Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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Hugh McGuire

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Hugh McGuire, who has died suddenly of a heart attack aged 71, was the Glasgow-born Scot who became one of the top UK cyclists in the 1960s, representing both Scotland and the British Army. He took part with the best of GB riders in the Tour of Britain / Milk Race era, winning stages – and in so doing following the wheels of a slightly older top gun, Jimmy Savile.

International racing cyclist who competed in Europe.

Born 24 October 1937.
Died February 22 2009.

McGuire became noticed, and in 1962 and 1963, was selected to travel behind the Iron Curtain to participate in the annual Berlin-Warsaw-Prague road race, the co-called Peace Race designed by the Soviets to bring together the world’s top cyclists in reconciliation between Warsaw Pact countries and the West.

McGuire’s life revolved around two wheels, and when National Service came, the Army was not slow in taking his talents on board. In those days, the reputation of the Army Cycling Union was that they could have fielded two international cycling teams as against any one from the UK.

Always a good rider, his two years in an Army jersey became his purple patch. Fiercely competitive, he was fortunate enough to enjoy the spur of fellow Scots Kenny Laidlaw, Ernie Scally and Jimmy Rae, as well as Englishmen Vin Denson and John Geddes – plus Regular soldier Ray Booty, who in 1956 had been the first man to break four hours for 100 miles on an out-and-home course.

In addition, road racing had just begun in to emerge as the UK’s favourite form of cycle competition, and McGuire would prove a formidable opponent in all portions of the event – grinding slogs, climbs, primes and finishing sprints – in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and at home. He also won the Army 5-day race, and took 4th place in the Archers Grand Prix, in those days possibly the biggest massed-start race in Britain.