Thursday, September 22, 2011

Freddy Maertens

Freddy Maertens

Freddy Maertens was born February 13, 1952 in Nieuwpoort, Belgium. He was the World Road Race Champion twice. In Italy in 1976, he won in front of Italians Francesco Moser and Tino Conti. In Prague in 1981, he beat Italian Giuseppe Saronni  and France's Bernard Hinault. 

Maertens also won the 1977 Vuelta a Espana, taking more than half the stages; 13 in total, and took the sprinters' maillot vert in the Tour de France three times (1976, 1978 and 1981). In 1976 he won a record-equalling eight stages of the Tour de France; the following year (1977), he took seven stages in the Giro d'Italia.

Outside the Grand Tours, his stage race victories included Paris-Nice (1977), the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque (1973, 1975, 1976 and 1978), the Tour of Andalucia (1974, 1975), Tour de Luxembourg (1975), Tour of Sardina (1977) and Vuelta y Catalunya (1977).

However, despite his sprinting dominance during the 1970s, Maertens did not win a one-day Classic, coming  closest with second places in Ronde van Vlaanderen (1973) and Liege- Bastone - Liege (1976). His other one-day road race victories included:

  • Gent-Wevelgem (1975, 1976)
  • Paris-Brussels (1975)
  • Paris-Tours (1975)
  • Amstel Gold Race (1976)
  • Rund um den Henninger Turm (1976)
  • Zuri-Metsgete (1976)
  • Omloop "Het Volk" (1977, 1978)
  • Grote Scheldeprijis (1973)
Maertens is believed to have been one of the best sprinters in the world, and is credited with having nurtured another great sprinter, Sean Kelly, during Kelly's early professional career. He was also an accomplished rider in individual time trials, winning the Grand Prix des Nations in 1976.

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