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Lucien van Impe Photo Gallery

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Major victories and high placings | Professional teams | Photo gallery |

Lucien van Impe (born October 20, 1946) was one of modern cycling's finest climbers and is the last Belgian to have won the Tour de France.

With the help of Spanish climbing legend Federico Bahamontes, van Impe turned pro on June 6, 1969 for the Sonolor-Lejeune team. His talent showed immediately when that July he came in twelfth in the Tour de France.

In 1971 he won the Tour de France mountains classification, the first of six KOM titles. That was then the record, which he shared with Bahamontes until Richard Virenque won the classification seven times. Van Impe was also the Giro d'Italia's best climber twice.

Van Impe revered Bahamontes and did not try exceed the Spaniard's Tour de France six mountains titles, being content to equal his mentor.

In 1976 van Impe was riding for Gitane-Campagnolo, directed by Cyrille Guimard. They decided that the unusually hilly nature of that year's Tour de France was perfectly suited for van Impe's climbing talents. Rather than make another run at the mountains classification, van Impe rode for overall victory.

Impe won the 1976 Tour, but not without hard feelings between Guimard and van Impe. In stage 14 Guimard told van Impe to chase after Luis Ocaña, who had just escaped. Van Impe demurred. Guimard says he threatened to run over van Impe with the team car if he didn't chase the Spaniard (van Impe denies this). Whatever the reason, van Impe did bridge up to Ocaña on the Peyresourde and left Joop Zoetemelk minutes behind. Van Impe took the lead for good that day.

In the 1977 Tour van Impe was surely riding to a stage victory at l'Alpe d'Huez that would seal his ownership of the general classification when he was hit by a car. Van Impe finished third that year,

He has only one major single-day victory, but it's a big one, the Belgian Road Championship in 1983.

Lucien van Impe is one of the few top riders of the modern era who have never tested postive for dope. He retired October 15, 1987.

Since then he has directed professional cycling teams. He currently (2014) directs the Belgian Professional Continental team Wanty-Group Gobert

Major victories and high placings:

1971:

1972:

1973:

1975:

1976:

1977:

1978:

1979:

1980:

1981:

1982:

1983:

Professional Teams:

1969-1971: Sonolor-Lejeune
1972-1973: Sonolor
1974: Sonolor-Gitane
1975-1976: Gitane-Campagnolo
1977: Lejeune-BP
1978: C & A
1979: KAS-Campagnolo
1980: Marc-Carlos-VRD
1981: Boston-Mavic
1982-1984: Metauro Mobili-Pinarello
1985: Santini-Krups
1986: Dormilion
1987: Sigma


Photos:

Van impe in stage 15 of the 1971 Tour de France

Lucien van Impe riding to Superbagnères in stage 15 of the 1971 Tour de France. José-Manuel Fuente won the stage, van Impe was second @ 26sec.

Lucien van Impe and Bernard Thévenet in the 1975 Tour de France

Lucien van Impe in the polka-dotted climber's jersey with eventual overall winner Bernard Thévenet on a successful break in stage 14 of the 1975 Tour de France. Van Impe won the stage.

Lucien van Impe climbs to l'Alpe d'Huez in the 1979 Tour de France

Lucien van Impe climbs to l'Alpe d'Huez in stage 17 of the 1979 Tour de France.

Van Impe climbs the Gliabier in the 1980 tour de France

1980 Tour de France, stage 17: van Impe (blue/white Marc-IWC jersey) climbs the Galibier with the good guys. Hennie Kuiper is on his wheel and lurking in the back is Joop Zoetemelk wearing the yellow jersey.

Lucein van Impe at stage 16 of the 1982 Giro d'Italia

Van Impe, wearing the green climber's jersey, finishes stage 16 in San Martino di Castrozza of the 1982 Giro d'Italia.

Lucien van Impe riding to Boario Terme n stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia

Lucien van Impe riding to Boario Terme in stage 17 of the 1982 Giro d'Italia.

Lucien van Impe rides to Boario Terme in stage 17 of the 1982 Giro d'Italia

Another shot of van Impe riding to Boario Terme in stage 17 of the 1982 Giro d'Italia.

Lucien van Impe riding stage 18 of the 1982 Giuro d'Italia

There goes van Impe (in green climber's jersey) racing for the top of Monte Campione in stage 18 of the 1982 Giro d'Italia.

Lucein van IMpe

Of course van Impe's sponsors printed posters after he won the mountains classification in the 1982 Giro d'Italia.

Lucien van Impe ready to ride the 1983 World Championship road race at Altenrhein, Switzerland

Van Impe ready to ride for Belgium at the 1983 World Road Championship at Altenrhein, Switzerland. Greg LeMond won his first rainbow jersey at that race.

Lucien van Impe in stage 18 of the 1984 Giro d'Italia

Van Impe is wearing his Belgian Champion's jersey as he races to Merano in stage 18 of the 1984 Giro d'Italia.

Lucien Van Impe follow Laurent Fignon in stage 19 of the 1984 Giro d'Italia

Van Impe follows Laurent Fignon in stage 18 finishing in Selva val Gardena in the 1984 Giro d'Italia.

Luciano Loro and lucien van Impe finish stage 20 of the 1984 Giro

Stage 20 of the 1984 Giro d'Italia: Luciano Loro finishes in front of Lucien van Impe and Marino Lejaretta. Laurent Fignon won the stage and temporarily took the lead.

Lucien van Impe at the 1984 Coppa Placci

No longer Belgian Road Champion, van Impe is ready to start the 1984 Coppa Placci.

Van Impe in stage 20 of the 1985 Giro d'Italia

Van Impe leads pink-jersey'd Bernard Hinault with big Francesco Moser right behind in stage 20 of the 1985 Giro d'Italia.

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