Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 31.12.2013

Mario Aerts
(image credit:  YellowMonkey/Binguyen CC BY-SA 3.0)
Born in Herentals, Belgium on this day in 1974, Mario Aerts completed the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana in 2007, becoming only the 25th rider in history to have finished all three Grand Tours in a single season; his best Grand Tour result to date came two years earlier when he was 15th in the 2005 Vuelta, while his best placing in the Tour de France was 21st in 1999. He has performed better in shorter races, including wins at the 1996 GP d'Isbergues and 2002 La Flèche Wallonne. 2011 was Aerts' 14th and final year as a professional rider; in June he announced that he would be retiring at the end of the year due to cardiac arrhythmia.

Retired German track and road cyclist Gregor Braun was born on this day in 1955. Braun's greatest success came during his time as an amateur track rider, including two gold medals at the 1976 Olympics.

Belgian Heidi van de Vijver, who was born in Bornem on this day in 1969, became National Junior Road Race Champion in 1988. Her first National Road Race Champion title at Elite level came six years later in 1994 and she repeated the achievement in 1994. Van de Vijver has also been National Individual Time Trial Champion in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Raymond Impanis
Raymond Impanis, who was born on the 19th of October in 1925 and went on to win the 1954 Paris-Roubaix, died at the age of 85 on this day in 2010. Impanis did well in the Tour, winning Stage 9 and 6th place overall in 1947 - said by some to have been the hardest Tour ever held, before and since, Stages 9 and 10 and 10th place overall in 1948 and 8th place overall in 1950. He enjoyed similar success in the other Grand Tours with 3rd place overall in the 1956 Vuelta a Espana and 7th in the 1957 Giro d'Italia.

Nicknamed "The Baker of Berg" (what is it about nicknames such as "The Baker" or "The Florist" - Louis Trousselier - that makes them so much more chilling than "The Cannibal" or "The Shark"?), he did even better in the Classics; winning the Dwars door Vlaanderen in 1949 and 1951, Gent-Wevelgem in 1952 and 1953 and the Tour of Flanders in the same year as his Paris-Roubaix victory (he also won Paris-Nice for the first time that year too, repeating it in 1960). All in all, he rolled across the Paris-Roubaix start line sixteen times - a record that was not equaled until Servais Knaven made his 16th appearance, in the same year that Impanis died.

Cândido Barbosa
(image credit: Ciclo Povoãoco)
Portuguese rider Cândido Barbosa was born on this day in 1974. Early on in his career, he won several stages in the Volta ao Algarve, then also began to win stages in the Volta ao Portugal and continued to do so in the latter race until the end of his time as a professional; yet he never won either event outright. He did, however, win the Troféu Sergio Paulinho and Volta ao Distrito de Santarém. He was forced to retire after fifteen years in 2011 due to problems with both knees.

It's also retired American professional Ken Carpenter's birthday. An Olympian in 1988 and 1992 and winner of a gold medal at the 1987 Pan American Games, he was born in La Mesa, California in 1965.

Other cyclists born on this day: Birger Andreassen (Norway, 1891, died 1961); John Carlsen (Denmark, 1961); Christian Jourdain (France, 1954); Renato Piccolo, (Itay, 1962); Claus Rasmussen (Sweden, 1957).

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