Thursday 21 November 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 21.11.2013

Dani King and Lauren Kitchen
Lauren Kitchen and Dani King
Danielle King, born in Southampton, UK on this day in 1990 and more commonly known as Dani, formed part of the winning Team Pursuit events at the World (Elite) and European Track (Elite and Under-23) Championships in 2011 and at the London round of the World Cup, the World Championships and the Olympics in 2012.

However, King's first successes were on the road - she won Stage 2 at the Junior's Omloop van Borsele in 2008, and came second at the Cheshire Classic the following year. She had shown sufficient potential as a track rider as long ago as 2005, when a British Cycling training team visited her school and offered her place on the development programme, but it was in 2009 that she frist came to public attention by taking second in the Points and third in the Pursuit and Scratch, all at Elite level, at the National Championships. Her career came to a temporary halt later than year when she contracted glandular fever, and she did not win any races in 2010; in 2011, fully recovered, she was chosen by British Cycling to compete at the World Championships where, riding with Jo Rowsell and Laura Trott, she won the Team Pursuit. They won the same event later that year at the Olympics.

In 2013 King, Trott and Elinor Barker won the Team Pursuit at the World Championships and, joined by Jo Rowsell, at the Nationals. She, Trott, Barker and Katie Archibald also won at the European Championships, then rchibald was replaced by Rowsell for another victory at the Manchester round of the World Cup.

King shares her birthday with Lauren Kitchen, born in Amidale, New South Wales in the same year and the winner of three National Championship titles in 2011. In 2013 they rode together with the new British-registered team Wiggle-Honda alongside Rochelle Gilmore, who both owns and manages the team.

Kitchen has also been successful on road and track from the early days of her career, having been spotted by talent scouts (from the North Coast Academy of Sports, where she had taken up cycling purely as a means to improve fitness for her first love, soccer) in 2005, winning Stage 2 at the Bay Classic and silver in the Elite Team Pursuit at the National Championships in 2008; unlike King she has decided to concentrate on road following a string of good results - tenth at the Oceania Championships and two second-place stage finishes at the Tours of Canberra and Prince Edward's Island in 2009 and a superb trio of gold medals, for the Under-23 Criterium, Elite Criterium and Under-23 Individual Time Trial at the Nationals in 2011 among them.

Kitchen became U-23 National Criterium Champion again in 2013, then immersed herself in her first season riding at the top level of professional cycling with her new team and immediately impressed with tenth place overall and second in the Young Riders classification at the Tour of Qatar. She later came fifth at the 7-Dorpenomloop Aalburg, ninth on Stage 1 at the Giro Rosa, tenth on Stage 5 at the Route de France and third in the Prologue at the Tour de l'Ardeche - results that suggest 2014, when she will ride for Hitec Products-UCK, will bring great things.

Jimmy Michael, 1877-1904
Jimmy Michael
Today is the anniversary of the death of 1895 World "Stayers" Cycling Champion Jimmy Michael, born in Aberaman, Wales in 1877. Standing just five feet and one and a half inches tall (156.2cm), the crowds laughed when he first took part in races, but rapidly fell silent once it became clear that he was a cyclist of remarkable prowess, beating far more experienced and physically larger riders.

Having turned professional for the Gladiator team - where he rode alongside the Linton brothers and, like them, was coached by the notorious Choppy Warburton who is credited by some as being the first man to introduce cycling to doping (he probably wasn't, but he certainly helped make it the problem it would become), Michael's fame spread and, by 1896, 22,000 French fans turned out to watch him race in Paris. Sadly, Michael lost his winnings through gambling and developed a drinking problem. He was just 27 years old when he died in 1904. (For much more on Michael's life, career, row with Warburton and downfall, click here.)

Rob Hayles
Born in Portsmouth on this day in 1973, Rob Hayles is a British rider whose career spanned the period from the late 1990s to the end of the first decade of the 21st Century during which cycling in Britain turned from disregarded niche activity to a highly respected - and, crucially, well-funded - sport, then became a national obsession following Bradley Wiggin's historic Tour de France victory.

Hayles' first taste of major success came in 1994, when he rode with the silver medal-winning team at the Commonwealth Games. Four years with British teams followed, bringing a host of victories at home; he also got to experience foreign racing in 1996 at the Tour de Langkawi, where he won Stages 2 (a team time trial) and 7 (standard road race). Finding it to his liking, he decided his future lay overseas; in 1999, with Tony Doyle-Clarke Contracts, he entered the Cinturón Ciclista Internacional a Mallorca and won Stages 2 and 3.

Rob Hayles
In 2000, racing as an individual, Hayles won Stage 8 at the Circuit de Lorraine, came third in the Pursuit at the World Track Championships, fourth in the Madison at the Olympics and third in the Six Days of Grenoble - results good enough to win him the sort of professional contract he'd now sought for several years, and which at that time was rarely available to British riders: hence, he relocated to France in 2001 to ride with a professional, top-level squad, Cofidis, and that same year he won the silver medal at the National Road Race Championships.

Hayles remained with Cofidis for three seasons in total and progressed as a rider with them - in 2002 he won the Memorial Debaets-Dvos and came second on Stage 2 at the Postgirot Open, then in 2003 won a silver medal in the Team Pursuit at the World Championships and a bronze in the individual Pursuit at the Nationals. In 2004 he raced as an independent again and took third on Stage 6 at the Circuit de Lorraine and won Stage 7 at the Tour de Normandie, in addition to more track success: silver for the Pursuit and Team Pursuit at the Worlds, gold for the Team Pursuit and bronze for the Scratch at the Manchester round of the World Cup, gold for the Team Pursuit at the Sydney round of the World Cup, silver for the Team Pursuit and bronze for the Madison at the Olympics and silver for the Pursuit at the Nationals. In 2005 he found a new team, the British Continental class - MG X-Power and his best year to date on the track, winning gold for the Team Pursuit and the Madison (riding with Mark Cavendish) at the Worlds and a host of silver and bronze medals elsewhere; he also rode for the team's victorious squad at the National Team Time Trial Championships. In 2006 he was again without a team, but won gold for the Pursuit at the Sydney World Cup, gold for the Team Pursuit and silver for the Pursuit at the Commonwealth Games, silver for the Team Pursuit at the World Championships and, on the road, was the victor of the East Yorkshire Classic as an independent.

2007 saw Hayles sign up with another team, Team KLR-Parker International-Dolan Bikes, and he won another gold for the Team Pursuit in Manchester and took first place at the Hillingdon criterium. 2008 would prove to be both excellent and terrible: he enjoyed seven victories including at the National Road Race Championships, took numerous prestigious second and thirds including two seconds at the Tour of Britain and won gold for the Team Pursuit at Manchester, but was pulled out of the World Track Championships and suspended for two weeks following a blood test that revealed a haematocrit reading 0.3% over the legal limit - not by any means proof that a rider has doped (several forms of doping, including EPO and blood transfusions, work by increasing the haematocrit count and thus the blood's ability to carry oxygen to the muscles; levels can and do fluctuate naturally, to greater or lesser degrees in different individuals. It should be pointed out that no evidence to suggest that Hayles was a doper, either then or with the improved detection methods available today, has ever been found) but enough in times when Operacion Puerto was still generating headlines almost daily to make tongues wag.

Team Halfords Bikehut had been formed by dave Brailsford in 2008 primarily as a women's team led by Nicole Cooke; however, Hayles and Tom Southam also raced under its aegis. In 2009, more men were added to create a proper male team, but despite this backing Hayles did not enjoy victory. The team closed at the end of the season and several members, Hayles included, moved to Endura Racing based in Scotland - now approaching 40, his best years were behind him but, in 2011 which was to be his last professional year, he was 14th in the tough British Hill Climb Championships.

Denise Ramsden, born in Yellowknife, Canada on this day in 1990, was Junior National Road Race Champion in 2007, then became Elite National Road Race Champion in 2012 - the same year she was 19th in the Individual Time Trial and 27th in the Road Race at the Olympics.

Kaat Hannes, born in Herentals, Belgium on this day in 1991, achieved podium finishes at the National Road Race Championship in 2007 and at the National Cyclo Cross and Individual Time Trial Championships in 2009. Her best result in 2012, when she raced for Lotto-Belisol, was fourth place at Erpe-Mere.

Antonio Karmany Mestres was born on this day 1934 in Sant Joan, Spain. He won Stage 2 in the 1959 Vuelta a Espana, then another stage and the Mountains Classification as well as coming 4th overall in 1960. A year later, he took Stage 15, won the Mountains again and came 8th overall. In 1962, he won the Mountains for a third time.

Mattei Pelucchi, born this day in 1989 in Guissano, Italy, rode with Geox-TMC in 2011. At the end of the season, Geox suddenly announced that they'd be ending their sponsorshop, leaving the team members frantically searching for new contracts. Europcar announced that Pelucchi would ride with them in 2012.

Happy birthday to Cornelius "Cees" Bal, the Dutch cyclist who won the Tour of Flanders in 1974 and built up an impressive palmares during his ten-year professional career. He was born in 1951 on Kwadendamme.

Happy birthday to Serge Pauwels, the Belgian rider born in 1983 in Lier. Pauwels has shown promise as a Grand Tour rider, coming second on Stage 15 and 33rd overall at the Giro d'Italia in 2009 when he rode for Cervelo, 16th on Stage 2 at the 2010 Tour de France when he rode for Sky, 14th on Stage 7 and 47th overall at the Giro and second on Stage 1 and 24th overall at the Vuelta a Espana in 2011 with Omega Pharma-Quickstep and eighth on Stage 11 at the Giro and third on Stage 1 and 31st overall at the Vuelta in 2013, still with Omega Pharma-Quickstep.

Another happy birthday to Luc Jones, the Welsh 200m track champ, born on this day in 1991.

On this day in 2008 it emerged that despite his election promise to turn London into "a city of cyclists," mayor Boris Johnson had provided just 25% of the funds London boroughs needed in order to bring cycling infrastructure up to scratch.

On this day in 2007, Floyd Landis appealed to the Court for Arbitration in Sport to have his two-year ban for doping overturned. The appeal was unsuccessful and, on the 10th of November 2011, he was convicted of hacking into CAS computers in an attempt to destroy evidence against him and received a one-year suspended jail sentence.

Other cyclists born on this day: Graeme Jose (Australia, 1951, died 1973); Harry Ryan (Great Britain, 1893, died 1961); Urs Güller (Switzerland, 1967); Jørgen Frank Rasmussen (Denmark, 1930); Cristian Moreni (Italy, 1972); Victor Georgescu (Romania, 1932); Jamil Suaiden (Brazil, 1972); Allan Juel Larsen (Denmark, 1931); Liubomir Polataiko (Ukraine, 1979); Oleg Tonoritchi (Moldova, 1973); Elisabeth Osl (Austria, 1985); Unai Etxebarría (Venezuela, 1972); Mark Kane (Ireland, 1970); Kozo Fujita (Japan, 1967); Fabio Parra (Colombia, 1959).

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