Saturday 26 November 2011

Daily Cycling Facts 26.11.11

Anna Millward
Anna Millward, an Australian cyclist born in this day in 1971, came to the sport late after spending much of her early life studying science and law; for which she has an honours degree. It was whilst studying for her degree that she discovered he love of cycling when she traveled to and from university each day on a bike. Cycling is as good way to make new friends as it is a way to keep fit, so she soon met other women who shared he love of the sport and took part in Great Victorian Bike Ride, a strictly recreational and non-competitive organised cycling event that, like all events of its type, inevitably features hundreds of unofficial, inpromptu races and revealed that she could ride fast. Soon afterwards, she entered a race organised by her local club and won it.

Anna Millward
(image credit: James F. Perry CC BY-SA 3.0)
By 1996, Millward was ranked 18th in the UCI World Listings and was selected for her national Olympic team. She also won the prestigious Women's Challenge race in America. One year later, she was National Time Trial Champion. In 1998, she won the Points Classification at the Giro d'Italia Femminile, the Discovery Channel Women's Classic and the Commonwealth Games time trial. Then in 1999, the results really started coming in: by the end of the season, she'd won silver medals in the road race and the time trial at the World Championships as well as the Road World Cup, the GP Tell Cup, the New York Women's Challenge, the Athens Twilight Criterium, Boulder-Roubaix, the Sea Otter Classic and several other races along with stages at many of these and more. She set a new Hour Record in 2000 and won the Women's Challenge General Classification while also coming second on Points and third in the Mountains, then became National Time Trial Champion.

In 2001, she was ranked the best female cyclist in the world in the UCI rankings. However, she later tested positive for lidocaine, a drug banned under UCI rules. She voluntarily stepped down from racing during the investigation and explained at the court hearing that the positive test had been caused by an ointment used to relieve insect bites during the Tour de l'Aude, claiming that the ointment had been supplied to her as part of the official, approved medical kit provided by the Australian Institute of Sport. Further investigation revealed that this had indeed been the case and that had she ticked a box declaring she'd used it on a drugs test form, the result would not have been recorded as positive. As a result, she was given a full exoneration and was able to continue racing.

Isaac Galvez, 1975-2006
On this day in 2006, Spanish rider Isaac Gálvez López suffered internal bleeding after he hit crash barriers following a collision with Dimitri De Fauw during the Six Days of Ghent, dying in the early hours the following day. He was 31 years old and had been married for three weeks. De Fauw suffered terrible depression after the accident and committed suicide on November the 6th, 2009.

Marshall Taylor, 1878-1932
In Indiana, 1898, Marshall "Major" Taylor was born. Taylor's cycling prowess was evident from an early age - he won his first race aged just 13. Two years later he beat the Indianapolis track 1 mile record for amateurs: however, this achievement was not celebrated. In fact, the 15-year-old boy was booed by spectators and immediately banned the track, all because he was black. The following year, he competed in and won a 75 mile race in which he faced racist taunts and threats of violence from both fans and other riders and decided as a result to relocate to Massachusetts as the state was known to be a little less backward. He began a professional career in 1896 and rapidly earned a reputation as "the most formidable rider in America," winning several races both at home and in Europe where he met with less prejudice, especially among the French who took him to heart. Taylor retired at the age of 32, listing racism as the main reason for his decision. Today, there is a velodrome named after him in Indianapolis.

Happy birthday to Liquigas rider Ivan Basso, born in 1977, twice overall General Classification winner of the Giro d'Italia and one of the best climbers of his generation..

In 2008, the Sports Journalist's Association of Great Britain named Chris Hoy Sportsman of the Year - the second cyclist to receive the honour after Tommy Simpson in 1965.

Arthur Vichot was born on this day in 1988. Vichot's results to date suggest great things to come, but his best race must surely have been the 2010 Tour Down Under when he became subject to a tradition unique to the race in which fans choose a non-English speaking lowly domestique and treat him like one of the greatest cyclists to have ever lived, painting his name in huge letters on the roads, cheering him whenever he appears and gathering in huge crowds outside his hotels.

Vincent Jérôme, born on this day in 1984 in Château-Gontier, is a rider who came to attention when he won the Under-23 Paris-Tours in 2004. In 2011 he won the Tro-Bro Léon, a race in Brittany that is sometimes known as Le Petit Paris–Roubaix on account of the harsh conditions and rough roads the cyclists face.

Other births: Anton Hansen (Norway, 1886, died 1970); Peter Doyle (Ireland, 1945); Kevin Brislin (Australia, 1942); David Scarfe (Australia, 1960); Cédric Ravanel (France, 1978); Jan Smyrak (Poland, 1950); Colin Fitzgerald (Australia, 1955); Doug Ryder (South Africa, 1971);  Todd McNutt (Canada, 1964); Ab Sluis (Netherlands, 1937); Dino Verzini (Italy, 1943).

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