Tuesday 1 October 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 01.10.2013

On this day in 1961 a bicycle race took place at Petit-Enghien, a little village of red-brick houses scattered along a stretch of the Tournai-Brussels road not far from Hainaut in the Walloon region of Belgium.

It wasn't an important race and very few people were there to see the unknown 16-year-old boy who took his very first victory that day. His name was Edouard Louis Joseph Merckx.

Chloe Hosking
Chloe Hosking
Born in Bendigo, Australia on this day in 1990, Chloe Hosking won a silver medal and two bronze at the Oceania Games in 2006, then two bronze at the Nationals and two golds and two silvers at the Oceania Championships the following year and a gold and bronze at the Nationals in 2008. After such an illustrious junior track career, she signed up to the Dutch-based Moving Ladies team for 2009 and began concentrating on road racing in 2009 and came third at the Bay Classic and won a criterium in Wellington and two stages plus the General Classification at the Tour of Chongming Island. In 2010 she joined HTC-Colombia, where she would stay until the team dissolved at the end of 2011; during that time she won the National Under-23 Criterium Championship, another stage at Chongming Island and was fourth at the Holland Ladies' Tour. She then went to Specialized-Lululemon for 2012 won the Young Riders category at the Tour of Qatar, then beat the World Champion Giorgia Bronzini and Marianne Vos to first place at the Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo before going on to win Stage 5 at the Route de France Féminine later in the season.

Following the 2011 World Championships, several female riders attacked the UCI over conditions in women's cycling, especially highlighting the fact that whereas the male riders in the ProTour receive a guaranteed minimum wage, some of their female counterparts are paid no salary at all. Hosking added her voice to the argument following the Bay Classic - when asked for her thoughts on UCI president Pat McQuaid's statement in which he claimed women's cycling is insufficiently developed for the riders to deserve pay equality, she replied: "What can you say, Pat McQuaid is a dick."

McQuaid, predictably, was less than impressed and moves to punish her got underway. Fans, however, supported the rider - many used Twitter to point out that they too thought McQuaid was a dick, adding that there was absolutely nothing he could do to stop them saying so. Cycling Australia, as the nation's official UCI-affiliated cycling body, had no choice but to act, but announced that it would seek an explanation before deciding on a punishment; notably, it also emphasised the fact that all its members "have the right to express views contrary to those of the UCI." Hosking then replied: "I have to apologise for how I phrased my comments, I wasn't that eloquent. Women's cycling every year is getting stronger and stronger. It needs to get more recognition and I'm not going to apologise for what I said, but I do apologise for how I said it" - and Cycling Australia, accepting her official apology, levied a fine of just $200, suspended for a year (so she won't have to pay it unless she does something similar in that period), and hinted very heavily that it also believes the UCI ought to be doing a lot more for women's cycling than has been the case during McQuaid's presidency.

Throughout 2013, having left Lululemon for Hitec Products-UCK, Hosking lived up to the promise she had shown when she beat Bronzini and Vos, taking a series of impressive results. She started the season by winning the Young Riders category for a second time at the Tour of Qatar, but this time she was also second in the Points and General Classifications. She was seventh at the Drentse 8 and fourth at the Ronde van Drenthe, second on Stage 2 and third on Stage 3b at the Energiewacht Tour, third at the Ronde van Gelderland and fourth at the Omloop van Borsele; then finished Stages 1 and 2 in second place at the Tour of Chongming Island, also taking second place in the overall General Classification. In early September, she won Stage 5 at the Boels Rental Ladies Tour, beating no less a sprinter than Kirsten Wild of Argos-Shimano in a bunch sprint to the line. Hosking was given a place on the Australian team going to the World Championships in 2013, and is hotly tipped to win a World Championship within a few years given a parcours suited to her.

Adam Blythe
Born in Sheffield, Great Britain on this day in 1989, Adam Blythe comes from a cycling family and was encouraged to begin competing during childhood, as was his sister Kimberley who has also enjoyed some success. Blythe qualified for British Cycling's Olympic Development Program and won a number of Junior National titles on the track, but decided his future lay with the commercial trade teams and left in 2009 with a Cycling Time Trials scholarship allowing him to relocate to Belgium in an attempt to further his career; he joined Silence-Lotto as a trainee and won a stage at the Thüringen-Rundfahrt that year, then picked up sufficiently promising results to win a two-year full-professional contract with the team.

Whilst riding for Silence-Lotto, which became Omega Pharma-Lotto in 2010, Blythe became a close friend of Philippe Gilbert; the two riders moved together to BMC in 2012. That year, one day after his 22nd birthday, Blythe scored one of the most prestigious road race victories of his career up to that point when he won the bunch sprint finish of Binche-Tournai-Binche, a race held intermittently since 1911 and widely regarded as a semi-classic. Through 2013, however, he began to perform on an entirely different level, finishing Stages 5 and 6 and the General Classification at the Tour of Qatar in fourth place and then managing seventh place on the first stage of the Giro d'Italia, recording the same time as winner Mark Cavendish. He is frequently listed as one of the most promising up-and-coming British riders and may well start to enjoy considerable success at the Grand Tours over the next few years.

Wout Poels
Poels stalked by the broom wagon en route to Super-Besse,
Tour de France 2011. He was the last rider to finish the
stage, then abandoned during Stage 9 the following day.
Born in Venray, Netherlands on this day in 1987, Wout Poels caused a stir when he won the Vuelta Ciclista a León in 2008, aged just 20. In 2010 he won stages at the Tour de l'Ain (where he was second overall) and at the Tour of Britain and was second in the King of the Mountains at the Tour de Suisse.

The following season he was third overall at the Tour Méditerranéen, fourth overall at the Vuelta Cicilista a Murcia and second on Stage 2 at 18th overall at Tirreno-Adriatico. Then, he went to the Tour de France; he did not finish and his best result was 44th place on Stage 4, but experiencing the greatest event in sport seemed to encourage him, spurring him on to perform at a higher level in order to secure his place at the race in the future -  in the months after the Tour, he was second on Stage 6 and fourth overall at the Tour of Poland, won Stage 3 and was second overall at the Tour de l'Ain and finished eighth on Stage 4, fourth on Stage 14 and second on Stages 5 and 15 before coming 17th overall at the Vuelta a Espana.

2012 was rather quieter, though he picked up some good results including a stage win at the Tour de Luxembourg, but in 2013 he began to show huge promise once more with a superb seventh place finish of Stage 9 and 28th overall at the Tour de France.

Poels rode for Vacansoleil-DCM from 2008 to 2013; he will switch to Omega Pharma-QuickStep for 2014.

Neil Stephens, born in Canberra on this day in 1963, is the only Australian rider to have completed all three Grand Tours in a single year. He was National Road Race Champion in 1991 and 1994. Stephens joined Festina-Lotus in 1997 and was one of the riders implicated in the Festina Affair of 1998, but claimed that he had never willingly doped and had taken only what he believed to have been vitamin supplements administered by the team doctor. He retired a short while after the team left the Tour de France.

José Beyaert, born in Lens, France on this day in 1925, won the Road Race at the Olympics in 1948. In 1952 he won Stages 2, 3, 6, 11, 13 and the General Classification at the Tour of Colombia, then moved to the country to become coach of the national team. He later returned to France and died in La Rochelle in 2005.

Ian Cammish, who was born in Great Britain on this day in 1956, won the Road Time Trials Council’s British Best All-Rounder in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1989. The six between 1980 and 1985 remain the record for consecutive wins - and is only one of Cammish's records: he was also the first rider to achieve an average speed greater than 30mph in an "out-and-home" 50-mile TT and his "straight out" 50 and 100-mile records still stand at the time of writing. In 2008, Cammish won the 12-Hour Championship with a distance of 284.54 miles - he was 51 years old.

Attilio Pavesi, 01.10.1910- 02.08.2011
Attilio Pavesi, born in Caorso, Italy on this day in 1910, won gold medals for the Individual and Team road races at the 1932 Olympics. He later relocated to Argentina to become a race organiser and died in Buenos Aires on the 2nd of August in 2011 - at almost 101, he was the oldest Olympic Champion and was believed to be possibly the oldest person to have competed in the Games.

Other cyclists born on this day: Wilfried Peffgen (Germany, 1942); Jutta Niehaus (West Germany, 1964); Vethaak (Netherlands, 1914, died 1991); Hans Leutelt (Czechoslovakia, 1914, died 1936); Julie Speight (Australia, 1966); Yader Zoli (Italy, 1975); Galina Yenyukhina (USSR, 1959); Matthew Wilson (Australia, 1977);  Romero (Mexico , 1932, died 2007); José Herrada (Spain, 1985); Charles Morton (USA, 1916, died 1996); Yoshihiro Tsumuraya (Japan, 1964); Jacques Simon (France, 1938); Pavel Zaduban (Slovakia, 1968); Neil Lloyd (Antigua and Barbuda, 1966).

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