The Faces of Pro Cycling We Never See

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Pro cycling photographer Angus Sung is a friend and often a colleague. Much of his work is covering professional cycling. We’re all used to seeing the arms raised aloft at the finish, and the mid-race epic grimace shot. But what about the real people behind the races? The quiet faces, mostly unseen. Angus pulls out his favourite thoughtful shots for us.

Petr Vakoc, Czech National Champion, Etixx Quickstep. Tour of Britain 2015

I suppose its feeling that all cyclist feel, crossing the line and knowing one did it; whether it’s a new cyclist coming home from your first bike ride or a seasoned professional crossing the line on after a solo break away. A half broken sigh of relief with a smile.

Felix English, JLT Condor. Hotel room, Durham

If nothing else, being on the road as part of a team is as taxing on the mind as it is physically. Following a slow start to his season, Felix English came for a chat that was as far removed from cycling as possible with his then coach, Tim Kennaugh.

Uncertain rider. Tour of Turkey

The visibly exhausting side of stage races. On the penultimate stage of the Tour of Turkey, a rider takes a moment of two to catch up on some shut up eye 5 minutes before the start of the race. Completely oblivious to his surroundings it wasn’t until his sports director tapped him on his shoulder and he rose from his slumber with bloody shot eyes.

‘But first, coffee’

With everything happening surrounding a bike race there is always time to stop and have a intake of caffeine.

Orange juice seller, Tour of Turkey
Orange juice seller, Tour of Turkey

We was heading into the finish of Stage 5 at the Tour of Turkey, travelling at some pace on the final descent and as we flung round a corner the passengers of the press van shouted “stop!” As everyone ran towards the cliff edge to get a view of the city from above I noticed a orange juice seller on the opposite side of the road, patiently waiting for his next customer. Speaking Turkish to me as if I was a local he handed me a cup of orange juice. We exchanged no more than a smile.

Pello Bilbao, Caja Rural, Tour of Turkey
Pello Bilbao, Caja Rural, Tour of Turkey

Pello Bilbao takes a moment to process his own thoughts while the press frantically surrounds him.

Mark Cavendish, post National Championship 2015

So close, but one ascent too many.
Cavendish cracked on the final lap, allow reigning National Champion, Pete Kennaugh to take the win for a second year. Absolutely exhausted the support of those behind the scenes is a welcome one. More often than not the soigneurs are the first people the riders see when the cross the line and they needn’t say anything but just to provide that need support when things don’t quite work out means a lot.

Pete Kennaugh, Post National Championship 2015

A running theme with all racers when crossing the line…relief. Kennaugh took his second National Championships after attacking from the breakaway group that contained Mark Cavendish, Ian Stannard and himself.

One Pro Cycling. Tour Series round

Being the last man on the bus allows one a moment to focus and calm the nerves.

Soigneurs and Press, Ronde Van Vlaanderen
Soigneurs and Press, Ronde Van Vlaanderen

It is still a job if you enjoy it? After rushing around all day along the race route of Ronde Van Vlannderen, the Soigneur and technical groups of the race head to the same place. Some of them are watching to gauge when to go back to work, for most it’s the chance to be a cycling fan watching the racing unfold on TV.

Fabian Cancellara, Ronde van Vlaanderen
Fabian Cancellara, Ronde van Vlaanderen

Seven ‘monument’ wins including three at Ronde van Vlaanderen and after 15 years as a professional, Cancellara looks to hang up his shoes at the end of the season. Stepping on to the 2nd step of the Podium, an emotional Sparticus looks out towards crowds as the commentary bellows, “last Vlaanderen for Cancellara.”

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