Renowned ex-cycle pro Malcolm Elliott will be having a keen eye on the hot favourites for this year’s Monsal Hill Climb challenge, after his record for the fastest ascent of the Peak District monster has remained intact for 32 years.
The 52-year-old local hero, who hails from Sheffield, first won the event in 1980 breaking British and international cycling great Tom Simpson’s Monsal Hill Climb record of one minute 23.4 seconds.
He then clocked up a remarkable new record time of one minute and 14.2 seconds in 1981 before his career as a pro road racer was close to taking off.
Top pro riders in the intervening years with more finely tuned and lighter bikes - including brothers pros Russell and Dean Downing - have come close and last year amateur Jack Pullar, of Wheelbase, clocked up one minute 18.9 seconds which must have had Malcolm twitching.
But over four seconds is a sizeable margin in an event where every second counts.
Malcolm rode the Monsal Hill Climb as an amateur and turned pro in 1984 and enjoyed an illustrious professional career until 1997 when he retired but made a very impressive comeback to British domestic racing between 2003 to 2011 when he retired aged 50.
Once asked by the Derbyshire Times if he would ever attempt to have another go at the Monsal Hill climb, he said it would be unlikely because he felt it is a young man’s event but that certainly didn’t stop him from continuing to make a mark on the sport well into his 40s.
During his long career as an exciting sprinter, he won three stages and the points classification in the Vuelta a Espana - the Tour of Spain, two gold medals in the Commonwealth Games and won the amateur Milk race and its professional version the Kellogg’s Tour.
The Milk Race and the Kellogg’s Tour were major national events and forerunners to today’s Tour of Britain.
The former Sheffield Rutland Cycling Club and Manchester Wheelers’ rider also rode and finished the Tour de France in 1987 and 1988 and competed in the Olympics in 1980 and 1996.
Since retiring as road-racer, Elliott became the manager of the Motorpoint cycling team, was an ambassador helping to promote Yorkshire’s successful bid to bring two Tour de France stages to the region and only last month he was working hard supporting the Node4-Giordana UCI Continental Team at the Tour of Britain.
His record on the Monsal Hill Climb stands alongside many impressive amateur and professional, international glories and serves to bolster the rich tradition and history of the famous Derbyshire time trial.
It has also worked as an inspiration to up-and-coming competitors at Monsal as well as a driving force for this year’s favourites and usurpers who have their sights set on Elliott’s crown.
For daily updates on this year’s event visit www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk.