Known in the cycling world as Crosby, Tom Newton was an elite and international rider in the late 1990’s in to the 2000’s, he rose rapidly through the junior ranks and quickly progressed on to the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) now British Cycling’s academy. He competed in many pro and u23 international races throughout the world but called time on life as a full time athlete aged 22 after a measly manner of existence on the French circuit. He now lives in Sheffield with his Wife, Jo and daughter Annabelle. It is here he rediscovered his love for the bike and whiles away any free time in the Peak dreaming of being a full-time rider all over again.
How did you get into the bike? Were there any people in particular who were influential?
For me it all came about in the mountain bike era. Living in the sticks in Leicestershire I had a longer than normal paper round. With the money earnt from that I saved for a half decent GT MTB and before long my mates at school got me off road and racing. Winning the first MTB race I entered by 4 minutes. From here I was hooked and soon progressed onto the road winning a local 3- J’s race at the first attempt. The biggest influence on my career (if it deserves that tag) was my family and in particular, my Dad, without his unwavering support and belief I would never have got to the level I did. We spent many happy hours travelling the length and breadth of the UK in the early days, great memories that will live with me forever.
What ride or result were you most happy with from your time racing and why?
3rd overall & KoM in the Junior Tour of Wales was memorable in my first season racing as a one man band for Hinckley CRC and the following year runner up in the National U23 series. As I progressed on the international stage results became hard to find, I was fairly consistent though…… I got my head kicked in every week. In all seriousness though, I suppose my overall resounding success was winning a club 10 on an MTB with knobbly tyres as a junior in baggy shorts … my time, it was 23 minutes something. I remember it also cheesed a few of the regular testers on “lo pros” off.
Do you approach riding, or ride your bike, differently now to when you first got into cycling?
Definitely, I used to go out and smash it all the time and do big hours, now I very rarely “smash it” but still like a good five hours, one hour on the bike and four in the pub.
Has it always been about the bike or have you been into any other sports?
As a youth I was into anything active, the usual rugby, cricket, football, golf, cross country running & athletics, as well as, skateboarding for a while but cycling really struck the right chord with me. I liked it back then because it was something different to do rather than the usual mainstream sports…. How times have changed.
How about stuff other than sport? Have you been seriously into anything else?
Post cycling, when I finally got a life, it was all about new music. My closest mate from the cycling fraternity, Jonny Mason, (also ex WCPP) and I spent many hours watching the latest acts in the north of the UK and were pro festival goers. Happy Days.
Nowadays it's my family, my wife Jo and daughter Annabelle are my world.
If someone gave you 50 grand in the morning with the condition that you had to spend it by tea time, what would you spend it on?
I’d set up a micro-brewery (would 50K cover it?)
What is your favourite professional race to watch?
Le tour….three weeks of the world’s best riders in peak condition…. can fault it.
Who are your favourite pros (from now or in the past) and what is your favourite bike racing era?
From the past…. Andrea Tafi was seriously cool and a remarkable rider. I remember in the Tour de Langkawi before helmets were compulsory he cut the top out of his race cap to make it into a visor and the rest of the peloton followed suit, myself included, I only wish our soigneur had warned against the use of sun in (dodgy hair product). I ended up finishing that race with a (G)injury.
From the present era it has to be Geraint Thomas… versatile, immensely talented and has a great sense of humour.
My favourite era has to be the Indurain years. Pure class.
Do you prefer putting a loop on before work or after?
Both, mainly to avoid the busy roads.
Which are your favourite stretches of road to ride locally and what is it that you like about them?
So many we are very spoilt here in the Peak. Anything that is uphill and gives time to admire the beauty. The view from Longstone Edge, Beeley Moor as you come through the trees at the top and any of the views as you climb out of Bradfield looking back over Dam Flask Reservoir spring to mind.
What do you like to talk about when you are on a ride with friends/team/club mates? Do you prefer to keep the subjects lightweight or get your teeth into something contentious or controversial?
The usual unpredictable stuff…music, beer, women and sport and not necessarily in that order.
Do you have any cycling pet hates?
Hundreds…. A gap between leg warmers and socks is a big NO, cyclist out in short sleeves and shorts when its below 20 degrees is a bigger NO but my top pick is the in-fighting between French teams and French riders to be the best French rider in any given French race, but most notably Le Tour de France….. a classic French attitude…. I still regret to this day not signing for Jean Delatour ;0). I could go all day on this question.
Do you enjoy a cafe stop or do you prefer to ride straight round?
Get round when its winter time, pub in the summer… Preferably next to a cricket pitch.
What tip or advice would you give to your 20 year old self?
Get a grip and push a bit harder for that Jean Delatour contract (ha ha).
All photos provided by Tom Newton.