Q: Malcolm, when you won the CiCLE Classic in 2007 it was in your comeback period to British domestic racing. What was the experience like that day and at that stage of your career?
Malcolm Elliott: I do feel that race was probably the single best performance of my comeback. I had ridden it the previous year and felt that it suited me, but had suffered three ill-timed punctures and rode the final 2km on the wheel rim.
For 2007 I went and recce’d the entire route mid-week prior, so I went into the race feeling confident, prepared, and in good shape. I gave it everything on the day. I was quite emotional after the finish.
Q: Did anyone or anything in particular inspire you into cycling?
Malcolm: I’m often asked this, and I’m always reminded of the first time my dad took me to see city centre racing in Sheffield, the first cycle racing I’d ever seen. The colour, the glinting of chrome, and the whooshing of tyres just had me hooked instantly.
Q: You come from Sheffield. Did the northern grit help in tough races?
Malcolm: I think most Northerners have this hard man reputation bestowed upon them, so it becomes a burdensome image which we have to live up to!
Q: Looking at our stats, you are the most mature cyclist so far to have won the CiCLE Classic at 45yrs – 3 months off your 46th birthday. What do you make of that?
Malcolm: Oldest so far, and by far. What can I say? Where there’s a will there’s a way. I certainly had the will…so, to an extent, one’s age becomes less relevant. I actually didn’t believe I WAS old!
Q: How did you keep yourself fit enough to still compete and win?
Malcolm: I found I actually enjoyed riding and training more when I was older than I did earlier in my career, so was better equipped to handle the hard training.
Q: Malcolm you’ve been quoted in the past as saying that the CiCLE Classic is your favourite race. Is it still true and why do you think this?
Malcolm: Time flies when you’re having fun, and despite the CiCLE’s distance, it always seems to pass very quickly. It suits my style, and demands skill and finesse on the loose, rough sections. Plus there’s always some situation developing there that requires tactical decision making.
Q: Your career had you competing in the Tour de France, La Vuelta a Espana, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games – Is there any race you didn’t get a chance to do and wish you had?
Malcolm: I do wish I’d ridden more Tours de France. However, my path took me to race for Spanish teams, whose main goals and focus were the Vuelta.
Q: Cycling is really booming in this country, the legacy of 2012, the TdF wins by British riders. What do you think about the Yorkshire Grand Depart this year?
Malcolm: When I first got wind of the bid, I did check if it was April 1st.
It’s yet another significant milestone along the way to cycling becoming accepted as a mainstream sport, something I could never have imagined during the height of my career. I’m so proud, it’s going to be beyond awesome.
Q: Will you be there?
Malcolm: Yes. I shall be there throughout the Tour, in Public Relations, piloting one of the VIP cars in the convoy.
Q: What sort of world are you in, when you have a cycling career?
Malcolm: Honestly, fantastic. Who’d want to work in the real world? Any job or occupation has its negatives, but anyone able to make a living in their chosen sport is, without doubt, ‘living the dream.’
Q: Who was the most fun to be around in the peloton?
Malcolm: It’s always been those people closest to you, (i.e.) your own team-mates, that keep morale up and make you laugh. Shane Sutton was always good to have around… there have been plenty of other good teammates along the way.
Q: During your cycling career, were you ever pulled in ways you didn’t want to go at the time?
Malcolm: I don’t believe so. I was never pressured by anyone that I recall. I’d say I ploughed my own furrow.
Q: Do you have a favourite motto to live by?
Malcolm: Never sacrifice style for speed!
Q: What sort of rider suits the CiCLE course in your opinion?
Malcolm: This style of race does suit the stronger rider, who tend to be more mature. It is a race which favours making the effort to stay at the front, rather than trying to hide away and conserve energy. Experience here is particularly important where the CiCLE classic is concerned.
Q: How important is it to be able to compete against foreign riders on home soil?
Malcolm: The international field adds to the race some unpredictability and the foreign guys are frequently there in the mix. They also enhance the race’s credibility, its status.
Q: How important is a race like the CiCLE on the British cycling calendar?
Malcolm: If only there were more events like this. The British scene would be transformed greatly. I think it’s great for a race to have its own clear identity.
Q: What’s been your food of choice to find in your musette?
Malcolm: For me, having to eat in a race was just a necessary chore. So, anything that’s easy to unwrap, and to digest is a bonus. The CiCLE Classic isn’t an easy race in which to eat. It demands full attention for pretty much the last 120km.
Q: How important is pride in your equipment?
Malcolm: Whether pro or amateur, I always took responsibity for double checking everything to do with my bike and equipment. I was notoriously fastidious. Being properly prepared removes distractions, and gives such an edge of confidence.
Q: What bike were you riding the day you won the CiCLE?
Malcolm: The Pinarello Paris Carbon, with Campagnolo Super record, and Mavic Kysirium with large section (25mm) tubulars. I did finish on a neutral service front clincher though.
Q: On race day in 2007, you were in the mix with Ian Wilkinson (2nd) (since won it twice), Alex Dowsett (6), Rob Sharman,(7) Dean Downing, Ian Bibby, Rob Hayles and Mark Cavendish who placed at 27th . What gave you the edge that day?
Malcolm: Preparation, and the usual good luck that’s needed in this race. I did puncture that year coming off Somerberg for the last time. Fortunately I was able to get service fairly swiftly and regained the leaders, unlike in 2006.
Q: What’s the biggest bit of advice you can pass on to riders starting out on their cycling career
Malcolm: For anyone starting out on their cycling career…its vital to always keep it fun.
Q: Have you inspired people in your family to take up cycling?
Malcolm: My youngest daughter shows some interest, although both my daughters are far more into their dancing.
Q: What are you doing now?
Malcolm: Co manager of Velosure Giordana, and also representing my sponsors interests at some of the larger sportive events this season. This allows me more time on the bike, something that’s been lacking these last couple of years.
Q: Do you still cycle?
Malcolm: Far less frequently than I would like, that’s for sure. This season I should be able to get out more though.
Q: Will you be at this year’s CiCLE Classic race?
Malcolm: Hopefully. Although I am becoming more involved with the leisure side of things, and the sportive scene, the CiCLE classic is one race I would really like to be at.
Q: Have you any message to the organisers on their 10th anniversary?
Malcolm: Congratulations to all. I hope the CiCLE Classic will be around for many years to come.
It truly deserves the long term stability that a major sponsor can enable.
Thanks for your time and chapeau! to your longevity in cycling, Malcolm.
Rutland-Melton CICLE Classic