'The true inspiration was that Olympic gold won by Chris Boardman in Barcelona.... I was so in awe of Chris Boardman.' (Sir Bradley Wiggins)
You may know him as the much-loved copresenter of ITV's Tour de France coverage or enjoyed his BBC Olympic coverage, but beyond the easy charm Chris Boardman is one of our greatest, most inspiring cyclists.
In 2001, when the bible of the sport, Cycling Weekly, ran a poll to decide the greatest British cyclist, his was the name that topped the list. It was Boardman's lone achievements in the '80s and '90s - Olympic track gold, the world hour record, repeatedly claiming the yellow jersey in the Tour de France - that lit the spark for modern British cycling.
His endeavours both on and off the bike have made him the founding father of current golden generation - without him there would simply be no Hoy, Wiggins or Cavendish. It is a story full of intrigue from Olympic success, the famous duels with Graeme Obree, the insanity of the Tour de France. Chris became a legend for his combination of physical ability and technical preparation, and he almost single-handedly took British cycling from wool shirts and cloth caps into the era of marginal gains.
Indeed, after his career on the bike ended, a new chapter began as the backroom genius behind GB cycling. As head of the R&D team known as The Secret Squirrel Club, he has been responsible for the technical innovations that made the difference in 2012. Boardman Bikes is the best-selling premium bike range in the country, as used by the Brownlee brothers for their Olympic triathlon success.
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- Allan tennant
Honest, entertaining, and funny
- Samuel Tanner