Tales from Yorkshire (part 2): there are no days for the sprinters

Ed Clancy OBE, JLT Condor road racer/Olympic team pursuit champion, Holmfirth
“My team is riding the Tour de Yorkshire but I haven’t made the cut to be included. All my local roads involve horrible narrow steep climbs but I have never been particularly good at climbing – and climbing is what the Tour de Yorkshire is! I’m better at throwing myself around a pan flat track.

“There are some so-called sprint days in the Tour de Yorkshire but the sprints won’t come without a lot of hard, heavy roads and little climbs in the middle. I did the Tour de Yorkshire once – when it was a three-day event – and I didn’t even finish it. On the last day, which went into Leeds, Thomas Voeckler was riding off the front at every opportunity and the bunch was split to bits. I just couldn’t carry on, and I still have nightmares about it.


“A cool race for me was the 2010 National Criterium Championships in Beverley. I rode with Malcolm Elliott, a racer I’d looked up to since I was youngster, and in this race he was my lead-out man. Having him working for me was a bit daunting. I didn’t want to let anyone down in the team, let alone him! A guy called James McCallum was away in front on his own and I managed to catch him right on the line. I think it was more down to luck than timing. I very much enjoyed that race.”

John Reid, Owner of Prologue Cycling, Harrogate
“We opened in March 2014 and it was the perfect storm for us to have the Grand Départ that same year. On the day, the place was absolutely bouncing. We had a bar that we’d set up outside the shop on our big terrace. Our gazebo was also at the Fan Park on The Stray in Harrogate, which was absolutely full. We were selling yellow T-shirts and our water bottles which were yellow and black. Lots of the children were buying them and we still see them taking those bottles to school now.

Read: Tales from Yorkshire: a county of champions 

“I had always wanted a cycle shop that did more than just sell items. The idea was to have a hub with a café, workshop, massage, fitness testing, development team, and events. Ideally I wanted a place where people can come and meet friends, start their rides from there or meet part way through a ride as a café stop. We get a mixture of riders coming in, including pro riders like Scott Thwaites.

“We’ve really tried to build a community feel, holding different events like an OTE nutrition evening, film nights, and talks on racing. Dean Downing and David Millar have given talks at the shop. On those evenings, it was standing room only.”


Denise Burton-Cole, 1976 National Road Race Champion and daughter of Beryl Burton, Ripon
“When I raced, for Morley Cycling Club, we rode for ourselves. I never experienced team work until I went abroad with a British team, but there wasn’t much coaching. You just observed what others did and you went out and did your best. I didn’t get any tips from my mum. She was very much for herself, but I was a good copier! 

“For track racing I’d train on a track bike with a front brake, on a straight bit of road because I lived nowhere near a velodrome. We didn’t have all the energy gels that people eat nowadays. At least back then we could eat real food, and I’m thankful for that! 

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“Our road races were 35 to 45 miles, but we wanted longer distances and British Cycling didn’t give us that. I would have loved a race like stage two, and would have attacked the Cow and Calf from the bottom. 

“One stand-out memory I have was the National Road Race Championship in 1976 when it was held in Harrogate – just 20 miles from our home. It was important to win because it was in Yorkshire. There was a tangle between two girls, who ended up on the deck.

That left me, my mum, and Carol Barton in a breakaway for the last two laps, and I won the sprint for the line. None of us were good at sprinting but I was the fastest of the three non-sprinters! My mum wasn’t pleased at all and took it to heart. I’m sure she got over it eventually.”

Victoria Hood, Team Manager of Team Jadan-Weldtite-Vive le Velo, Beverley
“We were the first team in the UK to have a development pathway for girls from youth through to senior. The reason I set that up was because there was a massive drop-off from youth to junior girls, so I wanted to offer a way to keep girls in racing. From our first intake that we had four or five years ago, most of them are riding full time for the British Cycling academy now. We’ve had Rhona Callandar, who won gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games last year, and Jenny Holl.


“Jadan Press was our first sponsor. I had been approaching companies for sponsorship, telling them about what I was trying to do and hoped they would see my passion for it and would either get it or they wouldn’t. 

“When I went to see Pam Wainman from Jadan Press, she supported us straight away. Her mother, who had recently passed away, was a really good time triallist in the 50s. Pam said her mother would have loved this initiative, and it’s a shame she’s not here to see it.

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“So by sponsoring us, Pam was doing something in her mum’s memory. Most of our sponsors are from Yorkshire and we’ve tried to keep it that way. 

“We have a young team for the Tour de Yorkshire, just like last year when one of our riders, Henrietta Colborne, sprinted across the finish line alongside Kirsten Wild. Henrietta was so excited.”


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