Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Daily Cycling Facts 04.09.12

Gary Neiwand
Born on this day in 1966 in Melbourne, Australia, Gary Neiwand won Sprint gold medals as an amateur at the Commonwealth Games in 1986 and 1990, a bronze for the same event at the 1988 Olympics and another at the 1991 World Track Championships; then in 1992 he turned professional for Foster's and won a silver at the Olympics. In 1993 he became World Champion in Keirin and Sprint, in 1994 he won Olympic gold for the sprint and at the 2000 Games he won silver for the Sprint and bronze for the Keirin.

Retirement came after the 2000 Games and would not be good for Neiwand. He began to suffer depression and was unable to adjust his diet to his new lifestyle, rapidly increasing to 116kg in weight. He also began to drink heavily; before long his marriage failed. In 2006, he was convicted of harassing an ex-girlfriend and served half of an 18-month prison term before being released of probation. In 2007, he began to get his life back together, starting off by renewing contact with his children and then by joining an organisation that raises awareness of depression and the destructive effects it can have - but, as tends to be the case whenever somebody is battling mental illness and an addiction, he was not yet out of the woods: on the 5th of March 2012, he faced two charges that he had deliberately exposed his genitals to women while he was masturbating in his car. Magistrates received a medical report stating that Neiwand is responding well to treatment for psychological problems caused by heavy drinking and now has his drinking under control, but said that they believe the rider needs the threat of imprisonment hanging over him to encourage him to continue treatment. According to the Herald Sun newspaper, "In an extraordinary outburst outside court, Neiwand’s lawyer threatened to knock a TV camerman’s “head off” as the former cycling great was bundled into an awaiting car."

Morelli on Galibier, 1935
Born in Nerviano, Italy on this day in 1905, Ambrogio Morelli was noticed as an amateur rider by  Libero Ferrario, who had become World Road Race Champion in 1923 (at the time, the World Championships were open only to amateurs) and who bought him his first quality bike. He turned professional with Gloria-Hutchinson in 1929, the year he came tenth overall at the Giro d'Italia, and remained with them the following year (the year that Ferrario died of tuberculosis, aged 29), when he finished Stages 2 and 11 at the Giro in third place and came fourth overall. In 1931 he won Stage 12 and was eighth overall, then in 1936 he was second on Stage 2, third on Stages 6 and 12 and sixth overall at the Tour de France. He bettered that the following year with victory on Stages 16 and 20b and second place overall at the Tour, as well as coming tenth overall at the Giro. He rode the Giro again in 1936 and 1937, coming seventh and ninth.

Kerrie Meares, born in Blackwater, Australia on this day in 1982, became Junior World 500m Time Trial Champion in 2000 and won gold medals for the 500m TT and Sprint at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Her results over the next few years - including becoming National Sprint Champion in 2006 and 2007 and National Keirin Champion in 2006 and 2009 proved her to be a considerable talent; however, she experienced numerous crashes during the latter years of her career and began to suffer for them, eventually retiring in 2009. Kerrie is the older sister of Anna, 2012 World Keirin Champion and winner of the Sprint gold medal at the London Olympic Games.

Doris Kopsky in 1937
Frederik Veuchelen, who was born in Korbeek-Lo on this day in 1978, won the Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2006 and the King of the Mountains at Paris-Nice in 2012.

Marco Groppo, born in Gorla Minore, Italy on this day in 1960, began his professional career with Hoonved-Bottecchia in 1981 and ended it with Eurocar-Mosoca-Galli in 1989. For the majority of it, he won little; however, in 1982 he finished Stage 14 in third place, was ninth overall and won the Youth category at the Giro d'Italia.

On this day in 1937, Doris Kopsky became the USA's first ever female National Cycling Champion.

Other cyclists born on this day: Stephan Joho (Switzerland, 1963); Graciano Fonseca (Colombia, 1974); Hedda zu Putlitz (West Germany, 1965); Andrzej Sikorski (Poland, 1961); Alcides Etcheverry (Uruguay, 1961); Martin Koch (Germany, 1887); Carsten Bresser (West Germany, 1970); Jana Horáková (Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic, 1983); Donald Nelsen (USA, 1944).

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