50 Years Of British Cycling - The New Century

50 Years Of British Cycling - The New Century


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 5 - A New Century: Covering the Years 2000 - 2009

The start of a new century also marked the start of a period of growing success for British rdiers in international competition and the Olympics became a showcase for a generation of cycling superheroes. The Lottery funding story went global when Jason Queally won Britain's first gold medal in the Kilo at the Sydney Olympics. In just over a minute on the bike, he showed the world that the GB Team was on the way to becoming a force to be reckoned with. Further medals in the Team Sprint, Women's Pursuit and Team Pursuit underlined the point.

Right: Chris Hoy enjoys the third of his Beijing Olympic golds

Four years later in Athens it was two gold medals, thanks to Bradley Wiggins - Pursuit - and Chris Hoy - Kilo - whilst World Championship success was also growing year-on-year. The Beijing Olympcs saw the team completely dominant on the Track and in the women's road events, winning eight gold medals.

The country's Parlympic cyclists, also backed by Lottery funding, matched their able-bodied team-mates every inch of the way and their successes in Athens in 2004 and in Beijing in 2008 - where they won 19 gold medals in 23 events - were completely unprecedented.

Although success began on the Track, the decade also saw increasing success on the Road as the GB Team's Performance Director, David Brailsford (who took over from Peter Keen in 2003) increased the focus on Road success. Nicole Cooke was the decade's outstanding female Road rider, whilst in Mark Cavendish the country could also celebrate the world's best sprinter.

Off-Road, British Mountain Bike riders enjoyed great success in Downhill, with Steve Peat, Tracy Moseley and Rachel Atherton all winning World Cup titles and Rachel, her brother Gee and Steve Peat winning senior world titles. There was also considerable success in 4-Cross. If international success was more elusive in BMX, in Shanaze Reade we at least possess the world's leading female rider.

Bradley Wiggins, left, and Mark Cavendish - Tour stars in 2009

As the decade draws to a close, Bradley Wiggins has just finished the Tour de France in fourth place - matching Robert Millar's best very performance by a British rider - Mark Cavendish has won six stages of the same event and a British Tour team, backed by Sky, looks set to make its debut in 2010.

Finally, it was also a decade in which major cycling events increasingly visited the UK . From Track and MTB World Cup events to the World Track Championships and the Tour de France, seeing the best riders in the world in action was never easier. Looking ahead, the 2012 Olympics should take this to a new level and continue the sporting momentum which cycling - and all Olympic sports - have gained in the last 10 years or so.


  • The Olympic Games in Sydney see Jason Queally win gold in the kilo. Jason then joins Chris Hoy and Craig McLean to take Olympic Sprint Silver. Yvonne McGregor wins bronze in the Women's Pursuit and Paul Manning, Chris Newton, Bryan Steel, Bradley Wiggins, Rob Hayles and Jon Clay take Team Pursuit Bronze.
  • The World Track Championships are held at Manchester. Yvonne McGregor wins the Women's Pursuit event, whilst Jason Queally takes Bronze in the kilo and the Team Pursuit quartet take silver. There's also a silver in the Team Sprint.
  • Chris Boardman sets the new "Athlete's World Hour Record" in Manchester with 49.441 km, beating the old record of Eddie Merckx by 11 metres. He then retires from the sport.
  • David Millar wins the Tour de France prologue
  • Nichole Cooke wins the Junior Women's World Road Race title.


  • Nicole Cooke wins the Junior Women's World Road Race, Time Trial and Cross-County MTB titles.
  • Dale Holmes wins the Men's World BMX title
  • Dave Hemsley wins his second World Cycle Speedway title in Australia, Shaun Woodhouse takes the Junior title.
  • England win the Cycle Speedway World Team Cup in Australia

BMX a fantastic grass-roots entry point to cycling and an Olympic sport in 2008


  • The 17th Commonwealth Games are held in Manchester. The Home Nations take 2 gold, 6 silver. 6 bronze medals.
  • Cross-Country Mountain Biking is included in the Commonwealth Games for the first time.
  • The World Track Championships see Great Britain in the medals with Hoy (Gold in the kilo), Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean and Jamie Staff (Gold in the Team Sprint), Chris Newton (Gold in the Points Race), Tony Gibb (Silver in the Scratch Race) and Paul Manning, Chris Newton, Bradley Wiggins, Steve Cumming and Bryan Steel (Bronze in the Team Pursuit)
  • British Cycling launches its first website and online calendar
  • Steve Peat wins the World Cup Downhill title

Cyclo-Cross has seen rapid growth in participation in the first decade of the 21st century


  • Bradley Wiggins wins the World Pursuit title
  • Nicole Cooke wins the Women's World Cup Road Race Series
  • David Brailsford is appointed as Director of the World Class Performance Programme after Peter Keen moves on to work for Glaxon Smith-Kline
  • Dave Hemsley wins his third World Cycle Speedway title in Bury, England win the World Team Cup


  • Chris Hoy (Kilometre) and Bradley Wiggins (Pursuit) take the Golds at the Olympics in Athens with Olympic Record times. Rob Hayles and Wiggins pick up a bronze in the Madison, whilst the Team Pursuit quartet take silver.
  • The Paralympic team more than match their able-bodied compatriots,with Darren Kenny leading the way as they picked up three gold medals.
  • At the World Track Championships in Australia GB highlights include Chris Hoy winning the Kilometre, Jamie Staff the Keirin, whilst Craig Maclean wins bronze in the Kilo; Rob Hayles takes silver in the Pursuit and then Hayles, Manning Newton and Steel take silver in the Team Pursuit.
  • Steve Peat wins the World Cup Downhill title for a second time.
  • The Tour of Britain returns to the roads of the UK, promoted by Sweetspot.
  • David Millar is banned for 2 years for doping offences

Cycle Speedway, an all-action discipline and a key part of the modern-day British Cycling


  • The World Track Championships in Los Angeles see GB winning 5 gold medals: Rob Hayles and Mark Cavendish in the Madison; Victoria Pendleton in the Women's Sprint; Chris Hoy, Jason Queally and Jamie Staff in the Team Sprint and Paul Manning, Chris Newton, Rob Hayles, Steve Cumming and Ed Clancy in the Team Pursuit. Jason Queally wins Silver and Chris Hoy Bronze in the Kilo. Great Britain head the medal table.
  • Rachel Atherton wins GB's first ever world downhill MTB title - the Junior Women's Downhill in Livignio.
    England win the Cycle Speedway World Team Cup


  • The 18th Commonwealth Games in Melbourne bring the Home Nations 6 gold, 6 silver. 8 bronze medals.
  • The World Track Championships in Bordeaux produce the following: Chris Hoy (Gold in Kilo), Craig MacLean (Silver Sprint), Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean, Jamie Staff & Jason Queally (Silver in team Sprint), Steve Cummings, Paul Manning, Rob Hayles, Geraint Thomas (Silver Team Pursuit), Victoria Pendleton (Silver Women Sprint), Paul Manning (Bronze Men's Pursuit)
  • Nicole Cooke wins the UCI Women's World Cup Road Race series, takes bronze in the World Road Championships and is ranked the number one rider in the World
  • Tracy Moseley becomes the first British woman to win a World Cup MTB title as she takes the downhill series. Steve Peat wins the World Cup Downhill title for a third time in five years.
  • Shanaze Reade wins World Junior Women's BMX title
  • Lucy Whitehead wins inaugural individual national women's Cycle Speedway title


  • At the World Track Championships in Majorca, GB riders win 7 gold medals. At the Junior World Track Championships in Mexico the 4 man GB team win 2 gold medals.
  • The World MTB Championships are held in Fort William - Scot Ruaridh Cunningham wins gold in Junior Men's race
  • Shanaze Reade wins the senior women's World BMX title at the first attempt.


  • At the Olympic Games in Beijing the GB Cycling Team wins 8 gold, 4 Silver and 2 bronze medals.
  • The Paralympic Cycling Team win 20 medals from the 23 events entered - 19 are gold!
    The World Track Championships are held in Manchester and the GB Team dominates, winnin 11 medals in total with 9 of them gold.
  • Mark Cavendish wins 4 stages of the Tour de France
  • Shanaze Reade successfully defends her senior women's World BMX title.
  • Nicole Cooke wins her first World Road Race title
  • Rachel Atherton (pictured, right), Gee Atherton and Josh Bryceland win world Downhill titles - Rachel is also World Cup champion
  • The Atherton family win three world cup races in a weekend in Andorra - Dan takes the 4-Cross, Gee and Rachel the Downhills.
  • Chris Hoy is voted BBC Sports Personality of 2008. Nicole Cooke, Rebecca Romero and Bradley Wiggins also in the top 10.
  • The New Year's honours list sees numerous cyclists being rewarded for their Olympic achievements, with Chris Hoy receiving a knighthood.


  • Ian Drake is appointed Chief Executive of British Cycling.
  • Mark Cavendish wins six stages of the Tour de France and Bradley Wiggins matches the best overall placing by a British rider with fourth.
  • Steve Peat is finally crowned Downhill Mountain Bike World Champion.
  • British Cycling celebrates its 50th anniversary.

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.