Sunday, 10 March 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 10.03.2013

Raymond Impanis
Paris-Nice started on this day in 1954, 1958, 1961, 1963, 1969, 1971, 1977, 1991, 1996 and 2002. Raymond Impanis won the first of his two victories in 1954, the year that also saw a Points competition at the event for the first time - the Points leader wore a green jersey, but the next year it changed to pink. Impanis' second win would not be until 1960, meaning that Fred de Bruyne became the second man to have won twice in 1958 as he'd also won in 1956.

Jacques Anquetil won for a second time in 1961, then for a third in 1963 when he became the first man to have won that many times. Up until 1963, the race always started in Paris but it would move to other cities from this point onwards. Eddy Merckx won in 1969, starting off on the way to becoming the first man to achieve three consecutive victories - his last was on this day in 1971. The finish was moved to the Col d'Eze that year and would remain there until 1995, except for in 1977 when landslides on the col made it impossible for riders and team cars to get up there. Freddy Maertens won that year and Bernard Thevenet failed an anti-doping test (despite his earlier claim to "have never taken drugs; they wouldn't be any use") but escaped serious punishment and won the Tour de France later that year. Or at least, he thought he'd escaped  punishment - the next year, after a series of poor results, he decided he'd better get checked out and was told that the steroids had done permanent, serious damage to his adrenal glands. He then became a vociferous opponent of doping.

Tony Rominger
(image credit: Eric Houdas CC BY-SA 3.0)
Tony Rominger became the race's first Swiss winner in 1991 and the start was moved to Fontenay-sous-Bois where it would remain until 1995. In 1996 Laurent Jalabert won the second of three consecutive victories after the race started in Châteauroux and the Points competition returned for the first time since 1984 with a new yellow jersey, the corporate colour of sugar-producing sponsor Béghin-Say.

Alexandre Vinokourov, who is ethnically Russian but of Kazakh nationality became the first winner from his country in 2002. Laurent Fignon, who had owned the race for a number of years, sold it to the Amaury Sports Organisation, owners of the Tour de France, who retain ownership to this day. They changed the General Classification leader's jersey to yellow and white (and would drop the white in 2008) and the Points competition leader's jersey to green white, also introducing a Youth Classification for the first time and adding a blue and white jersey for that. The finish line was moved to Issy-les-Moulineaux and stayed there until 2007.

Lyne Bessette
(image credit: James F. Perry CC BY-SA 3.0)
Lyne Bessette
Lyne Bessette, born Lac Brome, Quebec on this day in 1975 and represented Canada in the Olympics of 2000 and 2004. Her first major success as a professional was the King of the Mountains at the 1999 Tour de Suisse Feminin, followed by the Tour de l'Aude and Redlands Classic the same year. In 2000, she won the Tour de Toona and the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, then the Women's Challenge in 2001 (she also won the Points competition and was second in the Mountains Classification, an extremely impressive achievement) along with the National Time Trial and Road Race Championships and both the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic and Tour de l'Aude for a second time.

A third Fitchburg Longsjo Classic (and the Sprints Classification) came in 2002 when she also won the Sea Otter Classic and came 2nd overall at La Flèche Wallonne, one of the most prestigious races on the women's cycling calendar. She won another Tour de Toona and came 2nd overall at the Tour de l'Aude a year later, then won for a third and final time at Toona in 2004, making her the most successful rider of either sex in the 25-year history of the race, and won the Nature Valley GP. Bassette's husband Tim Johnson is also a professional cyclist.

Russell Allen
Russell Allen, born in Orwell, Ohio on this day in 1913, represented the USA in the 1932 Olympics, then turned professional for Schwinn and enjoyed a successful career on track until the Second World War when he first worked in defence and then joined the Navy, qualifying as a Petty Officer (2nd Class) and spending the rest of the war teaching swimming and survival skills.

He found employment as a car salesman after the war, retiring in 1962 and worked as a volunteer at the 1984 Olympics, more than a half a century after competing in them, and since then has devoted his life to charities that organise trips for disadvanted children to sporting events. He would regularly complete rides of 100km in his late 80s and is still cycling at the time of writing, though he had to give up bungee jumping at the age of 93 in 2006. That same year, he became the oldest American Olympian.

Kate Sheppard
Kate Sheppard, cyclist and suffragist,
Kate Sheppard, born Katherine Wilson Malcolm in Liverpool on this day (or thereabouts, records are lost) in 1847. She went to school in Scotland and received an education that, while extremely religious, was exceptionally comprehensive compared to that experienced by the majority of girls of the time. In 1869, seven years after the death of her husband, Kate's mother Jemima packed the entire family off to New Zealand in search of new opportunity.

In the 1880s, Sheppard became involved with the suffrage movement, partly due to her support for temperance (women in the 19th Century drank far less than men, leading to female temperance activists supporting women's suffrage out of a belief that women would drive stricter alcohol regulations through parliament) and is recognised as one of the leading lights of the cause; playing an important role in the struggle that led to New Zealand becoming the first self-governing nation to grant the vote to all women over the age of 21 in 1893 (Great Britain wouldn't catch up until 1928). In common with many feminists and suffragists, she was passionate about cycling and saw the bicycle as a means to emancipate women, providing them with the ability to travel independently and of their own free will, becoming one of the first female cyclists in New Zealand and joining the Atalanta Cycling Club in 1892.

Sheppard died on the 13th of July, 1934 and is buried in Addington Cemetery in Christchurch. The house she built and lived in with her husband Walter still stands at 83 Clyde Road, around 4km from her grave.

Luke Rowe
Born in Cardiff, South Wales on this day in 1990 and later joined the famous Maindy Flyers club and began racing. He showed sufficient promise to be selected for the British Cycling Olympic Development team and made his first international appearance at the 2008 European Track Championships, riding the Team Pursuit, then the following year rode with the Manx star Mark Christian, also winning a silver medal at the European Road Race Championships. In 2011 Rowe won Stage 7 at the Thüringen Rundfahrt and was fifth overall at the Tour de Normandie, bringing interest from professional trade teams including Team Sky with whom he signed his first professional contract for a two-year period beginning in 2012. In September that year, he won Stage 1 at the Tour of Britain, and 2013 he was ninth overall at the Tour of Qatar.

Rowe comes from a cycling family - his first taste of cycling came when he was taken for a ride on his parents' tandem. His father, Courtney Rowe, is a professional coach working with the Paralympian road and track cyclist Simon Richardson; his brother Matthew is also a successful road and track rider.

Ezquerra was first to the top of the Cols du Télégraph and
Galibier in 1934
Fédérico Ezquerra was born in Gordexola, Euskadi on this day in 1909 and began racing professionally in 1928, winning numerous races throughout Spain before taking the National Track Stayers Championship title in 1933. The next year, now signed to Orbea, he entered the Tour de France for the first time and came 3rd on Stage 4 and 5th in the overall King of the Mountains. In 1936, still with Orbea, he won Stage 11 and was 3rd in the King of the Mountains, then racing as an individual the following year he was 3rd in Stage 10. In 1940 he won the National Road Race Championship, the won Stage 13 at the Vuelta a Espana in 1941 before rounding off his career with wins at Spanish races and retiring in 1944. He died on the 30th of January, 1986.

Other cyclists born on this day: Luke Rowe (Wales, 1990); Miloš Jelínek (Czechoslovakia, 1947); Choi In-Ae (North Korea, 1969); Enzo Frisoni (San Marino, 1947); Anders Jarl (Sweden, 1965); Māris Štrombergs (Latvia, 1987); Tamás Csathó (Hungary, 1956); Gustaf Westerberg (Sweden, 1884, died 1955); Masashi Omiya (Japan, 1938); Grimon Langson (Malawi, 1955); Suriyong Hemint (Thailand, 1948); Andris Reiss (Latvia, 1978); Sanji Inoue (Japan, 1948); Rodolfo Vitela (Mexico, 1949); Lew Elder (Canada, 1905, died 1971); László Mahó (Hungary, 1941).

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