Today in Cycling History (OK, maybe not today, but, sometime around this date)


November 21, 1980 Eighteen year old Greg Lemond signs with the Renault/Gitane team to ride along side Bernard Hinault.

November 14, 1954  Cycling great Bernard Hinault is born this date.  He will retire on his birthday 32 years later.

November 8, 1985 Nicolas Frantz dies this date at the age of 86. He won the Tour de France in 1927 and then led the entire 1928 event (becoming one of only two riders to wear the yellow jersey from start

to finish).

November 7, 1869 The first bicycle road race, on a course from Paris to Rouen, 134 kilometers (83 miles), is sponsored by the newspaper Paris Vélocipède Illustré.  James Moore wins over more than 200 other racers, including 4 women.

November 5, 2000 France’s Jeannie Longo resets the women’s hour mark at 27.818 miles in Mexico City.  She would break this record again in just one month.

November 2, 2004 Dutch rider Gerrie Knetemann dies of a heart attack at the age of 53.  During his career he won 129 races including the 1978 world road championship and 10 stages of the Tour de France.

October 31, 1958 One of the greatest cyclist of all time, Jeannie Longo of France, is born.

October 30, 2014 Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling) sets a new world hour record in Aigle, Switzerland at the UCI’s 200-meter track, riding 51.852 kilometers 42 days after 43 year old Jens Voigt upped it to 51.115 Km.

October 30, 1967 Ferdinand Bracke, of the Peugeout-BP-Michelin team, sets the then current hour record at 29.885 miles at the velodrome in Rome.

October 26, 1996 Jeannie Longo of France extends the women’s hour record to 29.926 miles at the Olympic velodrome in Mexico City.  The distance is only about 0.8 miles short of the men’s record.

October 25, 1900 Will Stinson of Cambridge, Mass. sets the one hour paced record of 40 miles 330 yards at the Shoe City Oval in Brockton.

October 24, 1973 Levi Leipheimer is born in Butte,  Montana.

October 23, 2012 Lance Armstrong removes from social media accounts all references to his seven TdF wins thus bringing to an end, maybe, the results of USADA actions against him.

October 22, 1994 Swiss rider Tony Rominger, riding in Bordeaux, France, ups the hour record to 33.451 miles breaking Miguel Inderain’s previous mark of 32.959 miles. Rominger would up the record to 34.358 miles just two weeks later.

October 21, 1976 The first mountain bike race is held in Marin County, California as seven riders take part in the inaugural Repack Downhill.  The winner is Alan Brooks and is the only participant who did not crash.  Some things never change...

October 18, 1995 During a high speed descent in the Milan-Turin classic, Marco Pantani crashes severely breaking both lower left leg bones.  He misses the entire 1996 season riding crutches instead of a bicycle.  He would later return to the sport with a vengence.

October 14, 1997  Lance Armstrong signs with US Postal; Trek Bikes replaces GT as a major sponsor.

October 13, 1967 UCI votes to not allow the new hour record set by Jacques Anquetil of 29.513 miles because he fails to provide a post-record urine sample as required by the UCI.

October 12, 1999 Luke David Armstrong is born to Lance and Kristen Armstrong almost three years to the day after his father is operated on to remove a cancerous growth that had spread to several of his father’s vital organs.

October 8, 1996 Lance Armstrong announces he has stage three testicular cancer.  Several months earlier he had become the youngest rider to win the Flèche Wallonne race, one of the Five Monuments of Bicycle Racing.

October 7, 1969 Belgian 1921 TdF winner Leon Scieur dies at the age of 81.

October 5, 1934 Frank Southall of England sets a world record for 24 hours of unpaced cycling covering 457 miles breaking the old record of 431.5 miles.

October 4, 1946 State, national and international race champion Patricia Roberts is born this date along with her twin sister.  Happy birthday, Pat!

October 3, 1996 Lance Armstrong is operated on to remove a cancerous testicle that is in stage 3 of choriocarcinoma.  The cancer has also spread to his abdomen, lungs and brain.  He vows to beat the disease and ride again professionally.

October 3, 1995  Dutch cyclist Fred Rompleberg pedals in the slipstream of a dragster at 167.044 mph (268.831 km/h), a record that still stands.  Fred, who holds a number of bicycle speed records, was 50 years old when he set the Absolute World Speed Record for Cycling. He is still the world’s oldest professional cyclist.

October 2, 2000 A judge in Ghent, Belgium finds former Festina team physician Eric Ryckaert guilty of trafficking Eprex, a form of EPO, in the three years prior to the 1998 TdF leading to what the press referred to as the”Festina Affair.”  He was fined 600,000 Belgium francs or the rough equivalent of $13,000 USD.

October 1, 1961 Eddie Merckx records his first official cycling victory at a race held in Lettelingen, Belgium. He entered his first debutant race 2 1/2 months earlier and finished sixth.

September 29, 1956 Belgian world road champion Stan Ockers crashes during a race while trying to avoid a fan standing next to the velodrome track at Antwerp.  He is grievously injured and dies of his injuries two days later.

September 28, 1942 The short-lived Circuit de France, a six stage race covering 958 miles, begins and is sponsored by La France Socialiste newspaper.  Six teams and 72 riders participate and is won by the Belgian François Neuville.

September 27, 1967 Jacques Anquetil rides  29.513 miles in an hour on the velodrome in Milan, Italy.  This mark would have set a new hour record were it not for the fact that the Bic team rider returned to his hotel immediately afterwards and failed to furnish the required urine sample.  The Italian Cycling Federation voted overwhelmingly not to recognize the record due to the lack of a drug testing sample.

September 25, 1958 Mildred Robinson of the UK increased the women’s hour record to 24.681 miles.  It would stand for six weeks.

September 24, 1884 Future TdF winner Gustave Garrigou born this date.

September 23, 1987 Jeannie Longo of France breaks her own world hour record by covering 27.921 miles at the velodrome in Colorado Springs.  She would also win her third world road race title this same year.  She will win more in years to come

September 20, 2007 Floyd Landis is formally stripped of his TdF general classification victory and it is awarded to Oscar Pereiro.

September 19, 1880 Meeting in Boston, the League of American Wheelmen adopt the rule defining an amateur cyclist.

September 18, 2014 Jens Voight, riding for Trek Factory Racing, sets a new “best human” hour record covering 51.115 Km at a velodrome in Switzerland.  His last official event before retiring.

September 18, 1971 Maxwell “Lance” Armstrong born this day in Plano, TX.  In 21 years, 11 months and 11 days he will win the cycling road race world championship.

September 17, 2011 Forsythbike webmaster’s daughter married this day.

September 16, 1978 Cornelia Van Oosten-Hage of the Netherlands extends the women’s hour record to 26.771 miles at the velodrome in Munich. Germany.

September 15, 2013 Chris Horner, riding for the RadioShack-Leopard-Trek team, becomes the oldest rider to win the General Classification in a Grand Tour race as he finishes ahead of Vincenzo Nibali of Astana by +37 seconds.  He is 41 years and 10 months old.

September 14, 1914 Emile Engle is the first TdF rider to be lost to war as he is killed this date during the early stages of WWI. He had placed tenth overall in 1913 and won stage three in the 1914 event.

September 13, 1958 Russell Mockridge of Australia is hit by a bus and killed while competing in the Tour of  Gippsland in Clayton North, Australia.  He had competed in the TdF two years earlier.

September 11, 2001 Bankrupt bicycle company Schwinn/GT is bought at auction by  Chris Hornung of Pacific Cycle and Kevin Lamar of Nautilus.

September 9, 1968 After signing with Faema earlier in the year, Eddie Merckx suffers a horrific crash at the Blois, France velodrome when the lights go out during a motopaced race. His derny driver is killed and Merckx suffers multiple severe skeletal and nerve injuries that would eventually end his storied career as a bicycle racer.  He still dominated the sport through the early 1970’s but not in the emphatic and effortless manner that had been his style prior to the accident.

September 8, 2004 Michael Rodgers of Australia is awarded the World Time Trial championship after David Millar of Great Britain fails the post race drug test.

September 6, 1996 Chris Boardman, using the “Superman position”, breaks Tony Rominger’s two year old hour record with a distance of 35.031 miles at the velodrome in Manchester, England.

September 4, 1949 Paul Choque of France dies following a crash on the Parc des Princes Velodrome.  Choque was a multiple stage winner in the TdF and was a multiple French cyclocross champion. He was 39.

September 2, 1914 Bobby Walthour sets the record for the paced 50 miles covering that distance in 1H 02m and 49.4s and was witnessed by over 6,000 spectators.

August 31, 2010 Tour de France double winner (1983-1984) Laurent Fignon dies at the age of 50 following an extended fight against cancer.  In addition to the TdF, Fignon won two of the monuments of cycling and the Giro d’Italia as well as a total of 76 career wins as an outstanding professional cyclist.

August 29, 1993 At the age of 21 years 11 months 11 days, Lance Armstrong wins the World Road Race Championship becoming the third youngest to do so.

August 27, 1969 1967 TdF stage 11 winner José Samyn of the Bic team dies three days after colliding with a program seller during the Prix de Zingem  exhibition race in Belgium.  This was well before the mandatory helmet rules in pro cycling...

August 26, 1956 Rik Van Steenbergen just edges out fellow Belgian countryman Rik Van Looy for the world road championship thus beginning the “ Battle of the Riks.”

August 25, 1933 Jan van Hout of the Netherlands breaks Oscar Egg’s nineteen year old one hour record by riding 27.707 miles.  He would hold the record four days...

August 24, 1940 With war clouds looming, the Circuit de L’Ouest is cancelled after five of eight stages are completed.  Briek Schotte of Belgium, the current leader, is declared the winner.

August 24, 2012 Lance Armstrong, after a multiyear battle with USADA, elects not to enjoin arbitration regarding doping allegations opening the door for a potential stripping of his seven TDF titles and life-long suspension from any USADA administered event.

August 23, 1977 Bryan Atten, riding what amounted to a recumbent bicycle with wings,  wins the Kremer Challenge prize of $25K by flying a one mile figure eight course in the Gossamer Albatross. This was the first truly successful instance of human powered flight involving self-propulsion with sustained flight and navigation.

August 21, 1913 During a tit for tat battle of early strongmen in the sport of cycling, Oscar Egg of Switzerland regains the hour record from Marcel Berthet of France who had broken Egg’s record of 26.559 miles in one hour just 13 days earlier.   Egg raises the record to 27.046 mph.  Berthet will retake the record in September but that will be for another posting.

August 20, 1965 1912 Tour de France winner Odile Defraye dies at the age of 77.

August 18, 1991 Dutch rider Bert Oosterbosch of the T.I Raleigh-Creda team dies of a heart attack just two years after his retirement.  He was 32.  During his career he won three stages of the TdF in the early 1980’s and was a member of the team when Joup Zoetemelk won the general classification.

August 16, 1940 Henri Desgrange, founder of the Tour de France, dies in his sleep at his villa on the Cote d’Azure, following declining health.  Often described, in a good way, as a “hard man,” it is reported that he would time himself with a stopwatch while trying to better his time as he hobbled across his bedroom in the days before his death.

August 15, 1945 Frenchman Dante Gianello, winner of the 13th stage of the 1938 TdF, is struck by a US Army jeep during the Grand Prix du Débarquement and loses a leg.  A team mate, Bruno Carini, is killed.  The jeep does not stop and the driver never found.  (Some things never change.)

August 14, 1891 Frenchman Charles Terront, riding for the Michelin team on a 46 pound bicycle, wins the initial Paris-Brest-Paris race averaging 10 mph.  First major use of pneumatic bicycle tires.

August 12, 1960 Future Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon is born.

August 11, 1902  Italian cycling great Alfredo Binda is born. Binda won an amazing 41 stages of the Giro d’Italia from 1925-33 including one year in which he won 12 of the 15 stages.  He was a multiple world champion and won numerous other major cycling events during his career.

August 10, 2007 Tailwind Sports general manager Bill Stapleton announces that Discovery Communications will no long sponsor the Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Team after that year.

August 9, 1896 Evan Anderson rides a mile in one minute and three seconds while drafting behind a locomotive and rail car of the St. Louis, Chicago and St. Paul Railroad.

August 8, 1972 Axel Merckx, son of the legendary Eddie Merckx of Belgium, is born.  Eddie was preparing for an assault on the world hour record and has just won his fourth TdF with six stage wins.

August 4, 1884 Henri Cornet, the youngest rider to ever win the Tour de France (19 Y 11M 20d), is born.  He wins the tour’s second edition in 1904 when a dozen riders finishing ahead of him are disqualified from the race.  He becomes the first rider to be awarded the overall Tour victory retroactively.  This will not occur again until 2006 when Oscar Pereiro wins following Floyd Landis’ DQ for doping allegations.

August 3, 1914 Tour de France founder Henri Desgrange, in L’Auto, prints an impassioned plea for all cyclist to join in the fight against the Germans who have invaded France early in WWI.

August 1, 1943 L’Auto, in the midst of WWII, sponsors the Grand Prix des Alpes featuring climbs over the Col de Télégraph and Croix de Fer.

July 28, 1991 Miguel Indurain wins the Tour de France for the first of five consecutive times.

July 27, 2014 Vincenzo Nibali of Team Astana wins the GC of the Tour de France becoming the sixth man to win all three grand tours at least once.

July 26, 2015 Chris Froome, riding for Sky Racing, wins his second TdF taking both the GC (Yellow) and Mountain Climbing (Polka Dot) jerseys.

July 25, 2007 Basque separatist set off bombs in the Navarra region of Spain near Belagua in an effort to disrupt the Tour de France as it passed near there.  No one was injured and the tour continued.

July 22, 2012 Bradley Wiggins, of the Sky Pro cycling team, becomes the first British national to win the General Classification of the TdF.

July 18, 1914 Italian cycling great Gino Bartali was born this date in Florence.  He won the Giro d’Italia twice in  1936 and 1937 and the Tour de France in 1938 then again in 1948.  The tour was disrupted during much of this span of ten years by WWII.  The years between wins gives Bartali the distinction of having the greatest period of time between victories in the Tour de France.

July 17, 1946 Eric LeMan born this date in Belgium.  He shares the record for most wins in the Tour of Flanders at three in 1970. 1972 and 1973 and placed third in Paris-Roubaix in 1970.

July 16, 1964 Miguel Indurain, five time winner of the Tour de France, is born.

July 15, 1953 Alan N. born somewhere deep in the heart of Georgia.

July 13, 1967 British cycling champion Tom Simpson dies from exhaustion, during the Tour de France, while attempting the climb of Mount Ventoux.  A monument commemorates the event at the location of his passing on the wind-swept and desolate landscape that is the Giant of Provence.

July 10, 1899 Henri Suter was born.  The Swiss rider owns the record of six victories in his home-country's classic.  He also won two of the five monuments of cycling.

July 9, 1928 Federico Bahamontes born on this date.  Known as the “Eagle of Toledo”, the climbing star was the first Spanish rider to win the Tour de France. He was also the first person to win six Mountains Jerseys in the Tour de France.

July 8, 1917 At the Newark Velodrome Frank L. Kramer lost his USA Sprint Cycling crown for the first time since 1908 to a fellow named Arthur.  Exact details are lost to history.

July 7, 1933 Francis Faure set the one hour record o 45.055 km (27.996 mi) riding an aerodynamic recumbent, but in 1934 the UCI rejected recumbents.  The current record now is about 56 km using maximum aerodynamic equipment (also called Best Human Effort) and 49.7 km on Merckx-style equipment (recognized by UCI since 1972 as the One Hour Record.)

July 5, 1879 Noted bicyclist Wentworth Rollins begins a riding trip through upstate New York intending to cover 175 miles on his ordinary, which he completes.  On the first day he is caught in a heavy thunderstorm and, fearing for his safety on the steel and iron bicycle, takes refuge under a large tree.  His entire week-long trip is given front page coverage in the New York Times.

July 1, 1903 First Tour de France begins; it was a Wednesday. George Lefevre conceived the idea to race bicycles nearly 2,500 kilometers around France with the first start in the town of Montgeron.  The initial tour was composed of six stages averaging over 400 km each.  Of the original 60 starting riders, 21 finished, led by the first winner of the Tour- Maurice Garin.

June 30, 1899 Charles “Mile-a-Minute” Murphy makes his immortal ride covering a mile in 57.8 seconds, (just over 60 mph).  He rides behind a specially outfitted train car and is nearly killed when the train brakes too suddenly at the end of the trial.

June 29, 1919  The 13th Tour de France begins the day after the peace treaty is signed in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles officially ending WWI.

June 27, 2006 The Court of Arbitration for Sport rules that Tyler Hamilton can keep the gold medal he received for the time trial in the 2004 Olympics.  He was suspended from competition due to PED use.

June 17, 1945 Eddie Merckx is born this date.  Arguably the greatest...

June 15, 2004 Discovery Communications announces its takeover of sponsorship of the former US Postal cycling team.  It is joined in ownership by Tailwind Sports and Capital Sports and Entertainment.

June 12, 1979 Bryan Allen pedals the Gossamer Albatross to the first successful human-powered flight across the English Channel.  The Oscar winning cycling movie Breaking Away is playing at the movies.  The part of one of the Italian Cinzano riders is played by John Vande Velde, father of Garmin-Cervélo rider Christian Vande Velde. The rider Dennis Christopher’s character beats in the movie’s race scene is portrayed by Indiana U. student Bill Brissman whose team would win the real Little 500 for the third consecutive time in 1981.  He was a member of the Delta Chi team.

June 10, 1921 Jean Robic, the hobgoblin of Bréton, born this date in Ardennes, France.  Nickname came from his being only 5’ tall and weighing 130 pounds. Known for his foul mouth and fouler disposition, he raced professionally from 1943-1961, winning the TdF in 1947.

June 9, 1945  Future TdF winner (1973) Luis Ocaña is born this date. During the ’71 TdF, Ocaña was leading the tour by over eight minutes when he collided with a fallen Eddie Merckx on a hard descent of the Col de Menté.  Slow to get into riding position, he was slammed by the oncoming Joop  Zoetemelk and injured beyond continuing.  Merckx was able to win the day and the yellow jersey in Ocaña’s absence but refused to wear the jersey out of concern and respect for the Spanish rider. Cycling’s best at their best.

June 8, 1934  Jacques Anquetil is born this date in Mont-St. Aignan, near Rouen, France.

June 7, 2015 Sir Bradley Wiggins sets a new hour record. Wiggins’s distance of 54.526 km eclipsed the previous record of 52.937km set by fellow British rider Alex Dowsett in Manchester in May of this year.

June 6, 2001 During the running of the 84th Giro d’Italia, police raid team hotels in San Remo arresting several team personnel.  Riders protest and refuse to ride the next day’s stage causing its cancellation.  Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Daikin) wins the GC.  Not cycling’s finest hour...

June 3, 2003 French rider 23 year old Fabrice Salanson is found dead in his hotel room the morning before the first stage of the Tour of Germany.  An autopsy could not pinpoint the exact cause of death but speculation was that EPO use played a role.

June 1, 1965 The French legislature unanimously passes the Herzog Law that went into effect this date making it a crime to dope in sport.  The law put in place penalties of fines and imprisonment for up to a year.

June 1, 1924 Giuseppe Enrici wins the Giro de Italia. As he was born in Pittsburg, PA in 1898 to Italian parents, he was technically a US citizen thus making him the first such to win a Grand Tour. However, his family moved back to Genoa when he was a young child thus clouding the issue a bit and he always claimed Italian citizenship.

May 31, 1880 The League of American Wheelmen is formed this date in Newport, Rhode Island.

May 29. 1965 Jacques Anquetil (Ford France-Gitane) finishes the Dauphiné Libéré this date and starts the 557-kilometer Bordeaux–Paris event eight hours later. He wins both events.

May 24, 1878 The first American bicycle race takes place in Boston at Beacon Park  and is won by Harvard student C.A. Parker.

May 24, 1956  Future cycling great Sean Kelly born this date.

May 18, 1928 Tony Pizzo, on a wager, rides from Los Angeles to New York while chained to his bicycle.  He began his trek on October 30, 1927 and ends this date.  He is quoted as saying he would not do it again for a $Million.

May 17, 1978 At the age of 32, Eddie “the Cannibal” Merckx retires from racing.

May 14, 1940 From January 1, 1939 to this date,  British cyclist Tommy Godwin rides 100,000 miles in 500 days ending on May 14, 1940. 75,065 miles of the total were ridden in the 365 days of 1939.

May 11, 1893 Henri Desgrange (future TdF founder/director) sets a new hour record at 21.820 miles.

May 10, 1924 Alfonsina Strada becomes the first, and only, female to ride a Grand Tour. Due to a strike by many of the event’s elite, the organizers allowed individuals to enter if they paid their own way.   She was listed as Alfonsin to mask her gender and completed seven of the twelve stages before being eliminated. However, due to her competitiveness, organizers allowed her to complete the tour though not counting in the final totals.

May 9, 2015 Lauren R. Komanski becomes Winston-Salem’s second leader of a domestic professional tour taking the top step and Yellow Jersey in stage two of the women’s division of the Amgen TOC. The first... Thomas Craven won the prolog in the inaugural Tour de Trump taking the top spot for that day about 1988.

May 9, 2011  Wouter Weylandt dies following a crash during the third state of the Giro d’Italia.  He rode professionally for Quick Step and Leopard Trek.  He was a close friend and training partner of Tyler Farrar.

May 9, 1837 Adam Opel, best known for building sewing machines and automobiles, is born this date in Rüsselsheim, Germany.  When the sewing machine business began to falter, he switched to making bicycles as well as cars.  His bikes were known to be among the best of their time.  Additionally, his five sons were all champion bicycle racers.

May 5, 2000 Cycling great Gino Bartali dies at the age of 85.  A two time winner of the TdF and 3 times on the top of the podium in the Giro d’Italia, he is considered by many to be the last of the original giants of cycling.  He still holds the record for the greatest time difference between TdF wins at ten years.

May 4, 1933  Tullio Campagnolo starts Campagnolo S.P.A. in Vicenza, Italy and this date receives a patent for his new rear derailleur mechanism.

April 29, 1995 Catherine Marsal of France increases the women’s hour record to 28.654 miles at Bordeaux, France.

April 23, 2013 Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi announces his retirement from professional racing at the age of 39.  During his career, mostly with the Fassa Bortolo and Team Milram squads, he won 48 grand tour stages and 200 individual race titles.  “Ale Jet”

April 23, 2004 The US Postal Service announces the end of sponsorship of its pro cycling team.  Discovery Communications will take over for the next three years followed by RadioShack to present.

April 19, 1896 The “Queen of the Classics”, Paris-Roubaix, is run for the first time, on Easter, and won by the German Josef Fischer.  Nearly half of the listed field fails to show up including TdF founder Henri Desgrange.

April 15, 1936 Perennial TdF runner up, but outstanding cyclist, Raymond Poulidor is born this date. TdF winner Pedro Delgado is born 24 years later.

April 14, 1900  Cycling’s governing body, Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), is instituted this date replacing the former International Cyclists Association.

April 10, 1910 Seventeen years old Randolf Perrot of Clinton, NJ was seriously injured when he endoed his bike and fell head first into a beehive being transported on the back of a wagon.  He was speeding down a hill and, in a racer’s crouch, did not see the wagon until it was too late.  The wagon driver, one Jacob Trautwein, assisted young Randolf in removing the bees after which Perrot pedaled himself home.

April 7, 1962  Andy Hampsten, the first and only American to win the Giro d’Italia, is born this date.

April 5, 1991 Following rider protests on March 25th, during Paris-Niece, it is ruled that riders may or may not wear hard-shelled helmets while racing, depending on conditions of the race.

April 3, 1964 Bjarne Riis is born in Denmark. Riis won the 1996 TdF but was later stripped of the title after admitting to using performance enhancing drugs during that time.  He has been director of the pro cycling team CSC.

April 2, 1977 French gourmand Monsieu Mangetout completes consumption of a bicycle that he began eating on March 17th.

March 23, 1871 Future Tour de France winner Maurice Garin is born. Garin won the initial TdF in 1903 and again in 1904.  However, he was stripped of his ’04 victory, along with eight other riders, for cheating.  It is alleged he took a train over part of the course, among other things illegal.  He was barred from competing for two years.  The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.

March 18, 1981 Fabian Cancellera is born in Switzerland.  He will become the first child of the ’80’s to win a stage in the TdF.

March 17, 1977 Beginning this date, French gourmand “Monsieu Mangetout  (rough translation: Mr. eats everything) consumes an entire bicycle after it’s been reduced to filings and small parts.

March 17, 1948 Fausto Coppi wins Omloop Het Volk spring classic race but is disqualified for taking a wheel from someone not a member of his team.  Sylvain Grysolle of Belgium Zircon is declared the winner.

March 13, 1972  VeloNews first published this date.  Beginning as Northeast Bicycle News in Brattleboro, Vermont, after two years it became Cyclenews, then Velo-news and now VeloNews.

March 12, 2003 Andrei Kivilev of the Cofidis team dies in Saint-Etienne’s Bellevue Hospital the day after crashing during the second stage of Paris–Nice. Countryman Alexandre Vinokourov, riding for the Telekom team, wins the day’s race dedicating the victory to his friend. His death was instrumental in the final decision to require helments in all sanctioned UCI events.

March 12, 1984 During the Paris-Nice spring classic, striking French miners attempted to disrupt the race during its running. An altercation erupted and punches were thrown by many of the cyclists including one by a very angry Bernard Hinault that was caught by a photographer (a picture, not a punch.)

March 1, 1988  Bicycle shops in New York start applying stickers to packaging of Kryptonite locks reading, “This Kryptonite lock is not guaranteed in New York City.” In spite of this, and other such locks, as many as 100,000 bicycles are stolen in the city each year.  Besides, the $1000 warranty would not even buy a deluxe set of wheels today.

February 21, 1995 Nestor Mora, Augusto Gonzalez and Hernan Patino of the Manzana-Postobon team are struck and killed by a truck during a training ride near Medellín, Colombia.  This remains one of the most deadly professional cycling accidents in history.

February 14, 2004  Marco Pantani, who in 1998 became the seventh rider (and second Italian after Fausto Coppi) to win the Giro and the Tour in the same year, dies of “heart problems” possibly caused by a drug overdose, on this day. He was 34 and, other than the alleged doping, one of the great talents.

February 11, 1878 Boston Bicycle Club forms as the first of its kind in the USA.

February 8, 1930 Tullio Campagnolo is granted a patent for his new quick release hub.

February 2, 1870 Veloce Club Fiorentino puts on Italy’s first road race run from Florence to Pistoia, a distance of about 32 kilometers (20 miles).

February 1-29 • According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Sundays and Mondays from 3 to 6 AM in February are the safest times to ride.  A bit dark and early for me...

January 29, 1865  On this date, Henri Desgrange, future organizer of the Tour de France, and his twin brother Georges are born in Paris.

January 27, 1874 Eddie “the Cannon” Bald of Buffalo, NY born this date.  He set the one mile bicycle speed record of 2 min. 04 sec. in 1895.

January 22, 1885  Eugène Christophe, the first man to officially wear the Tour de France’s yellow leader’s jersey, is born this date.

January 13, 1970  Marco Pantani is born on this date.  He was a winner of both the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, one of a rare breed to accomplish this double.

January 6, 1995 Component maker SunTour withdraws from the United States bicycle market.

January 5, 1934 French company MAVIC receives a patent for an aluminum alloy bicycle rim.

January 3, 1980 Lucien Buysse, winner of the 1926 Tour de France, dies at the age of 86.

January 2, 1997 Miguel Indurain announces his retirement from professional cycling.

January 1, 1986  Beginning on this day, hard-shell helmets become mandatory at all USCF-sanctioned events.  Also, effective January 1, 2001, UCI rule 1.3.019 mandates that bicycles used in sanctioned events can weigh no less than 14.99 pounds (6.8 kilograms).

December 31, 1988 Greg LeMond leaves PDM and signs a contract with a team sponsored by Coors Lite.  The one year contract is worth $500,000- a handsome sum at that time.

December 21, 1932 Future TdF winner Charly Gaul born this date.

December 14, 1946 The International Cycling Union approves as a world record Fausto Coppi’s unpaced hour mark of 28.504 miles set over four years earlier but delayed by events surrounding WWII.

December 12, 1976 The longest cycle tour on record (of more than 402,000 miles amassed by England’s Walter Solle) ended this date. From January 24, 1959, to December 12, 1976, he covered 159 countries, had 5 bicycles stolen and another 231 various other robberies, along with over 1,000 flat tires.

December 6, 2005 Charly Gaul dies of a pulmonary embolism on December 6,  after a fall at his Luxembourg home.  Known as the Angel of the Mountains, he won the TdF in 1958 and the Gd’I in 1956 and 1959. He was 72.

December 4-9, 1899 First bicycle races held at Madison Square Garden following passage of the Collins Law forbidding cycling events lasting more than twelve consecutive hours.  Cyclists broke into teams of two taking turns racing laps.  This style of racing became known as a Madison.

December 3, 1994 Greg Lemond announces his retirement from professional cycling.

November 30, 1937  Future world champion Tom Simpson (GBR) is born.  He would meet an untimely end on the slopes of Mt. Ventoux while suffering through a tough stage of the 1967 TdF after consuming amphetamines and alcohol before the day’s race.  He still remains one of the best.

November 25, 1972 Italy’s Maria Cressari increases the 14-year-old women’s hour record to 25.770 miles in Mexico City.

Many, but not all, of the events found here appear in the publication Bicycle History by James C. Witherell.

Tour de France late 1930’s

Tour de France post WWII