Saturday 8 February 2014

Daily Cycling Facts 08.02.2014

Sissy van Alebeek
Sissy van Alebeek
Born in Shijndel, Netherlands on this day in 1976, Sissy van Alebeek won the bronze medal for the Elite Sprint at the National Track Championships in 1996, then joined Michel Zijlaard's VKS where she rode alongside the legendary Leontien van Moorsel the following year and returned to the Track Nationals to win the silver for the Elite Sprint and 500m; in 1998, with the team renamed Opstalan (and Leontien renamed Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel after she married Michel), she won the silver for the Sprint again.

Although van Alebeerk had enjoyed success in road racing since the early days of her cycling career, from 1999 she began to find greater fame as a road racer - that year, she won stages at the RaboSter Zeeuwsche Eilanden and the Ster van Zeeland in addition to winning two prestigious one-day races, then in 2000 she was second overall at the Omloop van Kempen and won a stage at the Ster van Zeeland as well as once again taking the silver for the Sprint and the bronze for the 500m at the Track Nationals. Then, having won three one-day races and come third on Stage 7 at the Holland Ladies' Tour - one of the most prestigious and important stage races in women's cycling - she beat Bertine Spijkerman and Martine Bras to become National Road Race Champion.

2002 was a quieter year, her most notable performance being a bronze-winning ride in the Points race at the Nationals, but in 2003 she regained form and won four races, also sharing victory for the Stage 3 team time trial at the Holland Ladies' Tour. The winning streak continued through 2004 with eight victories including the overall General Classification at the Ronde van Drenthe and third place overall at the Holland Ladies' Tour, then all the way through to 2009 when, having clocked up another 18 victories, she retired from racing. Van Alebeek, who holds a degree in economics, continues to be involved with the sport, serving as commerical manager at Project 1t4i..

Sara Mustonen
Sara Mustonen
Born in Höganäs on this day in 1981, Swedish cyclist Sara Mustonen became National Short Distance Road Race Champion in 2006 and signed her first professional contract the following year with S.C. Michela Fanini-Rox. She would enjoy ten victories that season, including three stage wins and the General Classification at the Söderhamns 3-dagars and a successful attempt to defend her National Championship title.

 In 2008 she moved to Cmax Dila, another Italian team, and made her name by winning the Tour of Poland before once again keeping her National title, then she spent the first four months of 2009 with before switching to Hitec Products, the team that remains her home to this day. With them, she performed well at the Tour of New Zealand, finishing several stages in ninth place before coming ninth overall, then won bronze in the National Road Race and Individual Time Trial Championships and took a series of top-ten stage finishes and ninth overall at the Route de France.

In 2011 Mustonen was fifth overall at the Tour of Chongming Island, third again in the National Individual Time Trial Championship and finished Stage 6 at the Giro Donne in fourth place; in 2012 she was third on Stage 5 at the Holland Ladies' Tour. Random fact: during her youth, Mustonen competed in boxing.

Rory Sutherland
Canberra-born Rory Sutherland came into the world on this day in 1982. In 2005, he tested positive for Clomiphene - a drug without any recognised performance-enhancing effects but, as it's been used (chiefly by body-builders) to aid recovery at the end of a cycle of steroid drugs, on the list of substances for which sportspeople can receive a ban from the World Anti-Doping Agency as its presence (especially in male athletes, since it's a selective oestrogen receptor modulator used most commonly to treat female infertility) may indicate something more untoward.

Since no evidence of steroids or other doping products were found and it was the rider's first offence, he received a relatively lenient nine-month ban from the Belgian cycling federation by whom he was licensed.  When his ban expired, he returned to racing and has done particularly well in the USA, winning the Nature Valley Grand Prix, the Redlands Classic and the Southlands Classic. In 2011, he added his first notable European success in six years (having come 3rd overall at the Danmark Rundt, in which he also won the Youth classification) with 6th overall at the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali.

One of these riders is Albert Taillandier!
Albert Taillandier
Albert Taillandier was born on this day in 1879 and raced between 1898 and 1910, never turning professional. He represented France in 1900 Olympics, held in Paris, and won a gold medal for winning the sprint, also winning the Grand Prix de Paris that year. The last we know about him is that he won a bronze for sprinting in the 1906 National Championships. Then, like so many cyclists before and since, he vanished off into the wider world and nobody knows anything else about him, including when and where he died.

Other cyclists born on this day: Marco Villa (Italy, 1969); Vincent Le Quellac (France, 1975); Livingstone Alleyne (Barbados, 1971); Jari Lähde (Finland, 1963); Paul Kind (Liechtenstein, 1950); Frode Sørensen (Denmark, 1912, died 1980); Arnold Ruiner (Austria, 1937); Cormac McCann (Ireland, 1964); Günter Hoffmann (Germany, 1939); Charles Coste (France, 1924); Don Burgess (Great Britain, 1933); Jan Karlsson (Sweden, 1966); Dmitry Nelyubin (USSR, 1971, died 2005); Walter Andrews (Canada, 1881); Tadeusz Wojtas (Poland, 1955); Katrin Leumann (Switzerland, 1982); Charles Pranke (USA, 1936).

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