Home > News > Archive > 27th September 2005

Historic medal for cyclist

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
Peter Latham
PETER LATHAM on the way to his bronze medal in Madrid. Photo supplied.

By Colin Thorsen

Te Awamutu’s Peter Latham has arrived on the world cycling stage. The 24-year-old produced a sensational ride to finish third in the men’s under-23, 37.9km, time trial in Madrid on Thursday.

He is the first New Zealand senior male rider to ever win a medal at the world road championships. Jeremy Yates won the world junior road title in 2001.

One of the first to congratulate Latham was his coach Graham Bunn, an accountant for the Otorohanga District Council.

“I was up at 3am for live updates on the internet. As soon as the result was posted, I was on the phone to him.”

Latham said: “I went as hard as I could, I can’t believe that I’m here on the podium. It is pretty surreal. In a time trial you just go as hard as you can and you finish where you do. Beforehand, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was hoping to ride well and gain a top 10 placing at best, but this is better than I hoped.”

Bunn has been coaching Latham and his Te Awamutu Sports clubmate Tim Gudsell since they were first year under-17 riders.

“It’s been an awesome journey. It’s mindblowing to think Pete’s the third best senior under-23 time triallist in the world.”

To put his achievement in perspective - the winner, Russian Mikhail Ignatiev, is a superstar. He is an Olympic gold medallist in the points race and double junior world champion in both the time trial and road race. Latham’s time of 48m 01.61s was only three seconds behind the silver medallist, Ukranian Dmytro Grabovskyy, the current European champion, and 13 seconds clear of the fourth placed rider.

Gudsell finished a creditable 24th in 50m 06.41s in a field of 59.

It was the best result of Latham’s career and topped a good year. He finished fourth, along with Greg Henderson, James Allen and Marc Ryan in the teams pursuit at the track world championships in Los Angeles in March.

Latham, based in France with an amateur team this year, has had a huge month in the hot-bed of European racing. He won his first race on September 10-11, taking out the Three Jours De Cherbourg. It was another stunning performance. All the division one French teams were competing, along with Belgium and Dutch teams. As well as winning on general classification, Latham was second in the tour time trial, finishing a mere .26 of a second behind the winner, Australian Mark Jamieson.

Bunn says his protege is racing at a lean 67kg - the lightest he has been since his days in junior ranks. With Latham racing overseas for much of the year, Bunn has now taken on more of a mentor role. Latham’s parents, David and Gill, received a 4.30am call on Thursday from their elated son. “He’s done tremendously well - all credit to him. He’s put the hard yards in,” David Latham says.

The other New Zealander in action on day one at the worlds, Te Awamutu Sports’ Melissa Holt, finished 26th of the 39 starters in the elite women’s time trial.

See later results page 21 of today's Courier (PDF)