Happy birthday to Félix Sellier, who was born on this day in 1893, and died on April 16, 1965.
The Belgian rider is best remembered for winning the Paris-Roubaix Classic in 1925 ahead of Piero Bestetti of Italy and Jules Van Hevel of Belgium.
Prior to his 1925 victory, Sellier stood on the podium of the Belgian Classic after finishing 3rd in the 1923 race behind Henri Suter of Switzerland and Rene Vermandel of Belgium, and 3rd again the following year behind Jules Van Hevel of Belgium and Maurice Ville of France.
As far as Grand Tour races are concerned, Sellier had a rather unusual start to his first Tour de France.
In the 1921 race, riders were separated into two classes, the sponsored riders and the unsponsored riders. For the thirteenth stage, these classes started separated, partly because race organizers wanted to punish the sponsored riders for not attacking the leader Léon Scieur, and partly because the leader in the second class was helped by riders in the first class.
Sellier was one of the riders in the second class, and therefore could start two hours earlier than the favorites. Some of the second class riders including Sellier stayed ahead, ultimately leading to his first Tour de France stage victory.
From there, Sellier would go on to finish 8th overall in the second class riders, and 16th in the overall in the combined classification.
In the next year, Sellier started the Tour de France as sponsored cyclist, where he again won a stage, but this time he was required to start at the same time as the rest of the field – finishing an impressive third place.
Before his rise to prominence as a sponsored, professional rider, Sellier won numerous domestic races in and around Belgium that included Binche-Tournai-Binche, Tour of Belgium, Marchienne-au-Pont, Mellet, Moustier, Jemeppe-Bastogne-Jemepp, Paris–Brussels, Gembloux, Oupeye, Six Days of Brussels and the Belgian National Road Championships, while riding for such notable teams as Alcyon – Dunlop, Opel – ZR III and later under his own namesake Sellier Cycles.
Sellier decided to hang-up his bike in 1928 after competing for 16 years. But, not without adding a couple of final victories to his palmarès – the Six Days of Brussels alongside Henri Duray and the local St. Servais race.
Gelukkige verjaardag Félix!
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