1948-1949 Richard Depoorter Trophy for independents - Alex Close
by Matthias Van Milders on 17 June 2021
The Omnium de la Route is a multi-day stage race for professionals in and around Namur, first held in 1942. Richard Depoorter was the overall winner in 1943 and 1946. When the West-Fleming competitor participated in the Tour of Switzerland in June 1948, he had already won Liège-Bastogne-Liege twice. But disaster struck in the fourth stage on 16 June. During the Süsten pass crossing stage, Depoorter was killed by a support vehicle in a poorly lit tunnel. The accident raised several questions. Various versions were circulating as to what really happened. Was this intentional? In any case, tyre tracks were found on Depoorters jersey. The driver of the Belgian support vehicle was later convicted.
As a tribute to Depoorter, the Omnium de la Route - a competition for independents - was renamed the Richard Depoorter Trophy. The promising rider Alex Close was the overall winner in 1949, just like the year before.