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Rik Van Looy

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A belated happy birthday to Rik Van Looy, who was born on December 20, 1933. 

Nicknamed the “King of the Classics” or “Emperor of Herentals” (because he lived in the small Belgian city near the Dutch border), Rik Van Looy won just about every one-day race worth mentioning.

Indeed, Van Looy was the first cyclist to win all five of cycling’s monuments (Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege) for a total of eight victories in these races, including three wins in Paris-Roubaix.

In other one-day races, Van Looy won the prestigious Paris-Tours race in 1959 and 1967, Ghent-Wevelgem in 1956, 1957, and 1962, plus the Fleche Wallone in 1968.

In the Grand Tours events, Van Looy won the Points Jersey in the 1963 Tour de France and the Mountains Jersey in the 1960 Giro d’Italia.

Van Looy’s career spanned some eighteen seasons beginning at age 19 in late 1953 and ending at age 36 in 1970.

During this time, he racked up an impressive 419 professional road victories.

However, 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.

Gelukkige verjaardag Rik!

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