Sunday, 29 July 2012

Daily Cycling Facts 29.07.12

Vic Sutton
Vic Sutton, riding for
Libera-Grammont in 1960
Charly Gaul and Federico Bahamontes are rightly regarded as the greatest climbers in the history of professional cycling, but  they faced competition from an entirely unexpected source at the 1959 Tour de France - a skinny little British 23-year-old named Victor Sutton; British riders being considered in those days to be among the lower ranks of cyclists, despite Brian Robinson's Stage 7 victory a year earlier, and certainly not great climbers (indeed, to this day Britain has produced only two world-class grimpeurs, the Scotsman Robert Millar and Emma Pooley from England).

Born in Thorne, Yorkshire on the 3rd of December in 1935, Sutton has been so entirely forgotten today that Cycling Archives doesn't list a palmares for him and he has no page on Wikipedia, but his natural talent in the mountains, where he could keep turning a low gear at high revolutions per minute just like Gaul did, enabled him to climb from 109th place at the end of the first week of the Tour to 37th by the finish; on the Puy de Dôme time trial he recorded a time that remained the fastest for an hour and might have finished in the top ten in Paris had he not have shared Bahamontes' terror of descending - once over the summit, he seized up and lost large chunks of the time he'd gained on the way up.

He returned to the Tour in 1960, another year older and wiser and believed by some to now be in a position to beat the Eagle and the Angel, but his season up to the race had been too hard and he suffered a minor heart attack in Stage 18, the Tour's last day in the Alps. His doctor ordered him to give up racing immediately, but Sutton chose to continue to the end of the season. He continued cycling for pleasure for the remainder of his life, which ended on this day in 1999. Alongside Robinson, he was one of the first riders to show the world that British cyclists could compete at the highest level of the sport, and he should be far better known than he is today.

Canadian mountain biker Roland Green, born in Victoria on this day in 1974, won the National Championships in 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2003. He was World Champion in 2001 and 2002, also winning the World Cup the first year and a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in the second.

Massimo Podenzana, born in La Spezia on this day in 1961, won the Italian Road Race Championship in 1993 and 1994. In 1988 he won Stage 4a at the Giro d'Italia, in 1994 he finished in seventh place overall. He won the Giro di Toscana in 1995, then Stage 15 at the 1996 Tour de France. He is a brother-in-law of Ivan Basso.

Kilian Moser, born in Interlaken on this day in 1988, became Swiss Pursuit Champion in 2012. He is not related to the Italian cyclist Francesco Moser.

Faustino Rupérez, born in Piquera de San Esteban on this day in 1956, won the Spanish Road Race Championship in 1979, then the General Classification at the Vuelta a Espana one year later

Tommy Prim
Tommy Prim, born in Svenljunga on this day in 1955, had an extraordinarily successful junior and amateur career during which he won five National Championships and dominated the Swedish racing scene. He turned professional with Bianchi in 1980 (and would remain with them for his entire career), and won Stage 15 and the Youth category as well as fourth place overall and third in the Points competition that same year: a stunning Grand Tour debut by a new rider. The following year, he came second overall and for Points, then came second overall again in 1982. In 1983, Prim won Paris-Brussels, becoming the first Scandinavian rider to win a Classic; had his career not have coincided with that of Bernard Hinault, he might have been the second (after Gösta Pettersson, who won the Giro in 1971) to win a Grand Tour, too. After retiring in 1986, he opened a bike shop and later worked in a variety of jobs including at a mail order company, a saw mill and a fish smokery; he made his return to cycling as a manager for Team Crescent, which aimed to ind and develop Swedish promises.

Born on this day in 1990, British road and track rider Erick Rowsell became National Junior Time Trial Champion in 2007 and National Junior Road Race Champion the following year. He is the younger brother of three-time World Track Championships gold medal-winner Joanna Rowsell.

Eddy Mazzoleni
Eddy Mazzoleni, born in Bergamo on this day in 1971, finished third at the Giro di Lombardia in 1999, fifteenth at the Giro d'Italia in 2002, tenth at the Giro in 2003, thirteenth at the Tour de France in 2005 and third at the Giro in 2007, behind Danilo di Luca and Andy Schleck. Later that year he was implicated in the Oil for Drugs scandal, during which he and several other riders were investigating over their connections to Dr. Carlo Santuccione, who was accused of running a doping ring. Mazzoleni and others were caught out by a surveillance operation; he left Astana voluntarily and was later given a two-year ban.

Other cyclists born on this day: Laëtitia Le Corguillé (France, 1986); Sergei Kopylov (USSR, 1960); Kilian Moser (Switzerland, 1988); Atle Pedersen (Norway, 1964); Gabriel Niell (Argentina, 1941); Gwon Jung-Hyeon (South Korea, 1942); Janis Pratnieks (Russia, 1887); Sergey Kopylov (USSR, 1960); Chris Coletta (USA, 1972).

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