Question What first drew you to pro cycling?

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Apr 23, 2019
What first drew you to the sport of pro cycling?

I first got into it through a friend of mine who was obsessed with it back in the 90s. Was it someone inspiring you, or did you see a race and catch the bug that way?

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1986. I was 14. My French teacher mentioned that the Tour de France was on TV - Channel 4 in the UK. I paid little attention but I was sport mad. Athletics was huge in the UK at the time.

So one day I tune in. Stage 13 . Pau to Superbagneres. I didn't know the tactics, I didn't know the names. But the idea that a leader (Hinault) could have a five minute lead and lose it was compelling to someone who watched athletics - that didn't happen there.

The next year Roche (as Brits we borrow Irishmen on occasions) won. And I was in love.

Looking back I realise that Stage 13 in 1986 was one of the great stages - I'm not sure it's been beaten since.
In 2009 I was drawn to the TDF from Armstrong returning. My parents had watched cycling for years but I never really watched. I came for Armstrong and I stayed for Cavendish and Andy Schleck. I watched every stage, either live or later that day. By the end of TDF I was hooked and couldn't wait till next year's race. When that came around I got up and watched each stage live from start to finish. By 2010 VAE I found this forum and was watching other cycling races or reading about them.
Reactions: Poursuivant
My husband was a fan and he introduced me to it the year after we got married. Due to few races being on TV the 2003 Tour de France was my introduction to cycling races. Gradually learned there were other races and found my favorite to be the classics. In 2003 I didn't know anything about cycling and took some time to learn about tactics and strategies.
My grandpa used to put me in front of the TV to watch cycling races since i was something like 2/3 years old, maybe even before but i can't remember, so basically i was programmed to be a cycling fan.
It's exactly the same for me. Apparently, when I was three and playing name games in kindergarten I refused to introduce myself as anything else than Induráin.
Ironically, the 2009 Tour de France, although it was the one good stage to Grand Bornand that got me hooked. 9-year-old me was very happy for the Schleck brothers that day, and as a result I rooted for Andy in the two following Tours. It took a couple of years until I started following other races consistently, though.
The Tours 96 and 97. Jan Ullrich, Team Telekom, what else? There was this one, long ITT... I remember waiting excitedly for Ullrich to start, but I don't like to watch old races, so I don't know which one it was (okay, I looked it up, must have been the Bordeaux-St. Emilion). During that time, but in my mind independently, I also started to train regularly to "stunt" on my bike.

But really I suppose it was because of my mother. My father always watched a lot of sports, especially mid-distance running. From the 92 Olympics on I started to like watching sports, mostly athletics, football, horseback riding and figure-skating.
Apart from horseback riding cycling was the only sport I watched with my mother. She was usually busy with work and my siblings, and watching the Tour with her (though she was meanwhile ironing or preparing dinner) was something peaceful, relaxing and still a little thrilling.

From then on there have been times when I have been following more closely or hardly watched anything. The later Armstrong years almost made me give up completely. Around '16 my latest period of caring more started.
I was very competitive as a child, and for watching sports it was pretty much the same. If the Belgian football team lost, i would feel miserable for days. I was 7 in '86, and when Belgium defeated the USSR (the big favorites back then) in Mexico... i wasn't able to see it because it was late at night on this side of the globe. I did hear all about it from my two older brothers. I come from an "old-school" large family, and thus there is quite an age gap between me and them, my oldest brother being 17 years older. That also means these guys had lots of heroic stories about cycling from an era that i had completely missed. They even witnessed my mother's cousin winning the TDF a few times and a few hundreds of other races. Stuff like that must have sparked something, though i would have caught an interest in cycling probably anyway, but likely a bit later.
Some stages in Tour '11. I remember Voeckler and Gilbert attacking on stage 10 ( yellow and green jerseys at the time ), then watched Luz Ardiden I think, but I got truly hooked in stages 16-19 ( Contador surprise attack with Schleck being dropped, Voeckler going into garage, Schleck 60 km, Contador 90 km ). Then I watched San Sebastian, a couple of stages from Vuelta too, and maybe a couple of semi-classics too ( Quebec? ) ( also may or may not have seen Eneco Tour), watched the end of that awful Worlds RR and found steephill sometime in late 2011 and then looked at some past races and then started watching 2012 with Paris-Nice in Eurosport.
I stumbled across professional cycling when I was just the height of a shirt button while flicking through the analogue stations, of a Nordmende color television, at my place of residence. There it was, a guy, riding a solo breakaway, on a steel road racing bike, holding off the chasing pack and taking a magnificent victory.
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Being Australian I first took an interest when Phil Anderson held yellow in the Tour so I guess that was 1981. Then took a passing interest until Lemond in 1986. But I didn't really follow closely or know much about professional road racing until maybe 1992.
I first watched when it was broadcast during the Greg Lemond editions and after that caught it every year and broadcast I could. Then when the Tour of California started watched that in addition to the Tour and as I became a big fan of Sagan started watching as many races as I could. I can now this year due to circumstances different from before where I was unable to buy into broadcasting rights, have now this year bought the FloBikes coverage (great timing hey LOL) after buying the NBCSN coverage the year that at Sagan won the Paris Roubaix and whatched that three different times, the whole broacasts that is.
When I was a little kid, I used to spend a lot of time with my grandparents during the holidays. My grandfather always watched cycling whenever it was on so I joined him. The first race I can recall watching is either 98 or 99 Paris-Roubaix when I was 4 or 5 because I can remember the podium with 3 Mapei guys on it. Till I was like 8 years old I only watched cycling when I was with my grandparents which meant I pretty much only watched Flanders, PR, the Tour and some cyclocross in the winter.

After that I started watching all the cobbles classics and the other 2 GTs whenever I returned from school. When I started secondary school at the age of 12, I began watching pretty much every race that was broadcasted on Belgian TV.
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Early 90s.
I was in primary school and at that time you could skip afternoon classes if you had somebody looking after you at home. So I used to spend my days at my grandma's and sometimes my grandpa would be hom as well. He was an avid cycling fan and a cyclist himself (he claimed he'd won the Doctors Cycling WC, I never checked).

The first races I remember are the Giro and the Tour, with Indurain, Chiappucci and Bugno being the idols. I thought cycling was a thing for adults because nobody at school was talking about it (unlike soccer). Then Pantani came and things changed. I was in secondary school and he was a legend for a lot of my mates. At that point I was hooked.
Jun 13, 2009
Being Australian I first took an interest when Phil Anderson held yellow in the Tour so I guess that was 1981. Then took a passing interest until Lemond in 1986. But I didn't really follow closely or know much about professional road racing until maybe 1992.
Phil Anderson's 1981 Tour was also the first time for me. I was just following it via the nightly TV news and newspapers, where the coverage was pretty scant. During the 80s and 90s , I was more interested in track cycling, and then thanks to a girlfriend who was into it, I started following road cycling avidly from the 2003 Tour onwards, quickly broadening my interest beyond the Tour into other stage races and one-day races.
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