|Full name||Norman Sheil|
22 October 1932 |
|Discipline||Road and track|
Norman Sheil (born 22 October 1932 in Liverpool, England) is a retired racing cyclist who won world pursuit championships for Britain in 1955 and 1958 and rode the Tour de France in 1960. He became national coach of the British Cycling Federation and later of the Canadian federation. He returned to racing in the 1990s and won the world points championship for over-65s.
Norman Sheil started club riding with the Phoenix (Aintree) club in Liverpool in 1948. He said: "I shall never forget those 40 miles, especially the look on my mother's face when she saw me after the run ended. She thought I was deadly ill or something. And I didn't feel so good, as a matter of fact." 
He rode his first race at the end of 1948, using a bicycle he had built himself from a frame given to him by an uncle, Bill Cronshaw, a racer in the 1920s. He rode a 25-mile [40 km] time-trial in 1h 9m 4s. By 1949 he had improved to 1h 3m 30s, in an event held by the Molyneux club on Merseyside. He moved clubs, from the Phoenix to Walton Paragon, rode a little in 1950 and was then called for national service in February 1951. He spent two years as a naval signalman but without cycling.
Sheil won the 1954 Empire Games pursuit championship in 5m 3.5sec, beating his England team-mate Pete Brotherton by six seconds. His title and then a national record time of 5m 10s later that year in London made selection for the following year's world championship in Milan inevitable. Sheil met the defending champion, Leandro Faggin of Italy, in the semi-final. Sheil won that match and Brotherton won his so that the two Britons met in the final. Sheil won in a British record of 4m 57s.
Tour de France
Sheil raced on the road in France after winning the pursuit championship for the second time, winning six times. He was one of several British riders such as Stan Brittain, Harry Reynolds and John Kennedy. Two others - Tom Simpson and Brian Robinson - were more established there. The growing number of British riders in France, and the end of a civil war between the National Cyclists Union and the British League of Racing Cyclists, led the Tour de France to invite a team of eight from Britain in 1960. The Tour was still disputed by national rather than trade teams.
Sheil retired from racing soon after the Tour, his last international race taking place in San Sebastian, Spain, in 1963. In 1965 he became national coach in Britain, helping establish the British Cycle Coaching Scheme and the English (now British) Schools Cycling Association. He held the job until 1972. He was Canadian national coach from 1978 to 1982, then a track coach in the USA in 1989.
Golden Book of Cycling
- Cycling. "Norman Sheil". cyclingarchives.com.
- "Historique du Tour de France". letour.fr.
- The Bicycle, UK, 7 July 1954, p8
- "Canadian Cyclist - BTAC ExpoCycle Update, Mississauga Midweek Awards Dinner, Women's Tour of Switzerland, Tour de l'Avenir, Hour Record Attempt, Vuelta Espana". canadiancyclist.com.
- The two disagreed over the benefit and risk of massed racing on the open road, the NCU having been against since the 19th century, the BLRC opening in opposition during the second world war. Both sides and the sport in general fought to physical and financial exhaustion before merging to become the British Cycling Federation in 1959.
- Fotheringham, William (2005), Roule Britannia, Yellow Jersey, UK, ISBN 978-0-224-07425-4, p267
- "Professional Cycling Palmarès Site - Races: English speaking riders at the Tour de France". ntlworld.com.
- "Golden Book - Norman Sheil". thepedalclub.org.