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.
Colin Sturgess (1990)
The domestic pros looked after themselves and we made alliances too. Myself and Harry Lodge said we wouldn’t ride for each other as such, but we also wouldn’t ride against each other. We were both in the break, so we looked after each other. When needs must, you look after your own interests. Harry hit out with about 3k to go, but then started fading. Then I opened up with something like 600m to go and won the gallop.
I loved my year in the jersey. I had a ball, got back to Belgium about a week later. One of my DS’s lived in the same house. Unpacked my bag on the bed with all jerseys and kit all printed up. I have still got one, gave one to Brad Wiggins a few years back, but those sorts of things, you keep. They are pretty special.
Back in the day, we had a really hot summer. These jerseys are not quite wool, but they are warm. So I hacked the sleeves off and used to mince about the canal towpaths in Belgium like this.
I turned up at some French race and it was a scorcher. I dropped back to the cars halfway through and got the big wagging finger from the chief comm. In the communiqué that night, it was a fine of 50 Swiss francs or whatever. So I thought, right, red rag to a bull, so I racked up a few more.
You’ve got to think of tan lines. It’s an important factor. Guns out, blond locks…