Ian Steel, British cyclist, Died at 87

  Dead Famous

John “Ian” Steel was born on December 28, 1928, and passed away in October 2015.

Ian was a Scottish racing cyclist who in 1952 won the Peace Race, a central European race between Warsaw, Berlin and Prague.

He was the first Briton to win and the first to win any major race.

Ian also won the Tour of Britain as a semi-professional and was at one stage second in the 1952 Tour of Mexico before crashing.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Ian joined the Glasgow United club at 18, in 1946, introduced by a friend, John Brierley.

His first race was a 25-mile (40 km) time-trial, in 1946.

Ian finished third in 1h 13m 55s, two minutes behind the winner.

He improved and won time trials at 25, 50 and 100 miles and over 12 hours.

Ian came into cycling at a time when racing was engaged in a civil war between the National Cyclists Union and a new body, the British League of Racing Cyclists.

The BLRC began organising massed-start races on the public road, a form of the sport the NCU had banned in the 19th century because it feared it would bring problems for all cyclists.

Steel moved in 1951 from Glasgow United to the Glasgow Wheelers, which supported the BLRC.

Scotland’s governing body, the Scottish Cyclists’ Union, was not involved in the dispute, although the civil war between the NCU and BLRC affected Scottish riders racing abroad.

The BLRC sent national teams abroad and in 1951 Ian rode for Scotland in Paris-Lens and came second.

His ride impressed a semi-professional team in England sponsored by Viking Cycles.

The BLRC supported the idea of semi-professionals and it allowed them in the Tour of Britain which it promoted.

Ian won the 1951 Tour of Britain and three of its stages.

It was the first time he had been to England. He won another stage the following year and became national champion.

Ian died at age 87 in October 2015.