Rik van Looy
digg del.icio.us TOP
  Posted October 16th, 2011 by Zdenko  in Cycling | One comment


By Zdenko Kahlina
King of the Classics
Rik Van Looy 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.

Rik Van Looy – King of the Classics

He was the first cyclist to win all five of cycling’s monuments (Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Tour of Flanders) for a total of eight victories in these races, including three wins in Paris-Roubaix. Van Looy won the Paris-Roubaix Classic in 1961, in front of Belgians Marcel Janssens and Rene Vanderveken, in 1962, in front of Belgians Emile Daems and Frans Schoubben, and in 1965, in front of Belgians Edward Sels and Willy Vannitsen.

Rik Van Looy world champion

Rik Van Looy winner of Paris -Roubaix

Van Looy was 2nd in 1963 behind Emile Daems of Belgium, and in 1967, behind Jan Janssen of Holland. Van Looy was also 3rd in 1958 behind Leon Van Daele of Belgium and Miguel Poblet of Spain. Van Looy won the 1958 Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders in 1959 and 1962, the Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 1961, the Tour of Lombardy in 1959. Van Looy won the 1960 World Championship Road Race in front of Andre Darrigade of France and Pino Cerami of Belgium. Van Looy also won the event in 1961, in front of Nino Defilippis of Italy and Raymond Poulidor of France.

Rik Van Looy was good sprinter

Van Looy was also 2nd in 1956 behind Rik Van Steenbergen of Belgium, and 2nd in 1963 behind Benoni Beheyt of Belgium.

In addition, Van Looy was 4th in 1957 behind Rik Van Steenbergen of Belgium, Louison Bobet of France, and Andre Darrigade of France.

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

Rik Van Looy with young Eddy Merckx (behind)

Rik Van Looy had to fight with young and talented Eddy Merckx

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

In the Vuelta a Espana, Van Looy was 3rd in 1959 behind Antonio Suarez and Jose Segu of Spain, and was 3rd in 1965 behind Rolf Wolfshohl of Germany and Raymond Poulidor of France. Van Looy also won the Points Jerseys in those years as well. Van Looy’s career spanned eighteen seasons beginning at age 19 in late 1953 and ending at age 36 in 1970. During this time, he racked up an impressive 379 professional road victories.

Van Looy’s career was sandwiched between two other great Belgian riders: Rik Van Steenbergen and Eddy Merckx.

In fact, Rik Van Looy may not have begun bicycle race had it not been that his name was so close to that of the then-current Belgian superstar, Rik Van Steenbergen.

Van Looy rode a heavy bicycle delivering newspapers where he was teased by neighbors because of his name being so close to the established star at the time. This taunting spurned him on to ride competitively.






Gotta Comment?
If you've got a comment or opinion you'd like to share, send me an email or fill the comment fields bellow, with only requirements your name and email address. I might just publish you in glorious pixilated black & white! Comments may be edited for grammar, spelling and length, or just to make them better.

Submit your own stories for the Zdenko’s Corner about rides, Gran Fondo’s, having a good time traveling and/or cycling, Croatian cycling history, etc. All stories are very welcome. There are more than 400 stories already in this blog. The search feature at the top right, works best for finding subjects in the blog. There is also translating button at the top of every story so you can translate each page to language of your choice.

Send your comments to: zdenko@zkahlina.ca

One comment to “Rik van Looy”

  1. Comment by Jessie:

    Thanks for the marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it. I will bookmark your blog so I can come back. Continue your great work and have a nice day!

Leave a Reply