The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

The same wind that had brought them speeding into Dundee was their adversary on the road south, sapping at their strength with every turn of the pedals. It would not be until beyond Kincardine Bridge when their road would take then east towards Edinburgh, would they find any respite from the relentless wind. It was the Belgian rider Michaux along with Howarth and Wood that made the first break, some fifteen miles out of Dundee. Ian steel, a tough campaigner in these conditions chased them down, forging forward into the teeth of the gale. His size making him an ideal windbreak caused the two Manchester riders to follow close on his wheel, tow others joined in, soon Ian was towing a chain gang of four behind him, taking four miles to make contact with the breakaway. Clark, one of the two Manchester riders, who had gone off with Steel won the prime point beyond Aberdalgie when he burst past Procter on the summit. Ian led the front nine riders over the Kincardine Bridge, picking up speed as he did so. As they sped along the long straight into Winchburgh, the huge crowd that had gathered along its length chanted “Ian, Ian, Ian” in loud voice and multiples there off. (I know for I had persuaded my father to take me over there on the back of his motorcycle to see them pass, I was so delighted to see my hero lead the race, it lasted but seconds really but they were unforgeable seconds). Ian responded by pilling on the coals. It was impossible to believe that one man could hold the front of such a group of athletes as these over such a distance, forcing the pace and never tiring almost all the way out of Dundee. Eight men swung into Marbury Road for the final sprint, what a finish as rider after rider tried to gain a lead. Ian Steel would not be robbed of victory after such a herculean effort and throw himself at the line. Ian crossed the line inches ahead of Don Wilson and Bevis Wood, Ken Russell finished in the second group some two and a half minutes down. Ken had again done enough to retain his overall lead, however, his coat was now hanging on a shaky nail. Ian Steel’s time, thee hours fifty-nine minutes and thirty-three seconds.

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