The Race Against Time

Edward Pickering,

The Race Against Time
 
 

When Chris Boardman first raced against Graeme Obree, in a time trial in Newtonards, Northern Ireland, in 1990, it was the start of a rivalry that captivated the British public for a decade and brought cycling on to the front pages. Boardman was the establishment figure: reserved, scientific, middle-class. Obree was the rebel: the Flying Scotsman, working-class, riding a home-made bike. Both were after one thing - to be the fastest man on two wheels.

After Boardman had won Britain's first cycling gold medal for 72 years at the Barcelona Olympics (inspiring none other than Bradley Wiggins to get on a bike), attention turned to the world hour record, the blue riband event of track cycling. Between 1993 and 1996, the pair took it in turns to smash the record, with Boardman's team breaking the boundaries of technology and the loner Obree constantly reinventing ways of building and riding bikes while battling his many demons.

The Race Against Time tells the story of how Britain first started to dominate cycling, but is also about the struggle between art and science, tradition and innovation, commercialism and individuality. It is the tale of two complex characters who redefined the sport and set in motion a new era in British cycling, the legacy of which we enjoy to this day.



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