(image credit: Crikey)
Amber Neben, born in Irvin, USA on this day in 1975, originally competed in football (soccer) and cross-country running whilst at college, only adopting cycling when stress injuries forced her to give up running. She first took up mountain biking but soon discovered she performed better in road cycling and rapidly came to the attention of team managers, being signed up to ride with the USA World Championships squad in 2001 and winning a silver medal in the National Championships that same year. One year later, she took silver in both the Road and Time Trial National races.
She became National Road Race Champion in 2003 and began to show promise in stage races, finishing the Giro della Toscana in 7th place overall the next season. This would be bettered with a win at the Tour de l'Aude and a third National Time Trial silver medal in 2005, her l'Aude success repeated in 2006 along with podium finishes at the Route de France Feminin, Thuringen-Rundfahrt and other races, another National Time Trial silver and a bronze in the National Road Race. 2007 was similar, but she topped it all by becoming World Time Trial Champion in 2008. In the following years, she continued to win stages in a series of races and in 2011 won the Chrono des Nations.
Neben's HTC-Highroad team folded at the end of 2011; however, the organisation's communications officer Kristy Scrimgeour established a new company known as Velocio Sports to take over the women's squad which, once new sponsors had been found, became Specialized-Lululemon. Neben was a driving force in the team's highly successful first year: having won the Individual Time Trial at the PanAmerican Games in March, she went on to be third at the GP El Salvador, won two stages and finished fourth overall at the Vuelta El Salvador, came sixth at the GP Elsy Jacobs, won the National Individual Time Trial Championship and took seventh place in the ITT at the Olympics. At the World Championships in Valkenburg, she rode with team mates Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Trixi Worrack, Evelyn Stevens, Charlotte Becker and Ellen van Dijk to win the Team Time Trial, came seventh in the ITT and fourth in the Road Race, then a little over a month later won the Chrono des Nations for a second time.
For 2013 Neben switched to Pasta Zara-Cogeas, a Lithuanian-registered team made up of fellow American Amber Pierce, three Lithuanian riders, two Italians and an El Salvadorean. With them, she came eighth at La Flèche Wallonne and sixth at the Chrono des Herbiers,
Neben was at the centre of a doping case in 2003 after she tested positive for 19-Norandrosterone, a recognised metabolite of nandrolone - a banned anabolic steroid. However, the result was delayed for some time and the rider accepted provisional suspension from racing during the following investigation, also stating her belief that the drug had come from dietary supplements. The Court for Arbitration in Sport decreed that while there was evidence to suggest she had been affected by the drug in races that took place prior to the announcement of the positive test, in their opinion she had not intentionally doped and had been truthful throughout the investigation. She received a six-month ban beginning from the start of the provisional suspension with the agreement that she would submit to increased checks over the subsequent 18 months and returned to racing. She has passed every test to which she has been subject ever since, yet her results did not drop for several years, only starting to slacken off over the last few seasons as would be expected for an athlete of her age.
Dimitri Konyshev, born on this day in 1966 in Gorki, Russia, is a retired cyclist who became National Road Race Champion three times (once of the USSR in 1990, twice of Russia in 1993 and 2001), won the Coppa Agostini in 1989, the Hofbrau Cup in 1996, the Grand Prix de Fourmies in 1999 and the Giro della Romagna in 2000 along with a series of other prestigious races. He was also a Grand Tour rider of some note, winning a total four stages at the Tour de France, one at the Vuelta a Espana and four at the Giro d'Italia - also winning the Combination Classification and InterGiro Award in 1997 and the Points Classification in 2000.
On this day in 2011 Joanna Rowsell, Wendy Houvenaghel and Sarah Storey set a new British Women's Record when the completed the 4000m Team Time Trial at the World Track Cup in Manchester with a time of 3'19.757".
Other cyclists born on this day: Cristiano Salerno (Italy, 1985); Henry George (Belgium , 1891, died 1976); Hansjörg Aemisegger (Switzerland, 1952); Jacques Suire (France, 1943); Alan Grindal (Australia, 1940); Jesper Agergård (Denmark, 1975); Jānis Vītols (Latvia, 1911, died 1993); Adri Zwartepoorte (Netherlands, 1917, died 1991); Florian Vogel (Switzerland, 1982); Fernando Cruz (Colombia, 1953); Egon Adler (Germany, 1937).