It’s an appropriate day to practise your English reading skills with a post on cycling on the day that the Tour de france visits London. But these things you didn’t know about British cyclists will not turn you into a Tour de France winner. For example, do you have the motivation to be able to eat enough calories to get through a tour stage: 21 chocolate bars or 12 Big Macs. Can you do that for 21 days running in July?!?! You can pretend that you are a British cycling hero when you study English in London with SGI… Just hire a Boris bike – There is a station for the London bike hire scheme 30 seconds away from the school. So why not get on a bike with your new friends from English class and see what London has to offer?
Mark Cavendish – most successful
Unfortunately “The Manx Missile” (his nickname because of his speed and the fact that he grew up on The Isle of Man) crashed on stage 1 of this year’s Tour, but that doesn’t stop him being the most successful British cyclist ever. So far in his career, he has won
- The points classification in all 3 Grand Tours
- The World Championship Road Race
- 43 Grand Tour Stage wins
- 25 Tour De France stage victories
- Four consecutive Champs-Élysées Tour de France final stage wins
DID YOU KNOW? But did you know before he was a cyclist, he worked for 2 years in a bank! He is also married to an ex Page-3 girl, Peta Todd.
Bradley Wiggins – First TDF winner
The first British Tour de France overall winner and Olympic Gold medalist in the same year – the first ever cyclist to achieve this. DID YOU KNOW? But were you aware that Wiggins was actually born in Ghent, Belgium? His father was a pro-cyclist, but when his parents split, Wiggins moved to London with his mum at the age of two. His father was eventually murdered in Australia in 2008 and no-one has ever been charged with his death.
Tom Simpson – First ever Yellow Jersey wearer
Simpson was the first British rider to win the World Championship and wear the Tour de France yellow jersey. However, he will always be remembered for dying whilst climbing Mont Ventoux. He had taken a cocktail of alcohol and amphetamines. This tragedy shocked the cycling world so much, that his death contributed to the beginning of mandatory drug testing. DID YOU KNOW? Simpson was an innovator in the 1960s. He created his own saddle, which is still copied today. He used to eat 4.5 kg of carrots a day in the winter after reading a rare French book on the benefits of juice diets.
Chris Boardman – Fastest ever
Chris Boardman was fast! He broke the hour record 3 times, Olympic Gold Track pursuit and won the fastest ever Tour de France prologue at an average speed of 55.127 km/h. DID YOU KNOW? Boardman was diagnosed with osteoporosis at the age of 30 while he was still a professional cyclist. This was very unusual for that age and he needed to take drugs to combat the disease. However, this would have meant that he would have been banned from cycling. So he rode for 2 more years without drugs, before finally quitting cycling 2 years later to start his needed medical treatment.