Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lucien Van Impe

Lucien Van Impe
Lucien Van Impe, born October 1946 in Belguim, was a professional bicycle racer from 1969 through the year 1987. He is best known for his ability to climb mountains on his bike.

He gives another great climber, Spainiard Federico Bahamontes, credit for his professional career. Bahamontes used his influence to get Van Imp a contract as a professional, after Van Impe won the climbers jersey as an amateur in the 1968 Tour l'Avenir. 

Van Imp is best known for his 1976 win of the Tour de France and winning the "King of the mountains" title six times at the Tour. His mentor, Federico Bahamontes, was the first rider to win  the climbers competition six times. Lucien Van Imp was critical of Richard Virenque when he broke the record with seven "King of the mountains" titles. Van Impe said he had refrained from breaking Bahamontes' record himself out of respect. 

In 1981 Van Imp was second place in the Tour de France and won the climbers' competition.

At the Giro d'Italia he won the mountain classification twice during his career.

Lucien Van Impe started fifteen Tour de Frances and reached the finish in Paris every time. He certainly would have had more Tour de France victories if so much of career hadn't over lapped with the great racer Eddy Merchx. 

During or after his professional career, Van Impe has never tested positive, refused a doping test or confessed having used doping.

In recent years he has been head of the Veranda Willems professional cycling team. 

Lucien Van Impe lives Impe, Belgium. His house is called Alpe D'Huez after the French mountain where he took the yellow jersey (of the leader in the Tour de France) in 1976.

Lucien Van Impe 1974

Lucien Van Imp 1976

Lucien Van Impe breaking away during the 1977 Tour de France

Lucien Van Impe 1980
Lucien Van Impe 1981
Lucien Van Impe wearing the best climber's jersey in the 1983 Tour de France
Click here to learn more about Frederico Bahamontes.

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