British national champions recall how they won their stripes, the pride in wearing them for the season and the effect it had on the rest of their careers. Podium fines, finish line crashes, curious combines, white shorts and unlikely alliances – these are the stories behind the jerseys.
Tim Harris (1989)
Withernsea, 1989. We were about three minutes down and I went across to the break with Robert Millar with two or three kilometres to go. It came down to a sprint with about 12 of us, and I won.
I was fifth on the Thursday before in Belgium to Claude Criquielion, and did the Ras de Cymru three-day, then drove straight to Belgium with Chris Lillywhite and rode two kermesses – rode from the hotel, 180km race, then back to the hotel – so we got massive miles in that week, and I was confident I was going to get a good result.
All I concentrated on that year for the whole season was that one race. It gives you a lift for evermore. Even though I now live in Belgium, I am still introduced as “former national champion Tim Harris”.