(image credit: Bundesarchiv CC SA-BY 3.0)
Happy birthday Christa Luding-Rothenburger, born on this day in 1959 in Weißwasser, East Germany. Like many cyclists, she also excelled in speed skating and became known as one of the world's fastest sprinters in the sport. She began cycling to maintain off-season fitness at the suggestion of her coach and later husband, soon realising that she could be successful in both sports. However, the East German sports federation wanted her to concentrate on skating, but eventually gave permission in 1986 and she won a gold medal at the World Track Championships that same year.
Two years later, Rothenburger became the first woman (and third athlete of all time) to win medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympics - she is the only athlete to have done so in the same year (1988).
Rob Harmeling, born in Nijverdal, Netherlands on this day in 1964, won a 100km Amateur Time Trial World Championship in 1986. As a professional, he rode three Tours de France and achieved fame by being Lanterne Rouge in 1991. In 1992, he surprised many by winning Stage 3, then in 1994 he was disqualified when judges spotted him getting towed by a TVM-Bison team car.
Harmeling wins Stage 3, 1992 Tour de France
José Gómez del Moral, born in Cabra de Cordoba, Spain on this day in 1931, won the second Vuelta a Andalucia in 1955 - the first was held in 1925, followed by a 30 year gap - and the Vuelta a Colombia in 1957, thus becoming one of the only three non-Colombian riders to have won the notoriously dangerous race in its 60 year history (the others, incidentally, were José Beyaert of France in 1952 and José Rujano of Venezuela in 2009).
Wayne Stetina, born in the USA on this day in 1953, represented his country at the Olympics in 1972 and 1976 and has a respectable list of cycling accomplishments to his name, but his influence on the cycling world has been far greater. As vice president of Shimano America, he has been instrumental in the development and introduction of some of the most revolutionary new components in cycling history, some of which have transformed the sport. Among them are the first mass-market clipless pedals (LOOK developed theirs first), ramped gear systems (which ensure smoother, more accurate shifting) and what is commonly credited as being the first indexed gear system (though in actual fact, Joannie Panel rode in the 1912 Tour de France on a bike equipped with an indexed gear system of his own invention). As a highly respected rider, it was his use and popularisation of these products that ended Campagnolo's monopolisation of the high quality drive chain market.
(image credit: Coda2 CC BY-SA 2.0)
Happy birthday to Georges Lüchinger, Chief Press Officer at the BMC Racing Team.
Other cyclists born on this day: Fabrice Jeandesboz (France, 1984); Lin Chih-Hsun (Taipei, 1980); Wang Li (China, 1962); Grzegorz Piwowarski (Poland, 1971); Tauno Lindgren (Finland, 1911, died 1991); Philippus Innemee (Netherlands, 1902, died 1963); Matija Kvasina (Croatia, 1981); Eleuterio Mancebo (Spain, 1968); Andrew Martin (Guam, 1961); Adam Ptáčník (Czechoslovakia, 1985); Tilahun Woldesenbet (Ethiopia, 1959); Jackie Martin (South Africa, 1971); Jacques Landry (Canada, 1969); Steve Jones (Great Britain, 1957); Gianpaolo Grisandi (Italy, 1964).