Meet the rider: a series of short questions to riders with whom we have a special bond. Whether they are pro, former pro or amateur riders. Each of them means a lot to us.
In this episode: Brian Holm.
Brian Holm is a Danish former pro cyclist. He rode for Team Telekom from 1993 to 1997 and was part of the team that brought his fellow Dane Bjarne Riis to victory in the 1996 Tour de France. He also rode for Histor-Sigma and Tulip Computers. He was a reliable domestique for most of his career and won 11 races, including a national championship and Paris-Brussels.
After his active career, Brian became a sports director for T-Mobile Team and Omega Pharma - Quick Step.
In February 2004 Brian was diagnosed with colon cancer, and underwent surgery before returning to racing. Following his experience with cancer, Holm established La Flamme Rouge, as a means to raise money for charitable organisations supporting cancer patients through sport. La Flamme Rouge sells various products such as cycle clothing designed for them by Paul Smith. Mark Cavendish (one of Brian’s good friends) is one of its ambassadors.
Brian is hands down the most stylish guy in the pro peloton.
He also has strong opinions about fashion on the bike.
“If you wear leg warmers always have your socks under the leg warmers, not over the top. You can only put you your leg warmers over the top of your shorts if you’re a track rider, but you need special qualities to do it. You need to be a good track rider, that’ll be fine. But if you’re from a small French team you just look silly. Only MVDP can wear socks outside leg warmers.”
“Another guy with a certain style was (Laurent) Fignon. I like Fignon and his ponytail. No one could wear a ponytail. It looks silly; you’d look like a bloody idiot. But Fignon he could do it. He could pull anything off. I love Fignon.”
“Wiggo [Bradley Wiggins] he did it; he has the style. Coming in with an Oasis haircut and winning the Tour de France? You’ve got to say ‘chapeau’. That’s something special. Sideburns like that most of us can only dream about and he won a Tour with sideburns like that. Chapeau.”
We got in contact with Brian even before Çois Cycling Legacy was launched. During his pro career, Brian used to live in Antwerp and he has always been a big fan of the 6 days races. Just to say we had some common ground.
When we wanted to launch our first collection, Brian invited our founder Tom to the Wolfpack (Brian invented that name) team hotel in Brussels as he wanted to check the products we were about to release.
Because of his good taste, we set the bar quite high for ourselves.
But hey, he loved our products and even called us a day after to thank us for the cool products.
We always stayed in touch, even after he retired from his role as a sports director at Quick-Step.
It means a lot to us to feature Brian here!
How long have you been cycling and how did you get into it?
I started ycling back in 1971, but was an ok runner and boxer next to cycling.
My mother said I should do sport and cycling wasn't my first priority before Leif Mortensen became my coach in 1979.
In 1980 I became Danish national junior champ and things started to develop.
What was your first bike and why was it so special?
My first bike was a white Peugeot with mudguards (I was not allowed to take them off, as my mum said I would get dirty) and the most special about it was, that I hated that.
Can you describe what cycling means to you?
Cycling been a big part of my life for 50 years. I’m 61 now and enjoy cycling more than ever. Think sport is sort of "mental-insurance" and I never really regret a bike ride, because it makes me feel happy and alive.
New to that I love all the gear: from a good bike to the clothing. I thought I wouldn't care about "the gear" after I stopped as professional cyclist, but it's getting worse.
We all have someone we look up to in cycling (or someone who inspires us). Who is that for you?
I was inspired by Merckx, de Vlaeminck, Moser and Pollentier when I was young.
And of course Leif Mortensen, Niels Fredborg and Ole Ritter.
Today I think it's the best period of cycling (ever) and I love to see Mathieu van der Poel, Van Aert, Remco Evenepoel and Pogačar. Best thing ever happened for cycling, those kids are wonders!!
What’s your most memorable experience or moment on a bike?
My best moment in cycling was when I became Danish junior champion in 1980.
I was young, did stutter a lot, had 0,00 confidence and had the feeling nobody liked me. Cycling and training hard gave me confidence.
Are you a solo or group rider?
That depends on the day and shape.
Who is your favorite rider of all time and why?
Sean Kelly, Olaf Ludwig, Phil Gilbert and Trentin.
Hard men and gentlemen on and off the bike.
What’s your favorite race and why?
Paris - Roubaix.
Every rider can write a novelle after the race. It's like a Alfred Hitchcock thriller or the battle of Stalingrad from start to finish.
To be strong is not enough, a rider has to be really lucky and smart to win.
What’s your favorite place to ride?
Love to ride around Calpe, good roads, little traffic, friendly people, not too expensive and maybe you meet Remco Evenepoel in the middle of nowhere.