How many juniors do you remember who trained three times every day, clocking up 1,000 kilometres each week? That’s what it took to make Nikolai Razouvaev World Junior Team Time Trial Champion in 1984, but that was a much better option than taking on the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.
If you were a cycling fan back in the 70’s and 80’s things were different – there were amateurs and professionals; the sport wasn’t divided U23/Elite as it is now.
But there was another division within the amateur ranks; there were the East Europeans – and there was everyone else.
The Peace Race, l’Avenir, Worlds and Olympics all bore the big bold stamp of Soviet Bloc nations.
How were they so good?
You can nod knowingly and say well; ‘it was what they were taking.’
Here’s Nikolai Razouvaev’s tale:
Is it true that selection for sports was made according to physical characteristics, when you were at school?
“Yes, the coaches were selecting their recruits b