Clive Burke, 2015 European Masters Criterium Champion


In 1894 Henri Degrange published his well-known treatise on training for racing, “La tête et les jambes”, the theme being that it takes more than just strong legs to win a bike race. Here, in his own words, is how Clive Burke used his head and legs to win the 2015 European Masters Criterium Championship.

My trip with Ingrid to the European Masters Games in Nice was quite eventful, with the road race being cancelled due severe flooding on the Riviera, which you probably saw on the news. My other race later in the week was the criterium where I had better luck. The site of the race was the brand new football stadium, Stade Allianz Riviera, about 10 km from the centre of Nice. The course was quite nice with only two tight corners – kind of pie shaped – 12 laps of 1.7 km totalling 20 km. I stayed out of trouble, sitting in the first three or four places the whole race, although I did my fair share of work on the front. Quite a few times people tried to break but I managed to chase them down, although I wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do. For whole race I noticed that nobody attacked the corners or pedalled through the corners and certainly didn’t attack out of the corners. Approaching the last corner I went to the front, pedalled through and attacked coming out. This was a gamble because it was a straight run of about 350 metres to the finish. I think I caught them by surprise, but I was still expecting someone to pass me but it didn’t happen and I won by two or three bike lengths. Needless to say I was very surprised with the result but very, very happy.

For the first four days we had a lot of rain cumulating with the big storm on the Friday evening, but after that the weather was warm and sunny. We really enjoyed our time in Nice and it is top of the list of places to visit again. Prior to the criterium I rode with a couple of local guys who I met via the Games website. The ride we went on was spectacular with some amazing views over Cap Ferat, Villefranche and Monaco. The ride was only 42km long with some long climbs up to La Turbie where we stopped for coffee, then it was back to Nice. The descent was fabulous, a little scary in places, but having somebody with you who knows the roads made all the difference. While we were in La Turbie I found out we were very close to the Col du Madone climb which I really would have liked to have done but time didn’t allow.

Clive Burke European Masters Criterium Champion, 2015.