Thursday morning I arrived at Sigma Sports’s HamptonWick store, where we were presented with goodie bags and asked to wear Gore’s (the cycling clothing sponsor) newest ultra-lightweight foul weather jacket. Fabian himself had arrived, changed and was happily mingling with the other 19 specially invited Sigma Sport customers. So after a quick presentation and briefing by the Gore and Sigma Sport representatives, we set off.
I was immediately struck by Fabian’s friendliness, down-to-earth attitude and his obvious love for the sport. You could ask him anything (well, almost anything) and he was engaged in conversation with many members of this exclusive ‘peloton’ throughout the ride.
The absence of a giant-sized ego was also very refreshing. As we set off he joked: “remember guys, this is not a race”. LMAO! As if any of us mere mortals would dare race him.Very few cyclists in the world are actually capable of beating him and at his prime, he was nigh-on unbeatable in his chosen discipline, the Individual Time Trial. Is this the same guy I’ve watched on Eurosport so many times over the last decade putting in some other-worldly rides?
The route itself was nothing special or hard, just four clockwise laps of Richmond Park with plenty of photography during each lap. We had about four Sigma Sport ‘ride captains’ with us and they kept the ‘peloton’ and ride tight and to the publicised schedule.
They say you should never meet your heroes, that they almost always fail to live up to our expectations of them, that they will either be mean, self obsessed, disinterested or a combination of all of these things. The result is that your hero no longer remains your hero after meeting him or her.
Fabian Cancellara is still one of my heroes. It was a privilege to spend a few hours with him and he is proof that you can be mega successful and still be yourself.