Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Daily Cycling Facts 01.01.2014

Mark Beaumont
Happy birthday to the British long-distance cyclist Mark Beaumont, born in Scotland on this day in 1983. Beaumont set a new world record (broken in 2010 by Vin Cox) after riding 29,446km around the world in 194 days and 17 hours. Mark's first big adventure was a solo ride from John O'Groats to Land's End when he was 15, his most recent was the 21,050km from Anchorage in Alaska to Ushuaia in Argentina - en route, he climbed Mount McKinley and Aconcagua, the highest peaks in North and South America respectively. His round-the-world ride was completed on a Koga-Miyata.

On this day in 1997, having been a popular sport around the world for two decades, BMX was finally fully accepted by and integrated into the British Cycling Federation.

Happy birthday to Karl Köther, born in 1942, the German representative in the Sprint and 1km time trial at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Karl's father - also named Karl, born 1905 - was an Olympian cyclist too, riding the 2km Tandem Sprint at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.

On this day in 2009, Team Rabobank entered a new contract with Giant and began riding the company's top-of-the-range American-produced bikes after several years with the Italian Colnago manufacturer.

Happy birthday to Tristan Hoffman, who rode Paris-Roubaix three times and came second in 2004. Following retirement he became a directeur sportif, first with the Danish CSC team (still with us as Tinkoff-Saxo in 2014) and later for HTC-Highroad (which closed down at the end of 2011). He was born in Groenlo, Netherlands in 1970 and became National Road Race Champion in 1992; in 1996 and 2000 he won the Dwars door Vlaanderen.

On the first day of 1939, professional cyclist Tommy Godwin (born 1912) set out to achieve a new record in Cycling magazine's annual distance competition. One year later, he had ridden 120,805km - a record which still stands. By May 1940, he had reached 160,000km (100,000 miles), then decided to do his bit for the war by joining the RAF. After spending so much of his waking time in the saddle, he reported that he had to spend weeks relearning to walk properly. Godwin should not be confused with Thomas Charles Godwin, also known as Tommy, an Olympic cyclist born in 1920.

Happy birthday to Rabaki Jeremie Ouedraogo of Burkina Faso, twice National Champion and overall winner of the 2005 Tour du Faso. He was born in 1973.

On this day in 2005, Russian Olympian track cyclist Dmitry Nelyubin died following a fight in St. Petersburg. Nelyubin, who had ridden with the winning Pursuit team at the 1988 Olympics, had gone outside with friends at midnight to set off fireworks but were attacked by a group of men; during the fight, the rider was stabbed in the stomach. An ambulance was called but took half an hour to reach him due to snow, and although he was alive when it reached him he died later that morning. Nelyubin's death appears to have been caused by mistaken identity: the group that attacked him and his friends stated that earlier that night they had themselves been attacked and beaten up by a gang of neo-Nazi skinheads and claimed they had later mistaken Nelyubin for one of them. Nelyubin was the son of Vladislav Nelyubin, also an Olympian cyclist and the winner of the Points competition at the 1973 Tour of Austria. Every year, Vladislav organises a memorial race in the city where his son died.

On this day in 1994, New Zealand became the first - and to date the only (helmets are not mandatory everywhere in Australia) - nation to make protective helmets mandatory when cycling. The law came about largely due to the efforts of Rebecca Oaten, whose son Aaron was left with permanent brain damage after he was hit by a car in 1986. Aaron spent eight months in a coma and, when he awoke, was paralysed and unable to speak. He died on the 14th of August in 2010, aged just 37.

Other cyclists born on this day: Jamal Ahmed Al-Doseri (represented Bahrain in the Individual Road Race and 100km Team Time Trial at the 1992 Olympics, born 1970); Youssef Khanfar Al-Shakali (represented Oman in the Individual Road Race at the 1996 Olympics, born 1972); Bernd Barleben (represented Germany in the 4km Team Pursuit at the 1960 Olympics, born 1940); Mario Benetton (represented Italy in the 4km Team Pursuit at the 2000 Olympics, born 1974); Danial Kaswanga (Malawian Olympian in 1984 and 1988, born 1960); Arturo Friedemann (represented Chile in the 1912 Olympics, born 1893); Enrique Heredia (Mexican professional, born 1912, died 26.06.1996); Otto Jensen, (Danish Olympian, born 1893, died 25.12.1972); Alvin Hjalmar "Al Loftes" Lofstedt (American bronze medalist in Team Road Race at the 1912 Olympics, born 1890); Hans Olsen (Danish cyclist, born 1885, died 04.12.1969); František Řezáč (Czech professional, born 1943, died 04.05.1979); Prajin Rungrote (Thai professional, born 1953; Asyat Saitov (Russian Olympian, rode for USSR in 1988, born 1965); Anthony Young (rode for USA in 1920 Olympics, born 1892, died 1969).