Chris Boardman

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, broke the world hour record three times, and won three stages and wore the yellow jersey on three occasions at the Tour de France. In 1992, he was awarded an MBE for services to cycling.[3]

Chris Boardman
2018 Tour de Yorkshire - Chris Boardman.jpg
Boardman at the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire
Personal information
Full nameChristopher Miles Boardman
NicknameThe Professor[1]
Born (1968-08-26) 26 August 1968 (age 53)
Hoylake, Cheshire, England
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)[2]
Weight70 kg (154 lb; 11 st 0 lb)[2]
Team information
DisciplineRoad and track
Rider typeTime trialist
Amateur teams
Birkenhead Victoria CC
Manchester Wheelers' Club
GS Strada
North Wirral Velo Club-Kodak
Professional teams
1999–2000Crédit Agricole
Major wins
Grand Tours
Tour de France
3 individual stages (1994, 1997, 1998)

Stage races

Critérium International (1996)

Time trials

World Time Trial Championships (1994)
Duo Normand (1993, 1999)
Chrono des Nations (1993, 1996)
Grand Prix des Nations (1996)

Hour record

Best human effort (1993, 1996)
UCI Hour Record (2000)

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 also nicknamed "Mr. Prologue".

Boardman is also notable for having used the Lotus 108 time trial bicycle designed by Mike Burrows and built 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 and amateur careerEdit

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.[4]

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)[5] 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.

The Lotus 108 bicycle Boardman used to win the 4 km individual pursuit at the 1992 Summer Olympics

At the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Boardman rode a Lotus 108 in the 4 km individual pursuit. Lotus Engineering's 'uni-axle' design incorporated several new features. Boardman caught Germany's Jens Lehmann, the 1991 World Champion, in the Olympic final on his way to winning the gold medal.

Professional careerEdit

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. 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. In 1993 Boardman established the fastest time for a bicycle around the 37.73 mile Snaefell Mountain Course, the course used for the Isle of Man TT Races. Riding a specially modified bicycle, Boardman recorded a time of 1hr 23min 54secs. The time recorded would prove to be the longest standing cycling record on the Isle of Man, until it was beaten by Peter Kennaugh in 2015. Kennaugh, riding a standard racing bicycle, beat the record by six seconds.[6]

Boardman competed with Graeme Obree for the hour record 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.[7] Boardman won fame by winning the prologue of the 1994 Tour de France with what was then the fastest time ever recorded.[8] In the process he caught Luc Leblanc, who had previously been dismissive about Boardman's 1993 hour record, claiming that it could probably be beaten by half the professional peloton.[9] However he subsequently 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, Boardman crashed in the prologue and was forced to quit by his injuries. 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. Boardman won bronze in the 52 km road time trial at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He did not defend his track individual pursuit title.

Boardman made a comeback at the 1997 Tour de France, winning the prologue of the Tour once more, although a crash forced him to quit the tour on stage 13.

In 1998 Tour de France, when the Tour began in Dublin, Ireland, Boardman won the prologue, but this time crashed out of the race on stage 2.[10] In 1998 he was diagnosed with osteopenia due to low testosterone levels.[citation needed] Treatment to prevent a worsening of his condition would have required him to take testosterone, which is banned under anti-doping rules. The UCI refused to allow Boardman an exemption on medical grounds. 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.[11]

In 1997 the UCI had changed their regulations for the Hour Record, restricting competitors to roughly the same equipment as Eddy Merckx had used in the 1970s, banning time trial helmets, disc or tri-spoke wheels, aerodynamic bars and monocoque composite frames. Boardman made an attempt at the Hour Record using this new ruling in 2000 and succeeded in riding 49.441 km, just 13 m further than Merckx's 28-year-old record.[7]

Boardman's preparation for the road time trial at the 2000 Olympics was affected by missing the 2000 Tour de France due to sinus problems;[12] he finished eleventh in the time trial.[2][13]

Boardman retired after the Olympics, at the age of 32.[14] In an interview Boardman admitted that the last two years of his professional career were the most difficult, especially because of his debilitating health condition and also marital issues. Boardman's osteoporosis was uncommon for someone as young as he was. He was criticised for not realising 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."[citation needed]

Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking CommissionerEdit

Boardman was appointed Greater Manchester’s first Cycling and Walking Commissioner by Andy Burnham in 2017.[15] The Bee Network plan which he has developed is intended to be the UK’s ‘first’ joined-up cycling and walking network. It is intended to deliver 1,800 miles of protected walking and cycling routes. [16]

In May 2021, Boardman was promoted to become Greater Manchester’s first Transport Commissioner, he will be tasked with accelerating the development of The Bee Network cycling and walking network and to integrate those modes with Metrolink, buses and trains.

Personal lifeEdit

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.[17][18] He is also involved in producing competition cycles through Boardman Elite.[19]

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.[20][21][22]

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.[23]

In 2012 Boardman commentated alongside Hugh Porter for the BBC on the cycling at the 2012 Summer Olympics, and is a contributor to cycling programmes on both BBC and ITV.

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

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.[24] In July 2016, his mother Carol died as a result of a collision with a Mitsubishi L200 pickup truck while cycling in Connah's Quay, Flintshire, Wales.[25]

In July 2017 Boardman was appointed Greater Manchester's first ever commissioner for walking and cycling.[26] On 29 July 2018, at the end of that year's Tour de France coverage on ITV4, Boardman announced he was leaving his role as co-presenter in order to concentrate on that role.[27]

Boardman was featured on BBC Question Time on 14 November 2019.[28]

Boardman returned as a presenter on ITV4's coverage of the 2020 edition of the Tour de France which began on 29 August 2020 in Nice.

Career achievementsEdit

Major resultsEdit


3rd   Team pursuit, Commonwealth Games
1st   National Hill Climb Championships
1st   National Hill Climb Championships
1st   Individual pursuit, National Amateur Track Championships
1st   National Hill Climb Championships
Commonwealth Games
3rd   Team pursuit
3rd   Team time trial
1st   National Hill Climb Championships
1st   Individual pursuit, National Amateur Track Championships
1st   Individual pursuit, Olympic Games
1st   Individual pursuit, National Amateur Track Championships
1st Chrono des Nations
1st Duo Normand (with Laurent Bezault)
1st Grand Prix Eddy Merckx
3rd   Individual pursuit, UCI Track World Championships
4th Grand Prix des Nations
1st   Time trial, UCI Road World Championships
1st   Individual pursuit, UCI Track World Championships
Tour de France
1st Prologue
Held   after Prologue–Stage 2
Held   after Prologue
Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
1st Prologue & Stages 3 & 7
Vuelta a Murcia
1st Stages 1 & 6
1st Stage 6 Tour de Suisse
3rd GP Karlsruhe (with Pascal Lance)
1st Stage 4 Four Days of Dunkirk
1st Stage 6 Grand Prix du Midi Libre
2nd Overall Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
1st Prologue
2nd Overall Tour de Picardie
1st Stage 3b
1st   Individual pursuit, UCI Track World Championships
1st   Overall Critérium International
1st Chrono des Nations
1st Duo Normand (with Paul Manning)
1st Grand Prix Eddy Merckx
1st Grand Prix des Nations
1st LuK Challenge Chrono (with Uwe Peschel)
1st Stage 3 Four Days of Dunkirk
1st Stage 2 Route du Sud
2nd   Time trial, UCI Road World Championships
3rd   Time trial, Olympic Games
3rd Overall Paris–Nice
1st Stage 8b
3rd Overall Tour de Picardie
4th Grand Prix du Midi Libre
5th Overall Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
1st Prologue
7th Overall Tour Méditerranéen
Tour de France
1st Prologue
Held   after Prologue–Stage 2
1st Prologue Volta a Catalunya
1st Prologue Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
1st Stage 5b Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana
2nd Overall Tour de Romandie
1st Prologue & Stage 6
3rd   Time trial, UCI Road World Championships
3rd Grand Prix des Nations
5th Overall Tour of the Basque Country
Tour de France
1st Prologue
Held   after Prologue–Stage 1
Volta a Catalunya
1st Prologue & Stage 5
Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
1st Prologue & Stage 4
2nd Overall Prutour
1st Prologue & Stage 1
4th Grand Prix Eddy Merckx
8th Chrono des Nations
1st Prologue Paris–Nice
1st Stage 3 Critérium International
1st Stage 2b Prutour
1st GP Karlsruhe (with Jens Voigt)
1st Duo Normand (with Jens Voigt)
1st LuK Challenge Chrono (with Jens Voigt)
2nd Grand Prix des Nations
3rd   Time trial, UCI Road World Championships
3rd Grand Prix Eddy Merckx (with Jens Voigt)
8th Chrono des Nations
2nd Grand Prix Eddy Merckx (with Jens Voigt)
4th Time trial, UCI Road World Championships
6th Chrono des Nations

World recordsEdit

Discipline Record Date Event Velodrome Track Ref
4 km individual pursuit 4:27.357 27 July 1992 Olympic Games D'Horta (Barcelona) Open air [32]
4:24.496 27 July 1992 [32]
Hour record 52.270 km 23 July 1993 Bordeaux Indoor [33]
4 km individual pursuit 4:13.353 28 August 1996 World Championships Manchester [32]
4:11.114 29 August 1996 [32]
Hour record 56.375 km 6 September 1996 [33]
49.441 km 27 October 2000 [33]

Awards and honoursEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "FAQ's". Boardman Bikes. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Chris Boardman". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  3. ^ "New Year Honours: Prime Minister's List – Peerage for Williams". The Independent.
  4. ^ What's so special about Chris Boardman
  5. ^ The National Governing Body for Cycling Time Trials in England & Wales "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Clarke, Stuart. "Peter Kennaugh beats Chris Boardman's 22-year-old Isle of Man record". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Le Tour en chiffres Les autres records" (PDF) (in French). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
  9. ^ "50 most thrilling performances by British riders in international races Part two". Cycling Weekly. 3 January 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Boardman crashes out". BBC Sport. 13 July 1998. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  11. ^ Boardman quitting to take drugs – The Guardian, 12 October 2000
  12. ^ "Boardman to miss Tour". BBC Sport. 22 June 2000. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  13. ^ "Ekimov upstages the rest". Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  14. ^ "Boardman: Illness forcing me to quit". 25 September 2000. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  15. ^ "Chris Boardman". Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  16. ^ "Cycle plan is biggest step in a lifetime, says Boardman". Place North West. 29 July 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  17. ^ "Boardman Bikes : Chris Boardman".
  18. ^ "Boardman Bikes at Halfords".
  19. ^ "Future bike revealed". Sky Sports. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  20. ^ Mark Appleton. "Boardman's technical quest for Beijing gold". Bike Archived from the original on 7 August 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  21. ^ Patrick Sawyer (6 August 2008). "Revolutionary skinsuit helps UK cyclists go for Olympic gold". Archived from the original on 7 March 2009.
  22. ^ Jeremy Whittle (12 August 2008). "Chris Boardman frets over final preparations". London:
  23. ^ "50 Cycling Heroes Named in British Cycling's Hall of Fame". British Cycling. 17 December 2009. Archived from the original on 20 December 2009.
  24. ^ BBC interview, 7 September 2012
  25. ^ "Cyclist Chris Boardman's mother dies after cycling collision". BBC. 17 July 2016.
  26. ^ "Olympic champion to get Greater Manchester moving as first ever cycling and walking commissioner". Greater Manchester Combined Authority. 28 July 2017. Archived from the original on 3 October 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  27. ^ "Chris Boardman on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  28. ^ "Chris Boardman on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  29. ^ "Chris Boardman (Great Britain)". Québec, Canada: Info Média Conseil. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  30. ^ "Chris Boardman". Cycling Archives. de Wielersite. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  31. ^ "Chris Boardman MBE Cycling Career CV" (PDF). Boardman Bikes. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  32. ^ a b c d "Men's World Records" (PDF). Union Cycliste Internationale. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 June 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  33. ^ a b c Hutchinson 2010, p. 280.
  34. ^ "Award Winners". The F. T. Bidlake Memorial Trust. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  35. ^ "Past winners of the SJA British Sports Awards". Sports Journalists' Association. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  36. ^ "British Cycling Hall of Fame – 2010 Inductees". British Cycling Hall of Fame. Retrieved 21 October 2015.


Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

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