The Greatest: the Times and Life of Beryl Burton by William Fotheringham
The career of Beryl Burton, prolific world and British national champion, is to be the subject of a full-length biography for the first time when best-selling author William Fotheringham tells the story of the Yorkshire star's life in the latest in his series of biographies of cycling's most legendary figures.
The Greatest: the Times and Life of Beryl Burton will be published in September 2019 to coincide with the world road race championships in Burton's native Yorkshire from September 22-29, and will be linked to the Yorkshire based Dave Rayner fund, with £1 per copy sold going to the charity which provides bursaries to help fund young British cyclists racing in Europe.
Burton won 15 world championship medals, including gold medals in the road race in 1960 and 1967, and the individual pursuit title in 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963 and 1966. She racked up a total of 96 national championship gold medals in time trialling, road racing and the pursuit between 1957 and 1986, and was crowned British Best All Rounder for 25 consecutive seasons. She died at the age of 59.
"Burton has been described as Britain's greatest ever cyclist," said Fotheringham, "Her career was unique in the same way that Eddy Merckx's was, for her longevity and her insatiable appetite for victory. She won world championship medals over three decades and she dominated women's racing in the UK for the best part of 30 years. My personal belief is that Burton has been cruelly overlooked, and I would like to be among those who have the chance to put that right."
Fotheringham's best-selling biographies have thus far told the stories of four of cycling's greatest male champions: Tom Simpson, Fausto Coppi, Bernard Hinault and Eddy Merckx, and he also collaborated with Lizzie Deignan, like Burton a Yorkshire world road race champion, on her 2017 autobiography, Steadfast. He has been the Guardian's lead cycling writer since 1994.
Fotheringham is well known for events around his books, most notably a film screening and Q&A "tour" for his April 2018 publication Sunday in Hell. He has appeared regularly at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Hay Festival and has hosted events at venues across the country as well as appearing on ITV4, Eurosport and in BBC documentaries.