Wednesday 8 August 2012

Daily Cycling Facts 08.08.12

Nicolas Vogondy
Nicolas Vogondy
Born in Blois, France on this day in 1977, Nicolas Vogondy won the Tour de Lorraine as a junior in 1995 and turned professional with Française des Jeux two years later. In 2000 he rode the Giro d'Italia and came 84th; in 2001 he rode his first Tour de France and came 89th, then after winning the National Road Race Championship (as he would again in 2008) he finished the Tour in nineteenth place in 2002, also coming second in the Youth classification.

His next Grand Tours were far less notable: 117th at the 2003 Tour, 81st at the 2004 Giro d'Italia, 63rd at the 2005 Vuelta a Espana, 44th at the 2006 Giro, 92nd at the 2007 Tour, 64th at the 2008 Tour, 68th at the 2009 Tour, 88th at the 2010 Tour. He never won a Grand Tour nor even a stage, but completing ten from a total of twelve is an achievement in its own right. As of 2012, Vogondy is still racing and now rides for Cofidis.

Christophe Dupouey
Christophe Dupouey, born in Tarbes on this day in 1968, was a French cyclist whose cycling career began with second place at the World Military Cyclo Cross Championship in 1989. He rode a few road races in the years after that, enjoying considerable success in the Tour de Pyrenees with third place overall in 1993 and second in 1994, then came third at the 1995 European XC (cross country) Mountain Bike Championships and began concentrate on the discipline. He was European XC Champion in 1996 (and also became the first Frenchman to win a round of the MTB World Cup; at Houffalize on the 21st of April) and European and World XC Champion in 1998.

In 2006, Dupouey was given a suspended three-month prison sentence for his part in a drugs ring that supplied the notorious "Belgian Mix," a concoction of cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, caffeine, various analgesics and, on occasions, anything else that happened to be on offer when the Mix was being created. His conviction - or underlying problems (drug dealers very frequently dip into their stock, therefore we cannot say for certain that Belgian Mix had nothing to do with it) - caused him to become depressed and on the 4th of February in 2008, when he was 40 years old, he committed suicide. Having decided not to return to competition when his sentence expired, he had been working as a co-ordinator for a public bike sharing scheme.

Axel Merckx
In a sport in which most competitors will never win a single race, Axel Merckx - who was born in Uccle, Belgium on this day in 1972 - was a very successful rider with a National Championship and several other triumphs to his name. His name, however, was the problem: he could never have lived up to the extraordinary achievements of his father who, with 525 professional victories, is the most successful cyclist of all time. He tried to win things that Eddy had not, for example Paris-Tours and an Alpe d'Huez stage at the Tour de France, but could not. However, he did out-perform his father at the Olympics, winning the bronze medal in the Road Race in 2004 whereas Eddy's best result was 12th in 1964.

Borut Božič, born in Idija, Slovenia on this day in 1980, was National Road Race Champion in 2008 and 2012. In 2009, he won Stage 6 at the Vuelta a Espana and in 2010 he won Stage 7 at the Tour of Britain.

Enrico Franzoi, born in Mestre on this day in 1982, is an Italian cyclo cross rider who became National Under-19 Champion in 1999, National Under-23 Champion in 2001, 2002 and 2003, National Elite Champion in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 and World Under-23 Champion in 2002. He has also been successful in road cycling, finishing the 2007 Paris-Roubaix in eighth place. He continues racing as of 2012, riding for the Miche-Guerciotti team.

Other cyclists born on this day: Jorge Soto (Uruguay, 1986); Matej Jurčo (Slovakia, 1984); Roger Legeay (France, 1949); Jan Panáček (Czechoslovakia, 1970); Lucjan Lis (Poland, 1950); James Van Boven (USA, 1949).

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