On the ninth day of Christmas…
Join us as we return to our favourite episodes from the 2018 season, one for each of the twelve days of Christmas.
Lunch With Colin Sturgess – Friends of the Podcast Special
I still have a copy of Winning magazine with Colin Sturgess on the cover that I bought when I was a teenager. He was an outrageously talented rider – world professional pursuit champion at the age of 19. But he retired young, disillusioned with the sport, and headed to Australia. Then he made a comeback and rode for England at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, in the same team as a young Bradley Wiggins. That much I knew.
I had also read a couple of interviews in which he was frank about some very tough times in his life, a spell living in his car, problems with alcohol and difficulties with his mental health.
I knew that Colin had a compelling story to tell and he’d already told some of it to print journalists but I felt it would be all the more powerful for the audience to hear him talking.
Usually, a couple of days before an interview like this, I’d read up on the subject but on this occasion I didn’t because I wanted to avoid the trap of falling into making the conversation a box-ticking exercise, a sort of Greatest Hits of Colin Sturgess, so to speak.
I wanted to retain the relatively relaxed, informal style. I also knew I had no right to expect Colin to open up and talk about things if he didn’t want to. So I travelled to Leicester and met him not knowing how I was going to start things.
This was one of those rare ‘interviews’ where I think both of us forgot about the presence of the microphone. I certainly said a few things I would not have revealed had I not felt so comfortable in Colin’s company.
The recordings were so long we had to split it into two parts but I felt I owed it to Colin to present his words as completely as possible. I didn’t want any of the context to be lost because the result is a story of how life – and cycling – can take you in unexpected directions and, without labouring the analogy too much, there can be some tricky descents to negotiate as well as the rarified highs.
by Lionel Birnie
Become a Friend of The Podcast
Become a Friend of the Podcast to access our library of special episodes. It’s just £15 to subscribe in 2019- for the price of a couple of afternoon cappuccini you’ll get eleven feature-length in-depth episodes. Past-highlights include Inside the team car, The Rise and Demise of HTC-High Road – The Team of the Century, The Lionel of Flanders, and Meeting Jean Bobet.