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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, June 1, 2020

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Roger Decock, the oldest winner of the Tour of Flanders, has passed away

En24 News posted this:

Former cyclist Roger Decock died in Aarsele (West Flanders) overnight from Saturday to Sunday, his family said. He was the oldest winner of the Tour of Flanders, which he won in 1952. He was 93 years old.

Roger Decock

Roger Decock wins the 1952 Tour of Flanders.

During his career, Roger Decock also won the Paris-Nice stage race and the Flanders championship at Koolskamp.

Professional cyclist from 1949 to 1961, he participated in two editions of the Tour de France (1951 and 1952). In 1951, he rescued the yellow jersey Wim Van Est after a fall.

During his first professional year, he won the Briek Schotte Grand Prix, also known as the Desselgem Koerse. Two years later, he won the final classification of Paris-Nice as well as the Flanders championship in Koolskamp, ​​near his place of birth.

His greatest feat was the victory in the Tour of Flanders in 1952. In difficult weather conditions, with 43 riders at the finish on 210 starters, he won in Wetteren ahead of the Italian Loretto Petrucci and another Belgian Briek Schotte. Decock finished the race at an average of 34.63 km / h.

In his own words, Decock should have won the ‘Ronde’ in 1955. Four riders had crossed a closed level crossing, but were not disqualified “for shady reasons”. He took fifth place.

Decock won the Scheldt Prize in 1954 and the Closure Prize in Putte-Kapellen in 1957.

He also obtained places of honor at Milan-Sanremo (10th in 1958), Gand-Wevelgem (4th in 1951) Paris-Roubaix (6th in 1953), Liège-Bastogne-Liège (6th in 1952, 7th in 1954) , and the Tour of Lombardy (6th in 1956).

Another remarkable performance by Decock was his second place in a 1951 Tour de France time trial between Aix-les-Bains and Geneva, behind Hugo Koblet. Which means he left behind riders like Gino Bartali, Louison Bobet, Raphaël Geminiani or Fausto Coppi.

That year, Decock finished 17th in the Grande Boucle. He also distinguished himself for having saved Wim van Est. The Dutchman, then a yellow jersey, had fallen on the descent from the Aubisque pass, precipitating into the ravine, just in front of Decock. The latter had stopped immediately, the followers behind them did the same and were able to go up the Dutchman. Decock said that if he hadn’t stopped, “Van East might still be lying there.”

You can read the entire news story here.

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