Cycling’s Grand Tours – the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España – are the sport’s three most prestigious races, and all take place over a three-week period with daily stages.
The races are contested each year by some of the best cyclists in the world, meaning winning a stage at a Grand Tour is never easy.
Unsurprisingly, Eddy Merckx tops the list for the most Grand Tour stage wins ever. The Belgian picked up a staggering 64 wins over the course of his career, adding to his unmatched 11 Grand Tour GC victories and countless other honors.
What makes Merckx’s record even more staggering is he won all 64 stages over the course of an eight-year period in the late 60s and early 70s. While other riders in the top-10 list for most Grand Tour stage wins have won overall events as well, Bernard Hinault is the only other rider ranked as an all-rounder.
As well as winning 41 stages to place him sixth on this list, Hinault triumphed overall in 10 Grand Tours.
Meanwhile, sprinters comprise the rest of the riders in the top-10, and it is Italian rider Mario Cipollini who has the second-most Grand Tour stage wins ever, with 57. Cipollini picked up his stage wins between 1989 and 2003, the majority of which came in the Giro d’Italia.
In fact, Cipollini’s 42 Giro stage wins is the most at the Italian Grand Tour in its history.
Delio Rodríguez has the most Vuelta a España stage wins, with all 39 of his Grand Tour stage wins coming at the Spanish race. The 1940s rider simply never competed at either of the other two races, but still comes in joint-seventh on this list.
Alfredo Binda and Learco Guerra are two other riders within the top-10 not to have won at all three Grand Tours. The Italian pair have both won a disproportionate amount of Giro d’Italia stages, with some Tour de France stage victories also on their palmares. However, neither rider won at the Vuelta a España during their careers.
In the Tour de France, Mark Cavendish is currently level on stage wins with Eddy Merckx, the pair both having secured 34 in their careers. Cavendish’s four wins in the 2021 edition moved him level with the Belgian former rider, but he still has potential to overtake that figure.
Of the top-10 riders with the most Grand Tour stage wins, Cavendish is the only active one. The Manxman won his first Grand Tour stage at the 2008 Giro d’Italia – since then, he has picked up 53 victories at the three prestigious races.
Who has the most Grand Tour stage wins?
1. Eddy Merckx (Bel) = 64 wins
(24 Giro d’Italia, 34 Tour de France, 6 Tour of Spain)
2. Mario Cipollini (Ita) = 57 wins
(42 Giro d’Italia, 12 Tour de France, 6 Tour of Spain)
3. Mark Cavendish (GBr) = 53 wins
(16 Giro d’Italia, 34 Tour de France, 3 Tour of Spain)
4. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) = 48 wins
(22 Giro d’Italia, 6 Tour de France, 20 Tour of Spain)
5. Alfredo Binda (Ita) = 43 wins
(41 Giro d’Italia, 2 Tour de France, 0 Tour of Spain)
6. Bernard Hinault (Fra) = 41 wins
(6 Giro d’Italia, 28 Tour de France, 7 Tour of Spain)
= 7. Delio Rodríguez (Esp) = 39 wins
(0 Giro d’Italia, 0 Tour de France, 39 Tour of Spain)
= 7. Learco Guerra (Ita) = 39 wins
(31 Giro d’Italia, 8 Tour de France, 0 Tour of Spain)
9. Rik Van Looy (Bel) = 37 wins
(12 Giro d’Italia, 7 Tour de France, 18 Tour of Spain)
10. Freddy Maertens (Bel) = 35 wins
(7 Giro d’Italia, 15 Tour de France, 13 Tour of Spain)