A race in the style of the one-day Spring Classics that runs over a week in August. 27,000m of climbing in a country with no roads worthy of the name. The jersey of a team named after a place where their sponsor's product is not for sale. A WorldTour rider who goes to race in Japan, only to find his power output just about qualifies him for the over-60s category. A man who won the Tour but then had it stolen by Henri Desgrange himself. And a powerhouse road racing nation whose national tour hasn't been held in a decade.
Conquista issue 20. Who says it has to make sense?
On sale from 16th December 2018 at our stockists and available for pre-order now from conquista.cc.
The Swinnerton family is one of the most important in the history of British cycling. Their legendary shop in the Staffordshire Potteries has supported and supplied local cyclists for over a hundred years, and they have been instrumental in the creation and sustenance of their local cycling scene. But their horizons are broader than that. They led cycling pilgrimages to Lourdes and toured all over Europe. As racers they were untouchable on the grass tracks and velodromes of the day.
But it's the female members whose achievements are most extraordinary, culminating in Bernadette's second place at the road world championships behind the Iron Curtain.
Suze Clemitson goes In Search of the Swinnerton Sisters - with wonderful Potteries-inspired Illustrations by Pip Claffey of RUNE- CREATIVE.
The BinckBank Tour is a race in the style of a one-day Spring Classic that takes place over an entire week in August. It is based in a country where almost everyone cycles but few care for the sport of cycling. It was created to replace three races which all still exist. It has been won by time triallists, cobbled specialists, riders who have never ridden a cobbled Monument and a Grand Tour winner. It has two organisers. And its name sounds like a character from a children’s TV show. In sum, none of it makes any sense – and yet it has a solid claim to being the best and most exciting week-long stage race of the year.
Matthew Bailey tries to work out why, with photography by Chris Auld.
“If the Keirin GP Final in Tokyo, with its $1 million prize money for the winner, is something akin to the Monaco Grand Prix, then surely the events hosted on the Kyoto track more resemble a wet Wednesday evening at the greyhound track in Doncaster.”
As a two-time winner of the Japan Cup Criterium, Nathan Haas is Kinda Big in Japan. After being invited to race with some fearsomely-big-thighed keirin stars - and despite being publicly humiliated in their pre-event Wattbike test - he decides to explore this uniquely Japanese form of cycle sport and discovers that it’s not all glamour. With photography by Laura Fletcher.
The Silk Road Mountain Race is a 1,700 km self-supported bikepacking race through Kyrgyzstan, covering every surface from desert to bogs (all of which are preferable to the Soviet-era roads) and incorporating 27,000 metres of climbing. It might just be the world’s toughest race.
The first edition took place in August this year. 100 riders started, but only a third of them finished. One who braved the course was Peta McSharry, who reports for Conquista.
The Deutschland Tour has a long history, with its first edition having taken place in 1911. But it always struggled to survive – in the 43 years between 1955 and 1998, the race was held only seven times. Then from 1999 to 2008 it flourished, largely thanks to the power of the legendary Team Telekom and its German stars, from Jan Ullrich to Erik Zabel. But when Team Telekom collapsed in a storm of doping scandals broadcasters and organisers swiftly pulled the plug and the race winked out of existence.
In 2018 the Deutschland Tour returned to the calendar. With the help of eye-witness accounts and interviews with members of the modern peloton Matthew Bailey digs into the history of the race and the country’s greatest cycling team and asks whether Germany’s old-but-new national tour will survive and prosper.
A Flea in the Mountains is not an ordinary biography. Written by Marcos Pereda, it is a creative work inspired by the life of the great Vicente Trueba, the first winner of the King of the Mountains classification in the Tour de France (in 1933) and one of the first Spanish professionals to find success beyond the Pyrenees.
Conquista issue 20 includes an exclusive extract in which Pereda reimagines, from the perspective of a French journalist, perhaps the key moment in Trueba’s career: the day he is robbed of overall victory in the 1933 Tour de France by none other than Henri Desgrange himself.
Brooklyn were cool. Firstly, they were just Brooklyn: not ‘Brooklyn Cycling Team’, not ‘Team Brooklyn’. Just . . . Brooklyn. Then, they had Patrick Sercu, probably the greatest, and certainly the coolest six-day rider of them all. They also had Roger De Vlaeminck – Monsieur Paris-Roubaix – who dominated the coolest race of them all. And best of all they had that jersey: red, white, blue and . . . you know . . . cool.
Holly Blades tells its story in Threads of History: Brooklyn. Cool.
And finally, Tom Owen drops another Postcard in Conquista's box, this time from the Dolomites.
Conquista issue 20. Why wouldn't you?