Feature – Colin Sturgess Q & A


A big feature to start the week off! Q & A with former World Champion Colin Sturgess who is looking at the big come back in 2016!

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Feature – Colin Sturgess Q & A

– World Champion and Bronze Medallist
– British Road Race Champion
– Commonwealth Games Medallist

This Q & A is with a rider who has had major success on the road and track, Colin Sturgess.


Photo from Colin’s facebook page … 

World Pursuit champion in 1989, Colin was also British Road Race champion in 1990 and a Bronze medallist in the 1991 World Pursuit Championship. Winner also of a classic in the British Premier Calendar, the Tour of the Cotswolds, and a Silver medallist in the Commonwealth Games, he has a palmeres that puts him in the legend category of British riders.

VeloUK puts some questions to him …

1. I hear you’re making a comeback Colin – what will it be, track, road – bit of both?
Colin: I am, once again! I was supposed to have raced the 2015 season but buggered my back up, then my head fell off… fin de’la saison! I’ll be riding road, track and TTs this year. I’ve got great support from Planet X – Northside who are keen for me to give it a good nudge. Still got a lot of work to do though…

2. You’ve been round the traps with teams of late so how does the racing scene compare to the days when you were British RR Champion?
Colin: The UK scene is in good health! We could use more races, especially UCI grade, but I’ve seen worse times. I struggled over here when I was Pro to be honest, because I was riding for a Euro team and had no team-mates or support. But it was the same for the British guys when they had to race in Belgium… Latterly (1998/1999/2000) I rode for a couple of good UK based squads including the excellent Brite team and we wanted for nothing. Same goes for a few of the bigger UK teams now. It’s really good to see. The general public now have a pretty decent knowledge of what was a niche sport

3. How long have you been out of racing and what has brought you back to wanting to pin a number on?
Colin: I quit way back in 2000 and then had 12 lazy years off the bike making wine for a living, and drinking most of it… I was smoking a pack a day and generally not in a good way! So I hopped back on the bike and started creeping around the lanes of Leicestershire after I moved back here in 2012 from Australia.

One thing led to another and I started getting the bug again. I swore blind I’d never get serious again, but after doing some vets/LVRC racing and an occasional TT, I did! Andy Swain offered me a spot on the new Sportgrub Kuota team and I’m spewing that I couldn’t repay him by racing last year.


Colin has been seen at races a lot in a coaching role after the comeback in 2015 had to be put on hold.

4.What are the goals for 2016?
Colin: A good program of some UCI races like Tour du Maroc, Prems, National Bs, and some vets/masters stuff. I’ll see how my form is, but I’d love a tilt at the Worlds Masters at Manchester later in the year. More importantly, I’ll be trying to help my younger team-mates throughout the year. And line up in Stockton for the National RR!

5. You were the best in the World winning the Pursuit title – is it more special now than when you’re in the moment and perhaps can’t realise how special winning at that level is?
Colin: Good question! I remember vividly the moment and the immediate aftermath and it was pretty special to say the least. It really brought it home to me when I got back to my base in Belgium and all these famous riders and ex-riders were congratulating me and saying what a brilliant ride it was.

Video: World Pursuit Championship – Colin Sturgess (GBR) against Dean Woods (AUS)

Still to this day, I’ll get someone walk up and tell me it’s the most exciting final they’ve ever seen, so it still means a lot. My name is always appended with ‘World Champion’ so it’s an honour that I’ve learned to appreciate greatly! I never want to turn into one of these old guys that forgets the hard times though… the kind that you can sum up as: “The older I get/the better I was”. That’s not my style…

7. What made you choose the Pursuit as ‘your’ event?
Colin: Ever since I was a kid, I was rapid over the short distances, so it was a natural progression. I grew up in awe of pursuiters like Tony Doyle, Robert Dil-Bundi, HH Oersted and of course all the East Germans and Russians… so I modelled my riding style on those kind of riders. I won National titles in the pursuit at all ages before I turned pro so I guess it worked! And let’s face it, I was built for the shorter distances and one-days rather than the stage races and high mountains!

8. Have you seen how GB riders are trained and if so, how does GB compare now to when you were involved with them?
Colin: I was very fortunate to have been involved with the National squad going back to 1985, and my last season in 2000. So, I saw a lot of change… the change is quantum! We’ve gone from an amateur set-up to a professional one, and whilst it’s taken a lot of riders and staff to get to where we are today, I’d say the journey has to be viewed positively. The science and the research has been the biggest factor in the success of the GB squads across the board. And all propped up by big investment… $$$ equals success!

9. What are the biggest changes to equipment you notice from when you were winning on the road and track in the late 80’s/90s.
Colin: Hell’s teeth! Where to start…? The wide availability of power-meters, the advent of inexpensive but high-end carbon fibre frames, carbon rims, Di2/EPS, tyre compounds, even things like indoor trainers/Wattbikes… Clothing has changed immensely with material’s development… Mind you, I was fortunate to have had the very best of equipment when possible.

I remember the first time I got Shimano STI levers on my team-bike back in 1991. I was in the break on the Mont Cassel stage of the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque and the gears were skipping like mad and I couldn’t get the damned levers working smoothly… I dropped back from the break, furious, and finished in the bunch.

Afterwards I chucked my bike at the poor mechanic and DS told them to take them off the bike as “these effing things will never take-off in the peloton… put my down bar shifters back on!” Yep, ate my words there…



10. With your coaching hat on, what’s the difference between an athlete of 25 to 45? We’ve seen pros winning in their 40s so is it just a head game and age a number?
Colin: To a certain degree yes! But it’s all about how that individual looks after themselves. Diet, training, rest, equipment… There comes an age where it’s simply too much on the mind and body to continue day in and day out, but that age varies so much. Recovery is the biggest factor I’ve noticed to be fair. A 25 year old with the same training etc as a 45 year old is going to bounce back quicker than the old bloke! Thankfully there are rare times when this is reversed and us ‘old blokes’ get one over on the youngsters!

11. When will your 2016 season start?
Colin: A bit later than I’d planned… I went back to Australia to see my son in December and had time off the bike and a virus, so I’d say I’m about three weeks behind. I’ll be happy with early March… any earlier and it’s too bloody cold for an old chopper like me mate! I put a bit of winter weight on… I still enjoy a drink, and after all, man’s not a camel!

12. If you could achieve anything this year or the coming years, what would that be?
Colin: Tongue in cheek…? I’d love to roll George Atkins for a win at a Prem! Seriously…? Just to race hard and show people that despite my age, my time away from the sport, I can still make legs hurt and make for exciting racing.

Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: ,