Monday, 25 November 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 25.11.2013

Romain Bellenger, 1894-1981
Romain Bellenger, the French cyclist who came third in the 1923 Tour de France, died at the age of 87 on this day in 1981. Bellenger was a large man for his day and physically strong, a fact that in view of his palmares suggests that he may have been one of the many potential winners had he not have suffered in the mountains. In fact, he was the leading Frenchman in the 1921 (though never the race leader - Leon Scieur of Belgium had taken the yellow jersey from his countryman Louis Mottiat after the first stage and kept it for the remainder of the Tour). Unfortunately, the water from a mountain spring at which he had stopped to drink was too cold for his overheated body, causing crippling stomach spasms and he dropped several places while recovering. The water, it seems, wasn't only cold - not long afterwards, he developed chronic diarrheoa and was forced to abandon on the Col de Portet d'Aspet.

Angelino Soler, born in Alcazar in Spain on this day in 1939, was the winner of the 1961 Vuelta a Espana, during which he won Stage 6 and shared victory in the Stage 1a Team Time Trial. In 1962, he won Stages 3, 16 and 18 and the King of the Mountains at the Giro d'Italia.

Dutch track cyclist Petrus "Piet" Ikelaar, a bronze medalist at the 1920 Olympic Games, died on this day in 1992. He was 96 years old.

Lene Byberg
(image credit: MTBRaceNews)
Lene Byberg, born on this day in 1982, is one of the few cyclists to have given up road racing in favour of mountain biking (the other way round, meanwhile, is very common). She has competed in both disciplines in the Olympics and won a silver medal in the 2009 World Cross Country Championships.

Steven de Jongh, born in Alkmaar in the Netherlands on this day in 1973, was a professional rider first with TVM from 1995, moving to Rabobank until 2005 and then spending his final three seasons prior to retirement with Quick Step. He became National Under-23 Road Race Champion in 1995 and won a stage at the Tour of Poland that same year, then showed his skill in criteriums before winning a stage and the General Clasification at the Postgirot Open (Tour of Sweden) in 1998. He would return to the same race in 2002, the last year it was held, and won two stages. For the remainder of his career he concentrated chiefly on one-day races, winning Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the Nokere Koerse semi-classic and others, adding a stage win at the Tour of Qatar in his penultimate professional career. In 2010, he became directeur sportif at Team Sky. "The tension you experience during races is greater in the team car than it ever was on the road," he says.

Kristjan Koren, born on this day in 1986, is a Postojna-born professional whose best results to date have been the Slovenian National Championship in 2007 and two stages in the 2009 Under-27 Giro d'Italia. He rode his first Tour de France in 2010. In 2011, Koren came 25th at Gent-Wevelgem and performed well throughout the season, marking himself out as a rider to watch; in 2012 he won a stage at the Tour of Slovenia and managed a few decent stage finishes at the Tour de France before coming 17th at the World Individual Time Trial Championship, and in 2013 he was 20th at the E3 Harelbeke. He joined Liquigas-Doimo in 2010, and he will remain with the team - now known as Cannondale - in 2014.

Charles Albert Brécy raced at turn of the 20th Century, as an individual and later as a professional. He died on this day in 1904 after a crash at the Parc des Princes velodrome managed by Henri Desgrange.

Other births: Carlo Westphal (Germany, 1985); Rudolf Maresch (Austria, 1934); Ivan Kučírek (Czechoslovakia, 1946); Luis Zárate (Mexico, 1940); Stéphane Operto (Monaco, 1966); Louis Verreydt (Belgium, 1950); David Brink (USA, 1947); Manon Jutras (Canada, 1967); Dalbir Singh Gill (India, 1936).

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