Sunday, 20 January 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 20.01.2013

Catherine Marsal
Born in Metz on this day in 1971, Catherine Marsal won the Tour de Bretagne and the Junior World Pursuit Championship in 1988, also coming tenth in the Road Race at the Olympic Games that year; then in 1989 she won the Tour de Bretagne again and came second in the Elite Road Race at the World Championships. In 1990 she became National Champion and won the Giro Donne and the Tour de l'Aude, races considered to be women's Grand Tours - only twelve male riders have won two Grand Tours in the history of cycling. Then, that same year, she became World Road Race Champion - in men's cycling, two Grand Tours and a World Championship earns a rider cycling's greatest honour, the Triple Crown. Only Eddy Merckx and Stephen Roche have ever won it.

Marsal won the Tour de l'Aude again in 1994; the National Road Race Championship in 1996; the National Individual Time Trial, Individual Pursuit and Points race Championships in 1997 and the National Points race Championship again in 1999. She won a silver medal at the National Road Race Championship in 2000, a bronze the following year, a stage at the Tour de l'Aude in 2002 and, finally, third place at the GP des Nations in 2004 before retiring at the end of the season.

Cyrille Guimard
(image credit: Eric Houdas CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cyrille Guimard
Cyrille Guimard was born on this day 1947 in Bouguenais, France. He was a rider of considerable talent,  becoming National Champion in road racing, track and cyclo cross and as a sprinter, he won almost a hundred races during his eight professional seasons including eight stages at the Tour de France (he would wear the yellow jersey for eight days in 1973 before winning the overall Combativity award) along with two stages and the Points Classification at the 1971 Vuelta a Espana.

However, his success before a knee problem ended his racing career was minor compared to his performance as a directeur sportif. During his time with the Castorama, Cofidis, Système U-Gitane, Super U, Renault-Elf-Gitane and Gitane-Campagnolo teams, he directed some of the greatest Tour riders in history including Greg LeMond (winner of three Tours and two World Championships), Laurent Fignon (two Tours and one Giro d'Italia), Marc Madiot (winner of two Paris-Roubaix), Charly Mottet (winner of three Critériums du Dauphiné), Lucien van Impe (winner of one Tour, six Tour King of the Mountains classification and two Giro d'Italia King of the Mountains classifications) and, greatest of all, Bernard Hinault (winner of five Tours, one Tour Points classification, one Tour Mountains classification, three Tour Combativity classifications, three Giros, two Vueltas a Espana, a World Championship and - well, just about everything else). Van Impe said, "Without him, I don't know if I would ever have won the Tour."

Guimard trained many great riders, but none
so great as The Badger
(image c/o Granny Gear)
Guimard was no stranger to controversy, either as a rider or as a directeur sportif. He provided a positive sample in a doping test in 1973 at a time when he was under the care of no less than Dr. Mabuse, real name Bernard Sainz, the extremely questionable "sports doctor" who had no medical training and who received a three-year prison sentence in 2008 for his dubious activities in cycling and horse racing. Guimard's personality, sometimes abrasive, led to clashes; most notably with Hinault who was - and still is - an abrasive character himself, and in 1976 he threatened to run van Impe over with a team car if he didn't attack Joop Zoetemelk (van Impe denies that the incident really happened; but if it did it worked - he attacked and won the stage). He was involved with Cofidis right from the start, helping to create the team, but was pushed out in 1997 after a court case in which he stood accused of obtaining credit by pretenses and false accounting, receiving a suspended jail sentence when he was found guilty.

However, talent of the sort possessed by Guimard cannot be stifled. In 2003, he was taken on as technical director of the Velo Club Roubaix, a position that he still holds. During his early days with the club he trained a young and unknown rider from Luxembourg named Andy Schleck - so it seems possible that the world has not yet seen the last Tour winner to come out of the Guimard stable.

Kaarle McCulloch
Kaarle McCulloch (left) with Anna Meares
A winner of gold and silver medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Kaarle McCulloch was born on this day in 1988 in Campbelltown, New South Wales. She has also won numerous gold, silver and bronze medals at many other events, including four (two gold, one silver, one bronze) as a junior at the 2006 Australian Track Championships during which she competed at Elite level in the Team Sprint.

In 2012, McCulloch rode with Anna Meares to take second place in the Team Sprint at the London round of the World Cup where they were beaten by Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish, then at the World Championships where they were again second having been beaten by Kristina Vogel and Mirian Welte of Germany and once more at the Olympics, where they took third place behind Vogel and Welte and silver medalists Jinjie Gong and Guo Shuang of China. She also won silver in the Keirin at the Oceania Championships.

Josef Fischer
The German cyclist Josef Fischer was born on this day in 1865. Little is known about him, but he won't vanish from the pages of cycling history because in 1896 he won the first Paris-Roubaix, the race so hard it's become better known by its nicknames, "The Hell of the North" and "A Sunday In Hell." To date, he is the only German rider to have ever won the event.

Other cyclists born on this day: Clyde Sefton (Australia, 1951); Elisha Hughes (Antigua and Barbuda, 1959); Gerrit van Gestel (Belgium, 1958); Miloslav Loos (Czechoslovakia, 1914, died 2010); Abelardo Ríos (Colombia, 1952); Radoš Čubrić (Yugoslavia, 1934); Yury Kashirin (Soviet Union, 1959); François Hamon (France, 1939); Marie-Claude Audet (Canada, 1962); Nancy Contreras (Mexico, 1978); Mahmoud Abbas (Egypt, 1978); Dario Gasco (Argentina, 1987); Thomas Barth (East Germany, 1960); Falk Boden (East Germany, 1960).

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