Monday, 24 September 2012

Daily Cycling Facts 24.09.12

Victoria Pendleton
Victoria Pendleton
Born in Stotfold on this day in 1980, Victoria Louise Pendleton is a multiple World, European, National and Olympic Champion and one of the few female British cyclists to have become a household name at home and around the world. Her father, Max, was once National Grass-Track Champion, Victoria began her career in the same discipline, riding her first race - a 400m event - at Fordham near Cambridge when she was nine years old. Aged 16, she was spotted by a coach from British Cycling but chose instead to complete her education, not becoming a professional rider until she'd graduated in Sport Science at Northumbria University.

In 2003, Pendleton won the Scratch race at the Sydney round of the World Cup, also coming second in the Sprint; the latter being the event in which she would later specialise and which she won at the Manchester round a year later. In 2005 she won the Keirin at Los Angeles, then the Sprint at the World Championships and at Manchester, and in 2006 at the Commonwealth Games. 2007 would be her real break-through year, starting off victories in the Sprint, 500m TT and Keirin at Manchester, followed by the Sprint and Keirin (and Team Sprint, riding with Shanaze Reade - whose birthday falls one day before Pendleton's) at the World Championships, the Sprint and 500m at the Nationals and Keirin at Sydney. in 2008, again riding with Reade, she won the Team Sprints at Copenhagen and the Worlds, also winning the Individual Sprint at the Worlds and the Olympics; at the Nationals she won the Sprint, Team Sprint and Keirin and at Manchester the Sprint, 500m and Keirin. 2009 was a quieter year with two victories - the Sprints at Copenhagen and the Worlds. She successfully defended the latter in 2010 and won the Keirin and Team Sprint (with Jess Varnish) at the Cali round of the World Cup, then rode with Varnish again to win the Team Sprint at the 2011 European Championships where she also won the Keirin.

Pendleton and Shanaze Reade
Since the 2008 Olympics, when Anna Meares got through to the finals due to the relegation of Guo Shang, she and Pendleton have been rivals. Lurid tales of sworn enmity and blistering hatred have been somwhat over-embellished by the media - presumably, these are the journalists who don't bother to actually watch women's racing and thus have to invent drama rather than reporting the real drama taking place on the track, but it's probably safe to say that they don't exchange Christmas cards. As a result, when they competed against one another in the Sprint in London at the 2012 Games, the race was immediately termed a grudge match, the decider and all sorts of other poetic things. It did not pass without incident: during the race, Pendleton veered very slightly out of her lane, crossing into Meares'. Meares reacted by pushing her away, using her elbow on Pendleton's leg. Some fans - mostly British, but a fair few from elsewhere including Australia - were initially angry at the judges' decision to relegate the British rider; however, once the slow-motion replay had been aired, all but the most die-hard Pendleton fans admitted that Meares had won fair and square. Pendleton had announced that, after many years of hinting that she would retire after the Games, this would be her last race; it was not the best note upon which to leave. However, having won the Keirin four days earlier and the Sprint at the Worlds in Melbourne in April, she undoubtedly left cycling at a highpoint in her career.

Whilst Pendleton is widely admired in the media - often as much for her looks as for her athletic achievements - her career has not been without controversy. Her decision to appear in glamourous photo shoots published by FHM and Esquire magazines, at a time when many female athletes are demanding to be taken seriously for their sport and not depicted as sex symbols,  was widely criticised. Likewise, she has occasionally been accused of appearing on too many TV shows and advertisements; however, she has also been congratulated for raising the profile of women's cycling in this way.


Oenone Wood
Oenone Wood in 2007
Born in Newcastle, New South Wales on this day in 1980, Oenone Wood won the silver medal at both the National Road Race and Individual Time Trial Championships and was third overall at La Flèche Wallonne and the Trophée d'Or Féminin in 2003, then in 2004 she won both the National titles, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the Bay Classic, the Geelong Tour, Stage 1 at the Giro Donne and the World Cup. The following year, she turned professional with Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung.

In 2005, she won the World Cup, the National ITT Championships and Geelong for a second time, Stages 1, 3a and 6 at the Tour de l'Aude and Stages 1b, 2 and the General Classification at Le Tour du Grand Montréal; in 2006 - still with Nürnberger Versicherung - a third Geelong, the GP International Dottignies, Stage 8 at the Giro Donne and a silver medal for the Road Race and a gold for the ITT at the Commonwealth Games. She then moved to T-Mobile for 2007 and won Le Tour du Grand Montréal. Wood remained with the team, which began the year as Highroad and ended it as Columbia Women, through 2008; winning another National Road Race Championship and two stages as well as second place overall at the Tour of New Zealand. She retired at the end of the year, having achieved 81 podium finishes in her short professional career.



Michelle Ferris, born in Warrnambool, Australia on this day in 1976, won silver in the Women's Sprint at the Olympics in 1996 and 2000.

Erich Maechler, born in Hochdorf, Switzerland on this day in 1960, won Stage 21 at the Tour de France in 1986. The following year he won Milan-San Remo, then returned to the Tour and wore the maillot jaune for six days. Over the course of his career he also won stages at the Tour de Suisse, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Stef Clement, born in Tilburg, Netherlands on this day 1982, was National Individual Time Trial Champion in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011.

Other cyclists born on this day: Neurouth (France, 1881, died 1914); Michel van Haecke (Belgium, 1971); Donald Allan (Australia, 1949); Jorge Mariné (Spain, 1941); Karsten Stenersen (Norway, 1971); Dirk Heirwegh (Belgium, 1955); Ivano Maffei (Italy, 1958); Marie Purvis (Great Britain, 1961); Morten Therkildsen (Denmark, 1983); Jacques Gestraut (France, 1939); Lorenzo Bosisio (Italy, 1944); Gunnar Sköld (Sweden, 1894, died 1971); Charles Hewett (USA, 1929).


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