The Rouleur Longreads Podcast: The Chairman by Ned Boulting

This is the story of a big house in Belgium. Within its walls, along its corridors, through its communal kitchen and living space, some of the finest riders in the world have idled, prepared for races, slouched in front of the TV, boiled water for pasta and generally discovered whether or not they will make it. It is a remarkable institution, with no official accreditation. It is almost as if it doesn’t exist.

“Nobody knows we really do this. They wouldn’t have the foggiest idea. It’s not a known thing.”

Ned meets former British champion (and chair dealer) Tim Harris to uncover the story of the unofficial academy house that has hosted young hopefuls from around the globe determined to make the grade. Cavendish, Froome, Thomas, Armitstead, Yates, McLay and many more have stayed en route to stardom. And Fernando Gaviria mowed the lawn…

The Rouleur Longreads Podcast brings you selected long form articles from the magazine, especially recorded for Rouleur. Don’t stop what you’re doing – do it while listening to the world’s best cycling writing.

The latest in this series is ‘The Chairman’ by Ned Boulting, from Rouleur 17.2. Download the Rouleur app and use the code CHAIRMAN to read the whole issue free of charge.

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More Rouleur long reads

Being Bjarne by Morten Okbo
Greg LeMond by Andy McGrath
Teniel Campbell by Andy McGrath
The Crash by Pedro Horrillo
Deserter’s Dirty Weekend in Koksijdeh
Watopian Ideals by Ian Cleverly
The Rise of Gravel by Hugo Gladstone
Notes on Belgium by Morten Okbo
Heartbroken by Emil Helweg Foget and Ole Obitsø
Chris Froome and the Seventh Circle by Ned Boulting


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