DAVIS, Calif. (July 6, 2020) – Four legends of American cycling have been voted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame. The Class of 2020 inductees are: Jeff Pierce (Modern Road & Track Competitor), Marianne Martin (Veteran Road & Track Competitor), Leigh Donovan (Off-Road Competitor), and Joe Breeze (Contributor to the Sport). There are now 161 Inductees in the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.
“The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is proud to honor these individuals,” said Bob Bowen, board president. “These individuals were selected by the voters because of their supreme accomplishments in cycling. Their induction into the Hall of Fame will serve as a perpetual reminder of their dedication and sacrifice to the sport.”
Normally held each November, the 34th annual USBHOF induction ceremony has been postponed until coronavirus restrictions have been lifted for large gatherings.
The Class of 2020 Inductees include:
Jeff Pierce – Modern Road and Track: Jeff Pierce is the only American besides Greg LeMond to have won the final stage of the Tour de France. Pierce began racing in 1975 with the Wolverine Sports Club in Detroit, Michigan under the tutelage of coach Mike Walden. He raced for three teams in his career: Schwinn (Schwinn Wolverine, Schwinn National Team, Schwinn Icy Hot), Team 7-Eleven, and Chevrolet LA Sheriffs. He raced in seven Grand Tours, all with the legendary Team 7-Eleven, which itself received a Special Recognition induction to the Hall of Fame in 1997. His win on the Champs-Élysées in the final stage in the 1987 Tour de France was a monumental achievement for American cycling.
Pierce won multi-stage bicycle races, such as the 1985 Berliner Etappenfahrt, the 1986 Vuelta de Bisbee, and the 1987 United Texas Tour. He finished second overall in the 1987 Coors Classic and the 1994 Redlands Bicycle Classic. He also won the 1985 Nevada City Classic and the 1986 La Jolla Grand Prix. In addition to the final stage of the 1987 Tour de France, he won stages in the 1985 & 1988 Coors Classic, the 1989 Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and the 1994 Redlands Bicycle Classic. Pierce teamed with Steve Hegg to win the 1995 U.S. National Championship in the Madison race category.
Marianne Martin – Veteran Road & Track: After failing to place in the top-six during the cycling trials for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Marianne Martin talked her way into the final spot for the very first Tour de France Féminin just weeks before it began.
The 1984 Tour de France Féminin covered about 1,080 km of the 4,000 km the men’s race due to strict Union Cycliste Internationale rules about how far women could ride in stage races. Though shorter in distance than the men’s, the women’s course followed the men’s, including all the climbs in the Alps and Pyrenees. Martin unexpectedly earned the polka-dot jersey as the Tour’s best climber by winning the 45-mile 12th stage over two long Alps mountain passes, narrowing her gap behind the overall race leader to 1 min 4 sec overall.
Two stages later, Martin pushed her arms through the race leader’s yellow jersey, which she kept through to the finish in Paris. Her overall race time was 29 hours, 39 minutes, 2 seconds, just over three minutes ahead of the second-place finisher. Martin remains the only American woman to win the Tour de France Féminin or its succeeding versions. 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee Inga Thompson finished 3rd in both the 1986 and 1989 races.
Leigh Donovan – Off-Road: Donovan was a champion BMX and mountain bike racer from 1992 to 2001. When she retired from racing in 2001, Donovan was the most decorated U.S. cycling downhill and slalom rider– winning nine National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA) championships and a UCI world title. Leigh was elected to the BMX Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2014. She is the only woman to be elected to both.
In 1995 Leigh scored a unique cycling triple crown by winning the U.S. national slalom championship, the national downhill championship, and the UCI Mountain Bike World Championship in downhill – an accomplishment that has never been repeated. Leigh also became one of only three American women to win the UCI Downhill World Championship. She was a three-time UCI World Championship medalist.
Donovan won the 2001 World Cup Dual slalom championship in Vail, CO. In UCI World Cup competition, she earned five overall wins and finished on the top-three podium in 39 races.
Joe Breeze – Contributor: Joe Breeze was an early pioneer in the development of mountain bikes and is widely considered to be one of its leading inventors. One of the group of riders in northern California’s Marin County in the 1970s to take old balloon tire bicycles to the trails in the hills, he used his frame- building skills to create the first prototype modern mountain bike (Breezer #1). In 1977 he rode it to victory in its first race. Breezer #1 has been displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
A tireless promoter of the sport, Joe is a founding member of NORBA (National Off Road Bicycle Association), which later became the mountain bike racing division of USA Cycling. Joe is also a charter member and manager of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, into which he was inducted in 1988. His industry innovations include the Hite-Rite seat post spring and the Apex disc brake mount as well as development of early lightweight off-road frames utilizing modern tubing. He has devoted much of his time to bicycle transportation and advocate work.
About the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame:
In Davis, Calif. since 2010, the Hall of Fame, boasts 8,000 square feet of displays and exhibits that tell the story of American cycling history along with a collection of bicycles from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Founded in 1985, The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to recognizing American competitive cyclists and contributors to the sport for their significant achievements. Its mission is to preserve the history of American cycling in order to educate people about the past and encourage them to participate in the future of the sport. Encouraging all levels of cycling, the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame promotes cycling development and fitness. For information, visit: www.usbhof.org