|Uwe Raab at Paris-Roubaix|
Very few riders enjoy a career in competitive cycling as long as that of Geoff Cooke, who was born in Manchester on this day in 1944: his first major victory was the Sprint at the British Track Championships in 1963; almost half a century later he also won the Sprint for the 65-69 class at the World Championships in 2009. He has been a National Champion no fewer than 31 times, a World Masters Champion 18 times and held the World Masters Sprint Champion title for seven consecutive years between 1996 and 2002. In addition to racing, Cooke was a British Cycling coach for ten years and still works a youth coach to this day.
Julien Vermote, born in Kortrijk on this day in 1989, enjoyed an extremely successful amateur career and became Junior Champion of Belgium in 2004, came second in the Juniors Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2007 and was National Under-23 Time Trial Champion in 2009. He signed to QuickStep in 2011 and, as tends to be the case when a rider first moves up to the top level of the sport, had a quiet year whilst adjusting to the increased competition; overall victory at the Dreidaagse van West-Vlaanderen and tenth place for Stage 21 at the Giro d'Italia in 2012 suggests he's finding his feet.
Spain has produced many great climbers, but few as good as Aurelio González Puente who was born in Valle de Villaverde on this day in 1940 and spent his entire career with KAS-Kaskol. In 1966, only his second year as a professional, he came third in the King of the Mountains at the Tour de France; the year after that he was third overall at the Vuelta a Espana, then won the King of the Mountains at the Giro d'Italia; in 1968, he won his first Tour stage (Stage 6) and the King of the Mountains. It seems likely that Puente could have been another Bahamontes, winning a Tour in a year when the mountains were given especial importance (and had Eddy Merckx not dominated it so entirely in the coming years); however, from 1969 he began to experience bad luck and failed to finish that year or the next. In 1970, he retired after a relatively short career of seven years.
Brice Feillu, born in Châteaudun on this day in 1985, won Stage 7 and came 25th overall at the 2009 Tour de France when he rode for Agritubel, the team with which he started his professional career one year earlier. In 2010 he moved to Vacansoleil, then in 2011 to LeopardTrek, but won no races with either. In 2012 he moved again, this time to Saur-Sojasun, and picked up a series of good top ten finishes including fifth place on Stage 16 at the Tour, and remained with the team until its demise at the end of 2013. For 2014, Brice has been with Bretagne-Séché Environnement where he rides alongside his brother Romain (a sprinter, whereas Brice specialises in climbing) following a few years in which they rode on different teams.
Christophe Laurent won the King of the Mountains at the Tour de l'Avenir in 2002 and at the Tour of California in 2007. He was born in Mende, France, on this day in 1977.
Other cyclists born on this day: Romain Lemarchand (France, 1987); Ivan Kovalev (Russia, 1986); Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Italy, 1983); René Jørgensen (Denmark, 1975); Honorio Machado (Venezuela, 1982); Rudi Valenčič (Yugoslavia, 1941); Stanisław Zieliński (Poland, 1912, died 1939); Gottlieb Weber (Switzerland, 1910, died 1996); Jeon Dae-Heung (South Korea, 1976); Glenn Clarke (Australia, 1963); Errol Walters (Jamaica, 1956); Richard Ball (USA, 1944); Paul McCormack (Ireland, 1963); Étienne Chéret (France, 1886); Arne Klavenes (Norway, 1952); Anders Adamson (Sweden, 1957); Emil Schöpflin (Germany, 1910); Chris Wheeler (Australia, 1914, died 1984).