Albert Hitchen won the British National Championship road race in 1963 and 1965 in his 15-year professional career

Tributes are being paid to former two-time British champion Albert Hitchin who has died suddenly at the age of 76.

Hitchen’s professional career spanned from 1959 to 1973, in which time he recorded 30 victories including the national title in 1963 and 1965, as well as two Lincoln Grand Prix victories.

The majority of his cycling career was spent with Viking Cycles, with whom he won two editions of the 275-mile London-Holyhead race, and Falcon Cycles for the final five years.

In 1963 Hitchen made his one and only appearance in the Tour de France, with a best finish of 41st on stage 1a before withdrawing after stage three.

Britain’s first Tour de France rider Brian Robinson told the Huddersfield Examiner: “He was a first class British rider and if anything was a little under-rated. He won lots of events in Yorkshire and England. He was one of the top riders in the country.”

After retiring from cycling, Hitchen worked as a railway engineer in Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, close to his Mirfield home.

  • John Richards

    I agree with Richard Braginton. He was head and shoulders above everyone racing in England. 30 wins in a career ? That must be wrong – according to Sporting Cyclist (March ’65) he won 25 races in 1964. Also he was a lot more than just a railway engineer. He completely restored a number of steam locomotives, including ‘Taw Valley’ for main line running on special trains and was as well known in the UK preservation movement at Bert Hitchen. Please let’s have a tribute his success warrants.

  • Peter Dixon

    Gutted! Albert Hitchen was my teenage hero. I even bought a Falcon San Remo Equipe just like his. I had a picture of the Falcon 1965 Team on my bedroom wall. Would love an in depth review of his achievements, particularly that famous finish of the 1965 London Holyhead race when Shay Elliot, obviously in Simpson’s pay, put on his brakes in front of Albert to hold him back. Not our Tom’s finest moment.
    I would to have like to have met him.

  • Bikeriderfrance

    Very sad to here the news, i was very fortunate to ride and race with Albert,,RIP Geoff Smith.

  • Richard Braginton

    Will there a bit more in depth piece about Albert Hitchen?? Twice national professional RR champion, twice winner of London to Holyhead, twice winner of the lincoln GP plus many more, i think he deserves a bit more than just a piece taken from the local paper