Monday, 23 September 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 23.09.2013

Emma Johansson
Emma Johansson at the 2012 National Championships
Emma Karolina Johansson, born in Sollefteå, Sweden on this day in 1983,  began her athletic life as a cross-country skier, then won the Junior National Cross Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2000 before successfully defending it and adding the Junior National Individual Time Trial Championship a year later. She gained a place at a specialist cycling school in Skara, then moved to Spain in order to pursue her dream of becoming a professional. Unfortunately, she soon discovered that women's cycling was underdeveloped in Spain so, with help from her old cycling club Härnösand CK back home in Sweden, she moved to the Netherlands. In 2005 she won the Elite National ITT Championship, then turned professional with the Basque team Bizkaia-Panda Software-Durango in 2006. The following year, with Vlaanderen-Capri Sonne-T Interim, she won the National ITT Championship for a second time; in 2008 she won it again, took a silver medal at the Olympics, was third at the National Road Race Championship and won the Trophée d'Or Féminin.

Johansson won the Ronde van Drenthe in 2009, which put her into the lead in the World Cup - she was only the second Swedish cyclist ever to have done so. She then had an excellent year at the Classics in 2010 with a victory at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, fourth in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and third in La Flèche Wallonne before going on to win a second Trophée d'Or Féminin. In 2011 she joined Hitec Products-UCK which - now known as Hitec Products-Mistral Home - and won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad again, regained the National Road Race title and then won the Thüringen-Rundfahrt der Frauen; in 2012 she won the Tour de Free State, the National ITT and Road Race Championships and Stage 9 and fifth place overall at the Giro Donne.

2013 brought a move to a new team, Orica-AIS, and Johansson became the second most successful female rider in the world when she proved herself able to rival Marianne Vos: in fact, for a brief time late in the year (and, to be fair, partly due to the way that the UCI work out rankings), she actually took over from Vos at the top of the UCI world rankings - the first time Vos hadn't occupied the top place for several years. Johansson had come second to Vos several times, but she had also scored some very impressive wins, including a few in which she beat the Dutch woman when she was favourite - her greatest triumphs were the Emakumeen Bira and the Thuringen Rundfahrt, in both of which she won two stages as well as the General Classification.

Shanaze Reade
Shanaze Danielle Reade was born in Crewe, Great Britain, on this day in 1988. When she was 10 years old, she became bored of shot put and 100m sprint running, the sports in which she'd previously competed, so she bought a second-hand BMX for £1 and started racing it. Twelve years later, she was a four-time World Champion.

She'd also picked up one unique honour: in 2006, she had become 19 & Over Elite Men British National Number One after racing in the Men's National Series through 2005 - not only is she a woman, she was also only 17 years old. Some of the men didn't like it, but most were happy to have such a talented rider competing alongside them: "some spit their dummies out but I just let them get on with it! It's really quite fun to watch when I kick their booties," she said.

Reade also won her first World Championship title in 2006, coming first in the Junior class; in 2007, 2008 and 2010 she was World Champion at Elite level and, in 2007 and 2008, also won the Elite Woman Supercross Championship. Famous in BMX for her explosive power, Reade started track racing in 2007 - her first race was the Team Sprint at the Manchester round of the World Cup, where she teamed up with Anna Blyth to take second place behind Willy Kanis and Yvonne Hijgenaar of the Netherlands, they beat Kristine Bayley and track racing superhero Anna Meares of Australia; however, the outcome might have been very different - the Dutch team made a false start, causing commissaires to restart the race, but Reade had not heard their signal and had already completed one lap at full sprint pace when she realised. Just over a month later she was selected at the last moment to replace Blyth and rode with Victoria Pendleton to win the Team Sprint at the World Championships - Hijgenaar and Kanis were second, Bayley and Meares third again.

Reade and Pendleton, 2008
In 2008, when BMX became an Olympic sport for the first time, Reade decided to take a break from track racing - she was the only female British rider to compete in the event. After crashing in the first qualifier, she set the fastest time in the second heat and went through to the quarter-finals where she crashed again but took enough points to race in the final. After spending much of the race holding onto Anne-Caroline Chausson's rear wheel, she crashed out of the race. She returned to the track the following year and was selected for the British squad at the World Championships, once again riding with Pendleton in the Team Sprint; this time, they lost out to the Australian team made up of Meares and Kaarle McCulloch and took silver. She competed in BMX again at the 2012 Olympics but, despite being favourite, finished in sixth place.

Born in Abergavenny on this day in 1972, Julian Winn is a Welsh cyclist who since 2005 has served as coach at Beicio Cymru, the Welsh cycling federation. Winn was second in the Manx International in 1997 and won a stage at the Prudential Tour (formerly the Milk Race, now the Tour of Britain) a year later; then turned professional with the Linda McCartney team in 1999 and found success at a number of races. In 2003 he signed to the Danish Fakta team and went to the Giro d'Italia where he finished two stages in the top 20 and came 83rd overall; the best result of his career came in 2002 when he won the British National Road Race Championships.

Martin Elmiger, born in Hagendorn, Switzerland on this day in 1978, was National Road Race Champion in 2001, 2005 and 2007. In 2007 he won the Tour Down Under.

Other cyclists born on this day: Geoff Smith (Australia, 1942); Michael Rich (West Germany, 1969); Behrouz Rahbar (Iran, 1945); Yoshio Shimura (Japan, 1940); Zsolt Vinczeffy (Hungary, 1974); Karen Strong-Hearth (Canada, 1953); Ambrogio Beretta (Italy, 1908, died 1988); Harry Lodge (Great Britain, 1967); Alois Holík (Czechoslovakia, 1947); Robert Varga (France, 1941); Henri Andrieux (France, 1931, died 2008).