Doncaster is steeped in cycling history

Doncaster Cycle Race
Doncaster Cycle Race
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Doncaster is steeped in cycling history and is regarded as a top catchment area for producing some of the UK’s best riders.

Numerous former national champions, reigning title holders and ex-Olympians count themselves as Doncastrians.

Cyclist John Tanner pictured in 1996.

Cyclist John Tanner pictured in 1996.

Perhaps the town’s most famous cycling son is John Tanner, who competed at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Games and the Sydney Olympics four years later.

The 46-year-old, of Sprotbrough, hopes to race on festival day and said he owes a lot to Doncaster’s road racing tradition.

He added: “The reason I started cycling was after watching a town centre race in Doncaster’s Market Place.”

Fellow Olympian Roy Cromack, 74, of Balby, represented Great Britain at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

Roy "Crum" Cromack, champion cyclist and member of the British cycling squad at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

Roy "Crum" Cromack, champion cyclist and member of the British cycling squad at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

Rossington rider Graham Briggs, 30, won the British National Circuit Race Championships in 2011.

This incredible cycling lineage is borne out of a long heritage of cycling success in the borough.

Festival organiser Martin Maltby, president of Doncaster Wheelers Club, the town’s longest running club, said: “I think it goes right back to the industrial age. People in Doncaster have always been fond of cycling to work. Back in the days of miners’ fete’s that would always be cycle track races.

“Geographically Doncaster is ideally situated. We have an abundance of countryside right on our doorstep. There are flat runs towards Epworth to the east, and more hilly rides towards the Peak District in the west.

“Doncaster Wheelers was formed way back in 1926 and continues to go from strength to strength today.”

It is also important to note that Doncaster had a town centre road race from the early 1970s to the early 1980s.

Retired school secretary Maureen Beaumont, of Barnby Dun, co-organised the 1979 road race with her husband John.

She said: “We have a shorter, circular circuit which went around Goose Hill, Sunny Bar and past the old market. We had over 100 racers on that day.

“It is fantastic that cycling races are returning to the streets of Doncaster. I am so happy to see it back.

“Doncaster’s cycling heritage goes back more than 100 years. Even at the turn of the 20th century men and women used to go on organised cycle rides.”

Doncaster’s cycling heritage is being celebrated as part of the ‘Two Wheels Good’ exhibition at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery.

The event, which launched on May 24 and runs until August 28, features displays of bikes, memorabilia and photographs depicting several decades of cycling in Doncaster.