Sunday, 10 November 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 10.11.2013

Kristina Vogel
Kristina Vogel
Born in Leninskoye, Kyrgyzstan on this day in 1990, Kristina Vogel moved with her family to Germany when she was six months old. She says that she was a fan of sport during childhood, but it took her until she was ten to discover that cycling was what she wanted to do. Initially, she chose the road; in 2005 she made the switch to track and immediately began to excel - by 2006, she was Junior National Champion in the Individual Sprint and the 500m.

Vogel first came to international attention when, in 2007. she won the Sprint and 500m at the Junior European Championships and the Team Sprint, Sprint and 500m at the Junior World Championships, later successfully defending her 500m title at the Nationals. In 2008 she won the 500m, the Sprint and the Keirin at the Worlds, and there was no doubt that Germany had found its newest track superstar.

Vogel (left) with Miriam Welte, 2013
However, 2009 brought disaster: while she was out riding her road bike, she was in a collision with a minibus and suffered injuries so serious that she was placed in an induced coma for two days and spent four weeks in hospital. That was followed by four months of rehabilitation before she was even able to sit on a bike again, but such was her determination to recover and return to competitive cycling - "My coach was with me and I couldn't speak, but I wrote on a piece of paper that I really wanted to ride at the World Championships," she says. "My first question after I woke up from the coma was: can I have a new bike? Then, which hospital am I in?" -  that in 2010, her first year as an Elite rider, she won the Sprint, Keirin and 500m at the Nationals, won silver and gold at the European Championships and won the Sprint at the Cali round of the World Cup. She kept the National Sprint title and won the same event at Cali for a second time in 2011.

Vogel's partnership with Miriam Welte, with whom she rides in team sprints, is one of the most famous and effective in cycling. In 2012 they won the event at the World Championships, instantly making themselves favourites for the Olympics - not only did they win in London, they set new world records in qualification and in the final. In 2013, they won it at both the World and National Championships, with Vogel also taking gold for the Individual Sprint and Keirin at the latter event. Both women are police officers.

Amets Txurruka
Born in the Basque town of Etxebarria on this day in 1982, Amets Txurruka began his professional career with the British/South African Barloworld team in 2006, then in 2007 switched as all good Euskaldun cyclists sooner or later must (and, as of late 2013, will continue to do, provided the beleaguered team can miraculously secure a new sponsor) to Euskaltel-Euskadi, the trade team that served as the country's national team and elicited deep passion among cycling fans from Euskadi and around the world.

Txurruka at the Euskal Herriko Itzulia, 2013
It was with Euskaltel that Txurruka got his first shot at the Tour de France and, while his stage results were not especially impressive (though 19th place on Stage 14 wasn't bad by any means for a first Tour), the long break he and Pierrick Fédrigo kept going to within a kilometre of the finish on Stage 12 earned him the Combativity prize for the day, and after fighting hard for his team - and finishing in 23rd place overall - for the remainder of the race, he won the overall Combativity too. The following year, he was third in the Kind of the Mountains at the Tour of the Basque Country, went back to the Tour and came 53rd overall, then finished the Vuelta a Espana in 45th place. In 2009 he was eighth overall at the Vuelta Asturias, tenth at the Tour of Luxembourg, second on Stage 13 at the Tour (it'd be nice to say he was close to winning, but in truth he was 4'11" slower than victor Heinrich Haussler - though 2'02" ahead of third place Brice Feillu shows how hard he worked) but ultimately abandoned the race, then finished 29th overall at the Vuelta. His Tour finished after just the prologue and five stages in 2010, but he was 31st at the Vuelta; in 2011 he abandoned the Tour after eight stages and managed 30th at the Vuelta - this time with a seventh place stage finish (Stage 11) and the Combativity award for Stage 13. He did the same at his first Giro d'Italia in 2012, finishing Stage 12 in seventh place; he was also 10th on Stage 15 and 42nd overall. He started the Tour too but left after six stages and became one of the few riders to have started all three Grand Tours in a single season when he rode at the Vuelta, finishing 30th overall.

By the close of the 2012 season, Txurruka had been a professional cyclist for seven years and had started twelve Grand Tours. Yet, he had only two victories - both relatively minor races, Azkoitia in Euskadi (2008) and the Taiwan Cup in 2010 - to his name. He had not previously given any indication that this concerned him, being apparently a tough roleur/barodeur from the same mould as Jens Voight, a rider who got all the kicks he needed during a race rather than at the end of it and was perfectly content to let his team's leader take advantage of that. However, in 2013, perhaps realising now that he was 30 that his best years at the top level of professional cycling would come to an end sooner rather than later, he left Euskaltel for Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and started going after a few trophies of his own. He won the King of the Mountains at the Tour of the Basque Country, Stage 1 and the General Classification at the Vuelta Asturias - and, having announced he'll remain with Caja Rural for 2014, more may be in the pipeline.

Working with Chandal Records, Txurruka made a 15-minute film about an imagined 1940 Tour de France (which in reality didn't take place due to the Nazi invasion of the country). Featuring Sean Kelly, it's occasionally rather strange and frequent very funny - and can be seen here.

Danny Nelissen
Danny Nelissen, born in Sittard, Netherlands on this day in 1970, won the Juniors Giro di Basilicata in 1988. He  signed his first professional contract with the PDM team in 1990, winning the Omloop van de Westhoek Ichtegem and the prologue of the Olympia's Tour that season. In 1992 he won Stage 4 at the Euskal Bizikleta, Stage 5 at the Vuelta Ciclista a Aragón and outright at the GP de Wallonie, then the following year he won Stage 4 at the Vuelta Asturias and the Profronde van Heerlen, as well as riding and finishing the Tour de France (he was 130th, and his best stage result was 27th on Stage 8). This was, clearly, a rider of considerable promise, but in 1994 he was diagnosed with arrhythmia and had to retire from the professional ranks, though he was still able to race in amateur events and won seven times in 1995, including the Amateur World Championships.

In 1996, Nelissen decided to make a comeback in professional competition and joined Rabobank - he was second on Stage 4, fourth on Stage 12 and, for three stages, wore the polka dot King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour de France that year. He went back to the Tour in 1997 but couldn't repeat his success and abandoned after Stage 11. In 1998, with Home-Jack&Jones, he won two races, but seemed unable to find form - and then in 1999 he was diagnosed with more heart problems and, on the advice of his doctor, retired from racing for good.

Nelissen admitted to having doped with EPO during 1996 and 1997 when he was at Rabobank, the first rider at the team during that period to confess of his own free will and without being under suspicion, for which he was applauded. Today, he is a production manager with Eurosport Nederland.

Daniel Teklehaymanot, born in Debarwa, Eritrea on this day in 1988, was National Road Race Champion in 2008 and 2012, National Individual Time Trial Champion in 2011 and 2012 and African Road Race and Individual Time Trial Champion in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Since 2012, he has ridden for Orica-AIS.

Simon Richardson
Happy birthday to Simon Richardson, the Welsh paralympian professional cyclist born in Porthcawl on this day in 1966. Richardson returned to cycling in 2005 after a serious car accident in 2001, going on to set a new world record at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. In August 2011 he was hit by a car while cycling and sustained a broken pelvis fractures to the spine, a detached lung, a broken breast bone and cuts to his legs, leaving him unable to compete in the 2012 Games in London. The driver of the car, who did not stop after hitting Richardson, was subsequently sentenced to 18 months in prison.

On this day in 1905, Emile Bouhours covered the 100km between Orleans and Vierzon at an average speed of 61.291kph - considerably faster than the current UCI "Best Human Effort" Hour Record for a standard upright bike, which stands at 49.7kph. Taking into account that bikes in 1905 had more in common with farm gates than today's ultra-lightweight, multi-geared carbon fibre machines, this suggests that Bouhours achieved his remarkable feat through either a very fortuitous tailwind, cheating (perhaps by using a shortcut) or faulty timing on the part of the race judges.

On this day in 2010 it was announced that the Barclays Bike Hire Scheme - also known as the Boris Bikes after London Mayor Boris Johnson despite the fact that the scheme was invented by his predecessor Ken Livingstone  - would be extended to cover East London with an extra 2000 bikes and 4200 "docking stations."

More cyclists born on this day: Rob Compas (Netherlands, 1966); Glen Sword (Great Britain, 1967); Nevenko Valčić (Yugoslavia, 1933); Stig Andersson (Sweden, 1924); Eugen Pleško (Yugoslavia, 1948); Ji Seung-Hwan (South Korea, 1971); Irina Kalentyeva (USSR, 1977); Roberto Ceruti (Italy, 1953); Stoyan Bobekov (Bulgaria, 1953); Damien Godet (France, 1986); Takanobu Jumonji (Japan, 1975).

No comments:

Post a Comment