Friday, January 22, 2021
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Steve Beech remembers Grant Thomas

Steve Beech sent us in his memories of his friend Grant Thomas and his ‘Golden Era’, the 70’s. Whilst he’s perhaps best remembered for winning the British Championship, his greatest triumphs came in The Netherlands – on road and track.

Grant Thomas Tribute, Part Two; “The most stylish bike rider, a...

Perhaps VeloVeritas sage and mentor, Viktor summed it up best; ‘he was the coolest – nobody looked better on a bike than Grant Thomas, he was everything I wanted to be in a cyclist.’ We thought that we should share more of the tributes which have been paid to the man.

Grant Thomas Tribute, Part One; Behind the Winner’s Bouquet

Following the sad passing of former British Amateur Road Race Champion and road track star Grant Thomas in The Netherlands we received many words of tribute to the man who defined ‘cool’ on a racing bike. Mr. Paul Kilbourne has featured on our pages before, reliving his memories of his time with the now legendary ANC team, gave us a lovely tribute to Grant, which we publish with pride.

Grant Thomas

It was with much sadness that VeloVeritas heard of the passing of 70’s legend and former British Amateur Road Race Champion, Grant Thomas. As our tribute to one of the coolest men ever to throw a leg over a racing bike we’d like to re-run our interview with the man. RIP, Grant.

It’s 10 Years since we lost Laurent Fignon

As Julian Alaphilippe defended his maillot jaune in the first mountain stage of le Tour today, it’s 10 years since we lost another man who not only wore that beautiful jersey but won it outright twice in 1983 and 1984. Monsieur Laurent Fignon. Here’s what I wrote about the man back on that sad day in 2010.

Harry Hampson

Harry Hampson wasn’t a man that VeloVeritas knew personally but we knew of him from the many mentions of his name in the ‘Cycling Weekly’ in the days when the magazine was the main reporting organ for cycle sport in the UK. And when Mr. Hampson died recently we were struck by the outpouring of emotion from the men he mentored/coached, ‘back in the day.’

Ron Webb Tributes

We recently ran Pip Taylor’s fine obituary to Mr. Ron Webb, former professional bike rider, track builder, father of the modern Six Day format, team manager and mentor to many. Below, we’ve drawn together some of the tributes we received from Ron’s friends and former charges:

Ron Webb

It was with sadness that we learned of the death of Mr. Ron Webb, professional bike rider, father of the modern Six Day format and track builder of renown.

Hector Mackenzie

Recently Scottish Cycling lost one of the Legends; Hector Mackenzie was a multiple Scottish champion on hard track, cinders, grass and rollers - and a roadman of some quality.

Raymond Poulidor

Sadly, on 13th November at the age of 83 – he was born on April 15th 1936 – Raymond Poulidor, Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur left us. Rest in peace, Monsieur Raymond Poulidor – second in le Tour but winner in the hearts of the French public.

Tony Hoar

Tony Hoar, Britain’s second Tour de France finisher and famously, ‘lanterne rouge’ in the 1955 Tour de France has died in his adopted home of Canada, aged 87 years.

Felice Gimondi

Felice Gimondi, Grand Tour conqueror, Classics winner, ‘chronoman’ of quality, stylist, gentleman and all-time great, rest in peace sir.

Derek Harrison

British Tour de France winners are now commonplace but back in my youth, we could only dream of such things; however we had warriors out there, battling Johnny Foreigner in his back yard – Barry Hoban, Mike Wright and a chap called Derek Harrison. Harrison died in Pernes-les-Fontaines, Provence, France on May 12th last year at 74 years-of-age.

Patrick Sercu

After a long illness, former Olympic Champion Patrick Sercu, holder of 58 other titles at World, European and National level, undisputed Six Day king with 88 wins and Tour de France green jersey, passed away today, 19th April in Belgium.

Gert Frank

Not long after the loss of Andreas Kappes and Dieter Kemper the world of Six Days mourns the loss of another of the greats with the news that Denmark’s all time number two Six Day man, Gert Frank passed away on January 19th at the age of 62.

Paul Sherwen

‘Well Phil,’ the words that we all remember so well, used by Paul Sherwen when he was about to put co-commentator Phil Liggett right about something during one of the hundreds of Tour de France stages the pair covered for TV networks from England to Australia via the USA. Sadly, we’ll hear that catch phrase no more, the 62 year-old Briton having passed away in his sleep at his home in Kampala in his adopted nation of Uganda on Sunday.

Lewis Oliphant

This is the least favourite part of having our own wee website; writing the obituaries of bright young men with most of their lives still ahead of them. This past week we lost Lewis Oliphant, perhaps best known for his exploits on the grass track. At VeloVeritas we knew Lewis but couldn't claim to know him well; what we've done then is to ask for people who were close to let us have their tributes.

Norman Sheil

Just days after we penned our tribute to departed six day Great, Germany’s Dieter Kemper, we find ourselves having to write another tribute to a track star. This time, one of Britain’s own, twice World Amateur Pursuit and twice British & Commonwealth Games Pursuit Champion, Norman Sheil.

Dieter Kemper

It was British former motor pace rider, Six Day and road man Norman Hill who informed us of the passing of one of the Six Day Greats, at the age of 81 years; a true ‘all-rounder’ and one of the all-time Six Day Greats, ‘Rest in Peace' Dieter Kemper.

Armand de las Cuevas

It hasn’t been a good week for the sport of cycling’s past champions; but not just men who won races, colourful men with personality. First we lost six day star Andreas Kappes to a bee sting, of all things. And we heard today that Armand de las Cuevas had taken his own life on the Island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, which was his home in recent years.

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