Saturday, 18 February 2012

On this day...

Amber Neben
Amber Neben
(image credit: Crikey)
Amber Neben, born in Irvin, USA on this day in 1975, originally competed in football (soccer) and cross-country running whilst at college, only adopting cycling when stress injuries forced her to give up running. She first took up mountain biking but soon discovered she performed better in road cycling and rapidly came to the attention of team managers, being signed up to ride with the USA World Championships squad in 2001 and winning a silver medal in the National Championships that same year. One year later, she took silver in both the Road and Time Trial National races.

She became National Road Race Champion in 2003 and began to show promise in stage races, finishing the Giro della Toscana in 7th place overall the next season. This would be bettered with a win at the Tour de l'Aude and a third National Time Trial silver medal in 2005, her l'Aude success repeated in 2006 along with podium finishes at the Route de France Feminin, Thuringen-Rundfahrt and other races, another National Time Trial silver and a bronze in the National Road Race. 2007 was similar, but she topped it all by becoming World Time Trial Champion in 2008. In the following years, she continued to win stages in a series of races and in 2011 won the Chrono des Nations.

Neben tested positive for 19-Norandrosterone in 2003, a recognised metabolite of nandrolone - a banned anabolic steroid. However, the result was delayed for some time and the rider accepted provisional suspension from racing during the following investigation, also stating her belief that the drug had come from dietary supplements. The Court for Arbitration in Sport decreed that while there was evidence to suggest she had been affected by the drug in races that took place prior to the announcement of the positive test, in their opinion she had not intentionally doped. She received a six-month ban beginning from the start of the provisional suspension with the agreement that she would submit to increased checks over the subsequent 18 months and returned to racing, passing every test since.

On this day in 2011 Joanna Rowsell, Wendy Houvenaghel and Sarah Storey set a new British Women's Record when the completed the 4000m Team Time Trial at the World Track Cup in Manchester with a time of 3'19.757".

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