Starting in the Off Season
The fact that the 100th edition Tour de France winner was from the UK, really put the cherry on the cake. In general though, and like last year, it has been a summer for minority sports to shine where football winds its weary, angry, greedy way during the dark and cold months. In my opinion it should be making way for the dedication of more hard working sports at which we excel but public opinion and press will always hold it in too high regard - it is the default sport for British youngsters but I'm happy that many people now challenge that fact. Cycling is just one sport that has been part of the revolution of people reinvesting in sports we're actually good at.
I started cycling in no small part due to Robert Millar's triumph in the King of the Mountains contest during the 1984 Tour De France. The views, the theatre, the effort, the bikes, the colours. It was all much more interesting than getting the wind kicked out of me on a damp Rugby pitch in South Ayrshire. By the time I started cycling proper it was probably 1989, the year Greg Lemond won the Tour by 8 seconds. The eighties were full of incredible tour stories and then came the nineties and the monotony of Big MIg, the Festina scandal and general lack of interest in the sport. In the late eighties though cycling couldn't have been more out of fashion. The thought that struck me recently was that time period, from 1990 - 2000 was probably it's lowest ebb.
Titles were being won - even Obree was doing his bit in Norway - but there seemed very little interest. I went to art school and sport fell away quickly. it was only coming out the other side and having enough money after a few years of employment that allowed me to buy a proper bike and get into the swing again. Lance's era, no matter what the final outcome is, was epic - he made people talk about the sport and it simmered in the background. I started racing in 2003 and continued in Japan up until around 2006. My asthma and general tiredness was never going to make me a contender but touring and hill climbs remained floating my boat during my time away and after my return to Scotland.
Cycling has been a minority pursuit all my life until the past few years when it is heart warming to see so many people on the streets getting fit and 2 consecutive years seeing a British team winning the biggest trophy of all.
May the momentum stay for a very long time.
Posted by stupot at 06:09 PM Saturday 22 Jun