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wereldkampioenschappen wielrennen

The Rainbow Jersey. About the most beautiful shirt in the peloton

The World Cycling Championship is the highlight of the cycling year. Unlike the rest of the season, the World Championship will not be held with brand teams, but with national teams. Competitors suddenly become teammates for one day throughout the year. This contradiction, like the atypical turning rounds on the same circuit, forms the strength and charm of this competition. For once – that is the intention – the national interest takes precedence over that of the team sponsor. A World Championship title is the highest attainable for a rider. World champions race for a season in a striking rainbow jersey, which was first awarded in 1922. After the first World Cup edition in 1921, world champion Gunnar Sköld was presented with a purple ribbon. Just like the Olympic rings, the distinctive colors (blue-red-black-yellow-green) refer to the different continents. Once World Champion finished, the rainbow stripes on the collar and sleeves of the regular brand jersey are a lasting reminder of that unique achievement.

Marcel Kint

(collectie Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid)

World Championship Jersey

Marcel Kint owed his claim to fame as longest reigning world champion to somewhat gloomy circumstances. His Valkenburg triumph in 1938 was followed by the closure of the World Championships circus for eight years because of the Second World War. But before the dark clouds gathered above Europe, one more race for the world title took place. In Valkenburg, the riders had to contend with 27 laps so they also had to climb the Cauberg 27 times. As if that were not enough, the riders also had to put up with cold and wet weather conditions. Against this background, the World Championships turned into a last-man-standing contest from which three-quarters of the peloton had to retire. Even the top favourite, Gino Bartali, failed to keep going to the end. Marcel Kint's perseverance helped him to win the sprint against two Swiss riders, Paul Egli and Léo Amberg.

Ten years later in the same Valkenburg, another Belgian, Briek Schotte, stood on the top step of the World Championships podium.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

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Track racing jersey

Marcel Kint had been a professional for five years when the Second World War broke out. During that period, he won six stages in the Tour de France, Paris-Brussels, the World Championships and the Belgian title. The West-Fleming rider demonstrated his track racing prowess during the war years. The stylish Marcel Kint turned out to be admirably suited to cycle track racing, wearing this very jersey during the competitions. He formed an iconic duo with Rik Van Steenbergen, with whom he won the Six Days of Brussels in 1948 and 1949. Meanwhile, Marcel Kint continued to compete in road cycling races, achieving great success in this discipline. Even during the war he clinched Paris-Roubaix and the Flèche Wallonne. His nickname, the Black Eagle, was given to Marcel Kint because of his penetrating gaze and aquiline features.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

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Jef Scherens

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Jef Scherens was the king of the sprint. He became Belgian champion 15 times and added seven world titles to his belt. Poeske Scherens collected those speed titles in the 1930s and 1940s His trademark was his much-celebrated final spurt, with which he came out on top in so many competitions. In 1938, after six victories in a row, Poeske had to relinquish the world title to Dutchman Arie van Vliet. The two riders faced each other again in the final of the 1939 World Championships in Milan. At least, that was the idea. But the Second World War put paid to the event before the final was staged. Poeske Scherens was compelled during the war years to drop his world title bid but he did set the record straight in 1947, claiming his seventh world title at the age of 38. In the face of a hostile crowd, he beat the Frenchman Louis Gérardin in the Parisian Park of Princes.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Ercole Baldini

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An Italian cyclist's year cannot get much better than Ercole Baldini's 1958 season. He won the Giro d' Italia, including four stages, to become the Italian champion. The icing on the cake was his world title win in Reims. After 30 kilometres local favourite Bobet, Dutchman Voorting and Italians Baldini and Nencini made the decisive breakaway. Three laps from the end, time trialist Baldini spurred his trusty iron steed on to solo off to the finishing line. Some 240 kilometres after he and his three companions made a getaway, Ercole Baldini, as world champion, was popping corks in the champagne capital.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Rik Van Looy

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Rik Van Looy and the World Championships, a sometimes-unhappy marriage. In 1956 he was forced to acknowledge that Rik Van Steenbergen was the better man. A sorely disappointed Van Looy came second to his rival in Copenhagen. At the 1963 World Championships in Ronse, the Emperor of Herentals also finished second behind a fellow countryman. An eventful sprint was followed by Benoni Beheyt being the first to cross the finishing line. But Rik Van Looy himself was also a two-times world champion. He skilfully topped the Belgian team's efforts off in a sprint in 1960 at Sachsenring in former East Germany. The reigning world champion Darrigade and Belgium's Cerami stood on the podium beside him the next day. Van Looy triumphed again one year later, in Bern. Together with Jef Planckaert and Willy Schroeders, he managed to keep things together. Van Looy sprinted on a shattered rear wheel to his second world title.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Jan Janssen

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The route of the 1964 World Championships ran more or less in the shadow of Mont Blanc. However, the number of altimeters on the Sallanches course was not too daunting. A young Dutchman's efforts in the final phase were rewarded with the world title. Jan Janssen may have been just 24 years old, but he was definitely not a nobody. With two Tour de France stage victories and the green jersey to his credit, he had already demonstrated his potential in the countdown to the World Championships. Four years later, his three green jerseys were complemented by a yellow. He was the first Dutchman to win the Tour de France. The world title in the 1964 Sallanches also went to a young competitor in the amateur category. His name? Eddy Merckx.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Yvonne Reynders

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Yvonne Reynders was awarded no fewer than seven world titles: four on the road and three in the pursuit. She won her first World Championships event in Rotheux near Liege, Belgium. Back in 1959 women's cycling was still in its infancy. The World Championships actually took place in Zandvoort, in the Netherlands, but the organisers were not keen on allowing women to race as well. The next stop was Belgium. Cycling in the pouring rain, Reynders became the second ever female world champion. She won her last title at the Nürburgring in 1966. The newspapers referred to Reynders as the female Van Looy, but she made a name for herself in the race. Five leaders sprinted for the world title. Reynders beat the Dutch competitor Keetie van Oosten-Hage by three bike lengths to become the world road champion for the fourth time. Long after retirement she decided to make a comeback. Three days before her 39th birthday, Reynders claimed the Belgian champion title once more.

Origin: collection KOERS

Patrick Sercu

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Patrick Sercu is nothing short of a legend in track cycling. Victory in 88 six-day races, a boatload of Belgian and European titles, world records, Olympic gold: the real question is what Sercu did not win. He was also twice world champion in the professional category, more specifically in sprint events. He won the first series from Giuseppe Berghotto at the 1967 World Championships. In the second series, the Italian pulled a surprise out of the bag: doing a standstill. But he rolled backwards twice, which meant a new start. On his third attempt, Berghotto attacked from far away, but Sercu was able to catch up with him to become world champion. Two years later, in the Antwerp Sportpaleis, two Belgians for the first time reached the final of the World Sprint Championships. The revelation Robert Van Lancker trounced Berghotto in a memorable semi-final. In the final, there was no match for Sercu, who won in two series. The two Belgians rode a lap of honour together afterwards.

Origin: collection KOERS

Hennie Kuiper

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The Dutch were on top at the 1975 World Championships. Tineke Fopma won in the women's section and André Gevers in the amateur division. Hennie Kuiper's crowning achievement was in the men's elite. Eleven years after his fellow villager Jan Janssens, the rider from Ossendrecht, became world champion. He took off about two laps from the end of the World Championships in Yvoir. It was his fourth breakaway attempt and this time it was the right one. Kuiper kept up his efforts until the very end. With hindsight, the lack of cohesion in the Belgian camp was a major cause for concern. The pursuit of Kuiper never quite materialised. Top favourite Roger De Vlaeminck did come second. But silver is not gold, so disappointment was the order of the day. Hennie Kuiper - reigning Olympic champion - would later win major classics and finish second in the Tour de France twice. Hennie wore this silk jersey during the time trials.

Origin: collection KOERS

Freddy Maertens

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Freddy Maertens was crowned world champion twice over. This is the jersey he wore after his first world title in 1976. It was the pinnacle of a terrific season. Maertens triumphed in six stages in Paris-Nice, Brabantse Pijl (Brabant Arrow), Ghent-Wevelgem, the Amstel Gold Race, the Zurich Championship and the Belgian Championship. He won eight Tour de France stages, nabbed the green jersey and finished eighth in the general classification. And those are just some of the highlights. In the World Championships in Ostuni, Italy, the Belgians had to set aside their rivalry in order to be in with a chance of winning the world title. They managed to keep the show together despite frantic attempts by the assembled opposition. When Francesco Moser broke away on the final lap, only Joop Zoetemelk was able to keep up at first. Freddy Maertens made his way over with Italian Tino Conti at the rear. Moser and Maertens finally battled it out for the world title. There was no stopping the Belgian in the sprint.

Origin: collection KOERS

Josiane Bost

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'La petite reine de San Cristobal' (The little queen of San Cristobal), wrote the French cycling publication Cyclisme Magazine the day after the Frenchwoman Josiane Bost's success at the 1977 World Championships. when she finally made a name for herself on the international cycling scene. She had previously had to contend in her homeland with Geneviève Gambillon, who repeatedly managed to snatch national titles from under her nose and dominated French cycling. She was thrashed three times by Gambillon in the French Road Championships. In track cycling, she won the French champion title twice: in speed and pursuit races. Gambillon also outran her at the World Championships. Bost's rival became road world champion in 1972 and 1974.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Gerrie Knetemann

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Defending champion Francesco Moser was certain of victory. Twenty metres to go and the 1978 World Championships at the Nürburgring were finished. Reacting to an attack by Gerrie Knetemann, the Italian zoomed past the Dutchman. With the finishing line close at hand, victory guaranteed, Moser was peddling away a bit less frenetically. Meanwhile, Gerrie Knetemann, not holding back, illustrated that a cliché often reflects reality: prizes are handed out only at the finishing line. The merrily clattering rider from Amsterdam took the world champion title, while Moser had to settle for silver. Third place went to the Dane Jørgen Marcussen. The World Championships ended in a huge disappointment for the Belgians. Roger De Vlaeminck was fuming because, along with Herman Van Springel, the selection included only one helper for him. The same Van Springel came eighth and first Belgian, but later complained that he no longer had any confidence in his own potential.

Origin: collection KOERS

Kenny De Maerteleire (Juniors)

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It was in 1994 that the Flanders 2002 cycling team competed for the first time in a race. The team was created by the Flemish Authorities to give young home-grown talent a shot at becoming professional cyclists. The team was initially restricted to men but, a year, later a women's team was also established. Around the year 2000 the scope of the activities was broadened with the inclusion of mountain biker Peter Van den Abeele, some cyclocross riders and the talented mountain bike trials cyclist Kenny Belaey. Belaey made his debut with the Flanders team in 2003. Belaey was already a four-time junior world champion and a reigning elite world champion. The East Fleming was steadily building on his record of achievements during his 'Flanders' period. He finished first in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 World Cup Trial competitions. In 2005 he also became elite world champion for the second time, a feat he went on to repeat one year later. This jersey dates back to that time.

Origin: collection KOERS

Teun Van Vliet (Juniors, Points Race)

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Teun van Vliet, a fresh Dutch talent, began to draw popular attention. As a member of the Panasonic team, he won the Omloop Het Volk and Ghent-Wevelgem in 1987. Competing in a hard-going Omloop, he beat his compatriot Steven Rooks and the Belgian Jan Goessens in a three-man sprint. With three Panasonic riders still in the first seven, Peter Post's team figured prominently in the Flemish opening race. Van Vliet trounced Etienne Dewilde during Ghent-Wevelgem. Once again Peter Post had four of his team members placed among the top ten. Van Vliet competed in the Tour de France the following year, sporting the yellow jersey for three whole days. But the Dutchman's promising career drew to a halt in early 1990, when he had just turned 28, as a result of a chronic intestinal infection. Nor was that the end of Van Vliet's woes. He was twice diagnosed with a brain tumour but managed to recover both times.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Greg LeMond

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The American Jonathan Boyer struggled to make his way to the top among the thick crowd of spectators. A few hundred metres more and the 1982 World Championships in Goodwood, England, would be over. It was only natural that the riders behind Boyer would not slacken their pace but less expected, apparently, was the fact that another American was leading the chasing pack. Wearing the number 163 jersey, Greg LeMond drew level with Boyer and overtook him. Behind him was Giuseppe Beppe Saronni. The Italian broke free and sprinted irresistibly to the world title over a long stretch of time. LeMond finished second and Seán Kelly third. It was obvious to LeMond that Boyer could not become world champion. He would go for it himself if necessary, because the two were not friends. Nor did LeMond think his fellow countryman was world champion material, as his lead was not that big. His extraordinary performance did not therefore land LeMond the world title. But he did win the World Championships battle in 1983 and 1989.

Origin: collection KOERS

Claude Criquielion

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Claude Criquielion could not claim many triumphs when he arrived in Barcelona for the 1984 World Championships. The Brabantse Pijl (Brabant Arrow) and the Clasica San Sebastian, granted. And two ninth places in the Tour de France were nothing to be sniffed at. Cricri won an uphill time trial on the Montjuic in 1979. That very same hill in Barcelona would be the main obstacle at the World Championships five years later. The Montjuic crossing plus the sweltering heat took its toll: some 88 out of 119 riders slammed on their brakes early on in the race. Criquielion decided to escape about 20 kilometres from the finish. He could hardly believe it himself, but the 27-year-old rider ended up taking the world champion title in Barcelona. Even so, Claude Criquielion is mainly remembered for the World Championships four years later in Ronse. Obstructed in the thick of a sprint by Canadian Steve Bauer, Criquielion took a tumble. Maurizio Fondriest took the world champion title. The images are iconic.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Joop Zoetemelk

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The leading group still had about 2 kilometres to go at the 1985 World Championships in Giavera de Montello, Italy. With his 39th birthday looming, the oldest rider in the peloton gave a big push to break away. In response to his compatriot Johan van der Velde, the breakaway rider Joop Zoetemelk said afterwards. But as nobody reacted. Zoetemelk kept going. When he reached the finishing line, no other rider had managed to pass him. The 1980 Tour de France winner became the world champion. The chasers followed three seconds later, including the two previous world champions (LeMond and Criquielion) and the next two champions (Argentin and Roche). Joop Zoetemelk may have been the oldest rider in the peloton, but his world title was not the highlight of his professional career. He won the Amstel Gold Race in 1987 at the age of 40. But after this season, even Zoetemelk felt that he had achieved enough.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Moreno Argentin

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One man towers over all the rest at the 1986 World Championships in Colorado Springs, United States. Moreno Argentin was one of the favourites before the event and the new world champion after. One year earlier, he had to hand the world title over to Joop Zoetemelk. The 1985 World Championships were staged in the rider's backyard (Giavera del Montellout). But, on the American track, the Italian was ready for anything. An 11-strong group of riders were in the lead, including Argentin, Mottet and Fignon. Nico Emonds was also a member of the group. The only competitor able to keep up with Argentin turned out to be Charly Mottet. But, in the uphill sprint, the Italian easily took the Frenchman in his stride and went on to nab the world champion jersey. The mood in the Belgian camp afterwards was if anything funereal. Ludo Peeters' ninth place was certainly not the reason why national coach Eddy Merckx came to the United States.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Maurizio Fondriest

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Ronse and the World Championships share an intricately entwined history. Benoni Beheyt triumphed in 1963 ahead of Rik Van Looy after an exceptionally tumultuous sprint. And in 1988, the Canadian Steve Bauer really put the kibosh on everything so that Claude Criquielion ended up taking a fall. The third scoundrel was called Maurizio Fondriest, a 23-year-old rider from Sicily. Many observers believe that Criquielion would almost certainly have won the world title had it not been for this incident. The Belgian attacked at the start of the final lap. Only Fondriest was able to catch up with him. With 500 metres to go, Bauer drew level with them. The rest is history. Bauer pulled away. A policeman can back off, but not a block of concrete. That was the end of Criquielion's shot at a second world title. Fondriest rushed into the lead and came out on top, while Bauer was disqualified on the spot. Almost out of the blue, the Frenchman Martial Gayant and the Spaniard Juan Fernandez also ended up on the World Championships podium.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Urs Freuler (Points Race)

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Urs Freuler was definitely no wannabe on the road. The Swiss rider won stages in the Giro d'Italia and his homeland's competition, plus a Tour de France team time trial. Freuler really made a name for himself in track events. Apart from a string of six-day races, his record of achievements also includes ten world titles: two for keirin wins and eight for points race triumphs. Feuler won his final World Championships event in 1989. He then competed for Peter Post's Panasonic-Isostar team. The World Championships were staged at the Georges Préveral Vélodrome, an open cycle track in Lyon. The final sprint in the points race that year was the factor deciding who would take the world title. Just before the end, Urs Freuler and Gary Sutton were on equal points. But another rider yanked the Australian's jersey, so any chances of him winning all went up in smoke. The Czech Martin Penc won the final sprint and came away with a bronze medal. Freuler, the moustachioed Swiss, once again claimed the world title, while Sutton had to make do with silver.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Rudy Dhaenens

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The World Championships first set foot on Asian soil in 1990, in Utsonomiya, Japan, where the firm favourite was the defending champion, Greg LeMond. Peter De Clercq created a few ripples for the Belgians. He was joined by a group that included Johan Bruyneel and Dirk De Wolf. The breakaway included Italian riders but no leaders, so the squadra therefore took the lead in the peloton. But even before there was any question of a merger, Rudy Dhaenens ventured over to what was left of the leading group. During the final climb, Dhaenens and De Wolf escaped from their only remaining companion, the Frenchman Martial Gayant. The two Belgians had now disappeared. Riding for the PDM team for the other 364 days of the year, the two riders set an example of what working together was all about. Dhaenens could easily outrun De Wolf in the sprint. Eight seconds later, Gianni Bugno sprinted to nab the bronze.

Origin: collection KOERS

Cathérine Marsal

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Together with her compatriot Jeannie Longo, Frenchwoman Cathérine Marsal (b. 1971) dominated international women's cycling in the 1990s. Marsal excelled in both road and track racing events. One year after becoming junior world champion, she also won the 1988 world pursuit title. Marsal was then only 17 years old. Two years later she also becomes world champion in the elite category. Still in the 1990s, she took gold in the French Road Championship and won the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de L'Aude and the Tour of the EEC cycling race (European Community Tour). This World Champion Jersey - from Noël Grégoire's collection - was worn by Marsal in the 1991 Canadian Tire Classic stage race.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Daniël Wyder (Points Race)

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The 1988 World Cycling Championships were held in Belgium. Ronse was the venue for the World Road Cycling Championships, Ghent was the centre for track events. The cream of the international track racing world were there to compete at the highest possible level on brand-new Blaarmeersen cycling track. The event got off to a bad start. The roof on the new track started letting in water after a heavy downpour, so it took a few hours of mopping up before the first series could start. On 25 August 1988, the final day of the Track Cycling World Championships, three more disciplines were scheduled: tandem racing for amateurs, middle distance and the points race. Even then, no Belgian managed to take gold. In the points race, Switzerland's Daniël Wyder turned out to be the best rider. Seizing the world champion tile, he achieved the greatest triumph of his career. This jersey dates back to that time.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Lance Armstrong

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Two young riders accepted a gold medal on the podium of the 1993 World Championships in Oslo within a day of each other. They would often meet again later on the flanks of the Alpine and Pyrenean passes in during the Tour de France. Jan Ulrich was crowned world amateur champion in Norway. The 21-year-old Lance Armstrong emulated this success in the professional category during a race battered by heavy rainfall. It was impossible to keep tabs on the number of falls on the slippery asphalt. Even the future world champion hit the Norwegian soil with a nasty bump. An impressive Armstrong rode away from the leading group with 15 kilometres to go. Frans Maassen, Dag Otto Lauritzen and Gérard Rué made an unsuccessful attempt to overtake the American. Armstrong built up a big enough lead to be able to greet the crowd at great length before crossing the finishing line. Johan Museeuw sprinted for the podium, but saw Miguel Indurain and Olaf Ludwig finishing ahead of him. Already a familiar face in American cycling, Armstrong dedicated this jersey to Noël Dejonckheere.

Origin: collection KOERS

Graeme Obree (Pursuit)

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In the weeks leading up to the 1993 World Track Cycling Championships, two Britons were embroiled in a battle for the world time record. Graeme Obree was the first to beat it but Chris Boardman did even better just one week later. Graeme Obree's futuristic-looking bicycle featured a home-made carriage, using washing machine parts among other things, and including a special aerodynamic position. At the World Championships in Hamar, Norway, he became world champion in the 4-kilometre pursuit. In his semi-final he beat Boardman, in the final the Frenchman Philippe Ermenault. He also broke the world record. After Obree again smashed the world time record in 1994, he failed to hold on to his world title. At the World Championships in Palermo he was allowed to take part in the selections, but the UCI subsequently banned him from continuing to race with his unusual bike. He took his revenge in Athens in 1995 by becoming world champion for the second time.

Origin: collection KOERS

Luc Leblanc

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As is often the case, the Italians were the team to beat at the 1994 World Championships. It was in their own country, in the Sicilian town of Agrigento. But there was also a certain Luc Leblanc to contend with. After a gruelling season he was toying with the idea of retirement in the winter of 1993. He did however continue his racing career and in the 1994 Tour de France he finished fourth and won a stage at Hautacam. In the penultimate lap of the World Championships, he joined the breakaway pair Ghirotto-Sörensen. The Italian was able to hold on for the longest time, but had to drop out one kilometre from the end. Leblanc was crowned world champion, Chiappucci finished second and Virenque topped off the French celebrations, standing on the third step of the podium. The year after his world title triumph, Leblanc joined the new French team Le Groupement. However, after half a season, the team had to call it a day due to financial woes. Luc Leblanc spent the rest of the season riding with Polti in his world champion's jersey.

Origin: collection KOERS

Johan Museeuw

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Paris-Tours 1996: Johan Museeuw could have secured his final victory in the World Cup. His failure to do so was followed by a sensational announcement: he was giving up racing! However, things were not as bad as they seemed, because one week later he was taking part in the World Championships in Lugano. Birthday boy Museeuw gave a brilliant performance that day. Alert and agile, he rode along in a leading group. Museeuw broke away on one of the two climbs, with only the Swiss rider Mauro Gianetti still accompanying him. The two leaders were working well together. And Gianetti - supposedly the better climber - was unable to shake Museeuw off uphill. In the two-man sprint, Museeuw caught up with the Swiss rider and succeeded in winning an unexpected but well-deserved world title. Museeuw was celebrating again two weeks later, with Gianetti joining in the festivities this time. The Swiss competitor won the Japan Cup, while the world champion took the World Cup.

Origin: collection KOERS

Laurent Brochard

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Winning the Tour on le quatorze juillet (French National Day): how could a French rider top that? Well, Laurent Brochard did, in Loudenvielle in 1997. But he went one better by becoming world champion that year as well. Before the World Championships in San Sebastian, Laurent Jalabert was the leader of the French contingent. They gave an impressive performance, but Jaja was unable to claim the title. Just like Johan Museeuw and other favourites, Jalabert failed to break away. A group of lesser cycling gods had to decide among themselves who would get to wear the world champion's jersey for a year. Leon van Bon started the sprint from far away and seemed to be able to make it, but he was still outmatched by Laurent Brochard and Bo Hamburger. Brochard competed in his last race as world champion in July 1998. Along with his Festina teammates, he was ousted from the Tour de France. Brochard was suspended after admitting to doping.

Origin: collection KOERS

Elisabeth Chevanne Brunel

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The cycling skills of the French rider Élisabeth Chevanne-Brunel (°1975) were obvious from a very young age. She took the silver at the junior women's race category in the 1992 World Championships (first contested in 1987). One year later, she was the best of the bunch, claiming the world champion crown in Perth, Australia. She finished first in the 1997 European Under-23 Championships. ‘Zabou’ as she was nicknamed, also acquired an enviable reputation as a professional cyclist, including a stage victory in the Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale and the final victory in the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche. She donated this jersey to her compatriot Claude Lachot, whose collection - or at least a large part of it - was moved to KOERS in 2020.

Origin: collection KOERS

Edita Pucinskaité

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The Lithuanian rider Edita Pucinskaité made her first appearance at the 1995 World Cycling Championships. Not yet 20 years old, Pucinskaité immediately snatched bronze at the event. The Lithuanian managed to maintain her top level status. In 1997, she won the young rider classification and finished third in the Giro Donne (women's Giro) final ranking. After her compatriot Diana Ziliuté, proclaimed world champion the year before, Edita took the world title in 1999. The outgoing world champion Ziliuté finished third. At the World Time Trial Championships that year, Pucinskaité took third place. She did not succeed in taking a second world title but in 2001 she did pick up the silver. Ranked among the world class riders, the Lithuanian built up an impressive record of victories and top placings in stage races and classics. Dedicated to cycling collector Noël Grégoire, this jersey is a fine souvenir of her illustrious career.

Origin: collection Noël Grégoire

Filip Meirhaeghe (Mountainbike)

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To become world champion, that was the key goal for mountain biker Filip Meirhaeghe in 2003. The year before, he took silver at the World Championships and seized the World title. Also in his trophy cabinet: two bronze World Championships medals, a silver Olympic medal and a European title. But the World Championships gold was still missing. Meirhaeghe focused his entire season on the World Championships in Lugano, (so he could take peaks like the best of them), where he came out on top. After the starting shot, he was pushed aside a bit, but later managed to catch up with the Canadian leader Ryder Hesjedal. During an ascent Meirhaghe took a fall, but made a comeback. In the end, he won by a lengthy margin over Hesjedal, who took the Giro d'Italia in 2012 as a road cyclist. Roel Paulissen completed the Belgian festive atmosphere with a bronze medal.

Origin: collection KOERS

Kenny Belaey (Trial)

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It was in 1994 that the Flanders 2002 cycling team competed for the first time in a race. The team was created by the Flemish Authorities to give young home-grown talent a shot at becoming professional cyclists. The team was initially restricted to men but, a year, later a women's team was also established. Around the year 2000 the scope of the activities was broadened with the inclusion of mountain biker Peter Van den Abeele, some cyclocross riders and the talented mountain bike trials cyclist Kenny Belaey. Belaey made his debut with the Flanders team in 2003. Belaey was already a four-time junior world champion and a reigning elite world champion. The East Fleming was steadily building on his record of achievements during his 'Flanders' period. He finished first in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 World Cup Trial competitions. In 2005 he also became elite world champion for the second time, a feat he went on to repeat one year later. This jersey dates back to that time.

Origin: collection KOERS

Thor Hushovd

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The World Championships were held for the first time on Australian soil in Geelong, in 2010. The odds-on favourite Philippe Gilbert turned out to be a really energetic performer in the race, rushing ahead on the penultimate climb. Once past the summit, the headwind made life very difficult for him as a lone rider. Gilbert was caught with three kilometres left. A large group set off on a sprint for the world title. The fast-legged Marc Cavendish and Tyler Farrar, managed to outpace the equally strong-legged Norwegian Thor Hushovd. He performed a masterly sprint to take the world title. Matti Breschel and Allan Davis were able to join him on the podium. The disappointed Belgians had to make do with Greg Van Avermaet's fifth place. In the following Tour, de France, Hushovd rode seven days without his world champion's jersey. On day two, he captured yellow in the team time trial. He lost it only in the eighth stage to Super Besse. During the subsequent 'post-Tour de-France dance', the world champion competed in the post-Tour event in Roeselare wearing this very jersey.

Origin: collection KOERS

Lizzie Armitstead

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Lizzie Deignan celebrated a great year in 2015. She was still known as Lizzie Armitstead, her maiden name at the time, but became Deignan after marriage. Deignan won not only the British title but also races such as the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the GP de Plouay-Bretagne and the British Championship. Her name was therefore ringed in red ink for the World Championships in Richmond, United States. A fairly large group came out on top in the final climb at the World Championships. Launching an attack Lizzie Deignan effectively made a first selection. Nine riders were left in the final stretch. In the lead, the former track cyclist Deignan was in control of the situation. In the end, it was Anna van der Breggen who started the sprint. Armitstead managed to catch up with her, and they raced to the finishing line side by side. In the end, the British rider was half a bike ahead of Van der Breggen. She was positively beside herself when she realised she had been crowned the world champion.

Origin: collection KOERS

Tony Martin (Time Trial)

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The time trial suit fitted Tony Martin like a glove. Racing against the clock was the German's number one speciality. When the peloton descended on Qatar in 2016, Martin already had three time trial world titles to his credit. In the Arabian Peninsula, he added add a fourth and final world champion's jersey to his collection. Nicknamed the Panzerwagen (Tank) Martin completed the 40-kilometre time trial at the incredible speed of 53.69 kilometres per hour, to beat his own record. Teammate Yves Lampaert outpaced Tom Dumoulin to finish seventh with a new Belgian record time. The two men had already had to roll up their sleeves the day before, and successfully so. Together with their Etixx-Quick Step team, they handed team leader Patrick Lefevere a third world title in the team time trial.

Origin: collection KOERS

Peter Sagan

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Five riders managed to win three World Championship titles. But only Peter Sagan become world champion three times in a row. This is the jersey the Slovakian rider wore after his second world title in 2016 in Doha, Qatar. The riders were competing in the gruelling conditions of sweltering heat and a fierce wind. Spurred on by the Belgians, the peloton was split into echelons, creating huge time gaps. A large number of riders were out of time at the start of the local laps. Still well represented, the Belgians were able to keep up the pace. They wanted to dissuade any riders who might be tempted to break away. After all, the goal was obvious: Tom Boonen had to become world champion. The World Championships event was actually decided in a sprint. A Slovakian devil made an irresistible leap from his box. Peter Sagan took the World title for the second time. Two former world champions also stood with him on the podium: Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen.

Origin: collection KOERS

Alejandro Valverde

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Alejandro Valverde had to relinquish the title of eldest world champion to Joop Zoetemelk. But at 38 years and 5 months, the Spaniard had also reached a venerable age when he claimed the world title. With over 4,500 metres in altitude to contend with, the peloton had a fair bit of climbing in the offing at the 2018 World Championships in Innsbruck. A six-strong leading group started the steep final climb. Three Frenchmen were there at first, but top favourite Julian Alaphilippe then threw in the towel. Three riders were still left at the top: the Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, the Frenchman Romain Bardet and the Canadian Michael Woods. The Dutchman Tom Dumoulin also came to join them. Valverde started the final stretch in the lead. At 300 metres from the finishing line, he went on the attack and clung on to his leading position. Bardet finished second, Woods third. The Spanish veteran finally became a World Championships gold winner, after two second and four third places. The Spaniard rider donated this jersey to the KOERS museum during a flying visit just before the start of the 2019 Dwars door Vlaanderen (Across Flanders).

Origin: collection KOERS

Anna van der Breggen

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Anna van der Breggen's triumphs in 2018 included the Strade Bianche, the Tour of Flanders, the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liege. And yet she was still troubled by doubts. She also ended up in second place from time to time, for example in La Course by Le Tour de France behind her fellow countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten. Four days away from the road race for the world title in Innsbruck, the same thing happened in the World Time Trial Championships. However, there was no stopping Anna van der Breggen on 29 September 2018. Some 38 kilometres from the finishing line, she soloed away over hill and dale. By the time she reached the finishing line, her lead was no less than 3 minutes and 42 seconds. Then came a huge wave of relief, following the enormous pressure that Van der Breggen had put on herself in the run-up to this World Championship event. With the world title now secured, the stress just drained away. Two years later, Anna van der Breggen took her second World Championships prize in Imola.

Origin: collection KOERS

Remco Evenepoel (Juniors)

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Remco Evenepoel was declared world junior road and time trial champion in 2018 in Innsbruck. Ever since the first World Junior road Championships, in 1975, only Ronny Van Holen, Roger Six and Jasper Stuyven have taken the World title for Belgium. In the - admittedly much more recent - time trial, only Jurgen Van den Broeck and Igor Decraene were able to take a world title home with them. Remco Evenepoel dedicated his time trial title to Decraene, who passed away suddenly in 2014. Evenepoel ended the race a full 1 minute 24 seconds faster than the Australian, Luke Plapp. In the road race two days later, he gave a further demonstration of his talent. A fall led to a two-minute deficit, but 18-year-old Evenepoel turned that into a one-minute, 25-second lead over the German Marius Mayrhofer. He was the first junior to win both the World Road and Time Trial Championships

Origin: collection KOERS

Filippo Ganna (Time Trial)

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Filippo Ganna was crowned world track pursuit champion four times between 2016 and 2020. He took the World Road Time Trial title in 2020 at the end of a corona-afflicted season. The World Championships should normally have been held in Switzerland, but due to the country's strict corona regulations, the UCI had to find another site. The choice fell on Imola, where the World Championships were held in 1968. The time trial was held on and around the famous race track. The top contender Ganna steamed ahead to cover the 31.7-kilometre distance in 35:54.10, just under 27 seconds faster than Wout van Aert. The latter was still in sixth position about half way through, while completing a particularly impressive second half to become the silver medallist. Swiss European champion Stefan Küng came in third. The 2020 World Championships ended in disappointment for Australian defending champion Rohan Dennis. He came fifth.

Origin: collection KOERS

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