Sunday, 5 August 2012

Daily Cycling Facts 05.08.12

Gilles Delion
Gilles Delion
Born in Saint-Étienne on this day in 1966, was seen a one of the greatest hopes of French cycling when he won the Giro di Lombardia, a stage at the Critérium International and the Youth category at the Tour de France in 1990, followed by Stage 7 at the Tour one year later; he tended to well at the Giro di Lombardia and won it in 1990. Mononucleosis had a severe impact on his performance in 1991 and it took him a very long time to recover.

Or so it seemed: in fact, Delion probably recovered at a normal, natural rate and would have begun to win races again in good time, albeit far slower than other cyclists - the difference being that Delion loathed cheats, especially dopers, and refused to have anything to do with doping whatsoever. It took him a while to build up his strength after illness for that reason; his opponents could simply increase the dose of EPO and become competitive almost immediately.

In 1996 - just as what would in all likelihood have been in best years, he turned his back on cycling forever as an expression of disgust at doping. It was, he said, widespread throughout cycling and all the French teams were involved with it; and as is the case with all the riders who did well in his era without turning to drugs, we must ask ourselves how well he might have done had the playing field been level.

May Britt Hartwell, born in Sola, Norway in this day in 1968, won four Junior and thirteen Elite National Track Championship titles between 1984 and 1995.

Santiago Perez
Santiago Pérez, born in Vega de Peridiello, Spain on this day in 1977, won Stages 14, 15 and 21 and came second overall at the 2004 Vuelta a Espana while racing for Phonak. In March the following year, by which time he had switched to Relax-Fuenlabrada, it was announced that he had failed an out of competition anti-doping test in October after the race, testing positive for a homologous blood transfusion (ie, one using somebody else's blood). He was suspended from competition for two years, then returned to the same team (by then renamed Relax-GAM). Pérez  began his professional career with Barbot-Torrie in 2001, in 2011 - when the team was known as Barbot-Efapel - he returned to them, retiring later in the year.

Tim Johnson, born in Middleton, Massachusetts on this day in 1977, is arguably the USA's most successful male cyclo cross rider of all time with six National titles to his name: Junior in 1995, Under-23 in 1999 and 2000, Elite in 2001, 2007 and 2009. He has also won 43 cyclo cross races and numerous road events. In 1999, he came third in the Under-23 Cyclo Cross World Championships and remains the only American male to have stood on the podium at the official UCI Championships (Katie Compton, born in Delaware, has done so three times). Johnson is the husband of Canadian professional cyclist Lyne Bessette.

Other cyclists born on this day: Alejandro González (Argentina, 1972); Giovanni Cazzulani (Italy, 1909, died 1983); Jean Van Den Bosch (Belgium, 1898, died 1985); Saleem Farooqi (India, later Pakistan, 1940); Jean-Pierre Paranteau (France, 1944); Peter Vogel (Switzerland, 1939); Lucien Didier (Luxembourg, 1950).

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