Boardman: ‘faults and compromises’
To the onlooker the Lotusboardman partnership looked like a fairytale. The legendary British motorsport manufacturer and the thrusting young cyclist taking first the Olympic gold in 1992 and then the Tour de France prologue two years later.
However, Boardman and Lotus in fact split “acrimoniously” shortly after the Olympics according to Boardman in his autobiography Triumphs and Turbulence in 1992. Lotus only got Boardman to ride the 110 two years later by striking a deal with GAN team manager Roger Legeay rather than by approaching Boardman himself.
At first Boardman not only didn’t like the idea of riding a Lotus but he also didn’t like the new bike. “Lotus had opted for a full-size front wheel, which wouldn’t have mattered if the bars had sat low, directly on the crown of the fork as they had on the original track machine. But the 110 utilised a standard bar/stem arrangement which put the tri-bars a whopping eight inches higher than on the Barcelona version,” he said.
“In fact, all of the geometry was that of an upright road bike, something it couldn’t be used as because there was nowhere on the frame to bolt a water bottle.
However, once he rode the 110, Boardman began to change his mind: “The advantage of having large wheels and a slack head angle was that it handled really well for a TT bike. And although it was heavy, the faster I went, the more I believed the Lotus had something to offer... By the time I set off for the Tour I was familiar with every aspect of how it handled.”