Ian Steel 1952 Peace Race Winner. In 1952, Ian Steel was the first Briton (from Scotland) to win any major race, The Peace Race to be exact. A 2135 km 12-stage Warsaw-Berlin-Prague race which ended on May 13th, 1952. To use a now modern parlance, he smashed it. Not only that, he smashed it in style and won the affection of just about everyone who cared. Given the time and era it’s something kind of special.
The British team won £2,000 of goods because there was no professional racing behind the Iron Curtain the haul included brief cases, watches, cameras, radios, shaving gear and toiletries. Steel also won a bicycle which he gave away to a fellow Scotsman living in Prague. Gentleman. Racing behind the Iron Curtain in the 50’s must have been obscure and bizarre in equal measures, a bit like racing in North Korea today.
1952 was certainly his best ever season, but he was a superb racer and enjoyed some good years of racing. He is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s best cyclists of all time. For further reading, see Ian Steel’s Wiki page and owenphilipson.com, which has a treasure of information on him and where the below quote comes from.
“Ian Steel, 6 feet, V2 cycling rocket from Glasgow”