Roger De Vlaeminck during 1974 Paris-Roubaix (NEGT0672005)

Roger De Vlaeminck turns 75

Roger De Vlaeminck is Erik's younger brother. The two brothers share a passion for cycling. When Mr. Paris-Roubaix in 1963 decides to leave football aside and discovers the bike, it's the start of a great carreer. During his first season, 1964, he won 17 races in the junior category. It soon becomes clear that he is a formidable opponent, both on the road and in the field. He is one of the few riders who succeeds in beating Eddy Merckx and Freddy Maertens. Through some unique collection pieces and photos, we look back at his richly filled career.

Monsieur Paris-Roubaix

Roger De Vlaeminck will forever be linked with Paris-Roubaix, not least due to his nickname. Although he also won other races, he was definitely glued to his bike during this cobbled classic. For a long time, he was the only rider who managed to win the Hell's Highway Classic four times (1972, 1974, 1975 and 1977). A record that was only equalled by Tom Boonen in 2012, but never broken.

Transferring to Sanson

In 1978, he transferred from Brooklyn to Sanson. There he appears at the start of several races together with the reigning world champion, Francesco Moser. Together, they rode Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, among others. Each time, Le Gitane rode in the service of the rainbow jersey. One year later, he joins GIS and can ride for himself again.

Not only a classic rider

Rik Van Looy describes Roger as "[...] the most talented, and the only true classic rider of his generation". Yet Seete not only dominates the one-day classics, but also makes his mark during stage races. In addition to several stage victories in the Giro, Tour and Vuelta, he also performs well in the smaller tours. In 1979 he won stages in the Tour of Apulia, the Four Days of Dunkirk and the Tirreno-Adriatico.

Belgian champion

Roger De Vlaeminck became the Belgian road champion for the first time in 1969. It is the crowning glory of his debut year among professional cyclists. Twelve years later, in 1981, he repeats this feat in Putte. On the eve of the national championship an interview with the top favourite appears in Sportwereld. In it he lets slip that: "Championships like this are some of the most dangerous races I know. [...] Constantly manoeuvring and using elbows. It's not a normal race anymore. Honestly, I dread it a bit sometimes."

Although Seete comes to the start with some reluctance, he lives up to his role as favourite. Gery Verlinden was in the lead for a long time, but was eventually caught by De Vlaeminck. After a race of more than 6 hours, Roger wins with a street difference. The rest of the leading group, which included Walter Planckaert, Herman Van Springel and Fons De Wolf, crossed the finish line 43 seconds later.

Roger De Vlaeminck

Roger De Vlaeminck (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɔʒe də ˈvlamɪŋk]; born 24 August 1947) is a Belgian former professional racing cyclist. He was described by Rik Van Looy as "The most talented and the only real classics rider of his generation". Nicknamed “The Gypsy” because he was born into a family of traveling clothiers, he is known for exploits in the cobbled classic Paris–Roubaix race, but his performances in other “Monument” races gave him a record that few can match. His record in Paris–Roubaix earned him another nickname, “Monsieur Paris–Roubaix” (English: “Mr. Paris–Roubaix“).
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