Saturday, 26 October 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 26.10.2013

Sarah Storey
Born in Manchester on this day in 1978, Sarah Storey began her career as an athlete in swimming and, by the age of 14, was chosen to take part in the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona - she won one bronze, three silvers and two golds, and swam in the following three editions of the Games. 2004 would not be her final appearance at the Games, though, because in 2005 she decided to concentrate on cycling - and at the 2008 Games, she won the Individual Pursuit.

Sarah Storey (left) with Victoria Pendleton at the 2012
Olympics and Paralympics Parade
Storey's left hand does not function, having been tangled in the umbilical cord while she was in the womb; it was noted at the 2008 Games that, had she have taken part in the same event at the Olympic Games that year, she'd have come eighth. Eight days after the Games, she took part in the 3km Pursuit at the National Track Championships, competing against non-disabled athletes, and won. Two years later, she went to the Commonwealth Games, the first ever disabled cyclist (and only the second athlete) to represent England at the Games.

Storey rode with the winning Pursuit team (with Wendy Houvenaghel and Laura Trott) at the Cali round of the 2011 Track World Cup, a victory that was widely expected to guarantee her a place on the 2012 Olympic team; however, she was informed that her performance had not been as good as had been hoped and was dropped from the team. "So this is the end of the journey for me with the GB pursuit team," she said, remaining philosophical but with an undertone of apparent bitterness. Nevertheless, she was still able to compete in the Paralympic Games and, in the Individual Pursuit won Great Britain's first gold medal - the first of four, as she would also win the 500m Time Trial, the Individual Road Time Trial and the Road Race.

Storey is married to cycling coach and tandem pilot (sighted rider for blind cyclists, thus enabling them to compete in cycling events) Barney Storey. Together, they will operate a British women's team in 2014. They have a daughter named Louisa Marie, born on the 30th of June 2013.

Paul Martens
Paul Martens, seen in 2004
Paul Martens, born in Rostock, Germany on this day in 1983, took third place at the Junior National Road Race Championships in 1999 and was Junior National Madison Champion two years later. More good results came in the following years; then, in 2004, he won a silver medal at the Under-23 National Individual Time Trial Championship - which earned him a trainee contract with T-Mobile, who were searching for new time trial talent, for 2005. He won the U-23 National ITT Championship that year, which brought him his first professional contract from Argos-Shimano the next year, when he won the 183km Stage 2 at the Tour of Luxembourg.

He stayed with Argos-Shimano in 2007 and was second at the Ster Elektrotoer, then switched to Rabobank (he has stayed with the team - known as Belkin since Rabobank ended its support of the men's team in 2012) in 2008 and rode his first Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia - he finished the 265km Stage 6 in fourth place, and was 78th overall. In 2009 he was third on Stages 1 and 4 at the Tour du Limousin and third at the GP Ouest France. In 2010 he mounted his first full Classics campaign and was 15th at Milan-San Remo, eighth at the E3 Harelbeke, fourth at the Brabantse Pijl, 11th at the Amstel Gold Race and 15th at Liège-Bastogne-Liège; later that same year he won the GP de Wallonie and was 25th at the World Road race Championships.

Another Classics campaign in 2011 brought him 14th at the Brabantse Pijl, 10th at the Amstel Gold Race and the Flèche Wallonne and 13th at Liège-Bastogne-Liège; later, he was eighth on Stage 12 at the Vuelta a Espana, finishing the race in 119th place overall. He was 16th at the Flèche Wallonne in 2012, then fourth in the National Road Race Championship and won Stage 4 at the Vuelta Ciclista a Burgos Romana de Clunia.

Now aged 30, 2013 has been perhaps his best year to date. It got off to a good start with Stage 1 victory at the Volta ao Algarve, then he was third on Stage 5 and fifth on Stage 11 at the Giro d'Italia before going to the Tour of Luxembourg where he was sixth on the Prologue, third on Stage 2, fourth on Stage 3, second on Stage 4 and won the overall General Classification, More good results followed at the Tour de Region Wallonne and the Arctic Race of Norway.

Marcus Ljungqvist
Born in Falun, Sweden on this day in 1974, Marcus Ljungqvist was National Road Race Champion in 1996 while still an amateur, then signed his first professional contract with Cantina Tollo-Alexia Alluminio in 1998 - and won Stage 2 at the Tour of Japan, rode with the winning squad at the National Team Time Trial Championships, came third overall at the Postgiro Open and won Nordisk Mesterskab. The following year he was again with the victorious time trial team at the Nationals and, still with Cantina Tollo, went to his first Grand Tour - the Tour de France, where he managed 25th and 26th on Stages 13 and 14, completing the race in 131st place.

In 2000, Ljungqvist was with the victorious team in the Relay Road Race at the Nationals, his only win that year; in 2001 he won Stage 1 at the Tour of Rhodes, Stage 5 at the Tour de Normandie, first place at Solleröloppet, won Stage 3 at the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt and, best of all, became National Road Race Champion. In 2002 he won the Tour of Luxembourg, then in 2004 was second in the National Road Race Championship and completed the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France; he would ride two Grand Tours - the Tour and the Vuelta a Espana again in 2005, but in 2006 and 2007 he limited himself to the Vuelta and came first 53rd and then 43rd. His fourth place finish at the 2005 World Championships was the best ever recorded by a male Swedish rider (female riders from Sweden have bettered fourth numerous times: Tullikke Jahre was second and the first Swede to podium in 1980, Marianne Berglund was the first Swedish World Champion in 1983, Madaleine Lindberg was third in 2000, Susanne Ljungskog won in 2002 and 2003, Emma Johansson was third in 2011 and second in 2013).

In 2009, his final year as a professional cyclist, Ljungqvist was 30th at Paris-Roubaix and won the National Road Race Championship for the last time. Following retirement at the end of the season, he was recruited by Team Sky as a directeur sportif, and he remains with the team to this day.

Bernd Drogan
Born in Döbern, East Germany on this day in 1955, Bernd Drogan was a highly successful rider who would have enjoyed many more successes had it not have been for his regular crashes and the technical difficulties faced by athletes from Eastern Europe and the USSR wishing to attend events in the rest of the world during his era.

Bernd Drogan
His first notable victory was with the winning squad at the Junior National Team Time Trial Championship in 1971. He won another gold medal in the same event a year later, but also won the Individual Pursuit - and, on road, the Junior Championship, marking the start of his transition into road racing. Four years later, as an Elite level athlete, he was second at the National Hillclimb Championships and on Stages 9 and 6 at the Tour of Poland and won the DDR Rundfahrt.

In 1977, Drogan was second at the National Individual Time Trial Championship, won the National Hillclimb Championship and won Stages 1 and 10 at the Tour of Slovakia. He also made his first appearance in competitions on the other side of the Iron Curtain, winning the Tour du Vaucluse in France; he would return to France in 1978 to win the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe before also winning the National ITT Championship, the National Hillclimb Championship and the DDR Rundfahrt. A year later he won the DDR Rundfahrt again, then - with Falk Boden, Hans-Joachim Hartnick and Andreas Petermann - the Amateur World 100km Team Time Trial Championship.

Drogan competed at the 1980 Olympics, and his results for that year show that he was on excellent form - he was part of the team that won the Team Time Trial. Perhaps inspired by that success, his performances moved into a higher league over the next few years as he was spurred on by the thought of competing in the 1984 Games: in 1981 he won the Amateur and Professional ITT Championships, another National TTT Championship and three other races; in 1982 the National Criterium Championships and ten other events including the Road Race at the Amateur World Championships; in 1983 the Tour of Slovakia and, before the Games in 1984, the Sprint classification at the Tour de Normandie.

He must have been devastated when it was announced that, influenced by the USSR, 14 Eastern Bloc nations including East Germany had declared their intention to boycott the 1984 Games that would take place in Los Angeles, in response to the USA's decision to boycott the 1980 Games in Moscow. He was able to compete at the Friendship Games, an unofficial "alternative Olympics" hosted by the USSR and eight other Communist nations and which turned out to be more successful than had been expected when numerous non-Eastern Bloc countries - including West Germany, Great Britain and, most surprisingly, the USA - sent their reserve teams of athletes who had not qualified to compete in Los Angeles; nevertheless, he seemed to lose his passion afterwards and retired from professional cycling to work in coaching and accountancy, though he made a brief comeback and took second place overall at the Tour de la Yonne in France in 1987.

George Arnould Maton, born in Lille on this day in 1913 some sources say 25th November), won a bronze medal for France in the Tandem event at the 1936 Olympics. Maton was a member of the legendary Athlétic Club de Boulogne-Billancourt, one of the most successful amateur sports clubs in the world and later home to Jacques Anquetil and a plethora of foreign riders who went to France to carve out cycling careers, including Stephen Roche, Phil Anderson, Seamus Elliott, Robert Millar and Sean Yates. He died at Champigny-sur-Marne on the 6th of July in 1998.

Maurice Perrin, born in Paris on this day (or possibly a day later, sources vary) in 1911, won a gold medal riding in the Tandem event with Louis Chaillot at the 1932 Olympics. He died at Plaisir on the 2nd of January 1992.

Louis Bastien
Louis Bastien, born in Paris on the day in 1881, won a gold medal for the 25km track race at the 1900 Olympic Games. He died on the 13th of August 1963 at Châteauroux.

Aidis Kruopis, a Lithuanian rider born on this day in 1986, has been collecting good results since starting his amateur career in 2007 - including ninth at the Ronde van Drenthe in 2010, which earned him his first professional contract with the ProContinental Landbouwkrediet team for 2011 - when he was eight in the Ronde van Drenthe. In 2012 he went to Orica-AIS and won Stages 1 and 2 and the Points classification at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, and in 2012 - still with Orica - he won Stage 2 at the Tour of Turkey.

Cyclists born on this day: Tony Lally (Ireland, 1953); Arulraj Rosli (Malaysia, 1940); Morris Foster (Ireland, 1936); Aleksandr Yudin (USSR, 1949, died 1986); Josef Hellensteiner (Austria, 1889, died 1980).

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