(image credit: Bunsesarchiv CC BY-SA 3.0)
Gösta Pettersson, born on this day 1940 in Alingsås, Sweden, became the first - and, so far - the only Swede to have won a Grand Tour when he completed the 1971 Giro d'Italia in 97h24'04" after wearing the maglia rosa jersey from Stage 18 to the finish. The previous year, he had come 3rd in the Tour de France.
With his brothers Erik, Sture and Tomas (known as the Fåglum Brothers because the cycling club they all belonged to was based in a village with that name; Erik and Tomas legally adopted the name; Sture used it alongside Pettersson while Gösta remains a Pettersson to this day), he would win the World Amateur Team Time Trial Championship three times, a silver medal at the 1968 Olympics and the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal awarded annually to the performance judged to have been the most important by a Swedish sportsman or sportswoman. Individually, he would win the Tour de Romandie, Coppa Sabatini, Giro dell'Appennino and the Giro delle Marche.
After his Giro win, Pettersson managed 7th place and a stage win in the 1973 Tour de Suisse before improving it to second overall the next year.
|Peter Drobach Snr.|
Nathan O'Neill, born in Sydney on this day in 1974, began cycling at the age of 15 when a school friend asked him to accompany him to a 16km race - and he won. Before long, he was racing at Junior level in the National Track Championships and was then selected Oceania Cycling Championships in 1995, winning a bronze medal even though he'd entered the event with a broken pelvis. By 2006, he was representing his nation in the Commonwealth Games and won a gold medal for the time trial in 2006 at Melbourne.
O'Neill became involved in a complicated doping case a year later after providing a sample that tested positive for Phentermine, an appetite suppressant listed as a controlled substance in Australia and several other nations for its amphetamine-like effects on the body (that same year, he would break a hip when his car rolled over in a crash). O'Neill admitted using the drug and said that he had done so off-season (off-season use is not banned by anti-doping agencies, national federations or the UCI) and that the drug had remained in his system for longer than expected. He was sacked by his HealthNet team and then, in June the next year, the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) declared that he would receive a 15-month ban for failing to declare that he had used the medicine, stopping short of a two-year ban as there was "no significant negligence" demonstrated by the rider, ie no evidence that he had used to drug to gain a competitive advantage.
The UCI, World Anti-Doping Agency and Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority made a joint appeal to the CAS, saying that while there was no evidence of significant negligence O'Neill had also not proved that he had not used Phentermine for illicit purposes. CAS then decided that, even if the rider had used the drug during the off-season, he had done so because he felt he would not be competitive when the next season began without it. As a result, the ban was extended to two years.
Happy birthday to Liu Ying, the Chinese cross-country mountain bike rider who became World Champion in 2007. She was born in 1985.
Raymond Castilloux, born on this day in 1934 in Quebec, is one of the very many cyclists who came to the sport after riding a bike as part of a summer fitness regime for speed skating. Having lived in the USA since he was 14, he later took US citizenship and represented his adopted country in the 1964 Olympic Road Race, but was unable to finish the course.
Thomas Russell "Nick" Carter, silver medallist in the Road Race event at the 1950 Commonwealth Games and a competitor in the 1948 London Olympics, died on this day in 2003. He was 79.
Other cyclists born on this day: Thierry Détant (Netherlands, 1965); Albert Micallef (Malta, 1958); Robyn Wong (New Zealand, 1970); Noël Soetaert (Belgium 1949); Aavo Pikkuus (Soviet Union, 1954); Miloš Hrazdíra (Czechoslovakia, 1945, died 1990); Frans Mintjens (Belgium, 1946); Robert Sassone (France, 1978).