© Simon Hadley Photography

Press Photography – The Tour of Britain

© Simon Hadley Photography

Tour of Britain – The Tony Martin Challenge

As a keen cyclist and a big fan of road bike racing, it was a real treat to have the Tour of Britain passing close to my Worcestershire home on two stages of this year’s race.

I caught Stage 7, Hemel Hempstead to Cheltenham, as it passed over nearby Snowshill and Broadway, then the following day the final stage, Stage 8 Worcester to Cardiff, as the peloton raced through my local town of Pershore.

To add to the fun I received a call on the morning of Stage 7 with a last minute commission from Belgian Newspaper ‘Nieuwsblad’ to photograph 4 time World Champion, the German cyclist Tony Martin, at his team’s overnight stop in Stourport on Severn.

Tony Martin is a real superstar of the cycling world, he is however well known for being quite ‘intense’ rarely giving interviews.

Nieuwsblad had been granted a five minute slot with Martin to discuss the forthcoming world championships, where he could potentially win a record breaking fifth title.

As far as photography went, the paper needed a bold image to use across a double page spread as it was going to be a prominent and important feature (they are cycling mad in Belgium with bike racing ahead of football in national newpapers).

The catch was I had 2 minutes only, he wouldn’t pose (so don’t ask), don’t try and start a conversation and don’t get in the way….the reporter was concerned if I upset him taking the pictures the interview may be off. No pressure!

After waiting in the hotel lobby for a while, watching the team bikes being washed and serviced in the car park, we were called up to Tony Martin’s room.

The set up was not good, a small room, curtains drawn, no lights on, Tony Martin laid on a bed half naked having his legs massaged by the team physio….I asked politely if he could maybe cover up his modesty with a towel “no problem” says Tony, he seems friendly…so far so good.

I use up my allotted two minutes then take a chance and ask if maybe he could turn over on his stomach with his head this end of the bed, not a problem if he doesn’t want to, but I think it will make a much better picture if he could?

The reporter is looking worried squeezed into the ensuite bathroom, Tony speaks “sure whatever you want” and promptly turns over.

After half a dozen frames I have the picture and I am out of there leaving the reporter to his interview.

A real challenge but as you can see from the cutting above a great result.

( I waved to Tony as the peloton passed through Pershore the following day…I don’t think he saw me)