Team Raleigh’s Dan Fleeman has set the interview up for us, and we’re sitting in the “Hotel Anonymous” in Walsall. A dapper, trim figure in blazer and slacks bounds up the stairs; it takes a moment to register – it’s our man, Grant Thomas.
Good words for riders from Viktor? They’re thin on the ground… Niko Eeckhout, Guy Smet, Hamish Haynes, Jack Bauer and maybe Jens Keukeleire get grudging acknowledgement. But there has to be someone he idolised, surely?
British amateur road race champion, winner of amateur Six Days and one of the best road men in Europe in the early 70’s. There were no budget airlines, no internet, no mobile phones – just the will to go and race against the best in the world.
As Viktor put it; ‘he was the coolest – nobody looked better on a bike than Grant Thomas, he was everything I wanted to be in a cyclist.‘
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Grant was involved in the local brass band as a lad, it was part of the culture that each mine would have it’s own band, but music wasn’t what inspired the youngster. “My dad saved cigarette cards and I remember looking through them and being fascinated by the racing cyclist ones“, bu