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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Cumbrian cycling fan to be road racing mechanic at London 2012 Olympics

A cycling enthusiast who failed to get tickets to see the Olympics has gone one better, after being chosen as one of six mechanics for the road racing.

Phil Graham photo
Phil Graham

Phil Graham, who jointly owns Arragons Cycles, in Penrith, will be an Olympic Event Mechanic as part of the Shimano neutral support team for a week this summer.

The 35-year-old, who grew up outside Wigton but now lives in Calthwaite, will be responsible for assisting any cyclist – from any nationality – who is taking part in either the road race or time trial events, by ensuring their cycles are raceworthy.

Phil, who is a mechanic at the shop, said Shimano had contacted all cycle shops in the country to ask if people wanted to volunteer to assist at the games in London. The only qualification needed was a minimum NVQ Level 3 Cycle Mechanic.

His wife, Sarah, who co-owns Arragons Cycles, explained: “I sent the email off without him knowing, so it was a surprise to him when I announced he was invited to attend the Olympic Games as a mechanic.”

The Shimano team will provide some of its own mechanics as well, and will offer neutral support during the preparations for the road race. This means they are not affiliated to any nationality, and can assist with issues such as gear tuning right up to the race itself.

There will be two voluntary mechanics assisting the team for each of the three weeks of cycling, and Phil will be one of the two volunteers during the first week.

After trying and failing to get tickets to see any of the Olympics’ cycling events, Phil is aware of how lucky he is to have bagged one of the six coveted spaces.

“Everyone is just a little bit jealous,” he laughed. “It’s brilliant. I’m really excited to be there, to soak up the atmosphere and to see how all the racing works.”

Phil admitted there might also be a slightly ulterior motive.

He said: “I’ll be working where all the cycling is taking place. I hope to get autographs of [Bradley] Wiggins or [Mark] Cavendish if I see them.”

Unfortunately for Sarah, only Phil has security clearance for the event, and so she will be left manning the shop during his absence.

“I am really proud of him, but he deserves it,” she said. “I've instructed Phil to get as many photos as he can!”



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