This entry was posted on Monday, August 18th, 2008 at 10:21 pm and is filed under Bicycle advocacy, Bicycle helmet, Olympics, Track racing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
[RE-POSTING] I’m in an index. I’ve always wanted to be in an index.
Reid, Carlton 180-6
I come after Queally, Jason and before Road racing…and doping.
The book is ‘Heroes, Villains and Velodromes: Chris Hoy and Britain’s Track Cycling Revolution’. It’s another stonker from Richard Moore, author of ‘In Search of Robert Millar’. That title won the ‘Best Sports Biography of the Year’ award at the British Sports Book Awards in 2007 and more awards will surely follow for ‘Heroes, Villains and Velodromes’.
According to publisher HarperCollins, the book “reveals how an elite athlete, Chris Hoy, lives, breathes and pushes the boundaries of his sport. How does he do it? And why? What drives him to put his body through the physical and mental hurdles to become the best in the world?”
Moore shadowed Hoy for a year, from the World Championships in Mallorca at which Hoy became a double world champion, through to Hoy’s attempt on the world kilometre record in La Paz, Bolivia. Hoy has won two Olympic Golds so far in Beijing, and is favourite to win a third on Tuesday.
But this book is much more than a biography of Hoy, it’s a dissection of how Britain went from being a pariah nation on the boards through to the world’s all-conquering track team, better even than the Australians, a team so bereft of cycling medals at this Olympics you’d think the team had boycotted the Games.
It reveals the stunning levels of professionalism and dedication that go on behind the scenes at the Manchester velodrome, HQ for British Cycling.
So, how come I’m in the index? It’s all to do with my battle with the UCI in 2005. The gnomes of Aigle had decided to axe the kilo from the 2008 Olympics, a crazy decision when there were lesser track events to chop first or even the road time trial, a race that never attracted the cream of the world’s cyclists.
I created an petition which quickly gained 10,679 signatures including lots of top cycling names from around the world. Along with trackie Julie Dominguez I took the petition to the UCI and met with Pat McQuaid, then UCI president in waiting, now the actual UCI president.
He said some daft things about about the IOC, the International Olympic Committee, and I reported them on BikeBiz.com, grabbing a wifi connection in the dining hall of the UCI’s HQ. We hopped on a train to the Olympic HQ in Lausanne and by the time we got there, the PR man had already read the story and was waiting with an official rebuttal of McQuaid’s statement.
So, the kilo might have gone but that hasn’t bothered Chris Hoy. Team GB’s cyclists are a credit to the nation, and a credit to hard work. Many in the media, while praising cycling’s success at this Games, add that it’s because cycling is awash with cash. The BBC’s James Munroe said:
“Britain are the new Chelsea of the cycling world - with lottery cash in place of Russian roubles.”
What he fails to mention is that Britain’s pro trackies get less wages per year than a Chelsea footballer gets per week. In fact, the wage of one top-flight footballer could pay for the whole British elite track programme and still leave enough change for a brilliant grass-roots programme to bring on the next generation of Chris Hoy’s and Victoria Pendleton’s.
We’re crap at cricket; useless at football. We’re good at cycling. I hope the mainstream media’s current love affair with the sport lasts.
Until the lustre dims, it’s great to bathe in the reflected glory of Britain’s track superstars. I’m pretty sure motorists are giving me a slightly wider berth at the moment. Cyclists, for now, are all heroes. Now, where’s my aero helmet?