Friday, 17 January 2014

Daily Cycling Facts 17.01.2014

On this day in 2011, GreenEDGE (later Orica-GreenEDGE, following recruitment of a new sponsor) launched with the express aim of entering the first Australian Tour de France team in the 108-year history of the race The team's owners and managers planned to recruit 75% of its riders from Australia and - welcome news in these times - would also have a women's team, which enjoyed a far more successful first season than the men with numerous victories.

Luca Paolini
(image credit: Fanny Schertzer CC BY-SA 3.0)
Luca Paolini
Italian rider Luca Paolini was born in Milan on this day in 1977. His first big victory came in 1998 when he won the Under-23 Giro Del Canavese - Trofeo Sportivi Valperghesi; following several good results in 1999 he went on to win stages at the Vuelta a la Argentina, Tour de Normandie and the Tour de l'Avenir.

More good results came in the subsequent years, then in 2003 he was third at Milan-San Remo and the Brabantse Pijl before finishing top ten on six stages (best: fourth, Stages 16 and 20) at his first Tour de France. In 2004 he won the Brabantse Pijl and was third at the World Road Race Championships; in 2005 he won three stages at the Tour of Britain and in 2006 was top ten on seven stages (best: fifth, Stages 1 and 20) at the Tour. In September that year, Paolini's home was raided by police as part of Operazione Athena but no evidence that the rider was using doping products was found and he did not undergo any prosecution nor was he sacked by his then team, Liquigas.

In 2007 he was third at the Ronde van Vlaanderen; like many sprinters, Paolini became highly successful in the Classics and semi-classics, taking fourth place at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, sixth at the Dwars door Vlaanderen and tenth at Milan-San Remo and Gent-Wevelgem in 2010, fifth at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2011 and 12th at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Milan-San Remo, seventh in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and eleventh at Paris-Roubaix along with two top ten stage finishes at the Tour and ninth in the Road Race at the Olympics in 2012. In 2013 he won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Stage 3 at the Giro d'Italia, as well as taking good results in other races. He will continue with Katusha in 2014.

Miguel Martinez, a French cross-country mountain biker and winner of a gold medal for the event at the 2000 Olympics, was born in this day in 1976.

Christophe Riblon, winner of the Stage 14 Ax-3 Domaines (mountain finish) in the 2010 Tour de France, was born today in 1981. Riblon has one of the busiest calendars in the professional peloton, competing in a huge number of races each season; despite having been a professional rider for seven years at the time of writing, he is a veteran of nine Grand Tours - during that time, he has one a single stage: the tough Stage 14 ending at Ax-3 Domaines in the 2010 Tour de France. His best overall result was 28th in the same race, but in 2013 he scored what might well be the highlight of his career when he was the unexpected winner of Stage 18 at the Tour, a 172.5km ordeal that climbed the Alpe d'Huez twice. He has ridden since 2004 for AG2R and will remain with the team in 2014.

David Stevenson was born in Clough, Ireland, on this day in 1882 and represented Scotland at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm and where he was part of the squad that finished the Team Time Trial event in fourth place. After the Games, he seems to have vanished from history - the rest of his life, including the date of his death, is unknown. Rudolf Kramer, born on the same day in Vienna, was part of the Austrian team that finished in 7th place in the same event that year. Like Stevenson, his later history and date of birth are unknown.

Other cyclists born on this day: Michael Vaarten (Belgium, 1957); Robert Schneider (USA, 1944); Max Leiva (Guatemala, 1966); Lutz Heßlich (East Germany, 1959); Robert Burns (Australia, 1968); Grégory Rast (Switzerland, 1980); Michael Weiss (Austria, 1981); Mohamed Touati (Tunisia, 1939); Don Myrah (USA, 1966); David Brinton (USA, 1967); Allegro Grandi (Italy, 1907, died 1973); Claude Carlin (France, 1961).

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