Roger De Vlaem­inck

Procycling - - Rider Diaries -

24 Aug 1947 – Eddy Mer­ckx once said, “When all’s said and done, Roger was just bet­ter than the rest. I re­spected ev­ery­one but he was the only one I re­ally feared.”

Where to start with the ‘Gypsy of Eeklo’? He is one of only three rid­ers to have won all five Mon­u­ments. Add in a record-set­ting four Paris-Roubaix, three Mi­lano-San­remo and two Giri di Lom­bar­dia and, sta­tis­ti­cally at least, you have one of the best ever Clas­sics rid­ers. Over his 15-year ca­reer, De Vlaem­inck won over 500 bike races.

Even the num­bers, though, don’t tell the full tale. He turned pro in 1969, at the height of Mer­ck­x­ism. Many of his great­est wins were over Mer­ckx and when Eddy called it quits, the war­rior De Vlaem­inck sim­ply turned to Moser, Hin­ault and Maertens, the gi­ants of the next gen­er­a­tion. He also won Het Volk, Fléche and the 1975 cy­clo-cross Worlds; the road ver­sion is the one glar­ing omis­sion from his pal­marès.

Though he sel­dom rode the Tour, his Giro record – four points jer­seys and 22 stages – was ex­cep­tional, and he was all but un­beat­able in short stage races. He won Tir­reno-Adri­atico a record six times.

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