Most Iconic and Most Successful Cycling Team of All Time

Eric Leman

Born: 17th July 1946, Ledegem, Belgium
Number of professional victories: 73
Flandria 1968 - 1971

 

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Leman was given his first professional contract by Flandria in 1968. He showed great promise as a sprinter, winning Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and a stage of the Tour de France in his debut season.

In the next year’s Tour of Flanders, Leman found himself in a chase group with Rik Van Looy. They worked together for more than 40km to try to reel in the leaders. Although they were unsuccessful (Leman finished in 22nd place), in a post-race interview Van Looy was full of praise for the youngster calling him a “real cyclist”.

The 1970 Tour of Flanders saw a group of three go clear of the bunch 8km from the finish - two established stars, Merckx and Godefroot, and the 23-year-old Leman. In a fierce sprint for the line, Leman held them both off to claim victory in what was the first Belgian clean sweep in years.

Leman would go on the win the Tour of Flanders on two more occasions. In 1973 at the age of just 27, he joined fellow Belgian Achiel Buysse and Italian Fiorenzi Magni as the only three time winners. Only two other cyclists have since gained entry to this exclusive club, the 32-year-old Johan Museeuw equalled their hat-trick in 1998, and Tom Boonen took his third Ronde in 2012, at 31 years of age.

Major placings whilst riding for Flandria:

1968 Flandria - De Clerck
1st Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne
1st Stage 21 - Tour de France
1st Stage - Four Days of Dunkirk
                 3rd Paris - Tours

 

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1969 Flandria - De Clerck - Kruger
1st Stage 3 - Tour de France
1st Stages 1, 2, 5 & 7 Ruta del Sol
1st Stage 3 - Paris-Nice
                         1st Stage 5b - Dauphiné Libéré

 

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1970 Flandria - Mars
1st Tour of Flanders
1st Sages 1 & 3 - Ruta del Sol
1st Stage 3 - Paris-Nice
                          3rd Milan-San Remo
                          3rd Paris-Roubaix

 

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1971 Flandria - Mars
1st Stages 1, 6 & 7 - Tour de France
1st Championship of Flanders
1st Stages 1, 2a & 4 - Paris-Nice
                         1st Stages 1a & 5a - Dauphiné Libéré
                         1st Prologue & Stage 2 - Ruta del Sol

 

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