Chris Boardman

Chris Boardman is one of Britain’s most successful cyclist of all time. Chris broke 3 World Hour Records, won an Olympic Gold and was holder of the prestigious yellow jersey in the Tour De France. During his peak Chris was virtually unbeatable in time trials. His number of professional victories has since been beaten by Mark Cavendish, but he still ranks as one of the world’s top time triallists.

Chris Boardman’s Early Career

Chris initially rode for one of the UK’s top amateur clubs – The Manchester Wheelers. On the domestic time trial scene he won over 30 national titles including National 10, 25, 50, and National Hill Climb Championships. Only Scotland’s Graeme Obree was able to challenge Chris in domestic time trials. The media helped to create a sense of rivalry between the two top cyclists of a generation; I think this rivalry was exaggerated and I think it’s fair to say they both respected each other.

Although Chris specialised in time trials he also turned his attention to road racing and competed in track disciplines, In the 1992 Olympics Chris was a gold medallist in the 4,000 metres pursuit. It was this Gold medal performance that launched Chris into the public light

Chris Boardman riding to Olympic Gold in the Barcelona Olympics


In 1993 Chris Boardman broke the World Hour Record. Initially he had been planning to break F. Moser’s mark of 51.1 KM. However Graham Obree managed to beat this record just before Chris’ attempt. Undaunted Chris broke both Moser’s and Obree’s new record setting a mark of 52.2 KM. This led to an unprecedented increase in the World Hour Record. Both Tony Rominger and Miguel Indurain set new records taking the record to 55 KM. Then in Manchester 1996 Chris set a new World Hour adding over 1 KM to the mark set by Tony Rominger. The New World Hour record now stands at 56.375KM – a mark that has not been broken

Chris Boardman’s World Hour Record of 56.375 KM


In this photo Chris is riding a position known as the “Superman ” Position this is because his arms are outstretched. This position is particularly aerodynamic. Although, Chris (like other cyclists, took every aerodynamic advantage) this should not detract from the spectacular athletic performance of this record.

Chris Boardman – Tour De France

Chris devoted the last 5 years of his professional career to try and succeed in the Tour De France. Chris experienced mixed fortunes. 3 times he won the opening prologue time trial, enabling him to wear the coveted yellow jersey. However in 1995 Chris crashed in the opening prologue, breaking his ankle and missing most of the rest of the season. He also crashed badly in the 1998 Tour (after winning the prologue. (1998 the year of the Festina crisis)

The Hour Again

After he set this remarkable record the UCI decided to change the rules about technology that could be used for setting an hour record. Basically they reverted back to 1970s technology when E.Merckx set the record. Rules included no tribars no disc wheels e.t.c. Chris decided to try and break this record as a final swansong to his professional career.Riding at the Manchester Velodrome (at Sea Level) Chris just managed to break E.Merckx record setting a mark of 49.441

In 1998 Chris Boardman was diagnosed with a form of osteoporosis, making it difficult to train for long periods at high intensity. This needed treatment with drugs prohibited by the UCI therefore Chris decided to retire.

Chris Boardman says he always rode without the use of performance enhancing drugs because he didn’t want to damage his health. Some commentators have suggested this is why he struggled relatively in the Tour when it went into the mountains. Of course this effect is impossible to quantify but Chris always maintained a degree of honesty and integrity when many other professionals resorted to the use of drugs (e.g. Festina team 1998).

As a British time triallist, I gain a lot of inspiration from Chris Boardman’s career. Chris began his career racing in the same races we still ride today. Chris won many national titles including 3 hill climb championships. It was a combination of exceptional ability and great determination that enabled Chris to make the jump from a British champion to a world champion and continental pro. It is a jump very few British cyclists have made. Also in a time when drug taking was rife, I always felt great sincerity when Chris Boardman said he didn’t take performance enhancing drugs. It is revealing what one ex pro said. “At the time all pros were taking drugs, oh except Chris Boardman”. (This quote is unofficial and I can’t even remember the cyclist who said it.

Chris Boardman Bikes

After retiring from the sport, Chris used his enthusiasm and knowledge to help advise British Cycling on technical improvements. It became known as the search for Marginal Gains – looking for even the smallest net gains and when adding together it gives athlete a real advantage. British Cycling gained reputation for being real leaders on the track.

Chris Boardman also advised on a series of road bikes aimed at the mass market, these are really good value. See: Boardman Bikes I enjoyed riding a Boardman Team Carbon

Chris Boardman Records

British Records

  • 25 Miles road time-trial (Junior), 1984
  • 25 Miles road time-trial (Senior), 1992
  • 25 Miles road time-trial (Senior), 1993, 45:57, min/sec (this record stood until 2009)
  • 100 Km road time-trial (Team), 1993, 2:00:07, hr/min/sec (North Wirral Velo team)

World records

  • 1 Hour track time-trial, 23 July 1993, Bordeaux, 52.270 Km
  • 1 Hour track time-trial, 7 Sept 1996, Manchester, 56.375 Km
  • 1 Hour track time-trial, 27 Oct 2000, Manchester, 49.441 Km (“Athlete” rules)


  • 1992 Gold medal Olympic Games, Track Pursuit
  • 1996 Bronze medal – Individual Time Trial

Major Wins

  • 1994 World Time Trial champion
  • Tour de France 3 stages prologues

Other Victories

  • Chrono des Herbiers
  • Duo Normand (with Paul Manning)
  • Grand Prix Eddy Merckx
  • Josef Voegeli Memorial
  • World Track Pursuit Championship
  • Critérium International
  • Grand Prix des Nations
  • LuK Challenge Chrono (with Uwe Peschel)




25 Responses to Chris Boardman

  1. sue goreham August 14, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    my name is sue goreham and along with three other postladies i will be cycling 300 miles around the norfolk/suffolk coastline in aid of HELP FOR HEROES nothing so unusual in this but we will all, plus two spare cycles, be riding Boardman comp bikes and we were wondering if there was any way you could help get us some spare tyres, inner tubes etc in case of an emergency many thanks for your kind attention in reading this email

  2. RW August 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    My wife wants to buy a road bike – our local shop is good and sells the ladies range of Orbeas. Despite our prejudices we decided to go along to Halfords to check out the ‘fi’ range. The staff were very friendly but seemed to know very little. they had none of the ‘fi’ range and were unable to get one in for us to look at. My wife sat on a large mens bike and was told that it was ‘about the right size’. Reading the comments above it seems like we are not alone. We want to at least be able to try a Boardman bike before we go elsewhere. Chris you need to get your bikes into other shops asap.

  3. steve December 17, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    i am looking at buying the boardman team racer in january, as halfords are the sole distributors why are they so unhelpful. trained staff???!!!, i have been to 6 halfords stores and not one of them has a team road bike on display, and only 1 had a racer, that being the carbon bike. how can i be expected to spend 800 quid on something i haven’t seen? i was sent by one of the bike staff in one store to an independent bike shop saying they will have them, he didn’t even know they were the sole sellers!! i don’t think mr boardman would be too impressed at the lack of help the sole distributors provide. i think they need a bit of a talking to. please if somone in the boardman industry could provide some help i would be well happy. thanks

  4. Dawn McCracken September 23, 2009 at 9:17 am #

    Good morning.

    I hope that this email reaches someone who will be able to reply and hopefully let me know how to move forward.

    During the last 12 months I have been cycling with our local Triathlon Club COLT (City of Lancaster Triathlon Club) and as my husband is a member and a keen cyclist, I have an each occasion been using his racing bike, this has been fine, even though it is a little “big” for me, but I have been really enjoying the cycling. As Ii want to be able to do some races and build up from just going out with the group to maybe undertaking some road races I felt it was time to invest in a new bike. I have been looking at prices types a women specific bikes, sizes etc for the last 4 months, one of the choices has been the CB Team Carbon bike.
    I went into my local HALFORDS where they had a small bike on display ( I later learnt that this was only on display due to the Manager ordering it and then changing his mind when it came) I tried it and as they had no facilities where I was able to be measured properly and to test it out (apart from round the small shop) I was uncertain if it was too small, (I’m 5ft 7”)
    I asked if they could let me try a Medium. They said they could not until I paid a deposit and said that I was going to have the bike…. I went to Kendal HALFORDS to see if they had any on display, the same story No bike!!! unless I was going to buy it.
    My husband phone Manchester and again said that they had a medium in a box “out the back” not made up, and they would not make it up until I said that I was going to buy the bike.

    All i want to do is to try a Medium CB Team Carbon Bike!!! It is a lot of money to me and I want to make sure that I feel comfy on the bike and that it fits me. You would not buy something from a shop without first trying it on hoping that it will fit!

    I’m very disappointed as on the advert it says Halfords goes that extra mile. Well they have not been helpful or accommodating in any way I’m very disappointed in thinking that to get to try this bike to try you have to buy it!. Shouldn’t there be a bike somewhere where i can try? I live in Lancaster, but was willing to travel to Manchester…

    Sorry if this seems a bit of a rant but all I want to do is to try the bike.

    Kind regards


  5. dianne neeves September 4, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    Hi Chris I am an attendance officer for a primary school in a socialy deprived school in Kensington Liverpool our children r disadvance socialy and emotionaly and we reach children from all backgrounds including children who don’t have english as thier first language. Liverpool school have a mojor attendance problem and i aim to tackle this in our school by ways of re-educating the childreb and their familes abou the importance of attending school regually one way in which i am doing this is to have a free prize draw for 2 bikes and all the children have to do is be in school every day this system runs for a whole school year . If possible could you or a colleague come along to our school and pull out the winning ticket. We hope to make the draw on friday 12th Sept i would be very grateful if you could help us with this request and get back to me asap.

    Many thanks

    Here’s hoping

    Dianne Neeves Attendance Officer
    Phoenix Primary and Nursery SChool,
    Birchfield Road, Kensington
    Liverppol L7 9LY

    O151 228 3831

  6. Ed Upton July 23, 2009 at 7:54 am #

    Just let me design the model for goodness sake.
    How hard can it be to read all of the comments on this Wiki page weekly.
    I mean, this is an accepted form of direct communication isn’t it?

  7. Ed Upton April 3, 2009 at 12:31 am #

    Apologies for the miss spelling i did mean to say ‘track bike’

  8. Ed Upton April 3, 2009 at 12:29 am #

    Dear Chris With the run up to the 2012 olympics I am pretty sure you and /or GB cycling are already trying to design an even more aerodynamic and efficient track back than ever before.

    Can I help in anyway to help, promote launch it perhaps a feature model of it or something

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  9. Alison James from RWM Foodgroup ltd July 23, 2008 at 1:53 pm #

    RWM Food Group is hosting a Charity Challenge to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the Poole area of Dorset on the 16th August 2008.

    20 Teams of 4 are competing in a one day a series of gruelling physical activities.

    Each team will have to – Run 6Km, Canoe a further
    6Km, Cycle off road for 40k and then tackle a 1.5 hour Vertical Limit Rope Climb. The teams competing come from RWM, Tesco, Somerfield, Foyle Meats etc.
    More details of this event can be found on our website

    In order to maximise fund raising as well as personal sponsorship we are running an auction to sell to the highest bidder, signed memorabilia, books, adventure days, sporting events and anything different that will raise more money for the charity.

    We are wondering if you could help and maybe donate any signed memorabilia so that we can Auction it.

    All monies raised from the challenge and the auction is going to Make-A- Wish, which grants wishes for terminally ill children, which can be anything from being a postman for the day to a Disney trip.

    I hope you will be able to help in some way and look forwards to hearing from you.

  10. Fraziel July 16, 2008 at 7:32 pm #

    Millar won the king of the mountains in the tour deFrance ( the first English speaker to do so) and the king of the mountains in the tour of italy.He also won the tour of catalonia, tour of britain,the dauphine libere and stages in tours of Switzerland,italy, Spain and Romandie. The major tours are where its at in cycling and Boardman did race the tour several times so there is a comparison to be made.Unfortunately its not a favourable one for Boardman.

  11. tejvan July 16, 2008 at 9:52 am #

    What did Robert Millar win apart from the odd stage? 2nd in Giro and Vuelta (’87) (’86) is very impressive though.

    In breaking the World Hour Record (3 times) Boardman beat the best of world cycling – Coppi, Anquetil, Merxkx, Indurain, Rominger, Baldini – not a bad collection of cyclists.

    Let us say Boardman was ‘one of the best British cyclists’ – comparisons are always difficult.

  12. Fraziel July 15, 2008 at 9:30 pm #

    Cannot believe the comment that Boardman is probably Britains most successful cyclist of all time. he was not in the same class as Robert Millar.The tour de france, closely followed by the tour od italy and the tour of spain are cyclings “majors” and are considered by professional cyclists to be far more prestigious than the olympics. Millar had podium finishes, Mountains jersey wins and stage wins in all 3.Boardman did not once manage to finish a tour or win a stage in any of these events. A great track cyclist , without a doubt, but greatest british cyclist? You’re having a laugh.

  13. DAN July 7, 2008 at 1:41 pm #

    Can you give me one of your mountain bike
    thank your time Danny

  14. ED UPTON June 21, 2008 at 2:34 pm #

    Dear Chris, I am a model maker and a keen cyclist. I saw a report on the news about team gb cycling and how they are intending to make the fastest bike to date for the olympic games. You were explaining about the wheels wheels etc..
    I was wondering if I maybe able to help in some way with perhaps something promoting team gb cycling in the run up to the olympic games (perhaps a display model of the latest ‘fastest bike’?)
    You can contact me via email or on 07879647089

  15. Anthony Derrington June 14, 2008 at 8:56 am #

    just about to buy a bordman comp need to know am i over weight at 15 and a half stone , just started out on cycles. please can you let me know.


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