Sunday, 4 May 2014

Daily Cycling Facts 04.05.2014

The Ronde van Vlaanderen was held on this day - one of only two in May (the other was the first edition in 1913) - in 1941 and was won for the second time by Achiel Buysse, the rider who, two years later, would become the first man to win three times. The Ronde, as we've noted previously, was the only Classic to continue on occupied home soil throughout the duration of the Second World War, Belgium having been overthrown by the Nazis the previous year. In 1941, a number of Nazi officers - presumably cycling fans themselves - became involved in the running of the race which would lead to problems following the Liberation when organisers were faced with accusations of collaboration.

La Flèche Wallonne has also fallen on this day. The first time was in 1957, the 21st edition, when Raymond Impanis was the fastest man over the 226km parcours between Charleroi - Liège. The second was the 28th edition, which took place in 1964. That year, the race covered 215km from Liège to Charleroi and was won by Gilbert Desmet. The race has never been held in May since then. It was also the last time that it was held on the day before the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Monument, thus bringing to an end the famous Le Weekend Ardennais.

Aleksandr Kolobnev
Born in Vyksa in the USSR on this day in 1981, Aleksandr Kolobnev spent his first professional riders riding as a trainee with Italian teams before signing up to Dutch Rabobank in 2005, a year after winning a National Championship. It was with CSC from 2007 that he really began to make his mark in the stage races, winning a stage at Pari-Nice and also doing well in the Classics and one-day events, ending up in the podium a number of times. In 2010 he joined Katusha, won another National Championship and came second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège - results sufficiently impressive for the team to send him to the Tour de France in 2011.

Aleksandr Kolobnev
(image credit: Heidas CC BY-SA 3.0)
That year's Tour was widely acclaimed as having been the first in many years that saw no riders caught taking performance-enhancing drugs; however, Kolobnev fell foul of a Stage 5 doping control when he tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide - a diuretic drug that, while having no performance-enhancing effects of its own, can be used to mask the presence of other drugs which might offer a competitive advantage. His B-sample confirmed the discovery and he was fined an amount equal to 1500 Swiss francs by the Russian Cycling Federation. The UCI felt that this was lenient and subsequently appealed to the Court for Arbitration on Sport, asking that he be banned for two years - the Court has not yet heard the case and Kolobnev remains subject to a provisional suspension.

Julie Paulding was born in Birkenhead, Great Britain on this day in 1969 and originally competed in athletics, specialising in 400 and 800m running events until myalgic encephalomyelitis (commonly known as ME or chronic fatigue syndrome) forced her to give up sports and her job as a physical education teacher. At her worst, Paulding could not even walk up a flight of stairs - but was helped to recovery by a friend, Steve. Steve told her that cycling has been shown to be a more efficient aid towards recovering from the condition than running and so she took it up; beginning on a stationary bike and later moving onto the track, where it began to become apparent that she had the potential to embark on a second athletic career. In 2002, she won a silver medal for the 500m Time Trial at the Commonwealth Games and, one year previously, she and Steve married. They now live near Manchester to be close to the National Velodrome and Julie works as a development officer with Scottish Cycling.

Mark Jamieson, born in Dandenong, Australia on this day in 1984 began racing when he was ten years old and showed sufficient promise to be awarded a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport. In 2002, he became Junior World Champion in Pursuit and Under-23 National Time Trial Champion in 2004 and 2005, then National Pursuit Champion at Elite level in 2008. On the 15th of February 2010, he pleaded guilty to multiple charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl and one count of indecent assault against a girl aged under 16, offences that took place between November 2008 and January 2009. The court found that the the first girl had been an apparently willing participant and, as the second offence was relatively minor (he had tried to kiss her), sentenced him to a thirty month suspended prison sentence with a three-year good behaviour bond after taking into account the facts of the case and the psychological problems he had suffered.

Westley Gough, who was born on this day in 1988, was selected for the New Zealand Track Team at the 2008 Olympics and rode in the Pursuit Team during the preliminary races, helping the team qualify for the final - at which point, he stepped aside to allow Hayden Roulston to ride. When the team then won a bronze medal, the International Olympic Committee had an extra medal cast and awarded it to Gough in recognition of his efforts.

The UCI Paracycling World Cup got underway in Sydney on this day in 2011.

Other cyclists born on this day: Emil Lindgren (Sweden, 1985); Wu Kin San (Hong Kong, 1985); Mario Lusiani (Italy, 1903, died 1964); Peter Roes (Belgium, 1964); Roger Rinderknecht (Switzerland, 1981); Zbigniew Szczepkowski (Poland, 1952); Kazuo Takikawa (Japan, 1962); Denfield McNab (Belize, 1943).

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