Saturday 21 December 2013

Daily Cycling Facts 21.12.2013

Iljo Keisse
Happy birthday to Iljo Keisse, who finally returned to competition in 2011 after a doping investigation that has seen him banned, cleared and re-banned before the ban was eventually - and, apparently, finally - overturned. Keisse was born in 1982 in Ghent, Belgium, where his ban remained in place until the 27th of January 2012 - a few months later, at the Tour of Turkey, he crashed near the end of Stage 7 when his chain came off; he was able to put it back on and remounted to win just ahead of the chasing pack. In addition to a superb track cycling palmares, Keisse finished 6th overall in the 2006 Tour of Britain.

Marcel Cadolle was born in Paris on this day in 1885 and turned professional in 1905. His 2nd place finish at the 1906 Paris-Roubaix (when he was beaten by 1904 - and youngest ever - Tour de France winner Henri Cornet) and Stage 4 win at the 1907 Tour de France suggest that he would probably not be so forgotten as he now is and might even have been among the greats had his career not have been ended prematurely during Stage 7 at the 1907 Tour when he crashed and seriously injured his knee. He died on the 21st of August, 1956.

Scheuenman in 2007
Niels Scheuneman
Born in Veendam, Netherlands on this day in 1983, Niels Scheuneman is the son of Bert Scheuneman who rode for Kondor and other teams during the late 1970s and early 1980s and won stages at the Österreich-Rundfahrt, Milk Race (Tour of Britain) and Tour of Luxembourg. Despite coming from a cycling family, Niels was not particularly interested in bikes during childhood and preferred other sports; however, when he was finally persuaded to give cycling a go that his natural talent - few riders in his age group could keep up with him - was discovered. He then enjoyed an extremely promising amateur career that included a silver medal at the Junior World Road Race Championship in 2001, suggesting that he was destined to outdo his father's palmares and leading many to predict that he was the next big star of Dutch men's cycling. His medal earned him a place on Rabobanks's GS3 development team, where he remained for two years during which he won a stage at the Triptyque Ardennais which, combined with numerous second and third places at various prestigious races, including at the 2003 Under-23 World Individual Time Trial Championship, earned him his first full professional contract with Relax-Bodysol for the 2004 season. Rabobank GS3 had been rated UCI 3 whereas his new team were UCI 1; finding the increased level of competition too great, Scheuneman failed to impress with only one notable result (in a team time trial) all year.

In 2005 Scheuneman returned to Rabobank with a junior contract, this time riding at ProContinental level; remaining for two years he rode his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana, that year. 2006 got off to a bad start when a crash at the Nokere Koerse in March left him with an elbow injury that put him out of action for some time, though he recovered in time to take third place at the LUK Challenge duo time trials in July. Rabobank chose not to renew his contract at the end of 2006 and he moved to Unibet, but was unable to race for much of the season due to Unibet's row with the Amaury Sports Organisation that resulted in the team being kept away from many events. At the end of the season, having decided that he wasn't destined to make in the world of professional cycling, he retired; less than a year later he changed his mind and found a contract with the Continental class KrolStone team, where he apparently found his niche - that same year he won a stage at the Tour de Loire-et-Cher, then in 2009 he won the Omloop Houtse Linies and took second place on Stage 6 at the Tour de Normandie.

At the end of the 2009 season, Scheuneman announced his retirement from road racing. He has not retired from cycle sport altogether, meanwhile, and rides for the Belgian-based Fuji MTB Masters mountain bike team.

Other cyclists born on this day: Aldo Parecchini (Italy, 1950); Ian Chapman (Australia, 1939); Jhon Jarrín (Ecuador, 1961); George Giles (New Zealand, 1913, died 1973); David Spears (Canada, 1963).

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