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10 things in cycling you’d have been thought mad for predicting 10 years ago

From Team Sky dominating the Tour de France with British riders to Lance Armstrong's confession, we look back over the decade

From Team Sky's success in the Tour de France to the emergence of Strava and Zwift and Lance Armstrong confessing to doping ... there's been a fair bit happened in cycling over the past decade that you couldn't have predicted in late 2009. Here's our selection of 10 of them. Disagree with our choices? Anything to add? Let us know in the comments.

1 – Two of Great Britain’s gold medal winning team pursuit quartet at Beijing 2008 would go on to win the Tour de France

Chapeau, Sir Wiggo and G. A shame that Ed Clancy and Paul Manning couldn’t make it a full house.

Geraint Thomas Cardiff homecoming 2018 (picture copyright) Charlie Forgham-Bailey, SWpix.com_

2 – Team Sky would win the Tour de France six times in seven years – with three British riders

Remember the reaction when Dave Brailsford said they’d win the Tour with a British rider within five years? What’s more, they were all founder members of the team. Our launch coverage didn’t even mention Chris Froome or Geraint Thomas.

Team Sky ride past Buckingham Palace.jpg

3 – The world’s biggest sportive – and its richest one-day race – would start and finish in London

Have you ever managed to get a place through the ballot for RideLondon-Surrey 100 though?

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 medals (copyright Simon MacMichael)

4 – Strava, or it didn’t happen would become a catchphrase – and Strava art would become a thing

Strava? Sorry, what’s that? Merry Christmas

Snowman via anthony Hoyte on Strava.jpg

5 – Someone would ride round the world in fewer than 80 days

Mind you, if you had predicted that one, Mark Beaumont would have been a decent shout and, as it turned out, bang on the money.

Mark Beaumont during his Artemis World Cycle challenge (via Twitter).jpg

6 – An annual, non-stop race across Europe would have people around the world watching dots on a computer screen – and a woman would win the latest edition

Mike Hall has sadly left us, but the legacy he left with the Transcontinental Race he founded has dot-watchers gripped each summer – and especially this year, as Fiona Kolbinger became the first female winner.

Fiona Kolbinger Transcontinental day 1_Credit for

7 – A rider would get caught using a hidden motor in competition

There have been other instances of mechanical doping at lower levels of the sport, but otherwise, with the UCI stepping up testing it’s all gone pretty quiet since Belgian U23 rider Femke Van den Driessche’s copped a six-year ban in 2016.

femke wilier.jpg

8 – You’d be racing total strangers from your own home with a turbo trainer and computer screen

What’s more, you could even try and qualify for national eRacing championships (where the men’s winner would get busted for cheating).

British Cyclling Zwift eRacing Championship 2019 (picture copyright Simon Wilkinson, SWPix (15).jpg

9 – Rapha would be worth £200 million – and sold to the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune

Love it or hate it, that was the price tag on the 2017 deal that saw the North London-based clothing business bought by an investment firm controlled by Steuart and Tom Walton.

Rapha founder Simon Mottram.jpg

10 – Lance Armstrong would be banned for life and stripped of seven Tour de France titles

Okay, maybe you did predict that – but without the 2009 comeback and a very pissed off Floyd Landis who, his own career in tatters, went public on his former team leader the following year, would Armstrong's fall from grace and subsequent confession have happened? We doubt it.

Lance Armstrong and Oprah Winfrey Photo by Maryse Alberti, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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CyclingInBeastMode | 4 years ago

Burtons '12'  to be broken, though to be fair given the huge advantages for modern riders it really shouldn't have come as a surprise but it was one of those legendary milestones.

Same with Tommy Godwin's 365 day mile record, though being broken by riding 'bents on zero ascent courses that are shileded or wind assisted every day still leaves a bitter after taste. However his weekly mileage record set whilst on the ride is still yet to be broken despite Guinness claiming some johnny cum lately has, but is well short!

Worst of all is that it would be mad to predict that plod/justice system could get so much worse in attacking people on bikes whilst at the same time systematically failing to protect society, more soecifically people on bikes, from killers nd those that maimed people on bikes using a motor vehicle!

JF69 | 4 years ago

Who would have predicted that Lance Armstong was a total douchebag & bully that wouldn't hesitate to ruin careers & lives of decent people?
No wait....

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