Cycling was once a working class sport.
The equipment was at hand for any youngster with a sense of competition and adventure.
Cars were an aspiration but every house had a bicycle.
There was no specialist pitch - the sport was organised on mostly car-free local roads.
There was also no entry fee to spectate, if you wanted to watch a bike race chances are one passed by your door several times a year.
When the barriers to entry are as low as this you tap the widest possible gene pool.
Great sporting champions sprang up from the most inauspicious circumstances.
Coppi, Kelly and Hinault didn’t come from great cycling dynasties like Mathieu van der Poel, Nicholas Roche or Andy Schlek.
Coppi, Kelly and Hinault came from poor farming backgrounds. They picked cycling up off the ground because it was there to be picked up.
Over the past 20 years the sport of cycling has become increasingly dynastic sport.
Increasingly kids involved with cycle sport have parents involved with cycle sport.
The link working class, lower income communities had with the bicycle has been almost entirely severed.
Consequently the most talented cyclists in the country are probably currently sitting out their childhoods on the subs bench at their local football club.
They’ll never know.