Tom Southam

  • Great Britain proves it can be done

    Early in my career, I was involved in the following exchange in an interview:

    Q: Cycling is still a minority sport in the UK,
    despite the good performance by British riders on road and track in the past
    few years. Does that bother you?

    A: No, not really. You are not going to get British people doing it
    because it is just too hard. If you go to schools you just see loads of
    overweight kids walking around. British people are just eating bad food and
    turning into blobs. If you want them to go out and do a sport where they have
    got to flog themselves for 200 kilometres, they are not going to do

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  • Tour of Britain has come a long way

    When I first rode the 'new' Tour of Britain in 2004 (pictured) it was a great experience.

    I was in my first year as a professional in Europe, and I got to come back and race against the pros on my home roads, in front of my home crowds. It was a pretty unique opportunity, I thought, riding for the national team alongside another continental-based professional Charly Wegelius.

    I thought it was great at the time, but looking back, it really wasn't. In that one edition riders were sent into oncoming traffic, the first part of the bunch was sent off down a back alley inside the last three

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  • The strangeness of finish lines

    Some finish
    lines are just better than others. Some are located in places that seem to be
    destined to be the point at which a bike race concludes, but some are just

    I watched
    the final minute of J.J. Haedo's stage win in the Vuelta with amazement. Not to
    take anything away from the man with one of the coolest names in pro cycling,
    but I would suggest that having a large roundabout within a few hundred metres
    of the finish of a grand tour stage was a strange decision on the part of the

    On occasion
    I have thought about the finish line of a race: it is such an important place

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  • Yellow, pink, red

    Some things really shouldn't be messed with. I know that cycling, like everything, needs to change to evolve.

    Lately I have even rethought my opinion on the radio issue, as I have started to see that it is careful management of the application of modern technology, instead of banning it, that will help maintain cycling's balance between its traditions and its place in the modern sporting arena.

    However, I really do think that race leader's jerseys should be left well alone. I'm not saying that they should be made of wool or anything, make them as aero as you like, but I'm just not so sure

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  • The travelling salesman

    I stumbled through a
    Greek restaurant the other night, in search of a bathroom to relieve the
    pressure that the mounting beers had begun to apply to my bladder.

    After finally
    translating the waitress's hand gestures and passing through the the cavernous
    and sweaty expanse of kitchens to my destination, I found another part of the
    puzzle of my cycling career, in the least likely of places.

    As I focused down on
    the toilet, something caught my eye on the cistern. A logo, a brand name, that
    was all too familiar, yet in this setting seemingly completely out of context.

    I had been so used to

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  • The joy of a busman’s holiday

    Going away in the middle of a cycling season can be a
    tricky thing to pull off. It can, however be as important as any other aspect
    of training or racing.

    A clear and healthy mind is the key to making a bike
    go fast in my opinion, so what the mind needs, it should get. Unfortunately, this
    does often mean that a rider needs a break at a moment that doesn't fit in with
    the requirements of the team.

    In these instances, sometimes a rider will just have
    to hold his edges together for a little while longer and push through to a time
    when a break can be worked in.

    Sometimes a rider might just try

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  • Home Game

    By all accounts, apart from that of Eamonn Holmes - who was so tragically made late for an appearance at a dog show - the Olympic games test event on Sunday was a huge success.

    Putting a road race on in one of the most crowded and sizeable cities in Europe is no small feat. It was great to hear then from my team-mates who rode the race, that it was up to scratch, and not just by UK standards, but by the standards of the top continental professionals who came over to compete in it.

    Cycling in Britain has come a long, long way, in a short space of time. At the moment as the world sees it,

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  • Going down, down, down

    I was explaining to my
    mate as we dropped down off a climb the other day, just how fast and how
    difficult it can really be descending in pro races.

    I think I blame TV and
    an uncertainty in the road closure system in amateur events for no one
    (including my 21-year-old self) really understanding just how hard going down
    could be. I mean, in an amateur race, you can never really, really trust that
    the roads are completely closed; there is that slight lack of faith that, like
    in training, slows things down.

    Pro racing takes
    competition cycling to its absolute limit. It simply requires another

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  • True Crit

    After what seemed like
    an extraordinarily long time away from the front lines, I finally returned to
    race action on the weekend.

    I had decided in my
    infinite wisdom that a holiday in Italy would be a much better option for July than
    slogging it out in the Czech Tour, and as such I hadn't actually turned a pedal
    in anger since the National Road Race Championships, one whole Tour de France

    It was good then to
    throw myself back into the sharp end at the National Criterium Championships on
    Friday night. The 'Crit' champs are a little bit of a quirky anomaly in the
    grand world scheme of

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  • Le Tour’s over – what now?

    What now?

    The impact of the Tour
    not being on anymore is felt by pretty much all of us. Even if, like me, it is
    only in so much as the companion you have had every afternoon for three weeks
    has suddenly upped and left the television in the front room that it used to

    However no one could
    possibly feel its absence more than those who have just been in it. I've never
    really pondered for too long on how it would feel to be riding the Tour; by all
    accounts you are just pretty much exhausted, just trying in vain to stop your
    body devouring itself before you reach the finish. I have wondered

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