (18 January 1923 – 30 January 2015) was a Dutch road cyclist who was active between 1947 and 1960. As an amateur he won the silver medal in the individual road race at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. In his professional career Voorting won two Tour de France stages and wore the yellow jersey for 4 days. Voorting died on 30 January 2015 in his home in Heemskerk at the age of 92, within a week of two other members of the Dutch men's team pursuit squad, Henk Faanhof and Joop Harmans. He was the elder brother of Olympic cyclist Adrie Voorting.

Photo of Gerben Karstens

9. Gerben Karstens (1942 - 2022)

With an HPI of 46.89, Gerben Karstens is the 9th most famous Dutch Cyclist.  Her biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Gerben Karstens (14 January 1942 – 8 October 2022) was a Dutch professional racing cyclist, who won the gold medal in the 100 km team trial at the 1964 Summer Olympics, alongside Bart Zoet, Evert Dolman, and Jan Pieterse. At the same Olympics he finished 27th in the individual road race. Karstens ranks 6th in all-time stage wins in Vuelta a España history.

Photo of Gerrie Knetemann

10. Gerrie Knetemann (1951 - 2004)

With an HPI of 45.63, Gerrie Knetemann is the 10th most famous Dutch Cyclist.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Gerard Friedrich "Gerrie" Knetemann (6 March 1951 in Amsterdam – 2 November 2004 in Bergen, North Holland) was a Dutch road bicycle racer who won the 1978 World Championship. He wore the Yellow Jersey early in each Tour de France for four consecutive years between 1977 and 1980. A four-time winner of the Ronde van Nederland, he also rode the Tour de France 11 times between 1974 and 1987, winning 10 stages, a Dutch record equalled only by Jan Raas and Joop Zoetemelk. Knetemann won 127 races as a professional. Knetemann maintained an Amsterdam accent and a sharp sense of humour that made him a favourite with reporters and earned him television and radio appearances. His best year in the Tour de France was 1978, when he led from the sixth stage. Although he lost the leader's yellow jersey two days later, he won the stage into Lausanne and then the final stage on the Champs Elysées in Paris. Together with Raas and his TI-Raleigh teammates Knetemann played a pivotal role in the victory of Zoetemelk in the 1980 Tour de France, one of the most dominating team performances in Tour de France history in which the team won twelve stages. His career dwindled after a crash in Dwars door België in Belgium in March 1983. Recovery took months and, although he did again ride the Tour de France, there was not much left of the once sparkling star. Knetemann did however win the Amstel Gold Race in 1985. He retired from racing in 1991 and became Dutch team selector. Knetemann died while riding his bike. He collapsed from a heart attack with friends in Bergen. His wife, Gre Donker, was also a racing cyclist. They had a son and two daughters. Their daughter Roxane, born in 1987, was a professional cyclist as well.

Pantheon has 81 people classified as cyclists born between 1903 and 1997. Of these 81, 73 (90.12%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living cyclists include Joop Zoetemelk, Jan Janssen, and Hennie Kuiper. The most famous deceased cyclists include Arie den Hartog, Peter Post, and Gerrit Voorting. As of April 2022, 9 new cyclists have been added to Pantheon including Lucinda Brand, Taco van der Hoorn, and Boy van Poppel.

Living Cyclists

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Deceased Cyclists

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Newly Added Cyclists (2022)

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Which Cyclists were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 7 most globally memorable Cyclists since 1700.