(Image credit: Thomas Ducroquet
CC BY-SA 3.0)
On this day in 1942, the British League of Racing Cyclists was formed in response to the long-standing National Cyclists' Union ban on bicycle racing on public roads (time trials, in which individual riders compete not against one another but against the clock, were not banned; this being part of the reason that they were the most popular form of competitive cycling in Britain for a great many years even after the ban). Instrumental in the formation was Percy Stallard, a racing cyclist who had become a thorn in the side of the NCU due to his campaign aimed at getting them to reintroduce the sport which, following an incident during a race in 1894 when cyclists frighted horses pulling a carriage and caused an accident, had been halted for fear that road racing would lead to a ban on all forms of cycling. Stallard's answer was to simply organise his own race from Llangollen to Wolverhampton (a race which would, eventually, grow to become the Tour of Britain) which, it turned out, was enthusiastically supported by the police who were happy to provide assistance. The NCU suspended Stallard's membership so, in no doubt after the success of his race that there was a vast amount of support for road racing in Britain, he set up his own organisation. The two finally merged in 1959 to create the British Cycling Federation which remains the governing body of the sport in Britain to this day.
|Percy Stallard, 1909-2001|
Leopold König's was born on this day in 1987. Czech Leopold had his best season to date in 2011 riding for Team NetApp, coming second in the Tour of Austra (firstst in the Youth category), third in the Tour de l'Ain and ninth in the Tour of Britain.
On this day in 2010 Clara Hughes - the only Canadian athlete to have won medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics and one of the most successful Canadian cyclists of all time - was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
It's also Imanol Erviti's birthday. Born in 1983, the Movistar rider has won stages at the Tour Méditerranéen and the Vuelta a Espana. In 2011, he won the Vuelta a La Rioja and in 2012 he formed part of his team's squad at the Tour de France until a crash involving numerous riders during Stage 6 left him with serious injuries requiring a 48-hour stay in hospital and surgery. At 1.93m tall, he is easily recognisable as one of the tallest men in the modern ProTour peloton.
Jonny Lee Miller, the English actor who played Scottish Hour Record cyclist Graeme Obree in the 2006 film The Flying Scotsman, was born today in 1972. The film is worth seeing if you love bikes and Obree's story is remarkable, but it's far from the best cycling movie ever made.
Jiang Xiao, Wang Jie, Wang Mingwei and Li Wei set a new Chinese Record of 4'09.832" in the 4000m Team Time Trial at the Asian Games on this day in 2010.
Other cyclists born on this day: Michiel Bekker (24), Jeong Seok Chung (30), Mario Jorge Faria Costa (26), Felipe Delai Da Silva (25), John Kronborg Ebsen (23), Yvonne Fiedler (25), Omar Hasanin (33), Kendelle Hodges (20), Kaspars Kupriss (24), Roxana Alvarado Lopez (28), Alexia Muffat (19), Imanol Erviti Ollo (28), Ruiggeri Pinedoe (20), Guillaume Pont (32), Andy Rose (31), Franz Schiewer (21), Fernanda Da Silva Souza (30), Wilder Miraballes Seijas (31), Job Vissers (27), Barry Wicks (30)