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Obituary: Mick Ives

Obituary: Mick Ives

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Everybody at British Cycling was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former British champion and national team coach Mick Ives, who passed away yesterday at the age of 84. Our thoughts are with Mick's family and many friends at this difficult time. The following obituary is written by Rory Hitchens.

Mick Ives was a force of nature, one of a kind and a true cycling legend – they just don't make them like Mick Ives anymore.

Mick died peacefully in the early hours on Thursday 18 January in Coventry Hospice. He leaves behind his wife Sheila and daughter Angela. Mick was admitted to Coventry Hospital and then the hospice, in early October after a series of heart attacks. The doctors became increasingly stunned by Mick's stamina and determination to survive long beyond what they predicted as possible. His heart was beating at only 20% it's normal rate, but Mick's 20% is our 100%. He enjoyed defying the odds throughout his illustrious cycling career, right up to his final hours.

Mick Ives

Following an early career as a draftsman working with Sir Alex Moulton on his original bike designs, Mick dedicated himself entirely to his passion of cycle racing. He amassed 81 British championship titles and eight world masters cycling titles, including becoming a world champion in the time-trial. In 2005, as a 65-year-old pensioner, Mick became the only cyclist to complete the Tour de France route in one day less than the race itself. He was the only British male athlete to represent Great Britain internationally in the road, track, time-trial, mountain biking and cyclo-cross disciplines and to win national titles in a single season for road, time-trial, mountain biking and cyclo-cross.

Mick's cycling career spanned four decades and included managing and racing for British teams, including Viscont Cycles, Peugeot Cycles and Ever Ready on the road, and Ridgeback, Scott UK and Saracen Bikes in mountain biking. He also was part of the 1990 national mountain bike team at the inaugural UCI World Mountain Bike Championships in Colorado, USA.

Always popular with the athletes, Mick knew how to blend his experienced training methods with a light-hearted and motivational persona that brought out the best in countless professional and amateur cyclists alike.

Throughout his whole life, Mick loved to help people get into cycling and was a classic club cyclist himself. In the late 90s, alongside running his own bike shop, he formed his MI Racing Team and club. To this day, many cyclists have benefitted, and still are benefitting, from Mick's ties with the cycle trade. Sponsors who have supported the team over many years include brands such as Thule Roof Racks, KinesisUK cycles and a major backing from Jewson builders' merchant that still sponsors MI Racing now and into the future.

Saracen Racing Team

Many tributes to Mick are now appearing on social media and talk of his never-ending support and passion of bringing cyclists into and up through the sport. Even from his hospice bed, Mick penned a letter to British Cycling that secured national championship titles and jerseys for the 70+ age category in mountain biking and cyclo-cross – he was pioneering to the end.

Tributes, stories and photographs can be shared on the Facebook group ‘Celebrating Mick Ives the cycling legend’ where details of a Coventry gathering to celebrate Mick's amazing life will be posted in due course.

Those who wrote to Mick whilst he was in Coventry Hospice included cycling greats and industry leaders such as Steve Douce, Magnus Backstedt, Sally Reid, Nick Craig, Gary and Glen Coltman, Rick Stanforth, Roy Hunt, Pete Tomkins, Jough Watson, Steve Behr, Geoff Waugh, Alistair McLean, Tim Davies, Steve Joughin, Julian and Tim Gould, Mick Bennett, Oli and Rachel Beckinsale, Robert Thackeray, Chris Young, Rory Hitchens, Rob Warner and Sean Kelly.

Mick's family would like to give thanks for the many kind messages of support and to the amazing staff at Coventry Hospice who looked after him in his final months.