|Maurice Garin, shortly after winning in 1898|
1955 winner Jean Forestier was also a successful rider in the Tour de France - in 1954 he had won Stage 16, and he would win Stage 20 in 1955 as well as Stage 16 in 1956 and Stage 8 in 1961, also taking the Points competition and coming 4th overall in 1957. Guiseppe "Pino" Cerami, winner in 1960, was Italian by birth but had taken Belgian nationality four years before the race He too had ridden in the Tour de France but was less successful, failing to finish in 1949 and 1959, coming 35th in 1957 and 1962. However, in 1963 he won Stage 9 and, as he was 41 years old at the time, he's the oldest stage winner in Tour history.
(image credit: Poortugaalse Polleke CC BY-SA 3.0)
The full 3.7km Hornaing to Wandignies-Hamage cobbled section was used for the first time in 1988 (see above). The winner, Dirk Demol, had formed part of a group that broke away from the main pack after 27km and - for reasons never explained - the peloton then decided to let them get on with it, doing nothing whatsoever to reel them back in. Demol and a Swiss rider named Thomas Wegmuller then broke away from the breakaway as the finish line approached, but Wegmuller got into difficulty when a plastic carrier bag blown onto the course became entangled in his gears. His team car drew up alongside him and managed to free it, but he was unable to shift through the gears for the remainder of the race. Electing at such a late stage to continue rather than risk letting Demol blast off for an easy win while he swapped to a replacement bike proved an unwise move - the two men now had such a lead on the rest that Demol was able to take advantage of the situation by taking it easy in Wegmuller's slipstream, confident that he could make use of his working gears to print past him to victory.
(image credit: Eric Houdas
CC BY-SA 3.0)
|Vansummeren rides alone in the|
Roubaix Velodrime, seconds away from
his 2011 victory
(image credit: Thomas Ducroquet CC BY-SA 3.0)
In 2011, the race was won by Johan Vansummeren after he attacked the other members of a four-man breakaway group some 15km from the finish, crossing the line with a 19" advantage.
|Edgard de Caluwé|
Fiorenzo Magni became the first Italian to win in 1949 and he would win again for the next two years, thus becoming the second man to have won three times and the only man to have won three consecutive times (which, the time of writing, has yet to be equaled). Magni is often described as being "a rare Italian in the Flemmish Classics," which at the time and for some years afterwards was true - riders from his country, perhaps due to the difficulties involved until the comparatively recent advent of cheap air travel and good quality roads through the Alps and perhaps due to being accustomed to the Italian weather, rarely took part in the races of Northern Europe and when they did they tended not to perform well. This seems to be changing in recent years with a number of Italian winners in this race, Paris-Roubaix and others. In 1949, Sportwereld - the newspaper that had created the Ronde - merged with Het Nieuwsblad ato become its sports section and the last four riders to reach the finish line were given bottles of massage oil as prizes.
La Flèche Wallonne was held on this day in 1979, the 43rd edition of the race. After many years in which the distance had decreased, it was 25km longer than the previous year at 248km between Esneux and Marcinelle. The winner was the great Breton Bernard Hinault, who later on that same year would win his third Tour de France. The race has never been held on this date since.
Fumiyuki Beppu, born in Kanagawa-ken on this day in 1983, is one of Japan's most successful road cyclists and one of the very few to have made a breakthrough into the almost entirely white, Caucasian European cycling scene, where he enjoys enormous popularity among fans.
(image credit: Josh Hallett CC BY-SA 2.0)
In 2008, he finished 3rd on Stage 1 at the Tour of Qatar and won the road race at the Asian Cycling Championships which that year took place in his home nation, then in 2009 - when the team rode on a wildcard invitation - he took part in his first Tour de France; sharing with Europcar's Yukiya Arashiro the honour of being among Japanese riders to take part in the race (neither of them were the first, however, and not by a long way - Kisso Kawamura had been there more than eight decades earlier). He finished in 8th place in Stage 3, 7th in Stage 19 and won the Combativity award for Stage 21, while Arashiro managed 5th in Stage 2. Beppu was 117th overall compared to Arashiro's 129th.
He began 2010 with Skil-Shimano but left the team to join Johan Bruyneel's Radioshack in February, thus making his return to the upper echelons of the sport. The rest of the year was spent racing in Europe and achieving some good results in prestigious races including the Tour of Austria, Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, Châteauroux - Classic de l'Indre and Tour of Poland, but overall victories remained out of grasp. 2011, however, proved to be his best year to date - he scored his best Grand Tour results yet with 2nd place in Stage 1 and 67th overall at the Giro d'Italia and won the National Time Trial and Road Race titles that he had lost in 2007. At the end of the year, the new Australian GreenEDGE team announced that Beppu would be joining them for the 2012 season.
|Ernie Mills and Bill Paul|
(image credit: Le Blog du Cyclisme Feminin)
Leonardo Duque, born on this day in 1980, was Colombian champion in Madison, Points and Scratch in 2003 - the same year he won a silver and a bronze at the PanAmerican Games. In 2006, he won the Tour du Limousin and a year later Stage 16 at the Vuelta a Espana. He was awarded the Combativity prize for Stage 19 at the 2009 Tour de France and was 12th in Stge 15, 2011.
Atle Kvålsvoll, born in Trondheim on this day in 1962, entered six Tours de France and finished four, his best result coming when he assisted Greg Lemond to victory in 1990 and took 26th place for himself making him one of the most successful Norwegian riders in the Tour after Thor Hushovd - whom he coaches. In 2011, he also took up a position as directeur sportif for the Plussbank Cervélo Continental team.
Other births: Gary Trowell (Australia, 1959); Léonard Daghelinckx (Belgium, 1900, died 1986); Wernell Reneau (Belize, 1965); Sandra Ambrosio (Argentina, 1963); Ali Sayed Darwish (United Arab Emirates, 1977); František Trkal (Czechoslovakia, 1970); Fabio Placanica (Argentina, 1970).