Erik De Vlaeminck, Belgian cyclist, Died at 70


Erik De Vlaeminck was born on March 23, 1945, and died on December 4, 2015.

He was a Belgian cyclist who became cyclo-cross world-champion seven times in 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973), a record.

Erik missed 1967 only because his bike was damaged during the race.

He also became Belgian champion four times (1967, 1969, 1971, 1972) at a time when there were so many good Belgian riders that the domestic championship was often harder than the world-championship.

Erik also performed creditably in road races, including the Tour de France.

In 1969, Erik won the Tour of Belgium and a stage in the Tour de France.

Erik never failed a drugs test in his racing career but was treated after it for amphetamine addiction.

Many stories circulate about his supposed wild behaviour after races and after his career was over.

When Erik returned to racing, the Belgian federation would offer him a licence for only a day at a time until it saw how his life would progress.

Erik refuses to speak of this period of his life.

His re-establishment was complete, however, because he became the national cyclo-cross coach and led Belgium to a dominating period of international success.

Erik always complained, however, that while cyclo-cross brought Belgium its world championship medals, it was to road racing that the bulk of the funds was given.

Erik was the brother of Roger De Vlaeminck. His son Geert died of a heart attack in a cyclo-cross race while his father was watching.

In later life, Erik De Vlaeminck suffered from Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Erik passed away at age 70 in December 2015.