Sacramento-area cycling through the years
05/04/2014 7:36 PM
05/12/2014 6:41 AM
1961• The Nevada City Classic debuts, with about 50 riders and 1,500 spectators. Prizes include an outboard motor, transistor radios and gold nuggets. It’s now the country’s second-oldest annual race.
1970• John Howard, a triathlon pioneer and three-time Olympian, laps the Nevada City Classic field by mid-race and nearly laps the field again en route to victory.
1979• Greg LeMond, riding in the senior race as a junior, escapes from the field in mid-race and wins the Nevada City Classic.
1986• French rider Bruno Cornillet enters downtown Sacramento with a 20-second solo lead in a stage of the Coors Classic. He finishes fifth after getting lost in the final mile, but he is declared the winner over Greg LeMond after LeMond recommends to officials that “Wrong Way” Cornillet should be the winner because the course was poorly marked.
1987• Greg LeMond, a part-time resident of Rancho Murieta, is accidentally shot by his brother-in-law while turkey hunting in Lincoln. He returns to win the 1989 Tour de France by nine seconds over the now-deceased Frenchman Laurent Fignon.
1989• Scott McKinley, a Sacramento pro, 1988 Olympian and criterium specialist, crashes and nearly impales himself on a post on the cobblestones in the inaugural Old Sacramento Criterium. He suffers a punctured lung and several other injuries.
2007• The Tour of California debuts in Sacramento with Argentinean sprinter Juan Jose Haedo winning the second stage from Santa Rosa to Capitol Mall.
2008• Mario Cipollini of Italy, one of cycling’s more colorful and charismatic riders, makes a brief retirement comeback and finishes third in the Tour of California’s second stage from Santa Rosa to Sacramento.
• Chad Gerlach of West Sacramento, winner of more than 100 pro and amateur races, is a subject of the A&E reality television program “Intervention.” After leaving cycling in 2003, he becomes a drug addict and lives as a panhandler on the streets of Sacramento for five years. In 2009, he returns to cycling, wins a handful of second- and third-tier pro races and the leaves the sport for good after several relapses.
2009• Lance Armstrong competes for the first time in North America in his second comeback on the opening day of Tour of California in Sacramento. He finishes 10th in the prologue, which Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland wins. The following day, bikes belonging to Armstrong and other teammates are stolen from a team truck parked in downtown Sacramento. Armstrong’s bike, valued at $10,000, is returned four days later.
• Armstrong wins the Nevada City Classic.
2010• The Tour of California switches from February to May, and Mark Cavendish of Great Britain wins the opening stage from Nevada City to Sacramento.
• The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame relocates from Somerville, N.J., to Davis. Its accompanying museum offers a diverse and detailed history of cycling.
2011• A freak May snowstorm in South Lake Tahoe prompts the cancellation of Stage 1 of the Tour of California. The original second stage is shortened, and its departure point changes from Squaw Valley to Nevada City. Ben Swift of Great Britain claims the stage ending in Sacramento.
2013• The Land Park Criterium, which attracts youth riders to seniors to pros, celebrates its 40th anniversary.
2014• Unheralded Evan Huffman, 24, of Elk Grove begins his second season with Astana. It’s the top-level pro team sponsored by Kazakhstan businessmen and named after the country’s capital city, Astana.
– James Raia
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