Lachot Collection moves to KOERS. French cycling heritage now in Roeselare

4min reading time   by Dries De Zaeytijd on 14 July 2021
In the spring of 2020, a KOERS delegation travelled to the south of France to collect the cycling collection of collector Claude Lachot. This transfer expanded the Museum of Cycling's collection with a series of unique, international masterpieces. A presentation of the life's work of Claude Lachot.


This story starts with the Spanish cyclist Luis Ocaña (1945-1994). The Spanish-born Ocaña moves at a young age with his family to the French town of Le Houga, a good 100 kilometres from Lourdes. There the frail Luis discovers his talent for cycling. As a member of the nearby prestigious cycling club Stade Montois (Mont-de-Marsan), Ocaña grows into a top cyclist. In 1968, as a neoprof, he not only becomes Spanish champion, but also marries his French fiancée Josiane. The Spanish-French couple gets married in the Chapelle-Notre-Dame-des-Cyclistes in Labastide D'Armagnac, about 25 kilometres from Le Houga.

This chapel was officially consecrated in 1959 as the French counterpart of the Italian Madonna del Ghisallo. Abbé Joseph Massie is the driving force behind this initiative and regularly receives famous riders who are only too happy to leave a jersey in the chapel. The Notre-Dame-des-Cyclistes soon becomes a real place of pilgrimage. With the arrival and cooperation of the French cycling fan Claude Lachot in the 1990s, a new chapter in the history of this cycling sanctuary began.

Musée Luis Ocaña

Bicycle mechanic and collector Claude Lachot runs his own business with his wife in Cholet, near Bordeaux. During a cycling trip, Claude and a few friends end up at the Chapelle-Notre-Dame-des-Cyclistes. The Lachot couple were charmed not only by the chapel and its founder, Joseph Massie, but also by the dilapidated farm nearby. Claude left his business in Cholet and bought the farm. He built a house, museum (Musée du Vélo), workshop and cottage. Together with his wife, he also volunteered to open up the Chapelle more often.

Lachot not only has an extensive collection of racing bikes but also has an extensive network and maintains good contacts with, among others, Tourspeaker Daniel Mangeas and former riders such as René Vietto, Henry Anglade and Luis Ocaña. The bond with Luis is the strongest. After the sudden death of Ocaña in 1994 - the funeral took place in the Notre-Dame-des-Cyclistes - Lachot renamed his museum to 'Musée Luis Ocaña', as an ultimate tribute to the Spanish Tour winner.


Detailed view

In 1970 the Vuelta remained undecided until the last time trial. Ocaña won it and in doing so he created a minute's difference in the general classification between himself and Tomamaes, In 't Ven and Van Springel. (KOERS collection)

Museum of Cycle Racing

The bicycle mechanic dreams of a merger between his initiative and the cycling chapel, which by now is also overflowing with cycling jerseys. But this never happens. The necessary structural support from the local authorities does not materialise. Mr. and Mrs. Lachot take care of their project and the nearby chapel for 15 years. After some radical personal changes, Claude Lachot and his collection move to Lannemezan, some 30 kilometres from Bagnères-de-Bigorre at the foot of the Pyrenees. There, there is talk of a germinating prestigious cycling project. But also here there is no support from the government and the idea dies a quiet death. Claude's collection remains stored in his home.

Around 2015 he contacts KOERS. After visiting the museum and five years of negotiation, an agreement is reached. In February 2020 a KOERS delegation will travel to the South of France to collect the top collection. In addition to a series of unique historic racing bikes (Rodolfo Muller - Tour de France 1903/ Marius Auriaux - Paris-Roubaix 1914/ Jules Dubois - Tour de France 1920, etc.), the collection also includes a very fine quantity of objects about Luis Ocaña. In addition, his collection includes jerseys from Graeme Obree, Chris Boardman, Louison Bobet, Jeannie Longo, Fabiana Luperini, Raymond Poulidor, etc. KOERS is thus putting itself even more on the map as the global museum of cycling.

Luis Ocaña
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