Having a successful cyclist as a father can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, genetically you ought to be at an advantage when it comes to activities of a two-wheeled kind.
On the other, if your pa was particularly prosperous, his surname is always going to come with certain expectations and pressure. Ones that those around you in the junior ranks aren’t going to be bothered by. Most grow into it, however, and are able to make the name their own.
As Father’s Day approaches we take a look at a few of those sons and daughters who have chosen to follow in their famous fathers’ footsteps, and offer a few suggestions as to what to buy for your own cycling-obsessed pop.
(Okay, so we’re cheating with the first photo. At 6 years-old Delilah isn’t quite race-ready, but a few years down the line… And doesn’t Cavendish look cute?)
Davis and Taylor Phinney
Taylor might be one of the most popular players in the peloton but he has a little way to go to match his dad’s achievements on the bike. One Tour de France stage win would be enough for most people. Phinney the elder took two. He was also a member of the 7-Eleven squad that helped Andy Hampsten to the Giro d’Italia title in 1988.
Taylor’s career was interrupted by injuries sustained in an horrific accident at the US national road race championships in 2014. After more than a year away from racing he returned in late 2015 and was a member of the BMC team which won the team time trial World Championship that season. He currently rides for Team EF Education First.
Giovanni, Ariana and Martina Fidanza
It’s a family affair at Eurotarget-Bianchi-Vitasana, a newly formed Italian team which opened its account at this season’s Strade Bianche. The Bergamo-based outfit is managed by Giovanni Fidanza, a former pro who won stages of the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, as well as the Giro’s points jersey.
Giovanni’s daughter Ariana, 23, joined the team after two seasons with Astana. Her younger sister Martina makes her first professional start in one of the biggest race’s on the women’s calendar, the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile.
Maurice and Germain Burton
Maurice Burton is a luminary of the old Six Day racing scene, competing in 56 events in the 1970s and 80s. He was the first black British senior cycling champion and rode for England in the 1974 Commonwealth Games. When Six Day racing returned to London in 2015, Maurice’s son Germain was among the riders slinging their way around the boards. Burton senior spent the week in the cabins, serving as soigneur.
To his father’s chagrin Germain left the British Olympic Development programme in 2016, before returning to cycling in 2017. At the end of last year, British Continental team JLT Condor announced that they had secured his signature for the 2018 season.
Gerrie and Roxane Kneteman
The 50th best rider of all time (according to Pro Cycling Stats), Gerrie Kneteman had a palmarès that most would be envious of. Over the course of a fifteen year career, the Dutchman -who died in 2004- racked up ten stages of the Tour de France, two Amstel Golds and the road race rainbows in 1978.
He also claimed the overall victory in Paris-Nice the same year.
In 2011, a little bit of history repeated when his daughter briefly rode for a team sponsored by the same power tools company, Skil, that also sponsored one of her father’s teams. Roxane signed for Italy’s Alé-Cipollini in 2018 and is due to take part in the Giro Rosa in July.
Roche senior arrived among the greats when, in 1987, he became the first rider since 1974 to win cycling’s triple crown – two Grand Tours and the World Championships in the same season. While others have come close only two have managed to achieve that feat (the other one can also be found in this list.)
Nicolas, who currently plies his trade for BMC, has raced in the colours of a host of top tier teams including AG2R, Tinkoff-Saxo and Sky. To date he has completed 18 Grand Tours, taking two stages of the Vuelta and twice finishing in the top ten along the way.
Erik and Rik Zabel
With a palmarès that includes twelve Tour de France stages, four victories in Milan-Sanremo and two World Championships, Erik is one of the most decorated riders of his generation. His son Rick is one of Katusha-Alpecin’s up-and-coming young guns.
As well as being a reliable lead-out man for Marcel Kittel, Zabel Jr stars alongside his fellow countryman in the commercial for the team’s title shampoo sponsor.
If ever you wanted evidence of the difference biology can make, you need look no further than the Van der Poel family. The clan’s current rock star is Mathieu, the cyclo-cross supremo who dominated last season. Despite being favourite for the win, he was bested in the World Championships by great rival, Wout van Aert. Although Mathieu could easily make a move to the top echelons of the road side of the sport (he recently won the Ronde van Limburg, pipping Nacer Bouhanni in the sprint finish), he’s believed to be holding off until after the Tokyo Olympics, so he can compete in the mountain bike competition.
When he does make the jump, he will do well to achieve half of what his father managed: over two decades Adrie won a couple of Tour stages and most of the big one-day races (including two Monuments). Guaranteeing a full set of good genes to pass down – though we’re not suggesting he married her for this reason – Adrie’s wife is the daughter of the great Raymond Poulidor.
Eddy and Axel Merckx
Axel enjoyed a creditable career as a professional. Highlights included a tenth place GC finish in the 1998 Tour de France, a stage win at the Giro d’Italia and a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympic road race.
After retiring to North America in 2007 he launched his own cycling team – then called Trek-Livestrong, now Hagens Berman Axeon – which has developed a reputation as one of the best development sides around. Alumni include Taylor Phinney, Alex Dowsett, George Bennett and Jasper Stuyven. Axel’s dad also won a few races back in the day.