Apr 04, 2018

The Leon Van Daele Edition

  • The Leon Van Daele Edition
  • The Leon Van Daele Edition
  • The Leon Van Daele Edition
  • The Leon Van Daele Edition

Paris-Roubaix, famed for it’s pavé and fabled for it’s stories of triumph and misfortune, is among the most notorious of cycling’s great events. The French race, nicknamed The Hell of the North, has long been dominated by Belgians with both Tom Boonen and Roger de Vlaeminck scoring four victories a piece. In total, of the 116 editions, there have been 56 wins for racers from Belgium — far outstripping the French who have a mere 28. Alongside Monsieurs Boonen and de Vlaeminck, four other Belgians have recorded three wins a piece — unsurprisingly they include Merckx, Van Loy and Museeuw alongside 1930s superstar Gaston Rebry.

It’s a circus and I don’t want to be one of the clowns

In 2017 Greg Van Avermaet won his first Paris-Roubaix and another few square inches of brass now belong to Belgium in the famous showers. If you wander around this soapy walk of fame you will find another Belgian name you might not be familiar with — Leon van Daele.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of van Daele’s solitary Paris-Roubaix win and the biggest of his career. That year the race was played out in uncommonly benign conditions with a large group of riders entering the velodrome together. Van Daele, just 25 at the time, outsprinted legendary teammate Rik van Loy and Spaniard Miguel Poblet to secure the narrowest of victories on the line. Van Daele’s victory made all the more impressive by edging out the famed sprinter Van Loy who was the current Belgian champion and who would go on to win the race in 61, 62 and 65.

We wanted to pay tribute to this most unlikely of wins with The Van Daele Edition jersey, featuring an abstract interpretation of the cobbles in the national colours of Belgium — the nation so dominant in Paris-Roubaix. A chest badge inspired by the cobbled trophy received by each winner sits proudly alongside the key numbers of Van Daele and Belgium’s story. These numbers, arranged with the same logic as the rough pavé, show the incredible history Belgium has in The Hell of the North.

Chris Boardman once said of the race; “It’s a circus and I don’t want to be one of the clowns”. It must take a special kind of rider to brave the race and even greater won to win. Belgium knows how to forge these riders and they’re no clowns.

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