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50 Years Of British Cycling News

We've dipped into the archives to provide you with a whistle-stop tour of just some of the headline news from the 50 years since the British Cycling Federation was formed, in 1959. It's not an exhaustive list by any means, but gives a flavour of the great performances and significant events during a half century that saw the face of cycling change forever.


Part 4 - The Nineties

Images: PA

The nineties was a period of massive change within the sport. Mountain Biking became a global sport and British riders - such as Tim Gould and David Baker - were prominent in the early Cross-Country World Cup races which are now such a part of the sport's folklore. On the Track the innovative yet contrasting approaches of Chris Boarman and Graeme Obree produced a golden period of British pursuiting and Hour record-breaking. International success continued for British Cycle Speedway riders, whilst Dyland Clayton, Dale Holmes and Jamie Staff were at the forefront of a resurgent BMX scene.

Tim Gould, centre, and Barry Clarke, left, two of the most talented XC riders of the nineties in a shot which captures the essence of mountain bike racing perfectly

However, by the middle of the decade, the British Cycling Federation found itself riven by in-fighting, which only ceased after the intervention of the Sports Councils. Following a major re-structure, headed up by new Chief Executive Peter King and President Brian Cookson, the organisation ended the decade on a lot surer footing and there was more good news as Elite riders in the Olympic disciplines became qualified for Lottery funding. A major programme of coaching and support was put in place by the organisation's first Performance Director, Peter Keen and in the final months of the decade, a silver medal in the Team Sprint and improving performances all round signalled that the funding was beginning to take effect.

1990 

  • The World Junior Road and Track Championships are held in Middlesbrough
  • Robert Millar wins the Dauphiné Libéré

1991 

  • Tim Gould wins two rounds of the inaugural World Cup Cross-Country MTB series
  • Dave Hemsley wins his first World Cycle Speedway title in Essex, Andrew Jackson is Junior Champion
  • England win the Cycle Speedway World Team Cup in Poole

1992

  • The World Cyclo-Cross Championships are held in Leeds. Roger Hammond wins the Junior Men's title.
    Olympic Games - Barcelona. Chris Boardman wins Individual Pursuit Gold, the first British cycling gold for 70 years.
  • Hard shell crash hats become compulsory for all BCF road, track and MTB events.
  • 5-time world sprint champion Reg Harris dies aged 72

Yvonne McGregor in action at the Atlanta Olympics

1993 

  • Graeme Obree sets a new World Hour record of 51.596km in Hamar, Norway
  • Chris Boardman then beats it with 52.270km in Bordeaux, France
  • David Baker wins Plymouth round of the World Cup Cross-Country MTB series
  • England win the Cycle Speedway World Team Cup in Australia

1994

  • Cycling for riders with a disability became fully integrated with the BCF
  • The brand new National Cycling Centre in Manchester is opened by Princess Anne and the BCF HQ moves their HQ to the building.
  • Gary Foorde wins Mammoth Mountain round of the World Cup Cross-Country MTB series
  • Chris Boardman wins the Tour de France prologue and wears the yellow jersey for 2 stages. Fellow Englishman Sean Yates also wears the jersey during the race.
  • Jason McRoy one of the sport's most charismatic Downhill mountain bikers dies tragically on August 24 1995 in a motorcycle accident. He was just 23.

1995 


  • Shaun Ellis wins Junior World Cycle Speedway title in Poole
  • Scott Beaumont wins the World BMX Championships as a Junior

1996

  • Mountain Biking (formerly BMBF) becomes fully integrated with the BCF.
  • The World Track Championships were held at Manchester. Chris Boardman wins the Men's Pursuit with a new World Record time of 4m 11.114s - Chris Boardman sets a new World Hour record of 56.375km in Manchester
  • Peter King is appointed BCF Chief Executive.
  • Beryl Burton dies, whilst cycling, aged 59
  • Rob Warner becomes the first British rider to win a World Cup Downhill MTB race
  • Brighton hosts the World BMX Championships and Dale Holmes (Elite Men), Scott Beaumont (Junior Cruiser) and Jamie Staff (Elite Cruiser) all win titles
  • Max Scandri & Chris Boardman win bronze medals in Olympic road race and time trial respectively

Caroline Alexander, Britain's best ever female XC rider

1997 

  • BMX became fully integrated with the BCF.
  • Lottery funding comes on-stream with the launch of the Cycling World Class Performance Programme.
  • Peter Keen is appointed as the first Cycling Performance Director.
  • Yvonne McGregor sets a new World Hour record of 47.0608km in Manchester
  • Caroline Alexander becomes the first British woman to win a World Cup MTB event
  • England win the Cycle Speedway World Team Cup in Australia
  • Chris Boardman wins Tour de France prologue

1998 

  • Bradley Wiggins wins the World Junior Pursuit Championship in Cuba
  • The Tour of Britain is promoted and sponsored by the Prudential.
  • Chris Boardman wins Tour de France prologue

1999 

  • Prudential end their sponsorship of the Tour of Britain after 2 years.
  • Chris Hoy, Jason Queally and Craig MacLean win a silver in the Team Sprint at the World Track Championships - lottery funding's first world senior medal.

Our look back at the last 50 years is not intended to be an exhaustive list of events and performances, but a flavour of  a half century that saw the face of cycling change forever. If you would like to share your memories of the period with us, please send them to editor@britishcycling.org.uk - we'll publish the best.

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