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Where are they now? Flanders and Roubaix winner Peter Van Petegem

Peter Van Petegem is a double Tour of Flanders winner, a Paris-Roubaix champion, and a three-time winner of the Omloop Het Volk( now Omloop Het Nieuwsblad ). Still, the former Belgian pro remains modest. “I would never walk into a area territory my solutions schedule and boast about it ,” he tells me.” Not in the past and not now. This is not who I am.”

Van Petegem is a softly-spoken and friendly male with a ardour for cycling that echoes in every utterance. He still follows numerous races on Tv, men’s and women’s, and “hes found” a racket that deters him in touch with the world of cycling. His own, long profession covered 16 years at the highest level. No fewer than 20 success make up his palmares. He is one of 10 equestrians who has won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in the same year.

“There are many highlightings, ” he says when asked if 2003, the year he achieved that double victory, was the best year of his busines.

“I had a long career and if just one year or one hasten was a highlight, it wouldn’t be good. The first Omloop Het Volk was a highlight. That was the first big-hearted Classic. That doubled Flanders/ Roubaix in one week was amazing extremely but many of my triumphs are great to me.”

Peter van Petegem( freedom) in Omloop Het Volk with Johan Museeuw and Frank Vandenbroucke.

Van Petegem , now 51 years of age, prevailed his first large-scale Classic when he was 27. Things have changed a lot since his racing daylights- a 19 -year-old winning the Tour of Belgium and the Clasica San Sebastian, and a 21 -year-old winning the Tour de France.

“The move up to the elite category leads much faster now ,” he says.” The scout starts much sooner more. When I was 18 you were a boy and you were told to grow up firstly. I has not been able to even think about raising my hand in the team meeting or rebutting the older equestrians. We instructed with the team as young people and were given advice by the older riders. There was a hierarchy. When I started with PDM it was Sean Kelly giving me advice in the race.

“You see it everywhere though. In football they play with the first team aged 16 or 17. Adolescents grow up faster these days. It’s more a complex problem. They have directors, sponsors, coaches now, they have their supremacy rhythm records to show and everyone has their say. Everyone wants a speedy solution and the pressure is getting higher and higher.

“[ But] bike journeying is still bike travelling. That hasn’t changed. These early season scoots in France were cooking races before the big-hearted scoots started. Now everyone races to the line every single day. They hand 200% for their careers. It’s great for us as spectators since we are interpreted stupendous race in 2020 and 2021 so far but there is a lot of stres on these riders now. Sometimes I think they should be less serious, especially the young riders.”

The podium of the 1998 World Championship in Valkenburg with nature advocate Oscar Camenzind, silver medalist Peter Van Petegem( left ), and bronze medal Michele Bartoli.

Van Petegem started at PDM when he was 21 and rode his last-place hasten in 2007 with QuickStep when he was 37. He foresees for a little while when asked if there is something he misses in his profession.

“No , not really ,” he says.” I distribute well with frustration. I had two chances to become world champion: in Valkenburg 1998 and in Hamilton in 2003 and finished in second and third place. Of direction, I would have loved to trade in that silver and bronze medal for a rainbow jersey. But dejections? No.

“Well maybe one thing. I abode steadfast to[ crew administrator] Cees Priem and stood with him when TVM terminated their sponsorship and the team became Farm Frites. Nowadays a manager would have told me not to stay and move on but I was steadfast to Cees.”

Peter Van Petegem in that iconic TVM kit.

After a period of insecurity and unrest around the teams Van Petegem rode for, he met Lotto-Adecco in 2002. He won his third Omloop Het Volk and the Driedaagse De Panne. He too had top-1 0 places available in other large-scale races and a third place in the Tour of Flanders that time.

“But if you already earned Flanders formerly, a rostrum target becomes less affecting ,” he says.” There was also a lot of stres on me to repeat that performance. This happened its first year after and that felt good; a real confirmation. The pleasure was actually the same as the first Tour of Flanders.”

It was a remarkable scoot more that receive two of Belgium’s biggest starrings taken together. Van Petegem drummed Frank Vandenbroucke in a sprint-a-deux in 2003 to become double Flanders supporter, something exclusively 11 equestrians achieved. A week last-minute he drummed Dario Pieri and Vjatsjeslav Ekimov on the velodrome of Roubaix in a three-way sprint to become the eighth rider to do the double in the same year. Since then, Tom Boonen( 2012) and Fabian Cancellara( 2013) attached the club.

Peter Van Petegem flogs Dario Pieri and Vjatsjeslav Ekimov in Paris-Roubaix 2003.

“Being a Tour of Flanders winner in Belgium is forever ,” Van Petegem says.” It alters something with the supporters. There are currently riders who had a long career like me but don’t get recognized anymore. Funny thing is that beings look up to me now more than they did 20 years ago. Edward Theuns was here the other day and he used to look up to me while I used to look up to him, ” he says with a laugh. “I am not that kind of guy to go around and boast about my job though. In the province of East Flanders we are meagre people.”

Van Petegem never finagled another earn after 2003. There were still top-1 0 places in Flanders and Roubaix but the lack of a big win stimulated criticism. Discussions started: had Van Petegem ridden one year too many? He is clear about this.

“It’s never a epoch or time too many when you still enjoy getting up in the morning to develop ,” he says.” I was paid to be a champion but didn’t triumph anymore. I didn’t get a new contract after 2006 because I had countless gashes but I didn’t want to end my career like that. Patrick Lefevere gave me a distinguish on his team to end my profession on my own terms. He did the same with Mark Cavendish and I can are addressed to that. Last-place year some strong equestrians didn’t get the chance to end on their own terms and I feel sorry for them.”

Peter Van Petegem in his last-place Paris-Roubaix with QuickStep teammate Tom Boonen.

Van Petegem never dissolved up behind the rotate of a squad car as a sports superintendent, like numerous Belgian former pros. He doesn’t regret it though. He has a laissez-faire life philosophy and accepts that things are as they are.

“Of course, I would have liked to be a plays administrator straight-out after my career ,” he says.” You exclusively have a few months to decide what you want to do next. In my instance the contemporary before me with guys like Hendrik Redant, Wilfried Peeters, Marc Sergeant and Herman Frison had just started as plays directors and there aren’t countless plazas at the highest level regardless. I therefore chose a different career.”

Instead, he culminated up selling coverage.

“I was always the kind of rider to chit-chat with everyone, the riders, patrons ,” he says.” We now call it networking. I knew and know a lot of people and like the interaction. After your cycling profession you must move forward with a career. I just ended up in insurance .”

The ties to cycling are still there because he designed a specific policy for pro equestrians and units. He sold the business and now works with pro teams as their assurance liaison. Van Petegem also razzes in the lead car in the Tour of Flanders with hasten administrator Wim Van Herreweghe and has his own cyclosportive.

“Unfortunately, we can’t do that this spring because of the COVID restraints ,” he says.” In the cars during the hastens, we now can only have two parties per vehicle but hopefully next year again[ things will return to normal ]. ”

Peter van Petegem and Frank Vandenbroucke in the 2003 Tour of Flanders.

Van Petegem hope to be able to also conduct a unit with the developing riders and pros in the near future. He’s working with former Team Veranda’s Willems manager Ivan De Schamphelaere on luring sponsors and getting development projects moving.

“Ivan and I have been working on it for a while now but these are not the easiest ages ,” he says.” Also, cycling units and the relations between the two countries with patrons has changed. You need a lot more than to merely furnish the boss a travel in the team car. There is much more specialization in the teams as well. In the old days the manager did everything but now there are competent people for all departments. Administrators need to delegate. I review I encounter myself more as monetary boss than as a sports lead, ” he says with a smile.

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Peter Van Petegem is also a pa. He has two sons: Axandre and Maurits. Both ride bikes, although the youngest, Maurits, started in football before following his brother and, maybe, the genes towards the bike. Axandre had a tough 2020 season as a second-year junior in COVID-times.

“It was a shit year for young riders and I sure hope that members get to go more soon ,” Van Petegem says.” It’s what all riders need: to razz and race. That is my dream in being, that these boys have a nice career, that they have fun on the motorcycle but likewise achieve their goals, that they are and will be happy and healthy. That is the most important thing in my life right now.”

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