FORMER Olympic team-mate John Watson has led the tributes to York cycling ace Roy Cromack, who has passed away at the age of 77.

Cromack, who died peacefully at his York home from heart failure, was one of three members from Clifton Cycling Club that remarkably made up Great Britain’s four-man, team-trial team at the 1968 Mexico Games.

Along with Watson, Pete Smith was the other York-based rider.

A former teacher at Tadcaster Grammar School, who went on to enjoy a career in the RAF, Cromack also became the first person to cycle more than 500 miles in 24 hours.

That historic feat was achieved when he clocked up 507 miles in the Road Time Trials Council National 24-Hour Championship in July 1969.

He finished 15 miles ahead of his nearest rival and the record stood for 28 years.

Cromack was a rare all-rounder in the sport too, winning championship medals from 4,000 metres on the track and at every distance in British time-trialling competitions.

Born in Doncaster, he moved to Bishopthorpe when he took up teaching and former national champion Watson has hailed the role Cromack played during those 1960s’ cycling heydays in York.

He said: “Roy was very mathematical, determined and phenomenally organised. His organisation was second to none and that helped us when we worked as a team.

“He was very motivated. He was the elder statesman of the group, as when we went to the Olympics I was 21, Pete was 24 and Roy was 28, but he made sure we realised our ambitions because he was very structured and disciplined.”

Cromack is survived by wife Barbara, children Marianne and Thomas and his grandchildren.

His funeral service will take place at York Crematorium on Thursday, November 30 at 11.40am, with family flowers only but donations welcome for St Leonard's Hospice.

Any enquiries can be made to J Rymer Funeral Directors on 01904 624320.