Friday, 28 March 2014

Daily Cycling Facts 28.03.2014

Paris-Roubaix was held on this date in 1937, the last time it would be held in March. Jules Rossi became the first Italian rider to win the race. The finish line was located on the Avénue Gustave Delory (formerly the Avénue des Villas) in Roubaix for the first time.

Ivan Gotti
Ivan Gotti, born in San Pellegrino Terme, Italy on this day in 1969, won the Giro d'Italia in 1997 and 1999 having come to the attention of the cycling world when he finished the 1995 Tour de France in 5th place. Unfortunately, Gotti may not have won his two Grand Tours entirely fairly - he was caught out in a doping control in 2001, which brought his career to an end; then shortly afterwards his marriage broke up too. Today, Gotti is a sales agent for Ferrero, the well-known Italian firm that produces - among many other things - every cyclist's favourite sandwich filling Nutella. When discussing the way his cycling days ended and the way in which the cycling world went after dopers in the early years of the 21st Century, he sounds bitter; however, he seems happy enough in his new life. (See "Do you remember Ivan Gotti?" La Repubblica)

Salvatore Commesso, born in Torre del Greco, Italy on this day in 1975, won Stage 13 at the 1999 Tour de France and then later that year won the National Road Race Championship. He also won Stage 18 of the 2002 Tour and a second National Championship in 2002.

Giovanni Pettenella, who was born in Caprino Veronese, Italy on this day in 1943 and died on the 20th of February 2010, won one gold and one silver medal at the 1964 Olympics. He also had perhaps the strangest claim to fame of any cyclist: he was the inspiration for a character named Pettenella Giovanni (do you see what they did there?) in a computer game called Mother 2, released in 1995. In the game, Pettenella has lost a contact lens in the sand of a desert. If the player can find it and keep it until reaching a bakery in a town later in the game, they will again meet Pettenella and can return the lens to him. To show his gratitiude, he rewards the player with a pair of stinky socks that can be used to overcome enemies in fights. He also appears in EarthBound, a game created by the same developer, as Penetella Giovanni.

Other cyclists born on this day: Aiga Zagorska (Lithuania, 1970); Giordano Turrini (Italy, 1942); Daniele Righi (Italy, 1976); Bjorn Hoeben (Netherlands, 1980); Ignatius Gronkowski (USA, 1897, died 1981); Józef Beker (Poland, 1937); Jacques Majerus (Luxembourg, 1916, died 1972); Chan Fai Lui (Hong Kong, 1955); Zhou Lingmei (China, 1968); Katsuo Nakatake (Japan, 1964); Martin Rittsel (Sweden, 1971); Ralph Berner (Germany 1968); Keith Harrison (Great Britain, 1933); Pedro Simionato (Argentina, 1938); Sidney Ramsden (Australia, 1901, died 1975 - not to be confused with Sydney Ramsden, another Australian cyclist born in 1902); Francisco Funes (El Salvador, 1950); Lloyd Binch (Great Britain, 1931).

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