Friday 30 December 2011

Daily Cycling Facts 30.12.11

Lars Boom
(image credit: tetedelacourse CC BY-SA 2.0)
Happy birthday to the retired American professional road and track cyclist Karen Dunne, winner of no fewer than 16 National titles in assorted disciplines, two stages and the overall General Classification at the 2000 Sea Otter Classic, a gold medal at the Pan American Games and two 4th place finishes in the 1996 Tour de France Féminin, among many others. She was born on this day in 1967.

Rabobank's Lars Boom, multiple Dutch National Cyclo Cross Champion, stage winner at the Vuelta a Epana (Stage 15, 2009) and winner of two stages and the overal General Classification at the 2011 Tour of Britain, was born on this day in 1985.

A happy birthday to Desmond Robinson, the British cyclist who competed in Individual and Team Road Races at the 1952 Olympics. He is the brother of Brian, who became the first British rider to complete a Tour de France and win a stage and the uncle of Louise, who represented Great Britain in Mountain Bike XC in the 2000 Olympics. He was born in 1927.

Retired professional cyclo crosser and mountain biker David Baker was born on this day in 1965 in Drayton, Yorkshire. He became National Champion in 1992 and won every round of the National Points Series in the same year, going on to retain his title for another two years. He also won the BCCA Cyclo Cross Championship in 1997, having retired from professional racing due to a heart defect. In 2009, he was inducted into the British Cycling Hall of fame.

Thomas "Tiny" Johnson, winner of 32 races in 1911 and multiple Olympic medals for Great Britain during his career, was born in 1886. He died on the 12th of August 1966.

Shane Perkins
Shane Perkins, the Australian track sprinter and winner of a Commonwealth gold medal, is 25 today. Perkins has had a bit of a chequered career, having been banned from racing and fined $1000 by the Australian cycling federation after a drunken altercation outside a nightclub in Adelaide.

He was later involved in a crash with Ryan Bayley in February 2008, both riders later being found guilty of improper riding by event judges - Perkins and Bayley had become rivals due to an argument over which rider should be selected for the Beijing Olympics later that year. Bayley was eventually selected as Perkins had not competed in a sufficient number of races.

It was later discovered that he had been involved in a third incident during April that may well have discouraged the selection committee from choosing him, but this news was not made public until August after the selection. Perkins became a father a short while later in October and has said that parental responsibility has calmed him down and forced him to grow up: thus far, it appears he is telling the truth and his gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2011 World Track Championships were well-deserved.

Nikki Harris
(image credit: Joolzed)
Nikki Harris
A very happy birthday to Derby-born Nikki Louise Harris who was born on this day in 1986. Harris has been cycling since she was five years old and decided to pursue a professional career when she was 16. She started in cyclo cross, then began to also race mountain bikes and within two years was representing Great Britain at the Commonwealth Games and both the European and World Championships.

In 2005, when she was 18, Harris was given an opportunity to ride with Team GB at the World Track Championships - only the second time she'd ever rode on track, and she came fifth overall. That excellent result encouraged her and during the following four years with the team her riding went from strength to strength. In 2008, she relocated to Belgium to concentrate on her cyclo cross riding and, she says, "it went better than I could have ever hoped." Just a few months after her return to cross, she was selected to compete in the 2009 World Championships and came 14th. She lists future World Championship victory as her main aim in her future career.

Harris is a regular Tweeter and will often take the time to reply to fans, so send your birthday wishes to @Nikkiharris86.

More birthdaysJoseph Paré, sometimes spelled Pare (overall winner 1967 Circuit de Lorraine, born 1943); Dubán Ramírez (Columbian retired professional, winner of several General Classifications and stages in South American races and twice an Olympian, born 1965) and finally to the owner of what must surely be the best name in professional cycling Yolande Speedy, the South African cross country mountain biker (1976).

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