- 15 Oct 1968
- Mexico 1968
Pettersson, Pettersson, Pettersson and Pettersson make team time trial a family affair
The team time trial was 104km long in Mexico City and it rapidly became clear who the medallists would be. The Netherlands, Sweden and Italy were clearly the best teams in the field, but what was not so apparent was the order in which they would finish.
The Swedes had gone for a particularly interesting team. Leading it was a very familiar name – Gösta Pettersson, who had already won a bronze medal in the individual road race. Alongside him were his three brothers – Erik, Tomas and Sture. The Pettersson brothers had come together to represent their country.
It was a family reunion that had nearly been accomplished four years earlier, when Erik, Gösta and Sture all cycled in the team, but Tomas had not made it in 1964 – he was only 17 years old. Now, at 21, he was ready to join the challenge.
The standard was high. In Tokyo, the Swedish team containing three Petterssons (Sven Hamrin was the other rider) had come third. Sweden expected a medal from the family.
By the halfway mark, the Netherlands had moved into a decisive lead, thanks in part to the non-stop leadership of Joop Zoetemelk. Now the battle was for silver, between Italy – and the Pettersson brothers.
They were hardly new to this. The brothers had won the world championship title in both 1967 and 1968, and, of course, knew each other's strengths and weaknesses intimately. Slowly, they eased away from the Italians, to eventually finish nearly a minute clear in second place. The silver medal was theirs.
They won the world championship title again in 1969, but then Gösta took up professional road-racing. He was to come overall third in the Tour de France in 1970, and then win the Giro d'Italia in 1971.
Three of the four brothers changed their name from Pettersson to Fåglum, in honour of their home village, and the quartet are often referred to as the Fåglum brothers.