Published: 00:01, 26 October 2014
A 76-year-old rider has become a world record-holding track cyclist.
Alan Rowe won a gold medal for the best time ever recorded at the world championships in the over-75s 2,000 metres category.
He described the achievement as “the biggest win of my life”.
The sporting pensioner clinched victory in the final by the narrowest of margins against American cyclist James Kloss with a time just two-tenths of a second faster.
The race was part of the 2014 UCI Track Cycling Masters World Championships which took place in Manchester earlier this month.
Mr Rowe, of Carmelite Way, Hartley, said: “I have been riding since I was little. I have always had a bike and I decided to join a club back in around 1955 when I started racing.
“I had a reasonable amount of success on the road and then I started going up to the Olympic velodrome and started riding there once a week. I had done it before but I didn’t know too much about it.”
Mr Rowe stopped cycling for over three decades due to work commitments, but decided to take it up again when he was 65.
“I started doing quite well this year, but I wasn’t aiming for a world record.”
Mr Rowe said of the final: “It was nip and tuck all the way round. In the last lap I went for it and I think that just about clinched it for me.
“My wife and son were in the stands watching and cheering me on.
“I was very surprised to have done so well. No one there even knew my name. I couldn’t get the smile off my face – it was just brilliant, I can’t get over it really.”
The retired draughtsman rides regularly with De Laune Cycling Club, based in South London. His gold medal-winning time was two minutes, 47.58 seconds.
The father-of-two, who has been racing for 58 years, says he will not let his age stop him from doing what he wants. I feel that I can do anything. I just do it.