New Book: Australian Cycling Champions, by Warren Beaumont

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If you enjoy reading about the sport just as much as you like riding, there's a fair chance you'll love this.

'Australian Cycling Champions 130 years of bicycle racing' is one of the most comprehensive books published on the history of Australian bicycle racing and the performances of our top track and road cycling champions.

Bicycling Australia have recently been reading & reviewing the title and to say we are thoroughly impressed is a major understatement - this would have to be the ultimate reference guide to Aussie cycling champions past and present. 

The paperback book includes over 60 colour and black and white photographs. The book charts the early history of Australia's track and road cycling and its champions from the 1890s to the 1990s, when amateur and professional cycling became ‘open’, through to 2020 when our cyclists were ranked in the top 4-5 cycling nations.

Featuring comments from newspapers, magazines, and historians, and from some of our top cyclists, the book highlights the best performances of over 170 of our top road and track cycling champions, including at the national road and track championships, Olympic and Commonwealth Games, UCI world championships, six-day racing, classic road races, and major Australian and European tours including the Tour de France.

A comprehensive and wide-ranging title, the book covers -

  • The boom days of track cycling, the book’s second chapter, covers the beginnings of the sport in the 1880s, when track cycling was an amateur sport to professional ‘cash cycling’ around 1900 when the Austral Wheel was the richest track cycling race in the world.
  • Track aces 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 many USA track cycling championships.
  • Bob Spears world champion. Spears won the 1920 world track sprint championship. He was a cycling idol in France and Europe’s best track cyclist of the early 1920s.
  • Classic road races & champions. From around 1900 road races such as the Warrnambool to Melbourne and Goulburn to Sydney became true classics of the sport. Record setting champions in the road classics include Hubert Opperman, ‘Snowy Munro’, and ‘Fatty’ Lamb.
  • I.R. Snowy Munro, the rider who beat the train, won the 1909 Warrnambool race in record time.
  • Harold K. Smith and R.W. ‘Fatty’ Lamb, professional and amateur winners of the 1926 Warrnambool to Melbourne road race classic, with Malvern Star’s Bruce Small.
  • Opperman long distance hero. This chapter features the record- breaking long-distance feats of Hubert Opperman, who rode for the Malvern Star team. In 1931 he beat Europe’s big cycling teams in the 1200-mile non-stop Paris- Brest-Paris road classic.
  • Roger Arnold and Alf Strom, Australia’s greatest six-day track cycling team at the Wembley Six, London 1952.
  • Kings of six-day racing highlights our six-day track cycling champions such as Alf Goullet and the career of Australia’s record-breaking six-day team of Roger Arnold and Alf Strom on the board tracks of Europe.
  • Track superstars to 1990s. Dunc Gray was our first Olympic gold medallist 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 continued Australia’s great track cycling legacy through to 2020, winning gold medals at the UCI world track championships, the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Among the top champions are Shane Kelly, Darryn Hill, Ryan Bayley, Brad McGee, Michael Hepburn, Cameron Meyer, Leigh Howard, and Sam Welsford.
  • Dynamic women of the track. Our women track champions re-emerged in the 1980s. Great speed and endurance track champions include Julie Speight, Kathy Watt, and Anna Meares, winner of 12 world track championship medals, while more recent speed and endurance champions include Kaarle McCulloch, Stephanie Morton, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson, and Ashlee Ankudinoff.
  • Women record breakers. Women set long-distance road cycling records in the 1890s riding the new safety bicycle. One of the trailblazing long-distance cyclistes was Sarah (Mrs E. A.) Maddock, the first woman to ride from Sydney to Brisbane, and from Sydney to Melbourne in 1894.
  • Road men’s trailblazers. From the 1950s Jack Hoobin was our first world road champion, Clyde Sefton claimed our first Olympic road cycling medal, while Phil Anderson won major tours and road classics and became the first Australian and non-European to wear the leader’s Yellow Jersey at the Tour de France.
  • Big wheels of the road. Road cycling champions from the 2000s include Cadel Evans, our 2011 Tour de France winner; Robbie McEwen, our best road sprinter; world time trial champions Michael Rogers and Rohan Dennis; and Ritchie Porte, Tour Down Under champion and 2020 Tour de France GC third.

The book, Australian Cycling Champions 130 years of bicycle racing, was researched and written by Blue Mountains NSW-based Warren Beaumont, who wrote for Australian cycling magazines such as National Cycling and Freewheeling and sports trade magazines in the 1980s to the early 1990s. He has worked as a journalist and editor for business magazines and newspapers for over 30 years. The book can be ordered from the Plateau Publishing website for $27.99 (shipping of $10.00 and GST included) and bookstores from May.

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