Paris-Nice began on this day in 1936, the only time the race has started on this date. The winner was Maurice Archambaud of Mercier-Hutchinson, who would become the first man to win two editions three years later.
(image credit: Jejecam CC BY-SA 3.0)
Dario Cataldo, born in Lanciano, Italy on this day in 1985, was the surprise winner of the 2006 Girobio ("Baby Giro," the Giro d'Italia for young riders) which earned him his first professional contract with Liquigas for 2007. Unfortunately, almost as soon as he's secured it he was hit by a car during a training ride and injured, missing the start of the season, but he recovered in time for the Tour de l'Avenir as won Stages 2 and 7. The l'Avenir frequently provides us with indications of future greatness, revealing those riders who will go on to win Grand Tours; but a very disappointing 2008 season during which he abandoned the Giro d'Italia persuaded Liquigas not to renew his contract.
QuickStep signed him for 2009 and he has remained with them since; a 4th place finish for Stage 3 of the that year's Giro, 2nd in Stage 11 a year later and 6th for Stage 18 in 2011 suggest that he is earning his keep.
Darren Kenny, born in Salisbury on this day in 1970, was a reasonably successful rider who had an accident on the R756 Wicklow Gap in the Tour of Ireland. He knew immediately that he'd hurt his neck, but didn't realise how seriously. Further accidents worsened his injury until he had to give up cycling and was placed on medication to control the serious pain he suffered. His career was over though he was only 20 years old.
Ten years later, in his own words he "was just lying on the sofa putting on weight and on heavy medication." Deciding he needed to take action, he began cycling again and, after a friend persuaded him that he still had a future in racing, got in contact with the British Cycling Federation. After scoring impressive results at the Track Cycling Championships, he was invited to join the Paralympic team.
Since then, Kenny's career has been phenomenal. In 2004, he won two gold medals and a silver at the Paralympics. In 2005 he won five gold and one silver at the World Disability Championships and set a new paralympic Hour Record, followed by two gold and two silver the next year and two gold and two bronze the year after that. In the 2008 Paralympics, he won four gold and one silver - making him one of the most successful athletes - paralympic and able-bodied - of all time.
(image credit - Photo: Mogens Engelund
Valter Bonča, born on this day in 1968 in Slovenia, won the Österreich-Rundfahrt in 1989 and 1992, the Tour of Slovenia in 1995 and became National Time Trial Champion in 2000.
Albertus "Ab" Geldermans, born in Beverwijk, Netherlands on this day in 1935 was professional for just seven years, but during that time he rode seven Tours de France. His best year by far was 1962 when he won the Road Race and Time Trial at his National Championships, won Stage 10 and came 10th overall at the Vuelta a Espana and wore the yellow jersey for two days before finishing 5th overall at the Tour de France. In retirement, he became directeur sportif for the Dutch national team, playing an important role in Jan Janssen's 1968 victory - the first Tour win ever by a Dutch rider.
On this day in 2011, Cycling Weekly began a campaign to try to get the British broadcaster ITV to show more cycling on its digital channels. It currently shows the Grand Tours and the Tour of Britain (and heavily-edited footage from Liège–Bastogne–Liège in 2010 and Liège–Bastogne–Liège and Paris-Nice 2011), but also holds the rights to cover Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Tours, La Flèche Wallonne and the Criterium International. To date, ITV haven't increased coverage, but you can e-mail and ask them to do so at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other births: David Boucher (France, 1980); Gorik Gardeyn (Belgium, 1980); Magdalena Sadłecka (Poland, 1982); Andrew Whitford (New Zealand, 1965); Muhammad Ashiq (Pakistan, 1935); Vasily Davidenko (Russia, 1970); Sivaporn Ratanapool (Thailand, 1954); David Mulica (USA, 1949); Eugen Schnalek (Austria, 1911).