BLACK SHEEP CYCLING CONTINUES ITS OCCASIONAL SERIES CELEBRATING THE HEROES AND VILLAINS WHO DID THINGS DIFFERENTLY, THE ANTI-CONFORMISTS, THE RULE-BREAKERS AND MAVERICKS …
Despite Tom Boonen equaling his record of four race victories in 2012, Roger De Vlaeminck remains ‘Monsieur Paris-Roubaix’, 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 in 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 Eddy Merckx (born two years earlier but winning one Paris-Roubaix fewer) enjoyed the odd verbal spat. Earlier this year 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.”