Saturday 19 October 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 19.10.2013

On this day in 2012, following 17 years involvement, Dutch bank Rabobank - home to some of the biggest names in the sport, announced it would no longer sponsor professional cycling in the wake of the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. "We are no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport," they said. Many riders were angry at the decision: "Dear Rabobank, you were part of the problem [referring to doping on the Rabobank team in the past]. How dare you walk away from your young clean guys who are part of the solution. Sickening," David Millar said via Twitter. The company announced that it would still sponsor amateur cycling and cyclo cross and would also continue backing the biggest name in the team, Marianne Vos, until 2016. Vos, to her eternal credit, responded by informing them that she could not accept that - she won races with the help of her team and if they wanted her, they'd need to support her team too. Rabobank, who were no doubt also persuaded by fan opinion, relented; hence Vos and her team continued through 2013 as Rabobank-Liv/Giant.

Adrie Visser
Adrie Visser
Born in Hoorn, Netherlands on this day in 1983, Adrie Visser began her athletic career in speed skating, winning a silver medal in the Juniors C category and, later, fifth place in the Juniors B at the National Championships. Like so many others who would reach the top level of cycling, the bike was initially just a way to maintain fitness during the summer; but from 2002 she decided to concentrate on cycling after achieving a number of excellent results including second place at the National 500m Championship that year followed by first place in the Scratch, Points and Pursuit races at the Nationals the next, also taking third in the Scratch at the Worlds. She retained the three titles for the following two years, then lost the Pursuit in 2006, and was third in the Scratch at the Worlds and second at the Nationals in 2007.

Visser had been performing well in road racing since the beginning of her cycling career and, by the time she won the Ronde van Drenthe in 2007, already had numerous criterium races listed on her palmares - road racing became her focus that year and she repeated her Drenthe success at the Profronde van Surhuisterveen four months later. In 2008 she teamed up with Marianne Vos to win the Vierdaagse van Rotterdam on the track, then finished Stage 4 at the Gracia Orlova in second place and went on to win three other races. The following year she was sixth at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, proving beyond doubt that she had the ability to compete with the best riders in the world on the road; then in 2010 she was seventh at the Tour of Qatar and fifth at the Ronde van Vlaanderen. She bettered her performance in Qatar for a fourth place finish the next year and won her first big General Classification at the popular Energiewacht Tour and, in 2012, won Le Samyn and Erpe-Mere, also coming fifth again at the Ronde van Vlaanderen and third overall at the GP Elsy Jacobs.

Visser rode for Boels-Dolmans in 2013 and, while she didn't win a race all season, performed well with numerous good results including seventh at Le Samyn, fifth at the Omloop van het Hageland, sixth at the Ronde van Vlaanderen, two third-place stage finishes and fifth place overall (plus third in the Points competition) at the Energiewacht Tour and second place on Stage 1 at the Emakumeen Bira. A strong all-rounder with a powerful sprint, many fans believed that on the right parcours Visser has the potential to be a World Champion; however, she announced that she would be retiring at the end of the season.

Jaap Eden
Jaap Eden
Born in Groningen on this day in 1873, Jacobus Johannes Eden's mother died shortly after his birth and the boy was raised by his grandparents when his father, a teacher, was unable to devote sufficient time to his upbringing. They ran a hotel at Santpoort, where the sand dunes have long been a popular location for sports; Jaap took part in cross country running and athletics (which his father taught) during the summer and speed skating in the winter. He had natural talent - when he was 15 his skating technique brought him to the attention of a skater named Klaas Pander, then rated number one in the country, who invited Eden to train with him. Aged 17, Eden won an important short-track event and was selected for unofficial World Skating Championships where he won bronze in the half-mile and was fourth in the mile. Early in 1892, Eden won his first international competition, the Prince of Orange Cup that took place in Great Britain; later that year skaters and skating club officials met in the Netherlands to create a worldwide governing body, the International Skating Union, which would organise the first official World Skating Championships to be held in Amsterdam during the winter of 1892/3. Eden won and became a national celebrity, his image being used to sell everything from skates to cigars, then won again in 1895 and 1896.

What is of more interest to us, however, is his cycling achievements. Having become World Speed Skating Champion in 1893, Eden went to the World Track Cycling Championships held in Antwerp in 1894 and won the 10km. One year later, when the Worlds were held in Cologne, he won the Sprint. To this day, Eden remains the only man to have been a world champion in cycling and speed skating (two women - Sheila Young from the USA and Christa Luding-Rothenburger from Germany - have also managed it).

Agustín Tamames Iglesias, who was born in Monterrubio de Armuña, Spain on this day in 1944, won five stages and the overall General Classification at the Vuelta a Espana in 1975. A year later, he became National Road Race Champion.

Other cyclists born on this day: Julio Echeverry (Colombia, 1957); Suleman Abdul Rahman (Ethiopia, 1942); Krzysztof Sujka (Poland, 1955); Mike Day (USA, 1984); Gerhard Scheller (West Germany, 1958); Frank Connell (USA, 1909, died 2002); Glen Mitchell (New Zealand, 1972); Bernard Darmet (France, 1945); Monterrubio de Armuña, Spain (Spain, 1944); Cvitko Bilić (Yugoslavia, 1943); Arnold Uhrlass (USA, 1931).

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