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.
Matt Stephens (1998)
The big thing for me was that for the first time in my life, my entire family apart from my wife, were all there: dad, mum, nan, sister. My mum and my nan jumped over the cordon as I crossed the line and got wrestled to the ground by the cops! That is the standout thing for me.
I was a good rider, but never world class. I never won a lot of big stuff, but to have that jersey hanging up in the wardrobe, and to be on that list of names I admire and respect, is pretty special. It was a big, big day. And I’ve not really talked it through for quite a while, so thinking back, I could spend half an hour or more – I remember every metre.
My team Harrods had these logos ready and slapped one on the jersey for the podium presentation. We got fined £500. The first prize was a bunch of flowers and some crystal. Fourth to twentieth won £25. But I was British champion and it was great. I didn’t care.