Join esteemed photographer Phil O'Connor who takes us through his Milk Race archives, looking at some well-known and also additional previously unseen photographs from the country's favourite stage race.
Milk Race 1981 - Steve Joughin: I’ve bought my first ever Single Lens Reflex camera - it’s a Zenith TTL. I went to Bournemouth where my mother lives (and still does) for a visit and got this photo. Steve Joughin winning the stage with Mark Bell just behind and Jim Hendry looking excited on the small podium by the finish line.
That photo of Joughin started a chain of events that continues to this day!
Milk Race 1984: Carmarthen to Aberystwyth. Possibly Sergei Smievtkov. I took this on a two-day ride around mid-Wales on 65" fixed! This one was on the Devil’s Staircase which I walked up of course! By now I had progressed to a Mamiya 645 medium format camera with a 210mm lens.
I took these images to Cycling Weekly and they didn’t want them, I was a bit hacked off so went to Bicycle Magazine who used them and with it started a happy 3-year relationship.
Milk Race 1992: Ebbw Vale to Aberystwyth. One of the things I learnt from photographing the Devil’s Staircase as that there is another fearsome climb soon after called The Gammault so the next time I had an opportunity to go there I did. This is Tim Hall leading Shane Sutton who went to get 5th on this stage which was won by Danny In ’t Ven who took over the race lead for a while.
Milk Race 1986 - Joey McLoughlin: It was the first year that professional teams were allowed to take part, ANC was an emerging team that a year later would ride the Tour de France, Joey McLoughlin was also an emerging star of British cycling, his win was a very popular win indeed.
Milk Race 1987 - Malcolm Elliott: Darlington to Hull. By now Elliott had won the prologue and the first road stage to Darlington, this would be the third victory in a row narrowly taking the victory from the Soviet Alexandre Zinoviev.
Milk Race 1987: The final podium of 1987 with Igor Sumnikov, Malcolm Elliott, Dave Rayner, Paul Watson et al.
Milk Race 1987: Another photo from '87 where the stage was a number of laps up and through Malvern High Street - it was pretty brutal! Igor Sumnikov won the stage.
Milk Race 1987: The 1987 Team winners were the Russians - a common occurrence during the 1980s.
Milk Race 1992 - Rolling Hills: The route used by the race in the third stage from Ebbw Vale to Aberystwyth covered some terrific roads that now rarely see any high class racing these days. That's a real shame looking at this photograph.
Milk Race 1987: The third stage took the riders from Hull to Lincoln, here crossing the Humber Bridge.
Milk Race 1987: Although Elliott won the overall, Igor Sumnikov won the final stage into London.
Milk Race 1993: The final ever winner of the Milk Race was Britain's Chris Lillywhite riding for the Banana Falcon team.
If you enjoyed this article, we've plenty of other Milk Race blogs both available now and some extra ones planned in the coming weeks.
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