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  Roger De Vlaeminck    

Picture courtesy of Jack Claasen.
Roger De Vlaeminck was born in Kaprijke, Belgium, on August 24, 1947. He began his professional career in 1969 and he was a dominant classics rider of his era.

Though he didn’t win a Grand Tour or World Championship Road Race title, he did win all five of cycling’s monuments for a total of eleven victories in these races, a record second only to Eddy Merckx's nineteen victories.

In fact, he is one of only three riders to have won all the Five Monuments, the others being fellow Belgians Eddy Merckx and Rik Van Looy. (Eddy Merckx being the only rider who won all Five Monuments at least twice).

Known as the “Gypsy” or “Mr. Paris-Roubaix”, Roger rode the Paris-Roubaix race fourteen times, never finishing worse than seventh, and failing to finish only once.

De Vlaeminck won the race a record four times, finished second four times and finished third once.

He mastered Paris-Roubaix due to his great bicycle handling skills and exceptional physical abilities.

De Vlaeminck was also blessed with a little luck.

His first puncture in the race came in 1979, in his eleventh attempt. He still finished in second place that year.

Roger’s worst career move was probably when he joined Francesco Moser’s Sanson team in 1978. The two riders were very similar in stature and strengths.

It no doubt limited Roger’s wins in Paris-Roubaix, as the two had a pact not to attack each other.

As a result, Moser won Paris-Roubaix in 1978, 1979, and 1980 while De Vlaeminck was 2nd in 1978 and 1979. 1980 was the only year De Vlaeminck didn't finish because of a crash.

Below is Roger’s record at Paris-Roubaix.

In 1970, he was 2nd behind Eddy Merckx of Belgium.

In 1972, he was 1st in front of Andre Dierickx of Belgium and Barry Hoban of Great Britain.

In 1974, he was 1st in front of Francesco Moser of Italy and Marc De Meyer of Belgium.

In 1975, he was 1st in front of Eddy Merckx and Andre Dierickx.

In 1976, he was 3rd behind Marc De Meyer and Francesco Moser.

In 1977, he was 1st in front of Willy Teirlinck and Freddy Maertens of Belgium.

In 1978, he was 2nd behind Francesco Moser of Italy.

In 1979, he was 2nd behind Francesco Moser of Italy.

In 1981, he was 2nd behind Bernard Hinault of France.

In other races, Roger won the Milan-San Remo Classic three times, 1973, 1978, and 1979.

Picture courtesy of Jack van der Toorn.

Roger De Vlaeminck left, Eddy Merckx right, picture courtesy of www.nieuwsblad.typepad.com
De Vlaeminck also won the Tour of Flanders Classic in 1977.

He won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege Classic in 1970.

He also won the Tour of Lombardy Classic in 1974 and 1976.

Roger won the Cyclocross World Championships in 1975, but not the World Championship Road Race, although he was 2nd in 1975 to Hennie Kuiper of Holland.

Roger rode the Tour de France just three times, taking one stage and never finishing the race.

De Vlaeminck did, however, ride the Giro d’Italia numerous times, and won the points jersey three times, 1972, 1974, and 1975.

Roger also won the Championship of Zurich in 1975 and the Fleche Wallonne in 1971.

In addition to his record in the CyclingHallofFame.com designated races, Roger won the Tirreno-Adriatico a record six times, and won the Tour of Switzerland once.

Roger won his last major classic in 1979 and retired in 1984. In all, De Vlaeminck had 292 professional victories.

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