Fabian Cancellera. Spartacus.
Olympic Individual Time Trial Champion, 2008 and 2016.
World Champion, Individual Time Trial  2009.
Winner, Tour of Flanders 2010, 2013, 2014.

Winner, Milan-San Remo 2008.
Winner, Paris-Roubaix 2006, 2013.
Winner, Strade Bianche 2016.
Winner of 55 Individual Time Trials.

And I have not listed ALL of his other race wins and Grand Tour stage wins. I’m not sure there is a complete list of all his wins anywhere. So numerous are his victories, successes and podium places. He is simply one of the best cyclists in history and arguably the greatest time trialist of all time. 

And I got to ride with him. How did this happen? How did I, an aimless punter, get the chance to ride with one of the best cyclists to ever swing a leg over a top tube? What curious turn of events resulted in me riding with Spartacus? It started when an email invitation from the head of the marketing department at Sigma Sport landed in my inbox:

Dear Akin,
I’m excited to let you know that we are being joined in the store by Fabian Cancellara on the morning of Thursday November 2nd and we’d love you to join us for a very exclusive ride and lunch with him, in association with Gore Bike Wear.
I’ve attached your invite and would kindly ask you to let us know asap if you are able to attend.
On behalf of Ian and the team, we really hope you are able to attend and look forward to seeing you on the 2nd….
Why me?
The answer was in another email from the Sigma Sport salesman I usually deal with that followed shortly after:

“Hi Akin & *****,
Hopefully you received an invite to this special event?
Just to let you know this only open to 20 riders from our entire customer database and it was me that put you both forward for an invite as you are two of my favourite customers and have recommended so many of your friends to us that I thought we should show our appreciation.”

Hmmmn. Sigma Sport is the largest road cycling and triathlon store in the UK and it turns out, due to the expenditure by my friends and I, my account at this store is quite large. Very large. It seems our collective financial profligacy has yielded some special rewards.

The ride was scheduled for a Thursday morning and I would have to take the morning off in order to take part. I spent all of 5 seconds deciding that I’d take that morning off. Opportunities to ride with a multiple Olympic and World Champion are few and far between.