Record: Magnus Backstedt's Countdown Starts!
In exactly one month, at the Newport Velodrome, the Liquigas-Bianchi
rider will try to better Dutch Matthé Pronk: more than 66,114 km!
In exactly one month 30-year-old Liquigas-Bianchi's giant, Swedish Magnus
Backstedt, will attack the current Derny Paced Hour Record. The 2004
Paris-Roubaix's winner, back after the Vuelta a España and the World
Championships, is starting a special training on the Welsh track of Newport,
where Saturday 29th October he will try to break the 66,114 km record,
officially recognized by UCI.
"I finished the Vuelta in a very good shape" Backstedt affirms starting
for the Interbike Show of Las Vegas, which he will come back from next week. "I'm
ready to start the tough derny paced training in the Newport Velodrome. The
secret is joining rhythm and power: I will do my best to beat Pronk's
The first derny paced hour recordman was Jean Bobet in 1953. The current
record holder is Dutch Matthé Pronk that last November in Alkmaar covered
66,114 km in one hour: 1,568 more than Belgian Theo Verschueren, who had
been the holder since 1970
"I spend a lot of time over the winter on the track and this is a record that really appeals to me. I feel that with the Newport track being so close to home as well, it is the perfect venue and I hope that people will come
out and enjoy an evening of entertainment," said Magnus.
Asked if he has ever considered tackling the athlete's hour record,
Backstedt replied," I was with Credit Agricole with Chris Boardman and saw him after he finished his last hour, let's get this one out of the way and see what happens".
For ticket news contact http://www.trackcycling.co.uk/site/
Photo courtesy www.cyclingfx.nl.
What is a Derny?
A Derny is a type of motorcycle designed and built specifically for
motor-paced track cycling events (eg: motor-paced races in six-day and
Keirin racing) or motor-paced road races. On a Derny, the driver sits close
to the back of the bike in an upright (almost standing) position to provide
an envelope of low wind resistance for the cyclist 'drafting' or
slipstreaming behind. There is sometimes a horizontal roller mounted to the
rear of the bike to prevent crashes should the bicycle's front tire come in
contact with the Derny.
For most derny races, the cyclist drafts off the Derny for the duration
of the event. In some events, the derny is used to bring the bicycle up to
speed, at which point the Derny pulls off and the cyclist continues the race
without a motorized pacer.
History of the Derny
The idea of the Derny was designed and constructed by two French
ex-racing cyclists called Roger Derny and Sons. This was the conventional
"motos de stayer" (in the UK, "Big Motors" is the term used today). These
type of pacing machines used first for the Bordeaux - Paris were not very
reliable for road use. So another type of pacing machine had to be designed.
And as a result the Derny was born and put into production in 1938.
The Derny brothers’ first factory was at 81, Avenue St. Mande and later
they moved to Avenue du General Bizot, both in the French capital. When the
parent factory closed in 1956 the Dernys for the Bordeaux - Paris were
maintained and rebuilt by Service Derny of 88, Rue Picpus, Paris until 1974.
Derny carried on making other types of machines but closed in 1958.
Later on, another type of Derny was re-introduced called a "Burdin". This
machine had many problems: the engine, a mobylette, and the frame just
would not take the pounding especially in the 6-Days. Many manufacturers
have tried to change the design over the years but have gone back to the
original design because it is still good today as it was way back in 1938.
Pacers today are still called Derny - a fitting tribute to the Derny
brothers who first thought the idea up in the first place.
Dernys today are made by Arie Simon. He used to make them in Holland, but
has now moved his business to Neepelt, Belgium.
The most legedary Derny paced road race was the Bordeaux Paris
The Bordeaux-Paris professional cycle race was one of mainland Europe's
Classic cycle races, and the longest in the professional calendar, covering
a distance of approximately 560 kilometres (350 miles) - more than twice the
distance of most single day races. It would start at Bordeaux in south-west
France at 2am and finish in the French capital Paris approximately 14 hours
The event was first run in 1891, and the Derby of the Road (as it was
sometimes called) was particularly notable in that riders were 'paced' -
allowed to slipstream behind team-mates mounted, in the early events, on
tandem bicycles or other conventional cycles. From 1931, the pacing was
provided by motorcycles or small pedal-assisted Dernys.
In the inaugural events, pacing was provided from Bordeaux. In later
events, the pacing was introduced part-way towards Paris. From 1946 to 1985,
more than half the race distance was paced, the Dernys being introduced at,
for example, Poitiers or Chatellerault, roughly half-way through the race.
The organisers of the inaugural event, the Bordeaux Vélo Club, envisaged
riders might take a few days to complete the race, but Englishman George
Pilkington Mills raced through the night to win the 600km long event in just
over a day. Another Englishman (Arthur Linton) won the event in 1896, but
only one Englishman won the race in the modern era: Tom Simpson in May 1963.
Other post-war winners included Louison Bobet (1959) and Jacques Anquetil
(1965). The record for the most victories is held by Herman Van Springel who
won seven times between 1970 and 1981.
Arthur Linton. Photo courtesy www.gtj.org.uk
The Tale of Arthur Linton
Courtesy Rhondda-Cynon Taf Libraries
Extraordinarily, during this golden age of cycling Aberaman produced no
less than four world class cyclists: the Linton Brothers Arthur, Tom and
Samuel; and Jimmy Michael. Of these four Arthur Linton and Jimmy Michael
became World Champions.
Arthur Linton began to race locally and by 1892 was well known throughout
South Wales. During the 1893 season he began to establish himself nationally
and he was signed as a professional to ride a 'Gladiator' cycle under the
tutelage of the trainer 'Choppy' Warburton. In 1894 Arthur defeated Dubois,
the French Champion, in Paris and was narrowly defeated by the Italian
Champion Bonnic, who thereafter refused to race him again. He was given the
title of 'Champion Cyclist of the World' and when he returned to Aberaman in
December he was given a hero's welcome, a public banquet was held in the
Lamb and Flag public house and he was presented with an illuminated address
1895 was a less successful year for Arthur. He suffered a knee injury and
split from his trainer 'Choppy' Warburton. However, it was during the 1896
season that Arthur won his greatest race, the Bordeaux to Paris Race in
which he defeated Riviere. Tragically, it seems that this race took too much
of a toll on his body and Arthur Linton died of Typhoid Fever in June 1896,
only some six weeks after the race. He was just 24 years old when he died.
A protégé of Arthur Linton, Jimmy Michael came to public attention in 1894
when he won the Herne Hill race in record time. He too was signed by
'Gladiator' and taken under the wing of 'Choppy' Warburton. In 1895 he
continued his run of success, beating the French champion Lesna and later
tied with Arthur Linton's record for 50km. At the end of the year he became
the World Middle Distance Champion at Cologne. As a result of Jimmy's
meteoric rise and the poor year suffered by Arthur Linton, an element of
Shortly after Arthur's death, Jimmy split from 'Choppy' Warburton and
then decided to chance his arm in America, where he enjoyed a successful
career, breaking many records and amassing a sizeable fortune. Jimmy retired
from cycling for a while and instead became a jockey and racing stable
owner, though when this venture failed Jimmy returned to cycling in 1902.
Unfortunately, he was not the same rider on his return and did not recapture
his earlier record breaking form. He died, aged only 29, in November 1904 on
the liner 'Savoie' whilst travelling back to New York. The cause of death
was an attack of delirium tremens, probably brought on through heavy
Tom Linton continued to enjoy a successful racing career although he never
enjoyed the same level of recognition as either Arthur or Jimmy. He died in
1914 of Typhoid Fever, the same disease that had killed his brother 18 years
Samuel Linton had returned to work in the local collieries and died in
Photo courtesy rhondda-cynon-taf.gov.uk
Is the real truth behind Linton’s death more sinister?.
The Anti Doping Forum in Sydney 2004 cited Arthur Linton as the first
reported death of an athlete from a substance – strychnine.
In 1896 when Arthur Linton won the marathon Bordeaux-Paris race in record
time doping was not illegal. Most doping seems to have involved alcohol and
strychnine with heroin and cocaine also in extensive use. "Choppy"
Warburton, Linton’s trainer was later banned from English tracks, and there
seems little doubt that Linton is the first recorded case of dopage.
However, the “facts” of the case are not so well recorded to be quite so
The Anti Doping Forum 2004 cites Arthur Linton as dying from strychnine
but give no date of death.
The Guardian records that in “1886: The first recorded death: cyclist
Arthur Linton overdoses on trimethyl.” While the Doping and Sports report
from Paris 1998 further extends the legend. It announces that “In 1886,
Arthur Linton died during the Bordeaux-Paris race.”
So it would appear that Arthur overdosed on trimethyl a full ten years
before he won Bourdeaux Paris!
The British House of Commons report on dopage takes a far more sensible
Arthur Linton, a British cyclist from South Wales, reported to have
died from typhoid fever (nine weeks after setting a record time in the then
'blue riband' Bordeaux-Paris race). His death (often given as 1886) has been
linked to the use of trimethyl - one of a range of drugs in vogue within the
sport at the time - but this link seems based on only circumstantial
So it would appear that instead of Linton’s name being linked to dopage,
he should, in fact, be remembered as a cycling great.
Let's hope that Magnus Backstedt can write another legend in Welsh
Cycling History and that Arthur Linton’s good name is restored!
Photo courtesy Bianchi.