Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 25.09.2013

Rasa and Jolanta Polikevičiūtė
Rasa Polikevičiūtė
Born in Panevėžys, Lithuania on this day in 1970, Rasa and Jolanta Polikevičiūtė are identical twins who established their nation as one of the most respected in women's cycling. They took up the sport at the age of 13; Rasa had won the Gracia Orlova, the Masters Féminin and the Women's Challenge and taken second place at numerous high-profile events including the World Road Race Championships and Jolanta had come fifth in the Road Race and seventh in the Individual Time Trial at the 1996 Olympics by the time they both turned professional with Elby in 1998. That year, Rasa was second at the Tour de l'Aude and Jolanta won the Trophée d'Or.

Jolanta won stages at the Trophée d'Or (and was second overall) and the Women's Challenge in 1999, but neither twin won a race outright; in 2000 Rasa was third at the World ITT Championship and Jolanta won Stage 11 at the Tour de France Féminin. In 2001 Rasa became World Road Race Champion and a year later Jolanta won Stage 1 at the Giro Donne - as did Rasa in 2003, with Jolanta right behind her for second place. They competed together at the 2004 Olympics with Rasa coming 29th in the Road Race and 23rd in the ITT while Jolanta was 31st in the Road Race; then neither won a race until 2008 when Rasa won Stage 5 at the Tour de France Féminin and Jolanta won the Lyon Vaise - with Rasa taking second place.

Jolanta Polikevičiūtė
Rasa and Jolanta spent their entire professional careers riding for the same teams, going to Entente Panevezys-Casteljaloux for a year after Elby, then Acca Due O from 2000 to the end of 2002 when they joined Team 2002 Aurora RSM for a season. In 2004 they signed to USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo and remained for a year before going to Bianchi, then returned to USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo in 2007. Rasa retired in 2008, Jolanta kept going for another year.

Michele Scarponi
Michele Scarponi, born in Filottrano, Italy on this day in 1979, turned professional with Acqua & Sapone in 2002 and came 18th at the Giro d'Italia, then rode for Domina-Vacanze in 2003 and 2004 - in the first year he was 16th at the Giro and 13th at the Vuelta a Espana, then in the second he was 32nd at the Tour de France. In 2005 he went to Liberty Seguros-Würth and remained with them after the team became Astana in 2006; during that time he came 11th at the Vuelta.

Scarponi at the 2012 Tour de France
During 2006, his name was among those connected to Operacion Puerto but he escaped charges and once again signed to Acqua & Sapone. Then, in 2007, he was once again implicated and was given a provisional suspension; when it ended in August 2008 he was taken on for two seasons at Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli. He won nothing in 2008, then won the General Classification at Tirreno-Adriatico and Stage 18 at the Giro d'Italia in 2009 and was kept on for another year during which he was second at Tirreno-Adriatico and won the General Classification at the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda and Stage 19 plus fourth place overall at the Giro.

In 2011, Scarponi signed to Lampre-ISD and he remains with them to this day; that year, he won the Points competition at Tirreno-Adriatico and was second in the General Classification and the Points competition at the Giro. In 2012, he was fourth in the General Classification and the Points competition at the Giro and 24th overall at the Tour de France and in 2013 he was fourth overall at the Giro, second at the Italian National Championships and 15th at the Vuelta Espana.

Dainius Kairelis, born in Utena, Lithuania on this day in 1979, won the Baby Giro in 2003 and became National Road Race Champion in 2006.

Sara Symington, who was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela on this day in 1969, is a retired British cyclist who won the 1998 National Circuit Race Championships. Prior to becoming a full-time cyclist, she was a member of the national triathlon team. In 2000 she was 10th in the Road Race at the Olympic and in 2001 she finished the National Road Race Championship in third place; she also won Stage 7 at the Tour de l'Aude Cycliste Féminin in 2002 and Stage 4 two years later.

Mike Kluge, born in Berlin on this day in 1962, was World Amateur Cyclo Cross Champion in 1985 and 1987, then World Professional Cyclo Cross Champion in 1992. In 1992 he established Focus Bikes, a manufacturer of high-end road racing and mountain bikes; he became National Champion on a Focus CX machine in 1993 and in 2005 Hanka Kupfernagel rode one to win the World Championships.

Roger Beufrand, who was born in Paris on this day in 1908, won a gold medal in the Team Sprint (then known as the Olympic Sprint) at the Olympics in 1928. From the 21st of April in 2005 until his death on the 14th of March in 2007, he was the oldest surviving Olympic gold medalist in the world.

Other cyclists born on this day: Amousse Tessema (Ethiopia, 1931); Anton Gödrich (Germany, 1859, died 1942); Giorgi Nadiradze (Georgia, 1987); William Harvell (Great Britain, 1907, died 1985); Kyle Bennett (USA, 1979); Ramiro Martins (Portugal, 1941); Ricardo Vázquez (Uruguay, 1932); Erica Green (South Africa, 1970); Stanisław Szozda (Poland, 1950); Anatoly Olizarenko (USSR, 1936); Sergio Mantecón (Spain, 1984); Gábor Szűcs (Hungary, 1956).

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