Saturday, 5 January 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 05.01.2013

Georgia Gould
Georgia Gould
(image credit: Thomas Fanghaenel
CC BY-SA 3.0)
Georgia Gould, born in Baltimore on this day in 1980, is one of the most successful mountain bike and cyclo cross riders in the history of either sport. Over her career to date, she has won 24 major victories and with Juli Furtado is one of only two women to have won all rounds of a NORBA (now NIMBS) series.

Her first big win was the 2005 Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross Series, which she followed up one year later by winning the National Mountain Bike Cross Country Championship. In 2007, she added the PanAmerican Cross Country title, then finished the 2008 Olympic MTB race in 8th place. She became National Short Track MTB Champion in 2009, then Cross Country Champion for a second time in 2010. Along the way, she won the majority of the most prestigious US cyclo cross races and achieved podium places in numerous others, also winning the US GP of Cyclo Cross in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

Gould is a highly vocal supporter of the fight to introduce equal pay and prize money for professional female cyclists who, even in 2012, can expect to receive prizes and salaries many times lower than their male counterparts (and, more frequently than many people realise, no salary at all) - as Lyne Bessette pointed out in 2007, "At a UCI race, the guys will win, like, a thousand bucks and we get $175." In 2008, she started a campaign since named the Gould Formula with the aim of introducing new measures to redress the balance, centred around a petition delivered to cycling's governing body the UCI. The petition read:
“We, the undersigned, find it regrettable that there is a considerable disparity between the UCI minimum prize money for men and women. We understand that because competition in the men’s field is deeper, more places receive prize money. We do not understand why the women who are receiving prize money receive less than their male counterparts. Therefore we propose that the UCI show leadership and mandate equal prize money for the top five men and women. Article 3 of the UCI Constitution states: "The UCI will carry out its activities in compliance with the principles of: a) equality between all the members and all the athletes, license-holders and officials, without racial, political, religious or other discrimination.." We ask the UCI to honor its commitment to equality."

Henri Desgrange
On this day in 1895, Alfred Dreyfus was stripped of his Army rank and sentenced to life imprisonment after being falsely convicted of treason in France - thus beginning the Dreyfus Affair that, by causing Jules Albert De Dion to join forces with other anti-Drefusards and establish the L'Auto newspaper as opposition to the pro-Dreyfus Le Velo newspaper, would also indirectly lead to the inauguration of the Tour de France, originally organised by editor Henri Desgrange in an attempt to increase sales.

Megan Hughes was born on this day in 1977. She was National Road Champion in 1998, then Welsh Road Champion the following year. In 2001 she was offered a place with British Cycling's World Performance development plan but retired shortly afterwards, preferring to settle into her new life at home in Wales with her husband, 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Bäckstedt - who says he prefers it to their previous home in Belgium. They still live in Wales and have two daughters.

FDJ rider Benoît Vaugrenard was born in Vannes, France on this day in 1982. He won the National Time Trial Championship in 2007, then in 2008 took second place on Stage 1 at the Critérium International, eighth place on Stage 11 at the Tour de France, won Stage 4 at the Tour du Limousin and was overall winner at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes et de la Vienne. The following year saw him win only once, at the GP d'Isbergues, but he performed well at the Brabantse Pijl, Amstel Gold Race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Critérium du Dauphiné. 2010 started well with a Stage 1 victory at the Volta ao Algarve in February followed by good stage finishes at Tirreno-Adriatico and a stage win at the Four Days of Dunkirk in May; however, the latter would be his last win that season and he did not enjoy any more success in 2011 or 2012.

David Kopp
David Kopp
Born in Bonn on this day in 1979, David Kopp never reached the heights he'd have doubtless liked to have reached but made a name for himself as a useful rider in the cobbled classics. His career was somewhat checquered - having turned professional with Telekom and doing well in 2001, he failed to impress through the subsequent two years and was dropped when the team became T-Mobile before the 2004 season. He then moved to third-category team Lamonta and apparently found the reduced level of competition more to his liking, winning nine times that year, then went to ProContinental Wiesenhof for 2005 and won four times.

Having now built up an impressive palmares, Kopp made his return to the top ranks when he was offered a place with ProTour Gerolsteiner for 2006 and 2007. His first season with the team went well with second place at Gent-Wevelgem, four top ten stage finishes at the Tour de France, first place at the Trofeo Calvia and a stage win at the Benelux Tour, yet for some reason Gerolsteiner managers decided to keep him away from the big races in 2007 (the team they sent to the Tour that year was led by Markus Fothen and Stefan Schumacher who, though both young and relatively inexperienced, had done unexpectedly well at the Grand Tours in 2006) - perhaps feeling disheartened by this, he won just a derny race and a stage at the Tour of Poland that year and, when his contract was not renewed at the close of the season, was forced to drop a rank back to the ProContinental teams.

Riding for Collstrop in 2008 he was second at the E3 Harelbeke but performed badly for most of the rest of the season; he was unable to secure a contract for 2009. That year, in March, news emerged that he had tested positive for cocaine at a Belgian race the previous September, but he was able to return with Kuota-Indeland in 2010 and won Köln-Schuld-Frechen before placing well at the Ronde van Drenthe and Dwars door Drenthe. He remained with the team when it became Eddy Merckx-Indeland in 2011 and won the Rund am Rhede, then came ninth at the Dwars door Drenthe before announcing his retirement at the end of the year.

Juan Fernández Martín, born in Alhama de Granada on this day in 1957, won Stage 8 and the Mountains Classification of the Giro d'Italia and the Spanish Road Race Championship in 1980, then won a second National Championship in 1988. After retiring from competition at the end of the 1988 season, he went on to become a directeur sportif, serving at CLAS, Mapei, Festina, Coast and Phonak at various times between 1989 and 2006.

Azizulhasni Awang, Malaysian track cyclist and silver medalist at the 2009 Worlds (the first Malaysian to win a World Track medal), was born in 1988.

Barry Mason, 1950-2011
Barry Mason, a cycling activist, was born on this day in 1950. Barry was co-ordinator of the Southwark Cyclists in London for several years and, under his leadership, it became the most active of the London Cycling Campaign groups, taking part in a range of efforts aimed at improving cycling infrastructure and promoting bike use in the city, which led to him being given the London Cycling Personality of the Year award in 2006. He died on the 2nd of June 2011 whilst swimming in Spain and his humanist funeral was attended by many hundreds of cyclists.

Henrik Morén, born in Sweden on this day in 1877, broke British rider Freddie Grubb's 24 Hour Track Time Trial record in 1912 when he covered 375.6 miles (604.47km). (Much more about Grubb on the 6th of March, which will be the anniversary of his death.)

Ronald van Avermaet, who was born in Hamm in East Flanders on this day in 1959, enjoyed considerable success during the early 1980s. He is the father of Greg van Avermaet, the winner of the 2011 Tour de Wallonie; the son of Aimé van Avermaet who won a bronze medal in the 1955 National Amateur Road Race Championship; the son-in-law of 1959 Ronde van België stage winner Kamiel Buysse; father-in-law to Tour of Austria stage winner Glenn D'Hollander (who is a cousin of Preben van Hecke); great-uncle to Belgian professional Anja Buysse and uncle to Thomas and Matthias Ongena who have won numerous races in Belgium. Cycling, it seems, runs in the family.

Bryan Steel, who rode for Great Britain in the Olympics of 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004, was born in Nottingham on this day in 1969.

Other cyclists born on this day: Harry Genders (Great Britain, 1890, died 1971); Jean Van Buggenhout (Belgium, 1905, died 1974); Solo Razafinarivo (Madagascar, 1938); Henrik Morén (Sweden, 1877, died 1956); Ingvar Ericsson (Sweden, 1914, died 1995); Khosro Haghgosha (Iran, 1948); Arnold Lundgren (Denmark, 1899, died 1979); Guido Messina (Italy, 1931); Petrov Minchev (Bulgaria, 1950); Karl Wölfl (Austria, 1914); Ivar Jakobsen (Denmark, 1954); Abbas Saeidi Tanha (Iran, 1981); Igor Pugaci (Moldova, 1975); Knud Andersen (Denmark, 1922, died 1997); Xavier Mirander (Jamaica, 1951); Her Jong-Chau (Taipei, 1946); Heriberto Díaz (Mexico, 1942); Denis Smyslov (USSR, 1979).

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