Eddy Merckx. Fausto Coppi. Jacques Anquetil. Bernard Hinault. Beryl Burton. Marianne Vos. A sole cyclist battling over a pass high in the mountains is one of the most romantic of sporting images. In the past 150 years road cycling has been dominated by a series of iconic people who have redefined endurance and fortitude. Every decade has pushed human limits, until limits were extended by inhuman pharmacology. And these battles have not been fought over just one race, but an annual series beginning with the Spring Classics and then culminating in the three great tours - the Giro d'Italia, Vuelta d'Espagne and the Tour de France - before the cyclists retire to lick their wounds and start on another winter of training.