Saturday, 17 November 2012

Daily Cycling Facts 17.11.2012

Claudia Häusler
(image credit: Fanny Schertzer CC BY-SA 3.0)
Happy birthday to Diadora-Pasta Zara rider Claudia Häusler, born in München on this day in 1985 . Häusler's first big victory was the German National Road Race Championship of 2006, her second year as a professional, and she was the best young rider at the Tour de l'Aude two years later. In 2009 she was third at La Flèche Wallonne and then won the Tour de l'Aude and the Giro Donne and a year later the Emakumeen Bira, in 2011 and 2012 she has taken top ten stage and general classification finishes at numerous races.

John Wilson,  born on this day in 187, was a Scottish cyclist who shared fourth place in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics Team Time Trial (the Scottish team competed separately from the English team) and came 16th in the Individual Team Trial the same year - the first time that cycling time trials had featured in the Games. He died  on November the 24th, 1957.

The "grudge matches" against
Hansen (see text) were not the
only double act in Michard's
career - due to his tiny stature,
he was frequently pit against
"Big" Piet Moeskops in
crowd-pleasing special races
Lucien Michard was born today in Épinay-sur-Seine in 1903. His early success included being crowned National Sprint Champion when he was 19 and a gold at the 1924 Olympics; his fame spreading as he won more races, competing in many events at the Vélodrome d'Hiver which belonged to Jacques Goddet, the man who would take over the directorship of the Tour de France when Henri Desgrange became too ill to continue. Michard won the World Sprint Championship five times but only held the title four times - in 1931, he beat Danish rider Willy Falk Hansen by half a metre but the judge was apparently unable to see finish clearly and declared Hansen the winner as he'd been leading as they approached the line, even though the pair had set off on a victory lap together and Hansen had raised Michard's hand. The judge quickly realised he'd been mistaken, but the rules were designed to discourage riders from launching appeals and, as a result, the decision was final and there was no means by which it could be reversed. It seems, however, that Michard felt no enmity towards Hansen and the pair actually benefited from the mistake: Hansen kept the World Champion rainbow jersey while Michard adopted an unofficial jersey with the globe depicted on it and they raced one another in numerous "grudge matches" around Europe, doubtless pulling in a considerable amount of money for doing so. In later life, Michard became a thorn in the side of organisers when he began a campaign demanding higher wages for riders. Sports newspapers, some of which were owned or edited by race promoters, began a campaign against him and forced him into retirement, but not before he'd won more National Championships in 1933, 1934 and 1935. He then began selling bikes branded under his name and, by 1939, had joined forces with Hutchinson tyre manufacturer to sponsor a team that included the rider Eloi Tassin, winner of Stage 2b in that year's Tour de France. He died on the 1st of November, 1985.

Today is also the birthday of the French cycling twins, Jean-Jacques and Jean-Marc Rebière, born in 1952 at Bègles, Gironde. Jean-Jacques represented his country in the 4000m Individual and Team Pursuit events at  the 1976 Olympics, Jean-Marc in the 4000m Team Pursuit at 1980 Olympics with neither brother taling home any medals.

Kieron McQuaid, who rode for Ireland in the Individual Road Race and 100km Team Time Trial at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, was born on this day in 1950. He's the younger brother of UCI boss Pat.

Other births: Daniel Yuste (Spain, 1944); Marcel Delattre (France,1939); Tomás Margalef (Uruguay, 1977); Ludovic Dubau (France, 1973); Gervais Rioux (Canada, 1960); Kurt vid Stein (Denmark, 1935); Jaime Huélamo (Spain, 1948)

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