Team pursuiter not the only star to be dropping by Sigma - Bjarne Riis book signing later this month

Steven Burke, who last month helped Great Britain win the world team pursuit title in Melbourne and will figure in the line-up that will defend the Olympic title in London in August, will be meeting fans at Sigma Sport’s Hampton Wick store this Saturday afternoon, 26 May, coinciding with the dealer’s Italian Weekend. Sigma Sport will also be hosting a book signing session with Saxo Bank boss and controversial Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis later this month.

When not on the track, Burke rides for Team IG Sigma Sport and will field questions from fans about topics likely to include his preparations for the Olympics as well as the background to that world championship win in Australia, in which he, alongside Geraint Thomas, Ed Clancy and Peter Kennaugh, set a new world record of 3 minutes 53.295 seconds as they beat the hosts in the final.

Burke had been brought in for the final as a replacement for Andy Tennant, who had taken part in the earlier qualifying ride that also resulted in a new world record being set, and with the timing between rounds in the Olympics similarly tight, the same five riders are set to make up the squad for London.

The 24-year-old from Burnley, Lancashire, joined Team IG Sigma Sport at the end of last year after seeing a UK-based team that he could compete with while not undertaking his national squad duties.

Sigma Sport’s Italian Weekend will give people the chance to try out Pinaello and Colnago bikes, with a free prize draw to win a set of Italian national kit from Castelli.

There will also be a Campagnolo workshop demonstration, as well as rare bikes ranging from a gold-plated Colnago similar to one presented to Pope John Paul II to Thomas Voeckler’s Yellow Jersey-themed C59 from last year’s Tour de France.

Meawhile, the closing stages of the Giro d’Italia will be played on the big screen, and free Italian refreshments will also be on offer. Full details of the weekend can be found here.

Meanwhile, on the evening of Wednesday 30 May, Saxo Bank team owner and manager Bjarne Riis will be at the store to sign copies of his autobiography, Stage of Light and Dark, now published in English.

Described as “brutally honest,” the book charts the 30-year career as rider and manager of the Dane, who won the 1996 Tour de France but subsequently confessed to having done so with the help of EPO. Details of that event can be found here.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.