South-Africa's only participant in the Olympic Road Race 1912 in Stockholm. He won the 320 km time trial around Lake Mälaren and took a Gold Medal that was much coveted by the 12 Swedish competitors who knew the course in and out.
Rudolph Lewis had no prior international race experience when he started in the Olympic race. The following year he started as a professional in Germany. Then came the First World War and stopped his cycling career.
His winning time 10h 42m 39s was a new course record and it was set in unusual warm conditions.
First in the line of legendary Mälaren runt cyclists stands Gustaf A Fjæstad. He was a remarkably multi-talented athlete, artist and designer. He started his sports career as a speed skater, setting a world record for the (English) mile in 1891.
Later that year he won a bicycle race and began training intensely in preparation for the first Mälaren runt. This he went on to win in a convincing manner, despite several mishaps. The organisers had promised that the circa fifty cattle gates that blocked the route would be kept open as the riders passed, but this turned out to be far from the truth. As a result several of participators, including Fjæstad, crashed into a closed gate and injured themselves in various ways. Many other gates had to be opened and closed by the competitors themselves.
John Larsson never did win the Mälaren runt, but he wasn't far from doing so. In the race's first year he finished in fifth place. Disapointed, he did a solo run around the course later the same year and beat Fjæstad's time by nearly half an hour. This despite a heavy down-pour and the fact that he legally had to open and close all cattle gates along the route! In 1893 he was the runner up after winner Gideon Ericsson.
A few years later Mr Larsson emigrated to America and went professional. A few years later still he became a US citizen. Knick-named "The Terrible Swede" he also raced in Australia. Among his rivals were the legendary Major Taylor. He died from pneumonia in 1902.
John Larsson had a brother named Ivar, who also moved to the USA, changing his name to Iver Lawson. At the1904 Sprint World Championships in London Iver Lawson won the final match race against the Dane Thorvald Ellegaard and the German H Maier.
Lawson was then 33 years of age but continued his career as one of North America's best track racers, both in sprints, indoor 6-days and paced. In 1906 he achieved two incredible long-standing world records at the velodrome in Salt Lake City. He was still alive in 1948.
A third brother was called Gus Lawson. He also started out as a bicycle
racer in America, but later turned to motor-cycles and specialized in
motor-pacing. He is said to have died in a crash, but it is not known in
Morén is unparallelled in the Mälaren runt "Hall of Fame", being the greatest and most victorious of them all.
He was unusually old when he took up bicycle racing: he got his first mount at the age of 21 and made his debut the year after. His first successes were on the new concrete oval in Stockholm (wich was teared down in 1910 to make way for the new Olympic Stadium). Local public interest in track racing was quite high at the turn of the century.
It was to be in road racing that he made his career and developed his mastery. His was perhaps best known by the knick-name "Gubben" ("the Geezer") due to the fact that he participated actively in racing for a period of 38 years. For instance, at the age of 44 he took part in the first amateur road world championships at Copenhagen, and in the 1924 Mälaren runt (as a 47-year-old) he beat many of the youths, putting in a new personal record of 10h22:46!
Ten times he won MR, the last time at the age of 35. The peak of his career were during the years prior to WW1. He had many offers from foreign firms to become a pro, but remained faithful to his Swedish marque of choice Hermes - "The Red Bike".
Often said to be his greatest feat is his win in the 1916 Stockholm-Gothenburg-Stockholm race. Total time for 1000 kilometers was 51 hours and 22 minutes.
Morén also beat a world record - this he did in 1912 during a 24-hour closed circuit road time trial south of Copenhagen. He went 604 350 meters, demolishing Freddie Grubb's earlier record by 40 km.
He died in 1956 at the age of 79.
|Ragnar Malm||During the years 1917-23
"Ragge" Malm dominated Mälaren runt and collected six victories. His record
time of 1917 , 10h15:30, was to remain unbeaten for a decade.
|Sven "Svängis" Johansson||
"Svängis" (i e "Wobbly") was one of Sweden's most popular athletes of all times. It is unlikely that we will see such a popular cyclist ever again. He got his nick-name already in his teens as a Stockholm bicycle messenger. His characteristic riding style was laborious but powerful.
In 1938 he became "king" at the national championships, winning three individual titles and two team titles. This was the first of a total of six championship jerseys over the years. This year he also won Mälaren runt for the first time. Other MR victories were in 1940, 1943 and 1946.
He continued racing even after having passed the peak of his career, but refused to compete in the "veteran" age classes. For at least ten years his official age remained 34!
He was a very talented cyclist, but his performance peak coincided with the war years, and because of this he never got a solid opportunity to try his luck in international competition. He died at the age of 68 after having been hit by a car while cycling in Stockhom.
|Stig Mårtensson||Mr Mårtensson won Mälaren runt in 1950, after already having been the star of the Fredrikshof cycling team for several years. The next year he became the undisputetd national championship "king" of 1951, winning the 50 km TT, the 150 km road race, and as a team member the relay, 50 km and 250 km!|
||The Borås cycle dealer Harry Snell is
counted among the greatest Swedish cyclist of all times. He won Mälaren runt
three times, in 1944, 1945 and 1948. The latter year he became amateur World
Champion at Valkenburg, Holland, as well. A few days later he became
national champion on on the 150 and 250 km distances, in addition to winning
several team and relay gold medals. |