|Zulfiya Zabirova (image credit: James F. Perry CC BY-SA 3.0)|
Zulfiya Zabirova, the Russian-Uzbek professional rider with the Bigla Cycling Team, was born on this day in 1973. Zulfiya won a gold medal in the Time Trial at the 1996 Olympics, the same year she became National TT Champion, and has gone on to add trophy after trophy to her impressive palmares including first place in the 2002 UCI Worlds TT, first overall at the Thüringen-Rundfahrt, first overall at Castilla y Leon, first place at the Tour of Flanders and Primavera Rosa.
Now living and training in Switzerland, she relocated from Uzbekistan to Russia two years after the fall of the USSR so as to be able to continue cycling when the Islamic fundamentalist-led government of her homeland introduced new laws designed to prevent women taking part in sport. Highlights of her career include victory in the Individual Time Trial at the 1996 Olympics, four victories at the Chrono des Herbiers (including three consecutively between 1997 and 1999), Stage 10 at the Women's Challenge and Stages 4, 7 and 9 at the Giro Donne in 1999, Stages 9 and 13 at the Tour de France Feminin in 2000, the General Classification at the Thüringen-Rundfahrt in 2000 and 2001, the World Individual Time Trial Championship in 2002, the General Classification at the Vuelta Castilla y Leon in 2003, the Ronde van Vlaanderan and the Thüringen-Rundfahrt in 2004 and the National Road Race and Individual Time Trial Championships of Kazakhstan in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Your loss, Uzbekistan!
Happy 44th birthday to Jens Lehmann, the German cyclist who won two gold medals and was part of the team that recorded the first sub-four minute 4000m team pursuit time, yet is best known for being the man caught by Chris Boardman aboard the revolutionary Lotus 110 in the 1992 Olympics. He was born in Stolberg on this day in 1967.
Note: Some sources state that Lucien Petit-Breton died on this day in 1917. However, most have his death as the 20th of December which is why he's not included here (he is tomorrow, though).
Other cyclists born on this day: Nicolas Fritsch (France, 1978); Petr Matoušek (Czechoslovakia, 1949); Hung Chung Yam (Hong Kong, 1967); Nencho Staykov (Bulgaria, 1955); Michal Klasa (Czechoslovakia, 1953); Maurice Moutat (Cameroon, 1954); Feng Yong (China, 1985); Noel Taggart (Ireland, 1941); Augusto Castro (Colombia, 1986); Jürgen Schneider (Switzerland, 1949); Roland Hennig (East Germany, 1967); Dave Watson (Australia, 1946); Andrew Myers (Jamaica, 1968); Gerben Broeren (Netherlands, 1972).