International Cycle Sport | April 1973 | Issue No 59
Managing Editor P Fretwell
64th Milano - San Remo by Aurelio Gadenz
Phil Edwards at Fiumaretta by Peter Duker
Nice - Seillans 1973 by Peter Duker
Nice - Genoa by Peter Duker
56th Giro d’Italia by Colin Willcock
A Yank at Lawnswood
Paris - Nice by David Saunders
59th Milano - Torino by Aurelio Gadenz
Cover Picture - Roger De Vlaeminck (Brooklyn) winning Milan San Remo 1973
One of our staffmen recalls a cycle race near Sheffield in the late fifties. The break was away up the road, the day was sultry, and he was ready to retire, struggling between the break and the remnants of the bunch. Suddenly he was joined by Tom Simpson, who had been delayed by mechanical trouble.
Simpson persuaded him to stay in the race, and in fact virtually towed him to within a mile of the finish. Then Simpson was off on his own, making sure of seventh place in a race of little importance. Already, of course, Simpson had a highly professional approach to racing.
More recently there was an after-race presentation, where the Holdsworth team arrived immaculate in blazers and quietly sipped their orange juice; the individual winner of the race came in late in a sweater and offered no apology. Professionalism involves more than winning the race.
A feature of the TI Raleigh early season rides on the Continent which seems to have passed with little explanation has been the consistency of Derek Harrison, culminating with yet another fine ride in Paris-Nice. It is fair to say that Harrison has been only moderately successful in British professional racing; a magnificent stage win in the Staffordshire 3-day and an excellent ride in the 1972 Tour of the North have been the highspots. Other members of the same team have fared notably better, and none more so than Brian Jolly. Yet abroad Harrison has immediately been able to lift himself to the standard of most of the leading Continentals, drawing on character and experience, and leaving his colleagues far behind.
This apparent discrepancy is worth studying, for it suggests strongly that the difference between racing at home and racing abroad is not so much racing at a different level as racing in a different way. Jolly, for all his immense talent, has not yet bridged the gap. Harrison, for all his moderate rides at home, bridges it the moment he sets foot on foreign soil. Here again is professionalism at its best.
But there are other aspects of professionalism too. The Bantel name is known abroad not only for Hugh Porter's track brilliance, but for the brave riding of Sid Barras in the 1972 World Road Race Championship. Barras won nothing in cash terms, but his gain in stature was enormous, and confirmed the good opinion he had already created in foreign team managers over here for the Tour of the North. Similarly Phil Bayton and Dave Lloyd have made the name of their sponsors known to thousands, possibly millions. That their four-hour duet in Milan-San Remo was doomed for all its 110 miles is of comparatively little importance. Their achievement was to be seen, to be admired, to have their names recorded in the notebooks of the many reporters.
Simpson knew this. The ride which established him in the hearts of the Continental enthusiasts and experts alike was the suicidal solo in the 1960 Paris-Roubaix. The world of professional cycling loves a loser, provided that he loses in trying to win. And there is no reason to doubt that what Simpson went on to achieve can be achieved also by Bayton and Lloyd, given the right conditions. It is of the first importance that the TI-Raleigh team has not repeated the common mistake of using Continental racing as the basis of success in Britain, although such success can be bought in such a way.