In doing some research for another article, I came across a very surprising statistic – only two cyclists have won both the Tour de France and the Tour of Flanders. Ever. The Tour’s inaugural edition was in 1903 and the Tour of Flander’s (Ronde van Vlaanderen) was in 1913. That’s a long time, and it’s hard to believe, but to date only two riders have managed to capture both of these races.
So, who were the two cyclists to pull off this extremely rare feat? If you’ve think you’ve got it figured out, then click on the names from the list below. If you’re correct, you’ll be taken to the rider’s biography compliments of Cycling Hall of Fame. If you’re wrong, you’ll be treated to a classic photo (for all the wrong reasons). Remember, your looking for both of the correct names, not just Merckx (duh). Also, next to the names are the dates of their Tour wins.
Philippe Thys (’13, ’14, ’20)
Adre Leducq (’30, ’32)
Gino Bartali (’38, ’48, and still the record for the longest span between victories)
Fausto Coppi (’49, ’52)
Louison Bobet (’53-’55)
Jacques Anquetil (’57, ’61-’64)
Felice Gimondi (’65)
Jan Janssen (’68)
Eddy Merckx (’69-’72, ’74)
Bernard Hinault (’78, ’79, ’81, ’82, ’85)
Greg Lemond (’86, ’89, ’90)
Laurent Fignon (’83, ’84)
It is also worth mentioning that there have been only three other Grand Tour winners to have also won Flanders: Rudi Altig (’62 Vuelta), Fiorenzo Magni (a three-time Giro winner who won a stunning three consecutive Flanders from ’49-’51), and finally Gianni Bugno (winner of the ’90 Giro, photo left). Bugno’s Flanders win came in 1994, becoming the last Grand Tour winner to accomplish the feat.
As a comparison, 12 cyclists have achieved victory in both the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix. Since only two have been able to accomplish the even more rare Tour/Flanders combination, the conclusion would seem obvious – the Tour of Flanders must be the most difficult single-day race on the calendar. Agree or disagree? I’d love to hear your opinions.
Photocredits: (Above right) The legendary Roger de Vlaeminck grunting his way up trecherous Koppenberg. I am not sure of the year of this photograph, but Roger did win Flanders in '77, along with capturing his record-setting 4th Paris-Roubaix that same Spring Classics season. Compliments of Wikipedia/Mick Knapton. Gianni Bugno, Bike Race Info.