Lucien Van Impe - 1976 photo

Lucien Van Impe - photo 1976 main image

Lucien Van Impe, Belgian, 1946 -

Another climber’s climber, Lucien Van Impe was recruited into the professional peleton on the recommendation of 6-times-King-of-the-Mountains, Federico Bahamontes. Van Impe, himself, also went on be crowned King of the Mountains on 6 occasions. When Richard Virenque claimed his seventh King of the Mountains title, in 2004, Van Impe criticized him for showing a lack of respect for Bahamontes by breaking his record.

Amidst all this legendary climbing lore it is almost cheeky to record that Lucien Van Impe actually won the Tour in 1976.

The story goes that, at 58 kg riding weight, the impish Lucien Van Impe lives in the Belgian village of Impe (as his name might suggest). You couldn’t make it up - or perhaps you could if your name was Hans Christian Andersen. Wikipedia claims that Lucien Van Impe has called his house ‘Alpe D’Huez’ - which is as fine a name for a house as I can recall.

As for the important stuff, Lucien Van Impe, in the fashion of his time, rode Campagnolo Super Record derailleurs.

I believe that this photo shows a victorious Lucien Van Impe celebrating his 1976 Tour victory in either Ghent or Brussels - someone out there will know which.

Lucien Van Impe - photo 1976 main image