This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification . (July 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Van Looy in 1962
|Full name||Henri Van Looy|
Keizer van Herentals
|Born||20 December 1933|
|Rider type||Classics Specialist|
|1955||Van Hauwaert–Maes Pils|
| Grand Tours |
Henri "Rik" Van Looy (born 20 December 1933 in Grobbendonk) is a Belgian former professional cyclist of the post-war period, nicknamed the King of the Classics or Emperor of Herentals (after the small Belgian town where he lived). He was twice world professional road race champion, and was the first cyclist to win all five 'Monuments': the most prestigious one-day classics – a feat since achieved by just two others (both also Belgians: Roger De Vlaeminck and Eddy Merckx). With 379 road victories he's second to Merckx only. He is ninth on the all-time list of Grand Tour stage winners with thirty-seven victories.
Van Looy rose to prominence when he won the Belgian amateur road championship in 1952. He repeated the victory the following year, adding third place in the world title race the same year, before turning professional. At the 1952 Summer Olympics, he won a gold medal in the team road race event.
A powerful sprinter, Van Looy won two races in what was left of his first professional season (1953), and 20 more over the next couple of seasons. In 1956, his victories included Gent–Wevelgem and Paris–Brussels, plus two stages and overall victory in the Tour of the Netherlands. He also won a silver medal in the world road race championship, behind his countryman Rik Van Steenbergen. He repeated his Gent–Wevelgem and Tour of the Netherlands victories in 1957, and in 1958 won the season's opening classic, Milan–San Remo.
1959 saw Van Looy take the early-season Tour of Flanders and the autumn classic, the Giro di Lombardia. In between, he scored another 38 victories, including three stages of the Vuelta a España (finishing third overall and winner of the points competition) and four stages of the Giro d'Italia (for 4th overall).
In 1960, he scored the first of two consecutive victories in the world road race championship, but Classic victories eluded him. However, he made up for this in 1961, winning both Paris–Roubaix and Liège–Bastogne–Liège – making him the first rider to take all five 'Monuments' – as well as retaining his rainbow world title jersey, and taking three stages, plus the mountains competition, in the Giro.
Van Looy scored two more Classic wins in 1962 (Paris–Roubaix, Tour of Flanders), took another Gent–Wevelgem, and two more Giro stages. In 1963 Van Looy rode the Tour de France, taking four stages en route to victory in the points competition and a 10th place on general classification; he also grabbed a silver in the world title race. In the latter race, held in Ronse in his native Belgium, he was beaten in the sprint by his countryman Benoni Beheyt. Van Looy, starting the sprint too early, did not take this defeat lightly. This race has remained memorable in the history of Belgian cycling.
In 1965, he scored 42 victories including Paris–Roubaix, and eight stages of the Vuelta on his way to his second third place overall (his highest placing in a Grand Tour). For good measure, he also took two stages in the Tour de France.
During the final years of his career (1966–1970), Van Looy's road performances began to fade, as the new Belgian star Eddy Merckx rose to prominence, but he still grabbed second in the 1967 Paris–Roubaix, won La Flèche Wallonne in 1968, and took a stage of the 1969 Tour de France. His rivalry with Eddy Merckx reached the height of sabotage of Merckx in the world championships in 1969.
Van Looy was also a star on the track, winning 11 Six-day races. His first came in Brussels in 1957, his last in Antwerp in 1968. For nine of these victories, he was paired with Dutchman Peter Post.
Johan Museeuw is a retired Belgian professional road racing cyclist who was a professional from 1988 until 2004. Nicknamed The Lion of Flanders, he was particularly successful in the cobbled classics of Flanders and Northern France and was considered one of the best classic races specialists of the 1990s.
A sprinter is a road bicycle racer or track racer who can finish a race very explosively by accelerating quickly to a high speed, often using the slipstream of another cyclist or group of cyclists tactically to conserve energy.
Roger De Vlaeminck 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”.
Tom Boonen is a Belgian former road bicycle racer, who competed as a professional between 2002 and 2017 for the U.S. Postal Service and Quick-Step Floors teams and a professional racing driver who currently competes in Belcar, having previously competed in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. Boonen won the 2005 UCI World Road Race Championships, and was a single-day road specialist with a strong finishing sprint. He won the cycling monuments Paris–Roubaix 4 times and the Tour of Flanders 3 times, among many other prestigious victories, such as prevailing 5 times in the E3 Harelbeke, winning 6 stages of the Tour de France and winning the Overall title of the Tour of Qatar 4 times.
Jan Raas is a Dutch former professional cyclist whose 115 wins include the 1979 World Road Race Championship in Valkenburg, he also won the Tour of Flanders in 1979 and 1983, Paris–Roubaix in 1982 and Milan–San Remo in 1977. He won ten stages in the Tour de France. In six starts, Raas won the Amstel Gold Race five times. In his entire career he competed in 23 of the highly contested "Monument" Races and he finished on the podium in almost half of them: 3rd place six times, 2nd place zero times, and 1st place four times.
Freddy Maertens is a Belgian former professional racing cyclist who was twice world road race champion. His career coincided with the best years of another Belgian rider, Eddy Merckx, and supporters and reporters were split over who was better. Maertens' career swung between winning more than 50 races in a season to winning almost none and then back again. His life has been marked by debt and alcoholism. It took him more than two decades to pay a tax debt. At one point early in his career, between the 1976 Tour and 1977 Giro, Maertens won 28 out of 60 Grand Tour stages that he entered before abandoning the Giro due to injury on stage 8b. Eight Tour stage wins, thirteen Vuelta stage wins and seven Giro stage wins in less than one calendar year.
Francesco Moser, nicknamed "Lo sceriffo", is an Italian former professional road bicycle racer.
Andrei Tchmil is a retired Soviet, Moldovan (1992–1995), Ukrainian (1995–1998) and Belgian professional road bicycle racer. He competed in the men's individual road race at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Eric Vanderaerden is a retired road cyclist from the town of Lummen, Belgium.
Alfons ("Fons") De Wolf is a retired Belgian road race cyclist, a professional from 1979 to 1990. He represented his country at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Molteni was an Italian professional road bicycle racing team from 1958 until the end of 1976. It won 663 races, many of them earned by its most famous rider, Eddy Merckx. Other riders included Gianni Motta and Marino Basso, who contributed 48 and 34 wins respectively. The Molteni family continues in cycling with sponsorship of Salmilano.
Max Lambert Peter van Heeswijk is a Dutch retired professional road racing cyclist. He finished 15th road race at the 2000 Summer Olympics and 17th in the road race at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Wouter Weylandt was a Belgian professional cyclist for UCI ProTeam Quick-Step–Davitamon and later for Leopard Trek. His first major win was the 17th stage of the 2008 Vuelta a España. He also won the third stage of the 2010 Giro d'Italia. He died in a crash during the third stage of the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
Sep Vanmarcke is a Belgian professional road racing cyclist, who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam Israel Start-Up Nation.
Cycle racing is a popular sport in Belgium. It is governed by the Royal Belgian Cycling League since 1882, which became a founding member of the International Cycling Association in 1892 and later of the Union Cycliste Internationale in 1900. Since 2002, the Royal Belgian Cycling League is composed of the Wielerbond Vlaanderen (WBV), which governs the cycle racing in Flanders and of the Fédération Cycliste Wallonie-Bruxelles (FCWB), which governs the cycle racing in Wallonia and Brussels. Belgium has been one of the major countries in different categories of cycle racing over the years, including road cycling and cyclo-cross. The best Belgian cyclist of all times, Eddy Merckx, nicknamed the Cannibal, has won all of the 3 grand tours and all of the 5 monuments of cycling. He also won the UCI Road World Championships 3 times and set the hour record, among other achievements.
Jens Debusschere is a Belgian professional road bicycle racer, who currently rides for UCI ProTeam B&B Hotels p/b KTM. He was named in the start list for the 2015 Tour de France. In May 2018, he was named in the startlist for the 2018 Giro d'Italia.
Jasper Stuyven is a Belgian cyclist, who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam Trek–Segafredo.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rik Van Looy .|