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Echoes' Cycling Biography #4: Jean-Pierre Monseré
« on: September 08, 2013, 14:12 »

This biography is meant to be published on September 8 2013 for the 65th anniversary of Jean-Pierre Monseré’s birth. His pro career being brutally shortened by tragedy it looks as if this biography might be very short, but there was a life before the World title, the “default” Lombardy victory and the tragic crash at the kermess of Retie.
Mark Van Hamme already made a great biography in Dutch of the former World Champion called “Jean-Pierre Monseré: voor altijd 22”[1], one of the best cycling biography that there is, on which this one is mainly based (though information from other sources is added).
He was born in a factory worker’s house to a poor factory working district of Roeselare that the richer merchants from downtown sarcastically called ‘Krottegem’.
The district is famous for a bitter beer called Rodenbach (usually drunk with grenadine) and for the impressive number of cycling kermesses (entertainment for workers) and cycling stars that got international fame.
His father was a technician in a washing machine company and an amateur cycling racing in the 40ies.
But the son was born with an exquisite talent for cycling.
At age 12 he received his first bike when he got 72% at school.
Still at age 12, he would race his very first race against riders who are sometimes 3 years older and finished 3rd. Rare are the riders who had ever started racing so soon before … or since …
What would come next are ten years of the rise of a champion brutally ended by destiny at a kermess race in the spring of 1971.
Jean-Pierre Monseré, known to the World as Jempi, modernized his sport and influenced his colleagues as is little known today. This is his story.

1964: Two Belgian titles at once

At the start of 1964 Monseré was still an ‘aspirant’, which means a beginner without a licence. The fed would still organize championships for such category and sometimes several ones in one year because it’s not really official and they don’t give their utmost attention. The first was in Gullegem, West Flanders. He beat a future Paris-Tours winner with the name Noël Vantyghem (these were years of classicism, a talent was noticed very quickly).
More importantly he raced a second Belgian championship in Opgrimbie, Limburg, close to the Dutch border, the other side of Belgium. The race was a back and forth route between Opgrimbie and Maaseik. Monseré’s mother was following the race in the car and precisely when they got back to Opgrimbie, she witnessed a massive crash and was worried because she couldn’t see her son and thought he was heavily injured. Actually he went solo and finish with a 5’ lead. His biggest rival from Antwerp was a future tremendous sprinter of the 70’s who already had a reputation back then as a future star. It should be conceded that this future star from Antwerp was almost a year younger than Monseré, which was crucial at that age. His name was … Rik Van Linden.
The Belga Sport Documentary broadcast by the public channel Canvas in 2009– Jean-Pierre Monseré: voor altijd wereldkampioen – showed colour footage of races from that period.

1966/67: Ultra-modern training methods

1966 is the year Jempi Monseré really started being dedicated to his sport and for the first time collaborated with a practician: Dr. Jan Derluyn. Derluyn would later work with Freddy Maertens  and was well respected by other cyclists. Manu Adriaens[2] shows a letter addressed to Dr Derluyn, signed by all members of the Belgian team. Shortly before his own death in August 2010 Dr Derluyn had the time to meet Van Hamme and to tell him about his training methods.
Dr Derluyn’s comments as reported by Van Hamme will be translated here as they’re quite interesting for their modernity:

“Our collaboration started at a moment when the riders’medical supervision didn’t offer a lot: a few times measuring blood pressure and once or at most twice a year a blood taking to check whether left or right vitamins had to be tanked in. Only later in the amateur ranks, we were working more intensely. I would then elaborate his training schemes. For that time they were rather revolutionary: with the introduction of interval training we chose for a totally different approach. While until then the considerably long duration trainings were considered as the ideal preparations by successive generations Jean-Pierre did those interval trainings two or three times a week. […] On a training ride I would always let Jean-Pierre insert 10 blocks in which he had to give it all. In between he could recuperate for a few kilometers. After each training he had to report to me how far his attack took after the 10th and last acceleration. […] He was famous for his explosiveness with which he could bridge a gap  in a very short lapse of time. I can’t insist enough on the fact that mainly comes from our revolutionary approach.”

Van Hamme also reminds us that Jempi also worked the more traditional endurance training beside these interval training.
How many people at present know that interval-training was so old? Dr Derluyn and Jean-Pierre Monseré of course did not even invent interval-training. An early form of it was brought to cycling by Coppi but until the mid-sixties it wasn’t widely accepted and Jempi is probably one of the first to experiment with these methods so young.
Besides Dr Derluyn Jempi also worked with an ostheopath: Jacques Delva. Delva was short-sighted and compensated his handicap with great hands. Delva had previously worked with Roger Decock (1952 Flanders and 1951 Paris-Nice winner) and later with Freddy Maertens. He had just died when Van Hamme wished to meet him but he could talk to his son Michiel (also interviewed on Canvas) who is himself an osteopath working with other West-Fleming Stijn Devolder and with Jens Debusschere among others[3].
Monseré met Delva when a junior. He prepared for him some, gymnastic, stretching and yoga exercises, in particular marichyasana[4], or taking cold baths, etc.

Devolder talks about Michiel Delva showering him with cold water (in Dutch here: ). The family methods didn’t much change and he considers him as the driving force behind his renaissance at the Tour of Belgium + Belgian nationals 2010 (though with Devolder there were many ‘renaissances’).[5]

Monseré & De Vlaeminck

De Vlaeminck was also an old rival from the ‘aspirant’ ranks in 1964. In Summer 1964 the ‘future’ Gipsy won the very first race of his career. Monseré was 2nd[6]. Roger couldn’t race a lot at that time because he had no bike and surreptitiously took his brother’s.

Roger De Vlaeminck, just like brother Eric, who in 1966 was already a pro and got his first cyclocross World title, also had a modern approach to training methods, with interval, fitness and the more traditional endurance training[7].

At first the two were archrivals; no talk about partnership or friendship. In the junior ranks their other opponents included Eddy Peelman (6th in 1972 Paris-Roubaix), Vantyghem again, Ronny De Witte (future Paris-Tours winner and disqualified after Liège win) or Walter Planckaert (future Flanders winner). Again evidence that the best racers of the seventies didn’t come from nowhere.
When both De Vlaeminck and Monseré moved to the amateur ranks in 1967 they were still only rivals. But it all changed in the National Championship. Under the red flame, Jempi attacked in order to split the field despite being the fastest but De Vlaeminck led the chase behind, caught him and influenced Van Sweevelt’s victory. Monseré and De Vlaeminck were respectively 2nd and 3rd.
Due to his win Van Sweevelt suddenly got a ‘rising star’ status, confirmed by his win in the 1968 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and to some extent the Volk (now Nieuwsblad) that same year . Unfortunately for him, he never confirmed these expectations.

But for Monseré and De Vlaeminck this battle had the opposite effect than might at first be thought.

Jempi was a very clever man and quickly saw that if he kept on being De Vlaeminck’s enemy, the two would lose other races the same way because other ‘third thieves’ would capitalize on their own rivalry.

However it quickly seemed that the new Monseré/De Vlaeminck alliance wasn’t strictly based on ‘enlightened self-interest’. The mood compatibility worked very well, they had the same sense of humor and frankness. They quickly became true friends.

Monseré was undeniably the better rider of the two. De Vlaeminck has never denied it. Unlike many young people think De Vlaeminck is always ready to tell it when a given rider is stronger than he is.

“He was actually a little better than me, I personally found. He was a little faster [in the sprint] and a little more clever, he was very good”, said Roger in the TV documentary Belga Sport, talking about the amateur years.

In his own memoirs the Gipsy would confirm it and argue that Jempi could’ve been a fierce opponent to Merckx:

“The truth has its own rights. […] Eddy Merckx was the best rider ever, I’ve often heard that. But hadn’t Monseré been killed in a crash, Merckx would have had a lot of trouble with him. Monseré was better than him, I think. He was even more allround. He could sprint and climb very well. Oh yeah if you can win the Tour of Lombardy at age 21 … There were 5 big climbs and three small ones in it back then. He was precisely also more clever; in my view he had lesser to do to have the same results. But I wasn’t bad either; of course I could do everything.”

“He could everything, you know. He was a multi-talent. Versatile rider. In the sprint, one of the fastest. In the climbs he was also very good. ITT he also could. He actually could everything.” He said as intro to the documentary mentioned above.

Also in an interview from the nineties (see Appendix 2) Roger said: “He had more talent than Merckx but he was also slightly more fragile but as far as talent is concerned [‘he had more’ – the exact quote is untranslatable for a francophone like the author of this biography] but he wouldn’t have maintained himself at the top as long as Eddy.” (verification needed for translation)

Rinus Wagtmans (in Wieler Revue 1981, quoted by Dries Vanysacker in Roger De Vlaeminck Top60 Mens & Renner):
“Had his [De Vlaeminck’s] best friend not been killed cycling history would have been a lot different.”

Gimondi about Monseré: “The kid had all the elements to become a great champion. Intelligent, cunning, he made the right tactical choices and most of all he was fast.”

Merckx: “He had something more than the others. He had the face of a champion.” He also recalls that he was very fast despite not being a pure sprinter. In the documentary series ‘De Flandriens’ on Canvas he told Michel Wuyts that his father-in-Law Lucien Acou – who was in charge of the amateur Belgian team – warned him long before they turned pro that two young rising stars would come and be fierce opponents and those were Roger De Vlaeminck and Jean-Pierre Monseré.

Schotte: “As an athlete he was a cobble. He was certainly as valuable as Roger De Vlaeminck. He could have won every classic.”

Finally Altig said that the only one who one day could compete with equal weapons with Merckx.[8].

Jempi and the Eastern Europeans

In 1967 Jempi and De Vlaeminck would race a World Championship for the first time, in Heerlen, Netherlands, with the Ubachsberg as main climb[9].

A decisive escape of 13 men happened mid-race with among others the Russian Anatoli Starkov (who had just won a stage in the Milk Race), the Brit Graham Webb, the Dutchman René Pijnen (future track legend), Italian Tino Conti (future 3rd in the Pro Worlds) and most of all the East-German great Klaus Ampler (former Peace Race winner and Uwe’s father) who was 26 by then and in his prime.

Monseré and De Vlaeminck who lacked international experience at that time missed the right escape and when they realized that they would escape from the peloton and chase with the two of them, like Baracchi Trophy riders, join the group (interval-training !). Seven riders would do the same afterwards: among them, the Dane Leif Mortensen and the Brit Peter Buckley (2nd in the Tour of Namur, good amateur rider who unfortunately never could turn pro because of a fatal crash while training in 1969).

With two laps to go, four men separated themselves from the lead group: Monseré, Ampler, Pijnen and Conti. Monseré had his chances but at a given moment he unexpectedly denied collaboration with his group mates. He made a real mistake there. Ampler couldn’t believe it: “I don’t understand Monseré. He intimately stayed in our wheels and so we were caught in the last lap. Had he also just shared the workload with us the chasers would never have seen us again. I know really well that Monseré is fast and probably counted on his sprint but that was just one more reason to work with us because that’s just why he had the best chance to become World Champion.”

Ampler was of course perfectly right, there. But it should be remembered that Monseré was not yet 19, while Ampler was in his prime. Graham Webb got the title. Monseré was 10th, De Vlaeminck 7th and Ampler out of the top10.

Jempi and the Mountains (Part I)

In October 1967 Monseré went to Mexico to race three pre-Olympic races. For the second of these race Van Hamme is talking about a climb up to 3400m (Mexico is of course already at an altitude of 2200m). On this climb Jempi went away with a Mexican rider that Van Hamme didn’t identify and they had a lead of 4’ but it was still far from finish and a group of 11 joined them with 6km to go but he beat them in the sprint. Jempi was 4th in the 1st of these race and 8th in the 3rd one.

On Sunday May 19 1968 Jempi raced the very famous Peugeot GP around Valentigney in the French Jura, where the Peugeot factory is seeded. The Ballon d’Alsace isn’t far away. The region can be defined as mid-mountainous, probably the hardest race he’s ever raced until then. The race is so famous that the French TV channel ORTF gave a full coverage of it, which is unthinkable for an amateur race today (Worlds aside). The earlier mentioned Belga Sport documentary showed footage of that race as well.

Jempi outsprinted an 9-man group. Among those 8 other riders was the future time-trial specialist from Spain Jose-Antonio Gonzalez-Linares. The talented Belgian climber Lucien Van Impe was 10th 1’30 behind.

1968: The youngest in the top10

On October 23 that year he was back to Mexico for the real Olympic race this time, which apparently did not have any mountains. 160 riders started a 196km race (8 laps of 24.5km each). Before the race De Vlaeminck had a heavy crash in training and wasn’t 100% and Jempi would miss him in the front. The win was for the Italian Vianelli ahead of Leif Mortensen and Gösta Pettersson. Jempi finished 6th 2’26” behind the winner but 6” ahead of a small group consisting of Thomas Pettersson (Gösta’s brother who would be a very good ITT rider with the pro), the mighty Colombian ‘Cochise’ Rodriguez and his Italian friend Giovanni Bramucci (after whom his son was named). De Vlaeminck was 18th (3’ behind Vianelli) and André Dierickx 19th  (4’07” behind the Italian).

In the post-race interview Jempi is sure that if De Vlaeminck was in top form he could have helped him in the last lap to at least get a medal (this comment shows the hierarchy between the two). Jempi was alone against riders that were all at least two years older than him but still he could have done well with De Vlaeminck on his side.

1969: Stayed in the amateur ranks

Bernard Callens in Sport Weekblad (March 8 1969) said that Monseré was denied a pro contract at the beginning of the season, hence he got some extra motivation to win the amateur Omloop Het Volk (now Het Nieuwsblad) while De Vlaeminck got the pro edition as first pro race of his career. Mark Van Hamme implies that his stay in the amateur ranks was his own choice. He already got a proposal from Peugeot after his win in the eponymous race but the fact that it was to start on January 1 scared him.

A lot of good has been said about the amateur crop from 1968. Three figures stood out: Monseré, De Vlaeminck and Dierickx (the ‘Crown Prince’ – as Daman called him – of the amateurs with 40 wins). Not surprisingly, they would all three confirmed the expectations in the pro ranks… even Dierickx was among the best seventies riders.

As Fred Daman put it (in Sport Weekblad, op.cit.): “Last year’s amateur crop has been spoken highly of and the extra-sport brand had placed exceptionally large sums of money to put the best amateurs from this vintage against Merckx.”

1969: Jempi’s “Prague Spring”

On August 24 Jean-Pierre crossed the Iron Curtain to race the Amateur Worlds in Brno, Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic. It was exactly one year after the Soviets repressed the ‘Prague Spring’ and the Soviet tanks were still there. The Czech would still stone them and the riders were stuck in the hotels and not allowed to leave but Jempi couldn’t resist getting out through the windows with friend Staf Van Roosbroeck and throw a handful of stones.

The circuit in Brno was very hard with an ‘Ardennes’-like climb from Pisarky to Kohoutovice, 2.8km at 6.4%. With two laps to go the decisive escape happened with Mortensen, Monseré and Van Roosbroeck among others. Mortensen told Belga Sport that he had read a lot about Monseré in the newspapers and that he was one of the biggest talent in Belgium. He also knew he couldn’t get to the finish with Monseré and attacked in the climb and wins. Monseré could climb but Mortensen would stand out as a very good climber in the pro ranks and in 1969 the age difference is still very much in his favour. Van Roosbroeck was 3rd. At the end Mortensen found Monseré a bit sad when getting to the podium but the book by Van Hamme shows a picture on which he was bright smiling.

1969 Flying start with the pros

Jempi turned pro in September with Brik Schotte’s Flandria. According to Van Hamme his salary was 15,000 BF a month (+/- 375€) but Johan De Muynck[10] recalls 11,500BF (287.5€) as start month salary for Monseré. De Muynck who turned pro 1.5 year later started with a month wage of 7,500BF (187.5€).

For Monseré the salary was rather good for the standard of living of the time and considering the fact that the Belgian sponsors didn’t pay a lot. See how De Muynck started. The Italian riders were far better paid (about 3 times better), hence a lot of Belgian top guys would move to Italy in the following years and subsequently the Belgians needed to adapt, which according to Schotte, created a whole generation of lazy bones.

Briek Schotte was very good at noticing new talents and a very good and honest manager who also liked to have some merry pranksters in the team, to assure a good sphere in the team. With the two rookies, Roger De Vlaeminck and Jean-Pierre Monseré – soon joined the former’s older brother Eric to form a trio – Briek had his share of that.

De Muynck recalled that Schotte often was the target of their jokes, such as unscrewing the stopper of a salt cellar. Schotte was very conservative in everything said De Muynck, including equipment. The three quickly chose Noël Foré, Schotte’s assistant. Noël Foré was a very good rider in the sixties and ended his career in 1967, two years before Jempi turned pro. Hence he was more in touch with the evolution of the sport than Briek. Diane Foré, Noël’s widow, who talked with Van Hamme remembered that they would often imitate him “In mien tied aten we rozienenstuten” (which means ‘in my time we ate grape bread’ in Schotte’s West-Flemish dialect, not in Dutch!).

Today De Vlaeminck would rather have respect for Schotte that he called the ‘only Flandrian’ and regret the attitude he had back then but says he was too young. But those who think he is himself sort of an old-fashioned sourpuss are wrong. He and Monseré were very much avant-guardist.

Monseré’s first kermess as a pro showed him already in a break and it needed all the experience of Rudi Altig to catch him. He was eventually 2nd to … Valeer Van Sweevelt. He already won his second kermess beating Eric De Vlaeminck in a sprint. On October 8 he was second to Bitossi in the Coppa Agostoni – back then the best prep to Lombardy and a 230km long race – in a 16-man group that also included Poulidor, Gimondi, Basso, Delisle, Panizza, Dancelli, Motta and Karstens.

1969: First classic and first win after disqualification

In this Tour of Lombardy Gimondi attacked on the Ghisallo and took Dancelli, Motta, Bitossi and a few others with him. Van Springel joined the group with Poulidor and the late Jozef Huysmans among others. In the Balisio Dancelli attacked. Huysmans is alone in the chase. Motta joined Huysmans in the valley and the two caught Dancelli back and the three would soon have a 3’30” lead over the group led by Gimondi and Poulidor. But after the Intelvi and the Castiglione climb, Motta would find himself alone. He’s caught with 10km to go on San Fermo della Battaglia. In this famous climb only 9 riders would escape: Pintens, Delisle, Karstens, Monseré, Bitossi, Poulidor, Poppe, Van Springel and Vandenbossche. The Van Hamme book shows a picture of Jempi countering an attack by Pintens in the San Fermo descent, which wouldn’t prevail. In the sprint, Karstens was the fastest.

The “Karst” was known in the peloton as a dangerous sprinter but also as a joker, just like Jempi. But his best joke probably happened during that Lombardy. Fred Segaar tells the story

1969 was a bad year for Karstens whose main win was a stage in the Four Days of Dunkirk. When going to Italy he was thus determined to save his season. He didn’t make the trip to Italy with his team Peugeot but in a car driven by his soigneur Jan Leys, a man of habit who knows what it is to make long night journeys. That trip was thus prior to the Agostoni Cup, which Karstens ended 3rd. It was raced on October 8 and Lombardy on 11. For Lombardy Karstens used amphetamines, and found a way his soigneur ‘pee’ instead of him at the doping test, which was also a very common trick. A few weaks later the UCI announced the Dutchman that he tested positive. “Impossible!” was his answer. He of course couldn’t know that his soigneur also used the stuff in order to recover from the long trip to Italy.

Jempi was thus declared winner of a monumental classic, at age 21. He had hardly a pro rider for one months and one week, no more !

Jempi and doping

Since doping has become such an important matter in the cycling world in 2013 when these lines are written it might be interesting to tell two anecdotes told by Etienne Maes to Mark Van Hamme. Maes was a former member of Jempi’s fan club and later became a major property promoter in De Panne later on.

The first of them happened just after that Agostoni Cup. Jempi didn’t know that the 5 first were to be tested. Fortunately Etienne’s brother Ivan was in Italy, heard about it and knew in which hotel Jempi stayed. He found him. Jempi kept cool as if it didn’t matter but Schotte was furious and drove him back to the finish line. At the lab, the doctor was equally as furious. He stayed there while Jempi peeed, asked him to down his pants to the heels (to avoid any fraud) and kept on making offensive comments. In response Jempi would ‘target’ his hands and told Schotte who was there “Briek, why don’t you tell the doctor that I can’t help if I’m always shaking while peeing.” Poor old Briek was close to a heart attack.

The second anecdote happened in 1970. Jempi went to Simpelveld with Eric De Vlaeminck and Etienne Maes as car driver. Due to the car having a flat tyre they were very late at the start of the kermess, just in time to put the jersey on and they started at the back of the bunch. The circuit started with quite a heavy climb and the two took a pill, which they didn’t know the content of, in order not to get drop at the start. In the end E. De Vlaeminck was second to teammate Zoetemelk and Jempi was 4th. But again the 5 first had to pass the test. Jempi suddenly remembered the pill. He went to see the speaker and told him “stop announcing that, my wife lays in the hospital and I have to get back to her.” The speaker obeyed. Therefore they went away from downtown Simpelveld because he was no longer supposed to be there and back to Roeselaere, the first thing he did was pass an unofficial doping test in order to make sure that the stuff he took wasn’t a banned substance and indeed it wasn’t. In Maes’ opinion it was testament of Jempi’s mistrust for all these medications.

1970: Track meetings

The Belgian Federation director Oscar Daemers was also the organizer of the Ghent Six. For that event the audience wanted to see a Monseré/De Vlaeminck (Roger) pair. But Daemers refused because with these “cowboys” everybody would be down in the first lap. The two however would race the Omnium national championship against each other. It was very tight till the end. After the first 3 legs Monseré, De Vlaeminck and the Walloon Crapez (5th at the Agostoni the year before) were tight. In the final point race, De Vlaeminck took the lead after a couple of sprints but at half race Jempi lapped the whole bunch with Crapez and Seeuws and became Belgian champion omnium.

His relations with Daemers was very tensed indeed. When in training he met World Champion Ottenbros and the latter told him how much of a start bonus Daemers gave him for the Ghent Six, Jempi would go and knock on Daemers’ door, enter while the director said ‘Wait’ and tell him that he didn’t find it correct that the reigning World Champion was so badly treated.

1970: Discovers the hardness of Paris-Roubaix

After an unsuccessful solo breakaway at the Omloop Het Volk (now Het Nieuwsblad) and a retirement in Stage 2 of Paris-Nice (stage that he finished in an unheated material lorry against all rules of healthcare), Jempi raced Paris-Roubaix for the first time.

It should be remembered here that his Flandria team was full of young talents but that these were individualities and they had a hard time making the correct decision for collective interest. They already lost a lot of races that way. The Belgian way of racing wasn’t team oriented either. Briek Schotte would often say that “in my time [again !] it was still every man for himself” and in the different teams that he led as DS he would often give a chance to every rider ‘with talent’, those who have more limited ‘abilities’ would be happy to race for the team but none of the talented riders would ever claim to be a ‘team leader’, least of all Jempi. It’s the exact opposite of the Italian tradition, which rather of the campionissimo and his ‘gregarios’. In the long run the Italian approach seemed to have prevail but in those days the Belgians would still get a way with their tradition for the rest of the decades before Lomme Driessens brought the Italian approach to Flandria, but that’s another story.

In that Paris-Roubaix, which Merckx won with an amazing 5’ lead over De Vlaeminck, the Flandria had 4 riders in the lead group: Dierickx, Leman, Roger De Vlaeminck and Monseré. But Leman attacked because he wished to settle score with Godefroot (Godefroot didn’t appreciate Leman’s sucking his wheel in the previous Tour of Flanders). That tolled the bell for Monseré. Jempi finished 10th, in the same time as Karstens 9th but 8’05” behind Merckx. Good performance from a man who hardly weighs 64kg.

In the showers Jempi met with De Vlaeminck and told him “Roger, this time I can no longer follow. Why did this Leman attack while we were collectively so strong?” De Vlaeminck didn’t answer. Leman arrived and Jempi asked him the same question. Leman answered that on that kind of race you’d rather ride alone than in group, which isn’t wrong. But Monseré stand by what he said. De Vlaeminck interrupted him: “Jean-Pierre, don’t talk so much. There are journalists here. There’s been enough trouble like that.”

1970: Jempi and the mountains (Part II)

The 5th stage of this Tour of Switzerland went from Airolo to Meiringen over the Brünig and the Saint-Gothard. Bitossi and Gimondi attacked uphill. Jempi followed the move and attacked himself and the Italians had to fight to get back. When he got back Gimondi asked: “is that enough?” Considering Monseré’s character, that was rather an encouragement to attack once again, which he did. Dutchman Harry Steevens wins it. Jempi finished 4th in the same time as Bitossi, 3rd and Gimondi to tell him “Vous, grande bandito !” As Jempi was rather amused to it, Felice added “Vous, cowboy !” Monseré: “Moi, cowboy?” and added in Dutch “in any case I sit better on my horse than you”, which Gimondi probably didn’t understand. De Vlaeminck noted the quote in his autobiography. He had a great talent for repartee, says the Gipsy.

Much later, Gimondi would tell Jempi’s widow Annie that he’s never been dropped so strongly in the mountain than by Jempi.

1970: Alliance with Merckx

In 1970 the Belgian Championship road race was held in Yvoir, close to Namur where 5 years later the World Championship would be held. The circuit included the ascent of the famous Côte d’Evrehailles: 3.5km at 5% on an average, with a maximum gradient of 10% in the beginning. It was the place to be for all those Belgians who wish to get a selection of the World Championship, selection that were hard to fight for at that time. Besides the National was raced in exceptionally hot weather conditions, adding to the difficulty of it, for robust Flandrians used to cold weather.

After 15 ascents of the Evrehailles, Merckx attacked 6 times and was countered by Monseré … 6 times. The Brusseler had never been Belgian champion before and it’s his ambition to fill that gap (it’s always been his motivation to win races he’d never won before). Merckx’s 7th attempt would be the right one. Behind everyone would lurk at Monseré who wouldn’t move and the Cannibal would get his first (and last) national title. Van Springel would get 2nd place and Jempi would outsprint Verbeeck to get 3rd place.

Van Hamme reported a story that was brought to him by Dr Derluyn. Jempi told his doctor that after the 6th attack Merckx promised him 50,000BF a secured place in the Belgian team if he doesn’t move he makes his 7th attempt. Due to his status Merckx had the right name three or four riders in the team.

Van Hamme said that the producers of Belga Sport/Canvas brought the story to Merckx who denied it and to Godefroot who didn’t believe it. Van Hamme was involved in the making of the documentary and probably knows more than the average viewer because, on this documentary available on the Internet, the viewer can’t see any comment by Godefroot on the matter. Monseré’s mother and his sister did say that Merckx asked for his selection, that many people were angry with this (he supposedly didn’t deserve it) but they did not talk about money.

Merckx’s comment was actually: “yeah but he wasn’t an ordinary neo-pro, you know. You could see that I could do more than the average rookie.”

In any case it’s again typical for Jempi’s tactical intelligence. He and Merckx would become friends and be partners in many track meetings afterwards. As his mother told Adriaens (in 1986) he quickly saw that he had to respect that established value if he wished to do well in the sport, something that De Vlaeminck did not understand at first. When Roger turned pro his ambition was to beat Merckx head-on, and would of course ‘fall flat on his face’ several times. He might deserve a lot of credit for that but after a few years he finally made peace with Merckx when he realized that many ‘third men’ capitalized on their own rivalry to reap the benefits. Verbeeck was an expert in that, said De Vlaeminck[11].

Surely Roger learned a lot from Monseré about that. Many present-day observers would tend to romanticize the past as periods when the main contenders were true rivals who hated each other while the current ones are too kind with their opponents to be real champions. It might be that these loyal one-to-one battles or swashbucklers in a way happened in cycling but that was well before Jempi’s era, when you needed to use slyness and to befriend with your main rival, not just because friendship is ‘nice’ but also because friendship can also be ‘useful’. Surely the present-day riders also see it that way.

1970: retiring from Paris-Luxembourg

In the sixties (1963-1970) Paris-Luxembourg was a high-regarded small stage race that belonged to the Superprestige. It used to consist of two stages but in its last edition in 1970, the organizers decided to add two other stages.

Stage 1 from Sevran to Saint-Amand-les-Eaux was raced under heavy rain, there was a 4-man group in front and Jempi won in a tight sprint with German cyclocross specialist Rolf Wolfshohl. René Pijnen was 3rd and the late Raymond Delisle let it go and finished 4th.

After that win, he got a call from Delva. Delva told Adriaens that he advised his patient not to go and catch the win in that stage race if he wished to become World Champion. “You’ve got your stage in the bag; for the rest, stay calm behind.”

According to what Delva’s son told Belga Sport, the father advised Jempi to retire from it. “Evidence is this, you’re back. You’re ready for the Worlds but get out of this race and recuperate strength and start the Worlds with reloaded muscles.” The plan, says, Michiel Delva, was the Worlds and not to draw attention before.

Jempi did retire in the last stage. It shows that the planned retirement that many race organizers have to cope with in the current calendar have had precedents. If it really was planned as Michiel Delva said it’s of course the most respectable thing that Jempi did but of course he was young and didn’t have enough body yet to be present everywhere.

1970: “De cowboy van Mallory Park”

Had his life been longer the “cowboy” might have evolved into a household nickname. In any case “De cowboy van Mallory Park” was a caricature by Roger Noyez from Roeselaere.

The circuit in Leicester, Mallory Park wasn’t hard in itself. Van Hamme shows the profile with just a 2km climb at a maximum 2% immediately followed by an even shorter one at 4% gradient. But as Gimondi remembered the race was hardened by a violent wind. Quantitatively the Worlds were very poor in that period due to the fact that the bigger nations were limited to ten riders each. For a small bunch racing in such windy conditions was very hard.

Early in the race Dancelli attacked with Monseré and Motta. De Muynck recalled that Monseré would get in every breakaway in order to be sure he wouldn’t have to become a watchdog for a teammate in the peloton and “it was the first time he stood out as a great rider”. After that earlier mentioned escape Daemers immediately got to him to calm him down. Jempi replied “do you think there’s only one man in the team?”, obviously referring to Merckx.

But in Merckx’s camp, we would rather think the opposite. Let us consider this testimony by Joseph Bruyère, true Merckx lieutenant[12]:

“Even though Belgium conquered the rainbow jersey with Monseré, I don’t have fond memory of this event because I had the unpleasant feeling that everything had not been done in order for Eddy to become World Champion. This is only my opinion but it’s so. Why did it take so long for them to change my wheel when I punctured after one or two laps? I retired soon afterwards. It was too late. I was no longer able to get back to the peloton. The same mishap happened to [Jozef] Spruyt. It raised questions…”

The work by Jempi seemed to have been in vain when 50km from finish, Gimondi attacks to harden the race (he knew that he wasn’t a sprinter). He had Alain Vasseur with him (Cédric’s father). Monseré agreed with Merckx to make the jump and he did it alone (interval !). Leif Mortensen, the Brit Les West and Charles Rouxel of France joined them too.

“Monseré was in the right escape and I think I’ve been ‘fair-play’. Others asked ‘what are we gonna do?’ and I said ‘justbreak the pace’” said Merckx on Canvas.

“I couldn’t get after him. I wasn’t just a fellow countryman but also a teammate [from the same brand team]. I didn’t want any problem”, says De Vlaeminck in his autobiography.

But others were less reluctant. Godefroot on Canvas: “I know that I went away. I think in the last lap. There was a small hill. I was in a group with Verbeeck and Bitossi and I was really good, good enough to become World champion” (with a little perfidious smile). “and then on this hill I rode full gas and Verbeeck was in trouble and I did the mistake of my life, waiting for Verbeeck.”

The footage from the race shows that the three were really active, despite having each a teammate (though it’s understandable for Bitossi, who may not have trusted Gimondi’s sprint abilities).

Vasseur and Mortensen were teammates and the Frenchman agreed to lead out the sprint for the Dane but the latter realized that Vasseur had left a gap and that the Nordist wouldn’t lead out the sprint for him at all.

Jempi attacked with 1km to go, while the cameras from the BBC were filming the chase group (!). Gimondi explained that at that moment he was locked up on the inside of a turn and the cowboy attacked on the outside so that he had to let the whole group pass before he could finally go and catch him but it was too late. It’s again a testament of Jempi’s tactical intelligence. Leif Mortensen was second and Gimondi was 3rd. 4th was West, 5th Rouxel, 6th Vasseur, 7th Godefroot, 8th Verbeeck, 9th Bitossi, 10th Dutchman Gerard Vianen (who eventually joined the chase group), De Vlaeminck outsprinted the peloton for 11th place. The first two from the previous year’s Amateur World Championship were again the first two but this time in the pro race and in reversed order and on a totally different route.

About his good friend’s win, De Vlaeminck said in his autobiography (in his typical style):
 “They wrote a lot of romantic crap about it, that I was so happy that Monseré World Champion was but I can tell you that I would rather win it myself. You’d always rather win yourself. But Jean-Pierre was a friend of mine, so that was good. At that time we were still good friends but his best friend was then Noël Van Clooster who was from Torhout and Jempi from Roeselaere.” (Torhout and Roeselaere are very close town in West-Flanders and Roger is an East-Fleming)

Gimondi’s financial arrangement attempt

Right after the race Jempi offered a scoop for all journalists who interviewed him. Gimondi tried to fix the race during their breakaway. Jempi was young and didn’t really now about all the diplomatic “codes” that ruled among more experienced riders.
For all his career Gimondi built up the image of a respectable gentleman racer but it does seem that he had his flaws. Of course he first denied it but Van Hamme brought some comments from Gimondi 1973 in which he admitted it:
“an honest man [Monseré] who had not invented the story. It was true. I was wrong, I know but such things may happen when the desire to succeed makes you desperate and that you actually don’t think about what the consequences would be. When the news was revealed I had to deny the whole thing. Now decency dictates me to tell the truth. It worked on my conscience for too long. I hope that my career as an honest and straightforward rider will entitle me to forget the mistake that I’ve made.”

The problem is that this is not the only accusation of corruption directed at Gimondi. In the 1971 Milan-Sanremo Bruyère and Spruyt had escape with the Italian who was sandwiched by the two Molteni and Bruyère told Didier Malempré (op.cit.) that they “refused an offer from Gimondi.” Shame for such a great champion though the circumstances made the mistake ‘explainable’.

Besides during the documentary older Gimondi was more ambiguous in his comments. He said “we didn’t talk about money but I asked him if he could lead out the sprint for me and had he done this I would have paid him.”

Let us stick to the champion’s honest and humble comments from 1973!

Salvarani’s offer

Shortly after the Worlds Monseré received a fruitful contract offer from Salvarani as he impressed Gimondi. Gimondi argued (Belga Sport) that “he was himself a strong rider for stage races and Jempi for the classics and it would give Salvarani a right balance at the highest level. Therefore we wanted him”. De Muynck said that Jempi could also see that the situation with Flandria had become unbearable. Too many leaders ! In De Muynck’s opinion Monseré wished to be the only leader with a team around him (Van Hamme reported a comment by Jempi from 1971 that said the opposite. Even with the jersey on, he didn’t demand leadership but ‘remains someone in the centre of the team’).

Flandria manager Pol Claeys told Belga Sport that “with 4 leaders in the team, it couldn’t last.”

De Muynck: “De Vlaeminck couldn’t be a domestique for Monseré and neither reverse.”

The Salvarani boss asked Godefroot to contact Monseré for this. Godefroot was racing for Salvarani by then but would sign for Peugeot for the following week, while he raced for Flandria in 1969. Monseré did sign the contract and immediately regretted it. He considered that he couldn’t go and race in Italy while he had a family in Belgium. Two days later, he changed his mind and extended his contract with Flandria, despite all the problems.

As small change for the cancelling of his contract with Salvarani, the leaders of the latter team prepared a statement which Monseré was to sign, statement in which he would deny ever having received a financial arrangement offer from Gimondi on Mallory Park, testament of the hypocrisy of this whole affair since Gimondi would admit three years later …

Jempi’s personality

“Jempi always laughed”, said Verbeeck. At parties he would make his own show ordering always new beers – Rodenbach, the beer from Roeselaere – while he would drop many in plants when people are not watching (Delva was convinced he couldn’t hold alcohol but only pretend to). He loved to look like a “pallieter” (the Dutch word for “likely lad”/”merry prankster”) but that image clashed with his serious approach to his sport. De Vlaeminck also denied being a “pallieter”.
In Leicester heated discussions went on in the Belgian squad before the race as to whether the winner should give bonuses to teammates but neither Merckx nor Godefroot agreed. After the debate Jempi would jokingly say: “If I become World Champion I pay you all a Rodenbach.” The story was confirmed by both Verbeeck and Godefroot who happened to be the two riders who tried to undermine his escape. After the race everybody had forgotten about it because they paid attention to this quote, it was meant – they thought – to be a joke and not a real promise but Jempi did not forget and order them each a Rodenbach.

Some of his jokes were already mentioned like the famous saltcellar trick, Briek Schotte often being the victim but there were many others. Godefroot said De Vlaeminck could write a whole book about all they lived together. He was sometimes compared to the legendary ‘Tijl Uylenspiegel’ from Flemish literature (also some sort of a joker, known for his honesty and frankness). “Uylenspiegel on the bike” said an article from Le Soir illustré[13]

Jempi was also a heart of gold as is shown by his defense of Harm Ottenbros against Daemers, earlier mentioned. Jempi would also often give a visit to the underprivileged. A story was told by Carine Brouckaert, Annie’s cousin, who by the age of 12 wished to make a tour with Jempi in his new car but he had to visit Delva and on the way back Delva asked him to visit a sick boy in a hospital, which he naturally did. At that time there were of course the journalists around so that you could claim that he didn’t do that to build a ‘nice media image’.

De Vlaeminck would say: “Jean-Pierre was the most adorable kid that there is. In every aspect. He had most concerned for disabled people and so. He would give everything for them. Far too much. He was far too good for this world, I think.”

Jempi was a common man, born to a factory workers’ area and would always feel more at ease among the common men than with dignitaries.

1971: Flandria fest at the Ruta del Sol

The Ruta del Sol was in the seventies and still is today a good season opener. The race’s palmares in the seventies was really impressive. In 1971 De Vlaeminck, Leman and Monseré won two stages each. Yet in the final stage the very good Spaniard Domingo Perurena was still in contention with Monseré for the GC win. He stood 23” behind and 30” bonus were on offer for the stage winner. Jempi was too exhausted for the sprint (he had to get back after puncture). In the sprint Leman did a slight maneuver to hinder Perurena for Jempi and so lost the Spaniard all his chances but it’s still not sure he could have won the stage against Dutchman Kisner.

It should be said that Jempi got a handful of time bonuses with his two stage wins. The time bonus system always falsifies the race. Perurena might have been the fastest man in the race. But Jempi won a stage race for the first time in his pro career. Perurena was 2nd but then disqualified (for a positive test? He had one in 1971 according to L’annuaire du dopage). The updated ranking places De Vlaeminck in 3rd place, Rosiers is 6th, Torres 7th, Gonzalez-Linares 8th, Zoetemelk 11th and Ocaña 26th.

1971: Friendship with De Vlaeminck winding down

“Our friendship, with my best mate, Roger, is no longer what it was with this jersey” said Monseré to Jacques Delva, as reported by Michiel Delva to Belga Sport.

De Vlaeminck admitted that in hindsight he felt a little jealous for this and found it normal. He was also a young talent with ambition and determined to become a cycling star and to win great races. Roger said they were still friends but admitted they didn’t see each other as often as before. De Vlaeminck didn’t believe in friendship between riders. He did believe in ‘camaraderie’ and ‘have fun with them’ but friendship is something else.

When Jempi turned pro the two made a gentleman’s agreement. As far as ‘small’ kermess races were concerned Monseré was the leader in West-Flemish races and De Vlaeminck in East-Flemish races. But in the Omloop van Zuid-West-Vlaanderen De Vlaeminck won and Monseré was 2nd. De Vlaeminck’s win was more due to race circumstances than anything else but afterwards they raced the Elfstedenronde (11 Town Tour) in Bruges (the town of Jean-Pierre’s club) and the two rising stars constantly raced against each other. There was a heated discussion the next day in the locker room in Bruges, recalls De Muynck.

Godefroot nicely explained the rivalry (in 1986): “Roger needed somebody who was a little better than him and against whom he could fight.”

The next aim for Jempi was Milan-Sanremo and he told Claeys that if they kept on racing against each other it won’t go. That’s how Claeys came up with the idea he should race the kermess in Retie, with the De Vlaeminck’s and was planned to win it. That’s how friendship was meant to be restored.

That worked. At first they weren’t really motivated to go to Retie but De Vlaeminck says to Belga Sport he really intended to restore their friendship and “we had  a lot of fun in the car …” (going to Retie). Roger kept a moment silence after saying that. The memories were still painful ...

March 15 1971: Retie

Racing a kermess as a prep for Milan-Sanremo is unthinkable in the 21st century. The best classic riders would have to either race Paris-Nice or Tirreno Adriatico but in 1971 Tirreno was not yet the great stage race that it actually quickly became in the course of the decade. In 1971 the field there was mainly Italian oriented with one or two foreign teams but Flandria couldn’t afford to send a team there.
Godefroot would tell Manu Adriaens (in 1986) that he regretted that Jempi cancelled his contract with Salvarani because with Salvarani he would have race Tirreno and not Retie.

The Flandria did send a team to Paris-Nice but Monseré and the De Vlaeminck’s were not a part of it, which Jacques De Boever did not understand because Paris-Nice was obviously the best prep for guys with ambition like these.

In this kermess Jempi was in the 16-man lead group with the De Vlaeminck’s and Verbeeck among others. He had just taken his share of the workload and hence was relegated at the back of the group. Most probably he looked back below his shoulder to assess the gap with the chase group and couldn’t see the Mercedes coming from the opposite side … It was all over… Instantly killed …

On the well-done website Mémoire du cyclisme Michel Crépel argues that Jempi was run over by a reckless male driver who refused to stop at the crossroads.

This is a pretty bold statement from Crépel, who was a fan of Jempi’s. The person in the car was a woman and she did nothing wrong ! Mother Monseré said it clearly and openly to the reporters from Canvas. “This miss was not to blame !” The article from ‘Le Soir illustré’ from March 1971 stated that she was carefully and slowly driving on the far right end side of the road as the ruling recommends when an ‘exceptional convoy’ is passing by.

Were the organizers to blame?

The article from Le Soir illustré argued that when a race isn’t entirely controlled by the police the race organizers plan a car preceding the first rider by at least 500m with a board signaling cars from the opposite side that a cycling race is under way and it seems that it was the case in Retie.

It was also question whether the police couldn’t have controlled the race. The Belga Sport producers broadcast footage from an old interview with organizer Louis Cuypers who said he asked the ‘gendarmerie’ several times to escort the race and the response was no because it was not a classic race.

It should be mentioned that this privilege is indeed reserved for classic races and that the police and ‘gendarmerie’ could not realistically control every race that were going on in Belgium at that period when the sport was so popular. The police also has other things to do. A professional rider like Monseré is used to cycle on races that are escorted by the police and it might be that he lacked the reflexes of an amateur who would be used to carefully race on the right end side of the road, in uncontrolled races.

At that time in Belgium you could count 4,000 to 5,000 races a year and some Saturdays or Sundays there could be 60 or 80 races in a single day !

The popularity of cycling coupled with the democratization of the car in the sixties had already looked for tragedies in Belgian cycling. Le Soir noted 20 killed in races between 1963 and 1969 and 68 permanent disabled following an accident. The article doesn’t bring any lists of names. They of course weren’t World Champion. One rider mentioned that surely and unfortunately belongs to the list is the talented Frenchman José Samyn, killed after a crash in a criterium in Zingem on August 28 1969, close to Oudenaerde.

Many measures have been taken to improve safety on these races but safety is never perfect. One of them concerns the helmet, which was compulsory in races in Belgium by 1966 – 37 years before the rest of the world –, which of course was useless given the poor contribution that helmets at that time brought.

Jempi was such a popular figure in Belgium at that time. The huge attendance at his funeral is testament for that. A popular figure of a sport that was at the peak of its popularity and to some extend it might be argued that it’s precisely this popularity that killed him.

Hein Verbruggen and Flandria

Van Hamme’s book is full of detailed information about the background of Jempi’s career. Everything from the book can’t be reported here, it wouldn’t be decent but it’s rather interesting to know that the future President of the FICP and UCI (1984 to 2005) was already involved in cycling in 1970 and 1971, which is confirmed by his Wikipedia page: .

Verbruggen studied at the Nyenrode Business Universiteit. Afterwards, he became a sales manager. In 1970, when he was a sales manager at Mars, Incorporated, he convinced them to sponsor a cycling team, to get access to the Belgian market.

Access to the Belgian Market means becoming a co-sponsor for Flandria, in 1970 and 1971. Verbrugghen was only just 28.

A point in his favour is that Verbruggen did a lot to promote cycling in the Netherlands and imposed Joop Zoetemelk in the Flandria team, which would be the start of an outstanding career.

He surely didn’t invent commercialism but with him champions were used as models for commercial interests. Monseré, De Vlaeminck and Zoetemelk would all pose for such commercials, enjoying a Mars bar.

But what’s more these commercials were accompanied by slogan lies such as “Mars gives you direct energy”. On this document (p.13) Eric Leman can be seen enjoying a Mars bar with a notice below saying: “Mars helped him because a Mars brings 3 times more energy: STRENGTH from creamy caramel; STAMINA from light cream; TOP CONDITION from full-cream milk chocolate.”

What Van Hamme reveals to us is that Mars’ co-sponsoring ended because of Jempi’s crash. They announced it to Claeys via Verbruggen and that they were “blatantly scared for the negative publicity which could go along possible damage claims or other juridical process that usually accompany such heavy crashes and hence were looking for other less risky sport domains for their commercial welfare.”

This is how Verbruggen’s career started, the man who would later revolutionize cycling with reforms that killed a lot of classic races in the 90’s, besides the corruption suspicion.

It was rational however that Jempi’s crash and the media attention around it should have had ‘positive’ consequences from a commercial viewpoint how cynical that might be.

Flandria’s sales director Marcel Verschelden told Van Hamme that the crash was the main reason for the partnership with Shimano. He met with the persons in charge from the Japanese company with huge files containing clippings about Jempi’s crash to convince them that cycling was a very popular sport.
That is how the currently (2013) leading groupset supplier entered the cycling world when the market was dominated by Campagnolo. The Campagnolo/Shimano rivalry would lead to one of the most famous conspiracy theory in cycling history: Maertens in the Montjuich Worlds 1973 but that’s another story.

Giovanni and Freddy Maertens

This text isn’t meant to sadden but how sad and cruel is the malediction that hit the Monseré family when little Giovanni was killed in 1976 after a very similar crash to his father on the little bike that was offered to him by Freddy Maertens, the new Flandria star…

Jean-Pierre Monseré and Freddy Maertens knew each other. They were both West-Flemings, and it’s a small world. They never raced in the same categories. When Jempi turned pro in 1969, Maertens raced his first year in the junior category, winning 22 victories. In 1968 Maertens was the #3 in the beginners’ category (Sports Weekblaed March 8 1969). In 1970 Maertens dominated the junior category with 42 victories.

In that year 1970 Monseré as World Champion was invited at a party at the cycling club WSC Torhout, among his numerous obligations, which go with this new status. He It’s not his club (he raced for Brugse Velosport), but Torhout is close to Roeselaere, so that was okay and as it happens it was … Maertens’ club.

Jempi went there with his wife’s cousin Carine and introduced her to Freddy. He told her he was a friend, so it seems that they already knew each other. (in Adriaens’ book, 1986)

Freddy Maertens would marry Carine Brouckaert in 1973, two years after Jempi’s departure, and thanks to him. Annie Monseré’s mother died young and grew up under the same roof as Carine, so that they considered themselves as sisters and, by extension, Giovanni would consider Maertens, … his uncle.

It might have been the plan for the very clever Jempi Monseré to become Maertens’ brother-in-law. He could have seen the latter was the coming man and it would be useful to have him on his side.

In any way from a historical perspective this private event could be seen as a changing of the guard, in an era when the Flandria superteam was at an all-time high – too many leaders in Monseré’s era and still equally as many leaders at Maertens’ era – already having in them the elements of its decline and the Belgian unashamed dominance that also contains in itself the element of its decline – money and adoption of middle-class attitude.

Jean-Pierre Monseré is gone but cycling go on living just the same, or as Bernie Leadon would say, “laughing just the same.”


Belga Sport Documentary on Canvas (2009) [From 21'00 to 26'10 commentaries from the BBC of the Worlds in Leicester, sometimes interrupted]

(In memory of mother Hélène Monseré, who passed away in 2011 two years after featuring in this documentary, at age 93)

Documentary from the 90's with Roger De Vlaeminck talking about his best friend (a Dutch translation of what he says at 2'35 is welcome !)

Jean-Pierre Monseré winning 1969 Omloop Het Volk (now Het Nieuwsblad). Appreciate the simplicity/humility of the celebration. A lesson to present-day winners.

Caricature by Roger Noyez 'De Cowboy van Mallory Park' (I don't own the copyright for this, I may remove it if it raises problem; it's from Manu Adriaens' Jempi: getuigenissen over wereldkampioen wielrennen 1970: Jean-Pierre Monseré, Roularta 1986)

Pub/fan-club in Roeselaere, shortly after the tragedy (with the huge drawing by Roger Noyez behind):

Teammate Eric Leman enjoying a Mars bar for co-sponsor commercial, with Hein Verbruggen being sales manager for Mars. Jempi did such commercials too, in his rainbow jersey:

Jempi Monseré doing some yoga with Jacques Delva:

The marichyasana pose (according to the blogger who posted the picture):

Letter sent to Dr Derluyn, signed by all members of the Belgian team in Leicester (from Manu Adriaens book, op.cit.):

Little Jempi in one of his first year as a cyclist (from Adriaens' book):
 1. (Roularta Books, 2010)
 2.  (in “Jempi: getuigenissen over wereldkampioen wielrennen 1970: Jean-Pierre Monseré”, Roularta 1986)
 3. edit on Sep. 9 2015:
 4. (according to this blogger:
 5. (still in Dutch: )
 6.  (in De Vlaeminck’s ‘Memoirs’ or Vanysacker’s biography, there is no mention of a town where De Vlaeminck got that win, Roger only said it was a bunch of 80 riders but Van Hamme mentions one second place for Monseré in that period, in Izegem on August 15, which might be)
 7.  (De Flandriens van het Veld, Canvas 2011)
 8.  (quoted in an article from Le Soir illustré, March 1971)
 9. (like in the Dutch Nationals 2013)
 10. (in Brik Schotte: De Laatste der Flandriens by Rik Van Walleghem)
 11. (in Roger De Vlaeminck: Top60 Mens & Renner by Dries Vanysacker, 2007)
 12.  (given to Didier Malempré, Joseph Bruyère, Édition Luc Pire 2008)
 13. (March 1971)
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  • « Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 14:12 by Echoes »
    "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)


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    I didn't expect the second Youtube clip to be fixed on the picture of Jempi lying down ... inanimate ...

    I don't want to see this picture. There's no need for that. Is there anything to do about it? Strictly showing the link perhaps?


    Editing missed pictures:

    Jempi winning the Amateur Omloop in 1969:

    The cartoon: Cowboy van Mallory Park:

    Letter to Dr Derluyn:

    Eric Leman and the chocolate bar:

    Little Jempi:

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  • « Last Edit: August 28, 2016, 12:25 by Echoes »


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