New book: Australian Cycling Champions, by Warren Beaumont
By Nat Bromhead | June 15, 2021
If you love to read about the sport as much as you love to ride, chances are you will love it.
“Australian Cycling Champions 130 years of bicycle racing” is one of the most comprehensive books published on the history of Australian cycling races and the performances of our top track and road cycling champions.
Cycling Australia recently read and reviewed the title and to say we’re very impressed is a major understatement – this should be the ultimate go-to guide for Australian cycling champions past and present.
The paperback includes over 60 color and black and white photographs. The book traces the history of the beginnings of track and road cycling in Australia and its champions from the 1890s to the 1990s, when amateur and professional cycling became ‘open’, until 2020 when our riders were ranked. in the 4-5 best cycling nations.
Featuring commentary from newspapers, magazines and historians, as well as from some of our best riders, the book highlights the best performances of over 170 of our top road and track cycling champions, including at national championships. on the road and on the track, at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, UCI World Championships, six-day races, classic road races and major Australian and European tours including the Tour de France.
A full and extensive title, the book covers –
- The Era of the Track Cycling Boom, the second chapter of the book, covers the sport’s beginnings in the 1880s, when track cycling was an amateur sport until the professional “cash bike” around 1900, when the wheel australe was the richest track cycling race in the world. .
- The aces of the track conquer America. From 1905 our top track cycling champions such as Jackie Clarke, Alf Goullet, Alf Grenda, Bob Spears and Cecil Walker were based in New Jersey and won numerous track cycling championships in the United States.
- Bob Spears world champion. Spears won the World Track Sprint Championship in 1920. He was a cycling idol in France and Europe’s top track cyclist in the early 1920s.
- Classic and champion road races. From around 1900, road races such as Warrnambool in Melbourne and Goulburn in Sydney became true classics of the sport. Champions who have set records in the road classics include Hubert Opperman, ‘Snowy Munro’ and ‘Fatty’ Lamb.
- IR Snowy Munro, the runner who beat the train, won the Warrnambool race in 1909 in record time.
- Harold K. Smith and RW ‘Fatty’ Lamb, professional and amateur winners of the 1926 Warrnambool Classic Road Race in Melbourne, with Bruce Small of Malvern Star.
- Opperman’s long distance hero. This chapter presents the record-breaking long-distance exploits of Hubert Opperman, who rode for the Malvern Star team. In 1931, he beat the great cycling teams of Europe in the classic Paris-Brest-Paris road of 1,200 miles non-stop.
- Roger Arnold and Alf Strom, Australia’s best six-day track cycling team at the Wembley Six, London 1952.
- The Kings of the Six-Day Races spotlight our six-day track cycling champions such as Alf Goullet and the career of the record-breaking Six Day Team Australia, Roger Arnold and Alf Strom on the snowboard tracks from Europe.
- Follow the superstars until the 1990s. Dunc Gray was our first Olympic gold medalist in the 1920s, while cycling legend Russell Mockridge won two Olympic track gold medals. World and Commonwealth Games champions include Sid Patterson, John Nicholson, Gordon Johnson, Danny Clark and Dean Woods.
- Men’s track. Our track cyclists carried on Australia’s formidable track cycling heritage into 2020, winning gold medals at the UCI Track World Championships, the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. Some of the top champions include Shane Kelly, Darryn Hill, Ryan Bayley, Brad McGee, Michael Hepburn, Cameron Meyer, Leigh Howard and Sam Welsford.
- Dynamic women of the track. Our track and field champions reappeared in the 1980s. Great track speed and endurance champions include Julie Speight, Kathy Watt and Anna Meares, winner of 12 world track championships medals, while more recent champions of speed and endurance include Kaarle McCulloch, Stephanie Morton, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson and Ashlee Ankudinoff.
- Women are breaking records. Women set long distance road cycling records in the 1890s using the new safety bike. Sarah (Ms EA) Maddock, the first woman to ride from Sydney to Brisbane and Sydney to Melbourne in 1894, was one of the pioneers of long distance cycling.
- The pioneers of the men’s route. Starting in the 1950s, Jack Hoobin was our first road world champion, Clyde Sefton won our first Olympic road cycling medal, while Phil Anderson won major circuits and road classics and became the first Australian and non-European to wear the leader’s yellow jersey at the Tour de France.
- Large road wheels. 2000s road cycling champions include Cadel Evans, our 2011 Tour de France winner; Robbie McEwen, our top road sprinter; world time trial champions Michael Rogers and Rohan Dennis; and Ritchie Porte, Tour Down Under champion and third in the Tour de France 2020.
The book, Australian Cycling Champions 130 Years of Cycling Racing, was researched and written by Warren Beaumont, based in Blue Mountains NSW, who has written for Australian cycling magazines such as National Cycling and Freewheeling and sports magazines throughout the years. 1980 to early 1990s. He worked as a reporter and editor for business magazines and newspapers for over 30 years. The book can be ordered on the Éditions Plateau website for $ 27.99 (shipping $ 10.00 and GST included) and in bookstores starting in May.