Sunday 6 November 2011

Daily Cycling Facts 06.11.11

Today would have been Frank Vandenbroucke's 37th birthday. Frank, nicknamed VDP, was a bad boy but a colourful one - in 2006, while banned from professional racing, we was caught out while competing in an Italian race using a licence made out to Francesco del Ponte with a photograph of Tom Boonen. His cocaine addiction was a likely contributor to his long-standing depression and the pulmonary embolism that killed him when he was just 34 years of age.

It's the 47th anniversary of the death of Tour de France (1951) and Giro d'Italia (1950) winner Hugo Koblet, another colourful character whose career might have brought more success had he not have succumbed to a playboy lifestyle featuring a number of beautiful women, countless parties and, eventually, debt. He died in a car crash that many eye-witnesses believe was a deliberate suicide, having seen him drive his Alfa Romeo past a roadside pear tree three times before apparently deliberately steering into it at high speed. He was 39 years old.

Not so well known nowadays is Heiri Suter, another Swiss cyclist who became the first man to ever win Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders in a single year in 1923. Suter was also unofficial world champion in 1922 and 1925 after winning the Grand Prix, official Swiss road champion five times during the 1920s and multiple winner of several Classics including the now defunct Züri-Metzgete (six times in ten years) and Paris-Tours (twice) and the first non-Belgian to win the Tour of Flanders. He died aged 79 in 1978.

In 2005, Marianne Vos won the Elite European Cyclo Cross.

On this day in 2007, bike component manufacturer SRAM purchased the wheel and component manufacturer ZIPP Speed Weaponry.

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