Obituary: John Barclay

Obituary: John Barclay


Everybody at British Cycling is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of John Barclay, at the age of 93.

During his lifetime, John played a key role in the development of some of Britain’s most well-known and decorated professional cyclists; planning race trips to Belgium, Holland and France to provide talented young riders with invaluable experience of riding against the best riders on the continent.

Through John’s pioneering race trips he gave hundreds of young riders their first opportunity to race abroad. The trips were largely self-funded and John undertook the role voluntarily, giving up countless hours each year to prepare for the weekend’s racing.

Those who first learned their trade under John’s guidance include Sir Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, David Millar, Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard and Adam Blythe, to name just a few.

In recognition of his impact John was award many of the sport’s top honours, including induction into the British Cycling Hall of Frame, the Bidlake Award and the Pedal Club's Golden Book. He was also awarded a British Empire Medal in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List for services to cycling.

Speaking of John’s impact, 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas said:

“John played a key role in my early racing career. As a junior he would take a group of us over to Belgium most weekends. It opened my eyes to what racing was truly about. Not just with the intensity of the races but the tactics and whole atmosphere of them. In those days you couldn't compare the racing abroad to that back in the UK.

“He did it all off his own back, with rarely any thanks. It was purely for the love of the sport and helping us out. Those races as a junior really brought me on as a bike rider and set me up for later in my career. He deserves every bit of the recognition he gets.”

John’s vision, passion and commitment has been a key foundation of the unprecedented British success of recent years. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him, and our thoughts and condolences are with his family and many friends in the sport at this difficult time.