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Dave Akam – “With Gis I was chucked straight into two Grand Tours!”

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Dave Akam is best remembered as the first man to crack the 30 mph barrier for a 10 mile time trial, recording 19:50 on the Portsmouth Road in 1980 in the colours of the Gemini BC.

But there’s a wee bit more to the man than that, like wins in the British Pursuit Championship, the amateur Trofeo Baracchi in Italy; French chrono classics the Grand Prix de France and Chrono de Herbiers, not to mention the prestigious GP Timmermans time trial in the Netherlands and a shed load of road wins in France and The Netherlands.

And that’s before we mention riding two Giros and one Vuelta.

He’s 59 years-old now and retired but back in the late 70’s and 80’s he was a force of nature; high time we spoke to the big man from South London…

Your PE teacher at school and mentor was John Clarey, Tour de France lanterne Rouge and ‘not to be messed with’ roadman sprinter.

“When I was a youngster, I wasn’t good at sports but when I was about 17 years-old I shot up.

“I used to go to Herne Hill with my school and ride the track for PE lessons and John spotted my potential.

“I won the British junior ‘25’ and pursuit titles and went to the junior Worlds and 1978 Commonwealth Games. 

“John Clarey was a man I respected and listened to, along with Jan Gisbers at Jan Van Erp and PDM he was one of the men who influenced my career.”