Eddy Merckx is a name that rolls off the tongue of any cycling enthusiast. And rightly so. But he's not the only legend who can lay claim to conquering all five Monuments. Two other brave men can boast the same feat. Rik Van Looy and 'Monsieur Paris-Roubaix' himself Roger De Vlaeminck. Despite Tom Boonen equaling De Vlaeminck's record of four race Roubaix victories in 2012, he remains the original gatekeeper of the ‘Hell of the North’. A man so deft on the pavé, it wasn’t until his eleventh edition that he suffered the merest puncture.
“The most talented and the only real classics rider of his generation.” - Rik Van Looy (Three-time Paris Roubaix winner)
De Vlaeminck’s final victory at the Classic dates back to 1977, some 28 years before his compatriot Boonen’s first. Belgian riders have always been a little tetchy about the cobbled crown. De Vlaeminck and his more celebrated contemporary Merckx (born two years earlier but winning one Paris-Roubaix fewer) enjoyed the odd verbal spat. Recently when putting together his Paris-Roubaix dream team Merckx omitted De Vlaeminck, stoking the old fires again. When the man mountain Boonen equaled his own record, De Vlaeminck questioned the competition, alluding to his compatriot only facing challenges from “…not second but third rate riders.”
SUNDAY ROADS FOREVER.
Sunday Roads Forever is a special edition Euro Collection, celebrating the Spring Classics and paying tribute to the Monuments. Coming soon.