In the history of sports in the Grand Duchy, there is one iconic figure who is famous and admired all over the world: the cyclist Charly Gaul (1932-2005), winner of the Tour de France in 1958, winner of the Giro d'Italia in 1956 and 1959, and also the winner of ten stages in the 'Grand Boucle', the Tour de France.
It is indeed cyclists who have written the best pages of the Grand Duchy's sports history. Three other Luxembourgers have also won the Tour de France: François Faber (1887-1915), the first non-French competitor to win the race, in 1909, Nicolas Frantz (1899-1985), winner in 1927 and 1928, and Andy Schleck (b. 1985), winner of the 2010 Tour de France.
Since the beginning of the 2000s, a new generation of cyclists has been causing a stir, such as Kim Kirchen (b. 1981) and the brothers Frank Schleck (b. 1980) and Andy Schleck (b. 1985). The 2008 edition of the Tour de France was particularly riveting for Luxembourgish cycling, as Kim Kirchen and Andy Schleck bore the yellow and green jerseys for multiple stages during the Tour, and Andy Schleck was eventually awarded Best Young Rider of the Tour. For more information, visit our page on 'Luxembourgers in the Tour de France'.
The athlete Josy Barthel (1927-1992) is another great figurehead of sports in the Grand Duchy, having won the Olympic gold medal at the 1952 Games in Helsinki, in the 1,500 metre run. Since the early 2000s, expectations have concentrated on athlete David Fiegen (b. 1984), European vice-champion in 2006 over 800 metres, and triathlete Liz May (b. 1983), came in third twice at the European championships in the U23 category.
Since the end of the 2000s, the Grand Duchy's tennis players have achieved notable results, with Mandy Minella (b. 1985), and Gilles Muller (b. 1983) — junior world champion in 2001 and winner of the US Open in the same category. In 2008, Muller was the first Luxembourger to reach the quarter-final of a Grand Slam tournament, at the US Open. He can boast victories against some of the circuit’s biggest names, such as Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal.