Which cyclist is more valuable: the Tour de France victor or the world champion? For decades, fans and media alike have argued over questions of this nature. Unlike mainstream American sports, pro cycling does not award a Most Valuable Player prize to its greatest champions. Instead, that title has been determined by debates on the group ride, or at the pub.
In our annual Season Preview issue of VeloNews magazine, we were determined to rank the top 50 riders, male and female, based on their perceived value. We created a methodology that took into account race results, marketability, social following, teamwork, and other qualities. We then reached out to a group of experts to help us vote. We kept them anonymous to prevent personal relationships from swaying their votes. Our group of mystery voters included agents, team directors, Olympic champions, and even a grand tour winner or two. Their votes helped inform our final list, which was chosen by the VeloNews editorial team.
Did we get it right? It is up for debate — and that’s the point. Here are the pro women we ranked 11th-15th. Stay tuned for the rest of the rankings, and be sure to check out riders 16-20 and riders 21-25.
15. Chloe Hosking (Ale-Cipollini)
The Australian sprinter is still basking in her results from 2016; that year Hosking won the Tour of Chongming Island Women’s WorldTour event as well as La Course by Le Tour de France. After a 2017 season without a major win, Hosking rides into 2018 looking to grab sprint victories. She’s off to a good start, with one stage win at the Tour Down Under.
14. Lisa Brennauer (Wiggle-High5)
Lifetime results boost Bennauer’s value on this list. The German is a five-time stage winner at her home country’s Thüringen Rundfahrt and a victor of the Boels Rental Ladies Tour and Aviva Women’s Tour. She is a constant threat at the time trial: 2014 world champion, bronze medalist in 2015, and member of three world team time trial championship squads.
13. Ellen van Dijk (Sunweb)
Van Dijk excels in tough one-day races, classics, and stage races, and is one of the world’s best time trialists. She has been a member of three world champion team time trial squads. She won the individual TT world title in 2013. Her most notable performances are wins in the Tour of Flanders and three GC wins at the Healthy Aging Tour. To top it off, she is a devoted teammate.
12. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans)
Guarnier’s 2017 campaign was a bit quieter than expected, but riding for Boels-Dolmans can sometimes mean watching your teammates win races you might have won yourself. In any case, she has enjoyed plenty of international recognition as one of the top riders of the past few seasons, winning the inaugural Women’s WorldTour and multiple U.S. national titles.
11. Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo-Bigla)
Lepistö rode to the biggest win of her career at Gent-Wevelgem in 2017 and followed it up with another WorldTour victory at the Crescent Vargada one-day race. She has been a constant contender for years with a well-balanced skill set that makes her a threat all season long.