Wednesday 31 July 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 31.07.2013

Craig MacLean
Craig MacLean
Born in Grantown-on-Spey on this day in 1971, Craig MacLean had a very successful track career, having been selected for the Team GB Sprint team and becoming lead rider in 2004 he was a part of several successful victory attempts, also winning numerous Individual Sprints and Kilos. He announced his imminent retirement at the Manchester round of the World Cup in 2008, citing a back injury that had prevented him finding form throughout the season - at that event, he won a heat for the Keirin but was relegated by judges.

Two years after retiring - the minimum required by UCI rules - MacLean returned as able-bodied pilot for paralympic tandem competitions; at the 2011 World Championships he teamed up with retinitis pigmentosa sufferer Neil Fachie and piloted him to gold medals in the Tandem B 1,000m Time Trial and the Tandem B Sprint.

Rémy Di Gregorio
Rémy Di Gregorio, born in Marseilles on this day in 1985, won Stage 8 at the Tour de l'Avenir and came nineteenth overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2005 - impressive results for a rider who had joined his first professional team, La Française des Jeux, only the previous season. The following year he finished Dauphiné in seventeenth place and won the King of the Mountains, which encouraged the team to select him for the Tour de France; unfortunately he crashed and broke his elbow during Stage 4. He was widely touted at the time as France's next great climber, but would never manage to match his early promise.

Rémy Di Gregorio, Tour de Romandie,
In 2008, Di Gregorio returned to the Tour after coming third in the King of the Mountains at the Tour de Romandie, this time he won the Combativity Award for Stage 10 and finished in 59th place. 2009 brought him only one podium place (third, Stage 2, Route du Sud), though he was top ten twice at the Vuelta a Espana; then he finished the 2010 Vuelta in 21st place the following year. In 2011 he joined Astana, won Stage 7 at Paris-Nice and finished the Tour de France in 39th place; raising hopes that he might win his first Grand Tour stage the next year - but, on the 10th of July 2012, during the Tour de France's first rest day,  French police conducting an investigation into doping announced that a suspicious substance had been found in a car and linked them to the rider. He was immediately suspended by his new team Cofidis and team officials stated that he would be sacked if allegations against him were proved; in fact, they took the decision to terminate his contract before any proof was found.

Sacking Di Gregorio may yet turn out to be a very expensive mistake as, in April 2013, he was cleared of all charges when it was shown that the "suspicious substance" was in fact entirely legal vitamin supplements and paracetamol, though at the time of writing the legal case has not been officially closed. "For them I was guilty, case closed," he told reporters. "I will sue them because I suffered enormously, both financially and morally. It was a nightmare and I went through all states of mind. Luckily I had the support of my family. I always kept training and I want to ride the Tour again. I’ve been forced out through the back door. There’s nothing worse than that. I’ll come back one day and with ambitions. I’ll do it for my family."

Svetlana Pauliukaitė, born in Mosėdis, Lithuania on this day in 1985, won the National Time Trial Championship in 2005, then the National Points Race Championship the following year. At the time of writing, she rides for the Forno d'Asolo-Colavita team.

Australian rider Henk Vogels, born in Perth on this day in 1973, came tenth at Paris-Roubaix in 1997 and 1999 and second at Gent-Wevelgem in 2003.

Tatsiana Sharakova, born on this day in 1984, was Belarusian Road Race Champion in 2005, European Under-23 Pursuit Champion in 2005 and 2006 and National Road Race and Time Trial Champion in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2011 she won the Points Race at the World Track Championships; to date in 2012 she has won the National titles for Pursuit, Sprint, Scratch, Points and Omnium and shares the Team Pursuit title.

Belizean rider Orlando Chavarria, born on this day in 1971, enjoyed a successful career peaking with 27th place in the 100km Team Time Trial at the 1992 Olympics and his 1995 victory at Belize's most prestigious race, the Holy Sunday Classic. Then, one day, he went to a race and came back "a different person," according to his sister Therese. He couldn't sleep and, having been a quiet and gentle person previously, began to shout and act in a threatening manner - and refused to discuss it with his family. Eventually enough was enough and against his will, the family enlisted the help of a doctor, Claudina Cayetano, who recognised the symptoms of schizophrenia. With care, attention and anti-psychotic medication, Chavarria soon regained his health and the world once again made sense to him; he was able to return to his job as a mechanic. He also returned to training and still races today.

Amir Zargari
Amir Zargari, who was born in Khomein on this day in 1980, is one of Iran's most successful cyclists with numerous stage wins in Middle Eastern and Asian races. In 2011 he won the UCI 2.2 Tour of Singkarak in Indonesia, which proved sufficient to earn him a contract with the World Tour French AG2R-La Mondiale team.

Auguste Daumain, born in Selles-sur-Cher in this day in 1877, won a bronze medal for the 25km Race at the 1900 Olympics and, following the disqualification of numerous riders for cheating, was awarded sixth place overall at the 1904 Tour de France.

On this day in 2007 Patrik Sinkewitz was sacked from the T-Mobile team after a sample taken at that year's Tour de France turned out to contain suspiciously high levels of testosterone; he refused his right to have the B sample provided at the same time tested and later confessed to using a testosterone ointment, then to EPO and illegal blood transfusions. Two years later, again in the 31st of July, Iban Mayo's two-year ban for EPO - upheld by the CAS after the Spanish Federation cleared him due to a clean B sample - came to an end; on that very same day Mikel Astarloza, who ridden for Euskaltel-Euskadi since 2007 (Mayo rode for the team ontil 2006), started a two-year ban after he too tested positive for EPO. Astarloza has continually insisted that he is innocent and says that doping amounts to "sporting suicide" due to the efficiency of modern tests; the team could find no reason to disagree and took the very unusual step of publicly stating that it would keep a place open for him once his ban expired; he rejoined them in August 2011.

Other cyclists born on this day: Diego Caccia (Italy, 1981); Franky van Haesebroucke (Belgium, 1970); Vitaly Shchedov (USSR, now Ukraine, 1987); Hermann Smiel (Germany, 1880); Rodolfo Rodino (Uruguay, 1937); Nils Henriksson (Finland, 1928); Vittorio Cavalotti (Italy, 1893, died 1939); Euripides Ferreira (Brazil, 1966).

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