Stan Ockers, Belgian, 1920 - 1956
Stan Ockers was a sprinter with a strange and tragic career.
Born in 1920, he turned professional in 1941, but didn't win his first major race (La Flèche Wallonne) until 1953, at the tender age of 33. Then in 1955, aged 35, he was even stronger, winning La Flèche Wallonne (again), Liège–Bastogne–Liège, the Tour de France Green Jersey and the World Road Race Championship. In 1956 he was at it again, taking a second Green Jersey.
On September 29th 1956 Stan Ockers was involved in a, seemingly ordinary, crash during a track race in Antwerp. Two days later he was dead, a result of head injuries suffered during the crash. Thousands of mourners lined the streets of Antwerp as his funeral cortège passed through the city.
In terms of derailleurs, Stan Ockers won his World Road Race Championship riding a Simplex Juy 543 derailleur.
This photo is from Le Miroir des Sports, August 1955, and shows a relaxed, happy, Stan at the World Road Race Championships (which he won). It is one of two pictures of Stan Ockers on this site, the other is here.