NINE years ago, Colin Sturgess was a world track champion. Today he races in the Travelwise four-day Tour of Lancashire with some catching up to do after studying for a university degree, emigrating to Australia and editing a cycling magazine.
Having put his professional racing career on hold in 1993, Sturgess, a former British road race champion, got back on a bike while covering the world track championships in Perth, Western Australia. Then his South African protege, David George, won an under-23 world time trial bronze in San Sebastian, and Sturgess was fired up for a comeback. After a medal- winning performance in the Australian track championships, Sturgess returned to Britain to re-establish his international career at the age of 29.
He was due to ride in a French race but the trip fell through, so Sturgess was switched to the 260-mile Tour which opens today on a Peak District circuit, near Oldham.
Another late inclusion is the British road race champion, Jeremy Hunt, whose 10 victories last year in internationally recognised races put him among the top nine most successful riders of the year.
TOUR OF LANCASHIRE: Today: Lydgate-Uppermill circuit, Oldham, 59.5 miles (start 1.0pm). Tomorrow: Bolton-Holcombe, 73.5 miles (10.30am). Sunday: Cockerham time trials, Lancaster, 12 miles (9.0am); Hyndburn circuit race (Accrington town centre), 29.8 miles (3.30pm). Monday: Longridge Fell circuit, Preston, 87.5 miles (10.30am).