The legend of the ANC team and participation in the 1987 Tour de France - the story continues. Our man in Shropshire, Martyn Frank said to us recently; ‘you should speak to Steve Taylor, he was a mechanic with ANC.’
Steve Jones is one of the ‘forgotten men’ of 70’s and 80’s cycling but he was British Junior 25 Mile Time Trial Champion - a Dutch Champion too, a serial winner as an amateur on the roads of Belgium and The Netherlands, an Olympian, winner of the amateur version of the Trofeo Baracchi, a team mate of some of the sport’s biggest names and a professional for a decade. Oh yes, and he rode for Mr. Capper’s ANC team.
It occurred to me that VeloVeritas had never spoken to the man who won the last edition of the famous Tour of Britain Milk Race back in 1993; Chris Lillywhite. A quick message to our friend Martyn Frank, who was on management with Chris on the late, lamented Wiggins team and we were in touch.
The ANC trail is still fresh, after Micky Morrison, Adrian Timmis and Paul Kilbourne all spoke to VeloVeritas, we tracked down another man who was there and just about made it to Paris in that now legendary 1987 ANC Tour de France adventure: Kiwi, Steve Swart.
If you were around British bike racing in the 70’s and 80’s then you’ll remember the name, Phil Thomas. One of those Liverpool ‘cheeky chappies’ who were so strong in British cycling back then and a prolific winner on the road and criterium scene. Thomas could win anything from a seafront criterium to the Manx International via 10 mile track races to Milk Race stages.
We left our tale with Paul Kilbourne with ANC having ridden well in Ghent-Wevelgem and won the Sealink International and Kellogg’s City Centre Series but Paul felt that a more serious approach to support staff was required...
Earlier in the year we ran an interview with the man who started the ANC team ball rolling, all the way to that famous but fated appearance in the 1987 Tour de France, Mr. Micky Morrison. Our reader Paul Kilbourne got in touch to say he’d enjoyed the piece and revealed that he’d actually been a soigneur with the team...
When we left Adrian Timmis at the end of the first part of the interview he’d taken a stage in the Midi Libere in 1987 and survived a gruelling Tour de France the same year but had just completed an unfulfilling 1988 season with Z-Peugeot who, despite having signed him for two years, cut him loose after just 12 months.
Adrian TImmis could do it all: track, stage races, criteriums, cyclo-cross and even MTB. A talented junior with a British championship to his name, he rode the 1984 Olympics, turned pro with the most glamorous professional team Britain had ever seen, won a stage in the Midi Libere, rode Le Tour with the now legendary ANC team, landed a contract with Z-Peugeot and then...
It’s the stuff of cycling folklore; the year was 1987 and a British trade team lined up in Berlin for the start of the world’s biggest bike race. ANC-Halfords was the name on the jersey and the team's presence was largely down to Mickey Morrison, a good amateur rider in the 70’s who brought major sponsors into UK cycling but who’s contribution is largely forgotten...
One of VeloVeritas’ functions it seems is unlocking the memories of those stalwarts – like our own mentor and soothsayer, Viktor and indeed, our editor Martin - who beat a path in the 70’s and 80’s to the legendary Mrs. Deene’s boarding house in Gent (and later in Zomergem) to show those Belgies how it should be done. The latest epistle which came our way was from Norman Gower.
When Scottish Cycling Endurance Coach and seven times Scottish Road Race Champion, Evan Oliphant gets in touch to tell us there’s a junior rider named Callum Thornley that we should be speaking to, we snap to attention.
When Jos Ryan of the David Rayner Fund gets in touch then we know it’s not just to ask how we are. ‘Have you been keeping up with our rider, Toby Perry’s performances in Spain, he’s just had his second win?’ Fortunately for us, we could reply in the affirmative.
If you watched Stage One of the Giro on Eurosport or GCN then you’ll have heard that someone had the great idea to recruit British professional rider, Dan Bigham to join the commentary team as a ‘chrono specialist.’ Here at VeloVeritas we thought it would be good to put to Dan all those sad questions that trouble bike obsessives like us.
John Watson started racing at 18 years-of-age in 1966, his first race was a ‘25’ which he won with a 1:00. By the following year he was National ‘100’ Champion; in 1968 he went to the Mexico Olympics; in 1969 he set a 12 hour record which stood for a decade; 1970 saw him set a ‘50’ record which sliced nearly four minutes of the previous fastest time for the distance and lasted for 13 years, win the BBAR, get fourth place in the prestigious GP de France time trial and get offered a place with ACBB.