Chris Boardman

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Chris Boardman
Chris Boardman 2010.jpg
Boardman in 2010
Personal information
Full name Christopher Miles Boardman
Nickname The Professor,[1] Mr. Prologue
Born (1968-08-26) 26 August 1968 (age 46)
Hoylake, Merseyside, United Kingdom
Team information
Discipline Road, track
Rider type Time trial specialist
Amateur team(s)
- Birkenhead Victoria CC
- Manchester Wheelers' Club
- GS Strada
- North Wirral Velo Club - Kodak
Professional team(s)
1993–1998 GAN
1999–2000 Crédit Agricole
Major wins
World Time Trial champion 1994
Tour de France 3 stages
Infobox last updated on
18 May 2008

Christopher Miles Boardman, MBE, (born 26 August 1968) is a British former racing cyclist who won an individual pursuit gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics and broke the world hour record three times, and won three stages and wore the yellow jersey on three separate occasions at the Tour de France. In 1992, he was awarded an MBE for services to cycling.[2]

Boardman's nickname is "The Professor", for his meticulous attention to detail in preparation and training, and his technical know-how. He had an altitude tent built in his house to help him prepare for the hour record attempt, although in an interview he claimed that all it did was help him focus. Boardman focused on interval training. He was a keen user of power measuring devices. For his winning ways in time trials and prologues of stage races, he was nicknamed "Mr. Prologue".

Boardman is also notable for having used the Lotus 108 time trial bicycle designed by Mike Burrows and made by the sports car manufacturer Lotus. Later he worked with the UK carbon fibre bike specialist Hotta, to produce other time-trial frame designs, which he raced in various events including world championships, and Olympic games. He is now involved in producing commercial and competition bikes with the Boardman Bikes and Boardman Elite ventures.

Early life[edit]

He was educated at Hilbre High School in Wirral, Merseyside, and rode in his first bike race at the age of 13. He was on the national cycling team by the age of 16.[3]


UK time trial[edit]

Boardman won his first national RTTC time trial title in the 1984 "GHS" schoolboy 10-mile championship and subsequently won the 1986 junior 25-mile championship. He also broke the junior 25-mile national record in 1984.

As a senior he won four consecutive hill climb championships (from 1988 to 1991), five consecutive 25-mile championships (from 1989 to 1993), the 50-mile championship in 1991 and 1992, and the men's British time trial championship in 2000. He broke the record for 25 miles in 1992 and 1993 with 45 minutes 57 seconds (which he held until 2009)[4] on a course based on the A34 near Oxford. He was also a member of the winning North Wirral Velo team in the 1993 100 km team time trial championship (in a record time of 2:00:07), having previously won the event three times with Manchester Wheelers' Club, in 1988, 1989 and 1991.

Professional career and Tour de France[edit]

Having started his cycling career as a time trial specialist, he turned professional with the GAN team, later renamed the Crédit Agricole team, of manager Roger Legeay of France. His first race as a professional was the 1993 Grand Prix Eddy Merckx, a 66 km time trial which he won. He further won several stages of the Midi Libre and Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré stage races, including the final road stage.

He won fame by winning the prologue of the 1994 Tour de France with the fastest time ever recorded,[5] but lost the yellow jersey in a team time trial. He was hailed as the UK's future Tour de France winner, despite his own insistence that it was a long shot. After retirement he said he was not able to recover from the rigours of stage racing due to a low hormone profile. "I've always had it, it's probably been that way since I was born, but because of the type of racing that I did in the past, it was not a problem."

In the 1995 Tour de France, he crashed at the prologue and was forced to quit. The 1996 Tour de France saw him make a timid return in the wet and rainy prologue where he was beaten by Alex Zülle and finished in second place. However, he made a comeback in the 1997 Tour de France by winning the prologue of the Tour again, although a crash forced him to quit on stage 13.

In 1998 Tour de France, when the Tour began in Dublin, Ireland, he won the prologue but crashed on stage 2 while wearing the yellow jersey. In 1998 he was diagnosed with osteopenia due to low testosterone levels.[6] Treatment to prevent worsening in this condition would have required him to take testosterone, which is banned under anti-doping rules. The UCI, in the wake of the Festina doping scandal, refused to allow Boardman an exemption on medical grounds.[6] Faced with either retiring to allow treatment for his osteoporosis, or continuing to cycle without taking testosterone, Boardman chose to continue in cycling untreated for a further two years, hoping to finish his career on a high note at the 2000 Summer Olympics.[7]

His preparation was affected by missing the 1999 Tour de France due to sinus problems.[8] Boardman came eleventh in the time trial at the 2000 Olympics.[9] He retired after the Olympics, at the age of 32.

Hour Record[edit]

Boardman is famous for his hour record. The 1990s saw him compete with Graeme Obree using radically modified time-trial bikes, beating each other's records in turn; in one eight month period in 1994 the record fell four times.[10] The Union Cycliste Internationale finally modified the regulations, mandating use of a traditional racing bicycle, similar to the one used by Eddy Merckx to establish the Hour Record in the 1970s. Chris Boardman made his attempt at the Hour Record using this new ruling and succeeded in 2000 riding 49.441km, just 10 m further than Merckx's 28 year-old record.[10]


Boardman rode a Lotus 108 in the 4 km pursuit at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Lotus Engineering's 'uni-axle' design incorporated several new features. Boardman caught Germany's Jens Lehmann, the 1991 World Champion, in the Olympic final.

Boardman won bronze in the 52 km time trial at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He did not defend his 4 km title.


In an interview Boardman admitted that the last two years of his professional career were the most difficult, especially because of his debilitating condition and marital issues. Boardman was diagnosed with osteoporosis by the time he was 30, a condition which is uncommon for someone as young as he was. He was criticized for not realizing his potential, but in response he said that, "I never considered myself particularly gifted, but I managed to stretch and mould the ability that I have, and found a niche for myself."

Personal life[edit]

Boardman lives with his wife and six children in his native Wirral. Since retirement from professional cycling he has presented for ITV's cycling coverage and currently has a brand of cycles and accessories under the name Boardman Bikes.[11][12] He is also involved in producing competition cycles through Boardman Elite.[13]

Boardman was appointed a technical adviser to the British road and track cycling team in 2004, and was equipment and technical manager to the TeamGB cyclists at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.[14][15][16]

In 2009 Boardman took part in the London marathon, finishing in 3hrs 19min 27sec. He was also inducted into the British Cycling Hall of Fame.[17]

In 2012 Boardman commentated alongside Hugh Porter for the BBC on the cycling at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

He is an advocate of policies to greatly increase utility cycling in the United Kingdom, citing the potential to reduce the 35,000 annual deaths from obesity-related diseases, and urging that in road traffic accidents there be a presumption of guilt on the driver of the larger vehicle.[18]

Boardman appeared on the BBC Top Gear TV show in Series 21, Episode 5 (March 2, 2014) in his role as a British Cycling policy advisor in the "Make a commercial for reducing cycle-related accidents" feature.

Major Results[edit]

1986 Commonwealth Games
Bronze medal blank.svg Bronze, 4000m Team Pursuit
8th, 4000m Individual Pursuit
2nd British National Hill Climb Championships
United Kingdom British National Hill Climb Championships
United Kingdom British National Hill Climb Championships
United Kingdom National Amateur Individual Pursuit Championship
United Kingdom British National Hill Climb Championships
1990 Commonwealth Games
Bronze medal blank.svg Bronze, 4000m Team Pursuit (with Simon Lillistone, Bryan Steel and Glen Sword)
Bronze medal blank.svg Bronze, Team Time Trial (100km) (with Peter Longbottom, Ben Luckwell and Wayne Randle)
United Kingdom British National Hill Climb Championships
United Kingdom National Amateur Individual Pursuit Championship
United Kingdom National Amateur Individual Pursuit Championship
1st Olympic Games, Individual Pursuit
Chrono des Herbiers
Duo Normand (with Laurent Bezault)
Grand Prix Eddy Merckx
Arc en ciel.svg World Individual Pursuit Championship
Arc en ciel.svg World Time Trial Championship
Tour de France:
Winner prologue
4th Stage 4
Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
1st Prologue
1st Stage 3
1st Stage 7
Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia
1st Stage 1
1st Stage 6
GP Karlsruhe
3rd (with Pascal Lance)
Critérium du Dauphiné Liberé - 2nd[19]
Winner Prologue
2nd Stage 3
2nd Stage 7
Tour de Picardie
2nd Overall
2nd Stage 1
1st Stage 3b
Four Days of Dunkirk
1st Stage 4
3rd Olympic Games, Individual Time Trial
Chrono des Herbiers
Duo Normand (with Paul Manning)
Grand Prix Eddy Merckx
Josef Voegeli Memorial
Arc en ciel.svg World Individual Pursuit Championship
Grand Prix des Nations
LuK Challenge Chrono (with Uwe Peschel)
Tour Méditerranéen
7th Overall
3rd Overall
3rd Stage 3
2nd Stage 6
1st Stage 9
Critérium International
1st Overall
Four Days of Dunkirk
1st Stage 3
Critérium du Dauphiné Liberé
1st Prologue
Silver medal icon.svg UCI Road World Championships - Men's Time Trial
Tour de France:
Winner prologue
Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana:
1st Stage 5b
Tour of the Basque Country:
5th Overall
Tour de Romandie:
2nd Overall
1st Prologue
1st Stage 6
Critérium du Dauphiné:
1st Prologue
3rd UCI Road World Championships - Men's Time Trial
Tour de France:
Winner prologue
Critérium du Dauphiné:
1st Prologue
1st Stage 4
Tour de France:
5th prologue
1st Prologue
Critérium International
1st Stage 3
GP Karlsruhe (with Jens Voigt)
Josef Voegeli Memorial
Duo Normand (with Jens Voigt)
LuK Challenge Chrono (with Jens Voigt)
3rd World Championships – Men's time trial:
2nd Prologue
Four Days of Dunkirk
2nd Stage 6


British records[edit]

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.)
100 km road time-trial (Team), 1993, 2:00:07,(hr:min.:sec., North Wirral Velo team)

World records[edit]

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)


  1. ^ "FAQ's". Boardman Bikes. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  2. ^, 1992 New Years Honours List.
  3. ^ What's so special about Chris Boardman
  4. ^ The National Governing Body for Cycling Time Trials in England & Wales
  5. ^ "Le Tour en chiffres Les autres records" (in French). 
  6. ^ a b CHRIS BOARDMAN: I had to give up cycling at 32 because I had the bones of an old woman - Daily Mail, 15 November 2009
  7. ^ Boardman quitting to take drugs - The Guardian, 12 October 2000
  8. ^ "Boardman: Illness forcing me to quit". 25 September 2000. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  9. ^ "Ekimov upstages the rest". Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  10. ^ a b Clemitson, Suze (19 September 2014). "Why Jens Voigt and a new group of cyclists want to break the Hour record". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "Boardman Bikes : Chris Boardman". 
  12. ^ "Boardman Bikes at Halfords". 
  13. ^ "Future bike revealed". Sky Sports. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  14. ^ Mark Appleton. "Boardman's technical quest for Beijing gold". Bike 
  15. ^ Patrick Sawyer (6 August 2008). "Revolutionary skinsuit helps UK cyclists go for Olympic gold". 
  16. ^ Jeremy Whittle (12 August 2008). "Chris Boardman frets over final preparations". London: 
  17. ^ "50 Cycling Heroes Named in British Cycling's Hall of Fame". British Cycling. 2009-12-17. 
  18. ^ BBC interview, 7 Sept 2012
  19. ^ "Dauphine Libere - France June 4–11, 1995". 

Further reading[edit]

  • Liggett, Phil (1994), The Fastest Man on Two Wheels — In Pursuit of Chris Boardman, London: Boxtree .
  • O'Connor, Phil; Watson, Graham (2000), Boardman — A Cycling Career in Pictures, O'Connor and Watson .

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Eddy Merckx
UCI hour record (49.441 km)
27 October 2000 – 19 July 2005
Succeeded by
Ondřej Sosenka