Friday, 20 January 2012

Daily Cycling Facts 20.01.12

Cyrille Guimard
(image credit: Eric Houdas CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cyrille Guimard
Cyrille Guimard was born on this day 1947 in Bouguenais, France. He was a rider of considerable talent,  becoming National Champion in road racing, track and cyclo cross. As a sprinter, he won almost a hundred races during his eight professional seasons. He won a total of eight stages at the Tour de France and wore the yellow jersey for eight days in 1973 before winning the overall Combativity award, also winning two stages and the Points Classification at the 1971 Vuelta a Espana.

However, his success before a knee problem ended his racing career was minor compared to his performance as a directeur sportif. During his time with the Castorama, Cofidis, Système U-Gitane, Super U, Renault-Elf-Gitane and Gitane-Campagnolo teams, he directed some of the greatest Tour riders in history including Greg LeMond (winner of three Tours and two World Championships), Laurent Fignon (two Tours and one Giro d'Italia), Marc Madiot (winner of two Paris-Roubaix), Charly Mottet (winner of three Critérium du Dauphiné), Lucien van Impe (winner of one Tour, six Tour King of the Mountains classification and two Giro d'Italia King of the Mountains classifications) and, greatest of all, Bernard Hinault (winner of five Tours, one Tour Points classification, one Tour Mountains classification, three Tour Combativity classifications, three Giros, two Vueltas a Espana, a World Championship and - well, just about everything else). Van Impe said, "Without him, I don't know if I would ever have won the Tour."

Guimard trained many great riders, but none
so great as The Badger
(image c/o Granny Gear)
Guimard was no stranger to controversy, either as a rider or as a directeur sportif. He provided a positive sample in a doping test in 1973 at a time when he was under the care of no less than Dr. Mabuse, real name Bernard Sainz, the extremely questionable "sports doctor" who had no medical training and who received a three-year prison sentence in 2008 for his dubious activities in cycling and horse racing. His personality, sometimes abrasive, led to clashes; most notably with Hinault who was - and still is - an abrasive character himself, and in 1976 he threatened to run van Impe over with a team car if he didn't attack Joop Zoetemelk (it worked, though - van Impe attacked and won the stage). He was involved with Cofidis right from the start, helping to create the team, but was pushed out in 1997 after a court case in which he stood accused of obtaining credit by pretences and false accounting and for which he received a suspended jail sentence.

However, talent of the sort possessed by Guimard cannot be stifled. In 2003, he was taken on as technical director of the Velo Club Roubaix, a position that he still holds. During his early days with the club he trained a young and unknown rider from Luxembourg named Andy Schleck - so it seems possible that the world has not yet seen the last Tour winner to come out of the Guimard stable.

Josef Fischer
The German cyclist Josef Fischer was born on this day in 1865. Little is known about him, but he won't vanish from the pages of cycling history because in 1896 he won the first Paris-Roubaix, the race so hard it's become better known by its nicknames, "The Hell of the North" and "A Sunday In Hell." To date, he is the only German rider to have ever won the event.

Kaarle McCulloch, winner of gold and silver medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, was born on this day in 1988 in Campbelltown, New South Wales. She has also won numerous gold, silver and bronze medals at many other events, including four (two gold, one silver, one bronze) as a junior at the 2006 Australian Track Championships during which she competed at Elite level in the Team Sprint.

Other births: Clyde Sefton (Australia, 1951); Catherine Marsal (France, 1971); Elisha Hughes (Antigua and Barbuda, 1959); Gerrit Van Gestel (Belgium, 1958); Miloslav Loos (Czechoslovakia, 1914, died 2010); Abelardo Ríos (Colombia, 1952); Radoš Čubrić (Yugoslavia, 1934); Yury Kashirin (Soviet Union, 1959); François Hamon (France, 1939); Marie-Claude Audet (Canada, 1962); Nancy Contreras (Mexico, 1978); Mahmoud Abbas (Egypt, 1978); Dario Gasco (Argentina, 1987); Thomas Barth (East Germany, 1960); Falk Boden (East Germany, 1960).

Tomorrow: Emile De Beukelaer, first president of the UCI

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