Mountain bike ace Steve Peat said Sheffield’s terrain had made him the ‘rider I am today’ as he was inducted into the city’s walk of fame.
The ‘honoured’ world champion also said that, despite travelling the globe in pursuit of glory in his sport, he had struggled to find cities as friendly as the one in which he grew up.
Former plumber Steve, speaking after he received his Sheffield Legends star outside Sheffield Town Hall in front of cheering crowds, recalled he had been riding on hills, the slag heaps behind his parents’ house and in woodland since the age of three.
“I think the terrain of Sheffield has made me the rider I am today”, he said.
“There are not many cities I have visited that are as friendly as Sheffield.
“I will continue to spread the word about Sheffield wherever I go.”
Professional downhill mountain biker Steve – sometimes known by the nicknames Peaty or Sheffield Steel – grew up in Chapeltown.
The dad-of-two became the most successful male downhill mountain bike racer ever by number of wins. It was title he held for more than six years, and he has also won several world titles.
Steve is involved with young cyclist academies and is a strong supporter of youth involvement in the sport.
Now his name is placed close to other Sheffield legends including Olympian Jessica Ennis-Hill, actor Sean Bean and astronaut Helen Sharman.
Steve told The Star: “It’s unreal for me to get this. There are so many heroes here already and I feel slightly unworthy really but it is great to put mountain biking on the map and show that I can travel around the world but still train and live in Sheffield.
“For me, what I love about Sheffield is just the people and the place.”
Fan Will Britton, aged 22, was among the crowds of people watching the ceremony.
The University of Sheffield student said: “I’ve been a fan of Steve’s for a number of years and it is always good to see him get recognition for his achievements in the sport.
“Sheffield is a brilliant place for cycling and by having a star on the walk of fame for a cyclist it will raise the profile of cycling.”
Steve was also praised by Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore and Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun Talib Hussain at the event yesterday.
Coun Dore said there had been hundreds of nominations, with suggestions from ex-pats overseas thanks to the internet, while Coun Hussain said Steve had ‘represented Sheffield around the world and his success has enhanced the city’s reputation as the Outdoor City.’
The Sheffield Legends scheme took a break in 2014 because of the Tour de France being held in the city.
Nominations were judged by an independent panel.