I do enjoy a good chart or graphical display of information and was taken by these that were recently put up by the cyclingiq blog looking at rider nationalities in the world tour. Unsurprisingly what many would think of as the major cycling nations France, Italy, Spain, Holland and Belgium have the lions share but things are starting to change. Australia and Britain’s investment in cycling programmes geared originally to bringing in Olympic medals is profiting the road racing teams as riders move from the track into the pro team ranks. Kazakhstan’s state investment into the Astana team which acts as an advertising billboard for the country also sees them benefitting with enough riders to make it into the top 12 nations. What becomes apparent however when you look at the next 2 levels down below the world tour (pro-continental and continental) is that Belgium is clearly the king. Perhaps no surprise when they have produced riders as great as Eddy Merckx and last years world number 1 Phillipe Gilbert but mightily impressive for a country of roughly 11 million people.
click the diagrams for full size.