Who Are The Best American Cyclists in Men’s Road Cycling in 2023?

In the wake of Sepp Kuss's brilliant Vuelta victory, we run through the most exciting American male cyclists in the peloton today

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reviewed by Rory McAllister
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It’s a golden moment for American road cycling.

There’s an undeniable momentum, a certain electricity in the air, and if you’ve been anywhere near a cycling race or tuned into global competitions lately, you’ve felt it.

American riders are not just pedaling in the background; they’re right in the limelight in the thrilling narrative of the world’s most prestigious bike races – just look at Sepp Kuss’s victory in this year’s thrilling Vuelta a España.

American cycling has had its fair share of stars since Greg LeMond broke the mould to become the first non-European winner of the Tour de France.

But who are the best American cyclists competing in the present day?

Let’s dive in!

Graphic depicting Sepp Kuss, Brandon McNulty, and Neilson Powless against an American flag background.
Left to right: Brandon McNulty, Sepp Kuss, and Neilson Powless.
Credit: Ray Rogers, Filip Bossuyt, and Hagens BermanCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Edited from the original.

Great American Cyclists From History

The cycling scene in the United States has been witnessing an exciting resurgence in recent years, with talented cyclists making their mark on the peloton.

American professional road riders are being represented among the world’s fastest bike racers, and it’s thrilling to see their success on the global stage.

Note that in this article, we’ll specifically be discussing American road cyclists, so won’t be covering mountain bikers or BMXers.

Before we delve into the best American cyclists in the present day, it’s worth mentioning some of the greatest American cyclists in history who paved the way for the current generation from the USA:

  • Greg LeMond: The first non-European to win the Tour de France, LeMond achieved the feat three times and is widely regarded as one of America’s greatest-ever cyclists.
  • Davis Phinney: The sprinting star of the 7-Eleven team in the ’80s and early ’90s, Phinney was the second American to win a stage of the Tour de France and has the most career race wins ever by an American cyclist (328).
  • Lance Armstrong: Once revered for winning an unprecedented seven consecutive Tour de France victories, he was later disgraced and his titles stripped for doping violations. Love him or loathe him, he remains a major figure in cycling history.
  • Tyler Farrar: A former sprinter with stage wins at major races like Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.
  • Levi Leipheimer: Strong time trialist with podium finishes at Grand Tours.
  • George Hincapie: Key domestique for Lance Armstrong with many accomplishments of his own.
LeMond begins the final stage time trial from Versailles at the 1989 Tour de France.
Greg LeMond begins the final stage time trial from Versailles at the 1989 Tour de France.
Credit: Benjamin WernerCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Edited from the original.

Criteria For Selection

To determine the best American cyclists in 2023, we consider various factors that showcase their skills, achievements, consistency, impact on American cycling culture, and contribution to their cycling team’s successes.

The criteria include international and national race wins, influence on younger generations, leadership qualities within teams, and performance at prestigious events.

Sepp Kuss (Jumbo–Visma)

Sepp Kuss, Jonas Vingegaard, and Primoz Roglic celebrate their 1-2-3 finish on the podium of the 2023 Vuelta a Espana.

Sepp Kuss’s surprise victory at the 2023 Vuelta a España has supercharged American cycling.

Born on September 13, 1994, Kuss started his cycling career in mountain biking and made a name for himself by winning races at the Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals while studying at the University of Colorado.

Kuss began his road cycling career with the Gateway Harley Davidson team and later joined Rally Cycling. In 2018, he signed a two-year contract with LottoNL–Jumbo (the team that would later become Jumbo-Visma).

In the 2019 Vuelta, Kuss achieved his first Grand Tour stage win, launching a solo attack from the breakaway.

In the 2021 Tour de France, Kuss secured an impressive stage win on stage 15 by breaking away and maintaining his lead to become the first American to win a stage of the Tour de France since Tyler Farrar in 2011.

That same year, he performed strongly in the Vuelta a España, finishing eighth overall as a key domestique to help secure teammate Primoz Roglič’s third consecutive title.

Naturally humble and prepared to work in support of the success of teammates, Kuss asserted himself as a vital cog in the Jumbo-Visma juggernaut, supporting Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard as they claimed Grand Tour title after Grand Tour title.

It was at the 2023 Vuelta, however, that Kuss finally got to taste victory for himself.

Though initially in the squad to support the challenges of co-leaders Roglič and Vingegaard, Kuss’s strong performances meant he soon landed himself in the race leader’s red jersey – which he ultimately held onto with the (belated) support of his superstar teammates for a landmark Grand Tour win.

The win also meant Jumbo-Visma won all three Grand Tours in the same calendar year, an unprecedented achievement in which Kuss played a starring role.

Major Achievements In 2023

  • Overall Winner: Vuelta a España
  • 1st Vuelta a España, Stage 6
  • 5th Overall: UAE Tour

Neilson Powless (EF Education-Easypost)

Neilson Powless celebrates in the polka-dot jersey at the 2023 Tour de France.
© A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

Born on September 3, 1996, Neilson Powless is the first US Native American to compete in the Tour de France.

Powless turned professional with LottoNL-Jumbo in 2018. He made his debut in a Grand Tour at the 2019 Vuelta a España. Alongside his teammates Robert Gesink, George Bennett, and Sepp Kuss, Powless supported Primož Roglič‘s overall victory.

Powless joined EF Pro Cycling the following year and was named on the start list for the 2020 Tour de France. He rode for team leader Rigoberto Urán, and impressed with a top 5 stage finish.

He started 2021 with a fifth-place finish at the UAE Tour and went on to win the Clásica de San Sebastián. Powless capped off his season with another top-5 finish at the UCI World Championships.

In 2022, Powless had an outstanding performance at the Tour de Suisse by finishing fourth overall while remaining active in several breakaways.

During the 2022 Tour de France, he came within four seconds of the race lead – and the opportunity to don the legendary yellow jersey – after Stage 6, but ultimately finished in 12th place.

At the 2023 Tour de France, Powless snatched early headlines by wearing the prestigious polka-dot jersey, awarded to the leader of the Mountains Classification, for 12 of the first 13 stages.

Major Achievements In 2023

  • 1st Grand Prix La Marseillaise
  • 1st Étoile de Bessèges
  • 3rd Tour du Var
  • 6th Paris-Nice
  • 7th Milan-San Remo
  • 3rd Dwars Door Vlaanderen
  • 5th Tour of Flanders
  • 6th Tour de France, Stage 9
  • 4th Clásica de San Sebastián
  • 2nd Maryland Cycling Classic

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates)

Brandon McNulty celebrates crossing the finish line at the 2022 Paris-Nice.
© A.S.O./Alex Broadway

Born on April 2, 1998, Brandon McNulty‘s talent became evident early on when he won the 2016 UCI Junior World Time Trial Championships by a commanding margin of 35 seconds, becoming the fourth American junior world champion in history.

He turned professional in 2017 and chose to ride for Rally Cycling instead of joining a UCI WorldTeam. He won the U23 National Time Trial Championships and finished second at the UCI World Championships in Bergen.

In 2018, still riding for Rally Cycling as they upgraded to UCI Professional Continental status, McNulty made his WorldTour debut at the Tour of California with impressive performances on the “Queen Stage” and finishing seventh overall.

Towards the end of that season, he demonstrated his abilities at Tour de l’Avenir with a second-place finish on a mountain stage.

In his first participation at the 2020 Giro d’Italia, he finished 15th overall with his new team, UAE Team Emirates.

He then played a vital supporting role for his teammate Tadej Pogačar at the 2021 Tour de France.

During the 2022 Tour de France, he proved his strength on mountain stages and earned the Most Combative Rider award on Stage 17.

Major Achievements In 2023

  • 1st Giro d’Italia, Stage 15
  • 1st American National Championships (Individual Time Trial)
  • 4th American National Championships (Road Race)
  • 4th World Championships (Individual Time Trial)

Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar Team)

Matteo Jorgensen crosses the line at the Tour of Oman with outstretched arms.
© A.S.O./Oman Cycling Association/Pauline Ballet

Born on July 1, 1999, Matteo Jorgenson is a great all-rounder, able to shine as well on the cobbles as in the mountains.

In the 2022 Tour de France, Jorgenson actively participated in several breakaways throughout the race, including Stage 10 where he finished fourth.

Another notable moment came on Stage 16 when Jorgenson was part of a large breakaway of nearly 30 riders. Despite crashing while navigating a sharp corner, he showed determination and managed to finish fourth on the stage.

Jorgenson had a strong 2023, winning the overall victory at the Tour of Oman and coming second overall at the Tour de Romandie, as well as two top-4 finishes at the Tour de France, and was rewarded with a switch to Jumbo-Visma for 2024.

Major Achievements In 2023

  • 1st Tour of Oman
  • 2nd Tour de Romandie
  • 4th Tour de France Stage 9
  • 3rd Tour de France Stage 12
  • 4th E3 Saxo Classic

Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers)

Born on April 19, 2002, Magnus Sheffield is a promising talent.

In April 2022, he won the Brabantse Pijl, one of the esteemed Flanders Classics races. He emerged victorious 37 seconds ahead of French riders Warren Barguil and Benoît Cosnefroy.

This victory not only marked Sheffield as the first American to win this race but also made him the first American to win any one of the prestigious Spring Classics in over a decade since Tyler Farrar’s triumph at the Scheldeprijs.

Major Achievements In 2023

  • 4th Tour Down Under
  • 3rd Tirreno-Adriatico, Stage 1
  • 2nd Tour of Norway
  • 4th Tour de Suisse, Stage 1

Quinn Simmons (Lidl-Trek)

Quinn Simmons prepares for a stage of the 2023 Tour de France while wearing the American national champion's jersey.
© A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Born on May 8, 2001, Quinn Simmons burst onto the professional scene with notable victories at a young age.

In 2018, he won the US National Junior Road Race Championship and followed it up by claiming the World Junior Road Race Championships in 2019.

In July 2021, Simmons achieved his first professional victory on Stage 3 of the Tour de Wallonie. This win also propelled him to take the overall lead, which he successfully maintained until its conclusion.

It was a significant milestone in his career and showcased his ability to compete at a high level against seasoned professionals.

In the early part of the 2022 season, he finished seventh in Strade Bianche and then made an impact at Tirreno-Adriatico by winning both the mountains classification and green jersey.

Simmons further highlighted his climbing prowess at the 2022 Tour de Suisse by leading in the mountains classification from start to finish. His performances earned him a spot on Lidl-Trek’s lineup for the 2022 Tour de France.

Simmons’s greatest achievement in 2023 was becoming America’s National Road Race Champion.

Major Achievements In 2023

  • 1st Vuelta a San Juan Stage 3
  • 10th Vuelta a San Juan
  • 5th Drôme Classic
  • 1st National Championships Road Race

Who would make your list of the best American cyclists right now?

American cycling is in an invigorating ascent. From seasoned stalwarts to fresh faces with promising potential, the US boasts a myriad of talents.

But as with every list, ours too, is subjective.

Maybe you have a favorite rider who’s pedaled their way into your heart or perhaps there’s an underdog you’re rooting for. Do you agree with our lineup? Or do you feel there’s a cycling sensation we might have overlooked?

We’re all eyes on those comments below!

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Quentin's background in bike racing runs deep. In his youth, he won the prestigious junior Roc d'Azur MTB race before representing Belgium at the U17 European Championships in Graz, Austria. Shifting to road racing, he then competed in some of the biggest races on the junior calendar, including Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, before stepping up to race Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Paris-Roubaix as an U23. With a breakthrough into the cut-throat environment of professional racing just out of reach, Quentin decided to shift his focus to embrace bike racing as a passion rather than a career. Now writing for BikeTips, Quentin's experience provides invaluable insight into performance cycling - though he's always ready to embrace the fun side of the sport he loves too and share his passion with others.

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