Born: 24th August 1947, Eekloo, Belgium
Number of professional victories: 292
Flandria 1969 - 1971
"The most talented and only real Classics rider of his generation” was how the great Rik Van Looy described him. De Vlaeminck was signed as a new professional by the Flandria Team in 1969, and immediately won Omloop Het Volk - his first race. De Vlaeminck was the complete one-day rider. He could win races with bunch sprint finishes such as Milan-San Remo, and was equally at home climbing, or bouncing over the cobbles.
His speciality was Paris-Roubaix, where his 4 wins have yet to be equalled. In fact De Valeminck also finished 2nd four times, and 3rd, 5th, and 6th once, rightly earning the nickname “Mr.Paris-Roubaix”.
De Vlaeminck won all five Monuments of cycling (Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Tour of Lombardy), a joint record he holds with fellow Belgians Rik Van Looy and Eddy Merckx.
Despite his strength in the one day races, De Vlaeminck never won the World Road Championship. His best performance was second place to Dutchman Hennie Kuiper in 1975.
De Vlaeminck had to battle with Eddy Merckx throughout his career but was never able to compete with Merckx for popularity. The press helped fuel a cold war between the two. He also developed a vicious rivalry with the young Belgian upstart Freddy Maertens. In the 1976 Tour of Flanders Maertens and De Vlaeminck were in a break with Francesco Moser, Marc Demeyer and Walter Planckaert. Rather than risk the other winning, both Maertens and De Vlaeminck refused to chase attacks from the rest of the group, and let them slowly slip away down the road, with Planckaert eventually taking the victory.
A year later, in the 1977 Tour of Flanders, De Vlaeminck sat on Maertens' wheel for 100km (60miles) before ruthlessly sprinting past him on the line.
Major placings whilst riding for Flandria:
1969 Flandria - De Clerck
1st Belgium Road Race Championship
1st Het Volk
2nd Milan San-Remo
2nd Grand Prix de L’Escaut
3rd Championship of Zurich
1970 Flandria - Mars
1st Scheldt Grand Prix
1st Stage 6 - Tour de France
2nd Belgium Cyclocross Championship
1971 Flandria - Mars
1st Points Jersey Tour of Switzerland
1st 4 Days Dunkirk (also, 1st stage 2)
1st Grand Prix E3
1st Stage 3 - Tour of Switzerland