A storied sport which respects its anniversaries, cycling is again going to celebrate some iconic places and champions in 2012. 2011 was eventful, with Raymond Poulidor's 75th birthday and the centenary of the Alps at the Tour de France, while the 100th edition of the Tour will be the source of much fanfare in 2013. In between, 2012 will remember and honour much of cycling's history as Cyclingnews discovers.
15th anniversary: Stephen Roche's triple crown
In 1987, Stephen Roche triumphed in the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the world championships. The triple is one of the unforgettable feats of cycling history, as only Eddy Merckx had achieved this before, in 1974. Irishman will be one of the stars of the cycling media in 2012. Yellow Jersey Press will publish his autobiography in May, titled "Angel or Demon".
55th anniversary: Jacques Anquetil’s first victory at the Tour
2012 is a double commemoration of "Maître Jacques." He died 15 years ago and won the first of his five Tours de France 55 years ago. The race will pay him a tribute in his home city, Rouen, Normandy, with a stage finish on the Fourth of July, and a start the day after. The region also decided to invest €50,000 to organize exhibitions and conferences, with several events throughout the year.
First anniversary: Wouter Weylandt’s tragic crash at the Giro d’Italia
In 2011, Belgian Wouter Weylandt, from Leopard Trek, died at the age of 26 following a crash at the Giro d'Italia. One year after his death, RCS organizers decided to pay homage to him on stage 3 of the race, in Horsen, Denmark. Weylandt passed away on stage 3 in 2011, between Genova and Livorno, while in 2010, he won stage 3 in Middelburg. It has also been decided his number, 108, won't be worn by any rider.
80th anniversary: Birth of Jean Stablinski
In 2012, Frenchman Jean Stablinski would have been 80 (like Luxembourg rider Charly Gaul, who died in 2005) and would have also celebrated the 50th anniversary of his triumph in the road world championship. In Salò, Italy in 1962, he beat his brother-in-law, Irishman Seamus Elliott by 1:22. Former riders like André Darrigade will take part the new Stablinski Day on May 20, near Roubaix, to remember their friend who died in 2007.
20th anniversary: Vincent Lavenu enters management
In 1992, Vincent Lavenu launched Chazal-Vanille Mûre, a modest team led by Jaan Kirsippuu, which later became Casino and AG2r-La Mondiale. The French manager will celebrate his 20th season at the head of a squad in early January, at home, in Savoie. For their part, two other French teams, FDJ and Cofidis, will celebrate in their 15th birthdays in 2012.
75th anniversary: Birth of Rudi Altig
2012 is a special year for German Rudi Altig: it will be his 75th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his victory at the Vuelta a España. As the Spanish race has still not unveiled its parcours, it's impossible to know if a stage will pay homage to Altig. Two other champions were born 75 years ago: Italian Vitorio Adorni, Giro winner in 1965 and world champion in 1968, and Briton Tom Simpson, who died on the Ventoux in 1967.
60th anniversary: Alpe d'Huez premieres at the Tour de France
In 1952, Tour de France included l'Alpe d'Huez and the Puy de Dôme for the first time. They were the first ever summit finishes and Fausto Coppi crushed the race that year. "L'Alpe" is not on the 2012 route – it was in 2011 and maybe in 2013, where it is rumoured that it might even be the site of the final stage, instead of the Champs-Elysées. The Col d'Izoard, which appeared in 1922, is left out this year, too. ASO has cut its long tradition of anniversary celebrations and will mainly focus on Anquetil's special year.
50th anniversary: Birth of Freddy Maertens and Jan Raas
Two former world champions will turn 60 in 2012. Belgian Freddy Maertens won the rainbow race it in 1976 and 1981, as well as dominating the Tour de France's sprints and the 1977 Vuelta a España overall. Dutchman Jan Raas, who became world champion in 1979, was a Classics specialist, who notched up wins at the Amstel Gold "Raas" (five times), Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders and Milan-San Remo.
10th anniversary: Mario Cipollini’s rainbow success
In 2002, aged 35, "Il Re Leone" won his dream classic, Milan-San Remo, and the world championships, on the all-flat circuit of Zolder, in Belgium. Without doubt, Cipollini will celebrate this special year with friends and maybe with a new Italian success in the Worlds, in Valkenburg. The "Squadra Azzurra" has a winning sequence when it comes to the second year of the decade: Basso triumphed in 72, Saronni in 82, Bugno in 92 and Cipollini in 2002.
110th anniversary: Birth of Alfredo Binda
The Italian champion was born in 1902 and died in 1986. His palmarès remains one of the best of last century: he won the world title three times, the Tour of Lombardy four times, Milan-San Remo two times, and held the record for stage victories at the Giro (41) until Cipollini broke it in 2003. There is now a Trofeo Binda, an UCI Women's World Cup, but the official website doesn't yet mention any event for its champion's anniversary.