This week, we’re celebrating 7 iconic and successful female cyclists in cycling history. Competitive cycling is a tough tough sport and as spectators and even amateur racers, we often watch in awe the feats that professionals pull off on the international or professional stages. However, in an arguably historically male-dominated sport and industry, we may often overlook the feats pulled off by our women cyclists. The fact of the matter is, these feats pulled off by our incredibly talented professionals leave us mindblown every time.
1) Marianne Vos
Marianne Vos is one of the most successful female cyclists in the world, having won two Olympic gold medals and is a 3-time winner of the world championship road race. Marianne Vos has also won the UCI Women’s Road World Cup and has claimed the World Cyclocross Championship a whopping 7 times. She’s achieved all this by the age of 34 so we won’t be surprised if she claims a couple more medals. It’s safe to say watching a cyclist this successful may be a generational opportunity and we’re excited to see more from her.
2) Fabiana Luperini
Fabiana Luperini holds the record for winning the Giro D’Italia Femminile five times, in which 4 were consecutively won between the years 1995 to 1998. Fabiana Luperini has also won the Grande Boucle Feminine thrice consecutively from 1995 to 1997. This champion has also won the Tour de l’Aude in 1998 and the Meakumeen Bira in 2006. Truly phenomenal!
3) Jeannine Longo
Jeannine Longo was an unstoppable force when she was cycling competitively, having 1000 first place medals under her name. In a career spanning more than 20 years, she won 13 world titles in different disciplines, amongst which are four consecutive world championship road races in the late 80s. Longo then went on to win 3 consecutive titles in the Tour de France. Not only that, she didn’t retire until she was in her 50s. We’re only in our 30s and we definitely feel the effects of age.
4) Joane Somarriba
Joane Somarriba won the Grande Boucle thrice between the year 2000 and 2003. In 2003 when she won the Grande Boucle, she also clinched first place in the time trial 2003 World Championships in Hamilton, Canada. Before she announced her retirement in 2005, she ranked 1st overall in the Trophee d’Or Feminin and 2nd in both the Giro d’Italia Femminile and the World Championship Time Trial. What an incredible way to end an illustrious career!
5) Beryl Burton
Beryl Burton’s career spanned longer than some of us here have lived our lives. Having cycled competitively for 30 years, Beryl won 96 national titles in England. Beryl also won 25 CONSECUTIVE time trial championships as well as 7 world championships in the 1950s and 1960s. Beryl was also a wife and mother throughout her whole career. Imagine balancing these two very different worlds and both being naturally very demanding. Just imagine the dedication and discipline throughout at least 30 years. Truly inspirational.
6) Connie Carpenter-Phinney
Connie Carpenter-Phinney began her sporting journey as a speed skater. However, an ankle injury stopped her from pursuing speed skating professionally and competitively on the Olympics stage.
However, Connie wouldn’t give up that easily. Having done training on a bicycle during her skating off-season, she continued training and cycling and became very good at it. Connie won 12 national championships for road and track racing. She also clinched a runner-up medal in the 1977 world championship road race. In 1984, she finished 1st in the Olympics, narrowly beating Rebecca Twigg in a photo finish. Iconic.
7) Maria Canins
Maria Canins was a pro cyclist in the 80s who won 2 consecutive Grand Boucle championships in 1985 and 1986. She then continued to clinch the runner-up title in three consecutive years from 1987 to 1989. This stream of medals is only a few amongst the many other successes she won in her illustrious career.
These 7 cyclists are all inspirational and amazingly successful in their respective illustrious careers. We truly enjoyed reading up and doing research on these amazing women and the feats they’ve pulled off.
Hmm… We kinda feel that 7’s not enough. Amongst the many truly inspirational women cyclists, surely there should be at least a 10 women list. So we’re going to add 3 more women cyclists who’ve wow-ed us and this time, they’ll be from our own home, Singapore.
8) Shirley Teo
Shirley won the overall female title for Gran Fondo New York in Lombok, Indonesia when she finished the 165km route in 5 hours 53 minutes and 18 seconds. She has also competed in other disciplines as well, notably mountain biking. Currently a part of Matador Racing Team, Shirley continues to be a huge inspiration to women cyclists in Singapore.
9) Serene Lee
Serene Lee began her sporting career in basketball, having captained the Singaporean National Women’s youth team. She then moved on to play for the National Women’s Team in the 2007 SEA Games and the 2007 FIBA Asia Championship. After sustaining a number of sporting injuries, Serene took up cycling due to its low impact nature. Serene then moved in to represent Singapore in the women’s road race event in the 2010 UCI Road World Championships. She also represented Singapore in the 2011 and 2015 SEA Games, before becoming national champion in 2018.
10) Choo Ling Er
Choo Ling Er won the National Time Trial Championships in 2018 and clinched second in 2019. In 2018, she also placed 6th in the Asian Cycling Championships in the TT category and 10th in the 2018 Summer Asian Games, also in the TT category. She has also participated in the Ironman Kona World Championship six times and has won the 70.3 Asia Pacific AG Women’s Championship thrice. She also completed this…..
Compiling this list of amazing women athletes and cyclists was truly moving. However, we’d like to say that as people ourselves and as men, we all have our own heroes in our lives. The women who deserve to be celebrated first are our mothers, sisters, wives and partners, who have all faced and overcome obstacles in their lives as people, but more importantly as women. Being a woman comes with its own specific challenges and therefore being a woman in itself deserves to be celebrated. And with that, we wish everyone a Happy International Women’s Day!