Top 10 Cycling Photos – By Graham Watson

Top 10 Cycling Photos – By Graham Watson


– Graham Watson is one of
the most legendary cycling photographers of all time. His career span the
careers of the likes of Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond, right through to modern day greats such as Chris
Froome, Nairo Quintana, and Fabian Cancellara. In fact, he started all
the way back in 1977 and it was a photograph of Eddy Merckx in the Champs-Élysées that really caught the attention of the cycling press. And he only finished his career
at the beginning of 2017. Now, Graham has been very
kind in selecting his Top 10 favourite photos of that 40-year career. So in no particular order, here it goes. (jazz music) What an icon photo this one is. It looks like the race director’s car has run over Jesper
Skibby, but the story is that he’d been on a day-long breakaway at the 1987 Tour of Flanders, and here, on the brutally steep
climb of the Koppenberg, he’d run out of strength and fallen onto the side of the road. The race director’s car
was forced to go around him in order to allow the riders
behind to pass through, and actually it didn’t
touch Skibby at all, despite the fact that he
actually gave out quite a loud scream, due to the close
proximity of the car. Now this was the only image to capture that particular moment, so
it gave Graham a big name for himself in the cycling-mad
country of Belgium. (jazz music) Sean Kelly was the Peter Sagan of his era, and as such he used to
dominate Graham’s photo archive at that particular time. He won countless races
across mainland Europe, but this is Graham’s favourite and it features Sean on
St. Patrick’s Hill in Cork, at the 1991 Nissan Classic. It shows a man on his rivet. Despite being in the twilight
of his career at this point, determined to put on a big
show for his home fans. (jazz music) Cycling photographers
are normally too far away from a sprint-finish crash
to get a really good image, but Graham got this one
absolutely perfectly. It’s the 2010 Tour de
Suisse and Mark Cavendish, Heinrich Haussler, and Gerald
Ciolek have hit the deck. Tom Boonen and Juan Antonio
Flecha are desperately trying to take evasive
action to stay upright. And what I particularly love is you can see the Oakley
glasses in the corner of your screen, desperately
making a bid for freedom. Amazingly, despite this high-speed crash at well in excess of
60 kilometres per hour, all the riders got up,
crossed the finish line, and started the next day. (jazz music) The 1988 World Professional
Road Race Championships were held in Ronse, in Belgium,
and home favourite, Claude Criquielion was
looking good for victory, but then a crash with
Canadian Steve Bauer allowed Maurizio Fondriest of Italy to
take an unchallenged victory. In the words of Graham himself, “Such emotion is rare to
see in cycling these days, “but Criquielion’s is hard to
forget, almost 20 years on. “Although time has concluded
the true fault of that famous “crash was more Criquielion’s
than Bauer’s, there was no “forgetting the raw, ugly,
weighted hatred towards “the Canadian in the
moments after the incident.” This is a shot that will be etched into the history of cycling. (jazz music) Graham says that he had to choose an image of Fabian Cancellera
amongst his favourites, because he’d been capturing
images of the Swiss rider ever since the 1999
World Time Trial Championships in Verona. And he’s chosen this one, of Cancellera riding up the
Muur van Geraardsbergen in the 2008 Tour of Flanders, in front
of hordes of cycling fans. And Graham says he always
felt the job of a cycling photographer is not just
to capture action shots, but also to capture the unique atmosphere and raw emotion of our sport of cycling. And Fabian, as well as
Tom Boonen, really helped him to do that over the years. (jazz music) The modern era has been
predominately dry for the Tour of Flanders, but Graham
has seen his fair share of wet and muddy additions. And here, at the 1983 Tour
of Flanders, the conditions were nothing less than biblical. A week’s worth of rain
on the Paddestraat here, as well as loads of mud,
which has washed in from the surrounding fields. And Graham loves this
grainy, black and white shot because of it’s unique appearance. Like an image, lost in time,
when only true Flandrians could get out of bed and race and win. (jazz music) Taken on a wet Alpine stage
of the 1991 Tour de France, this image perfectly captures
the great Miguel Indurain. His statuesque body
seemingly immune to the sweat and grime attached to most other riders. Indurain hated riding in these conditions, but this image serves as the
inspiration to lesser champions who know that Indurain was
just like everybody else when it comes to riding in the wet. (jazz music) Graham says that this picture
perfectly sums up what it used to be like as foreigner
trying to make your way in Belgium when you’re
a bit down on your luck. This is Sean Yates at
the 1982 Gent Wevelgem. And Yates was a dominate
amateur rider but it took him a lot of time, and a lot of
hard work, to finally make his way in the pro ranks. And it’s the less
glamorous side of the sport that often provides the best pictures. (jazz music) This picture of a sprint
finish at the 2016 Paris Nice is a throw back to the days of old, when argy-bargy and physical contact was part and parcel of sprint finishes. Bouhanni is obviously a rider
with a chip on his shoulder. He doesn’t have many
friends in the peloton but cycling needs people like
him, for good or for bad. Thankfully for the Frenchman,
though, Michael Matthews had the incredible
skill to remain upright, and in fact it was the
Australian who was ultimately handed the victory after
Bouhanni was later disqualified by the jury. (jazz music) Despite being in no particular order, this is Graham’s favourite photograph
from his 40 year career. It is Bernard Hinault and
Greg LeMond on Alpe d’Huez back at the 1986 Tour de France. Manual focus, manual exposure,
and manual flash composition, and taken at the side of
the road, because Graham, at the time, had no access
to an in-race motor. This was Greg LeMond’s breakthrough year, where he overhauled the
great French champion. And in the days of no
helmets and no shades, the pain, concentration,
motivation, and determination, is plain for us to see. And in Graham’s own words, “This is two gladiators
going about their work “in true sporting glory.” Well, we hope that you have
enjoyed looking through those famous photographs
just as much as we have. All that remains for me to say is a huge thank you to
Graham Watson for allowing us to see them and also
giving us the back story behind each one. If you have enjoyed it,
please give us the thumb’s up just down below and if you’ve
yet to subscribe to the Global Cycling Network, please do so by clicking on the globe. Now two videos which we
thought you might be interested in off the back of those photos, in the top corner up
there is the iconic climb up the Koppenberg, the famous
and brutally steep cobble climb in the Tour of Flanders. And in the bottom corner
is the iconic climb of Alpe d’Huez.