PeloPics: This Saturday the first big single-day race in the north of Europe kicks off in Belgium; The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. What better reason to pull out some old retro photos from the Cor Vos archive. Back in 1983 the season opener was known as the Het Volk and started and finished in Gent, now the finish is in Ninove with the Muur-Kapelmuur and the Bosberg coming in the finalé.
Photography was different in those days, film was expensive and the photographers had to make each click of the shutter count, so there are less pics in this photo gallery.
It was a warm spring day on March the 5th for the first race of the Belgian ’83 racing season. Unlike most editions of the Het Volk the riders were in short sleeves with no arm-warmers in sight and were not expecting to have to ride, or even walk on slippery cobbles.
Australian Allan Peiper was a team man and was probably working for Phil Anderson. They both finished together in a big group at 4 minutes
As far as we can see, Didi Thurau didn’t ride Het Volk in 1983 although his photo was in the collection, but he was one of the coolest riders in the peloton. By 1983 he had seen his best seasons, winning Liège-Bastone-Liège, Tour de France and Giro d’Italia stages, Vuelta points competition and two National road titles. He raced for seven more years, changing team every year, until retiring at the end of 1989
Thurau just looked right on a bike
Ex-World champion, Jan Raas was a multi winner of Classics and Grand Tour stages, but 1983 was his last big year
Fons De Wolf was to be the next Eddy Merckx, but it never happened. At 27, 1983 was his last year of note, apart from a Tour de France stage win in 1984 and a Vuelta a España stage win in 1985, that was it over.
On one of the cobbled sections on the course with around 40 kilometres to go; Jan Raas attacked and was joined by Fons de Wolf, and that was the decisive point of the race.
Belgian champion Frank Hoste was a local boy from Gent and had won Gent-Wevelgem the previous year, but was better known as a stage winner and took the Tour de France points jersey in 1984. He was 13th in Het Volk ’83
Sean Kelly won from Spring to Autumn, but never did win Het Volk, or De Ronde, two races that suited him perfectly
Gregor Braun was a track rider who won World and Olympic titles, but he was a strong man on the road and during his 14 year pro career he won many races including the 1982 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. He was also German sportsman of the year in 1976
It was expected that Raas would beat the young upstart De Wolf even though the Belgian had won the previous year, but as this was the first big race of the ’83 season no one was sure of the form. De Wolf had trained well with his new Italian Bianchi team, while Raas had problems through the winter with a jaw infection.
Jan Raas was expected to win the sprint
When it came down to the sprint, De Wolf easily beat Raas to the line. Raas went on to win Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne the next day, followed it with victory in De Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Dutch championships, but at 30 years of age in 1983 his career was on the way down.
Winning the 1983 Het Volk only made the ‘next Eddy Merckx’ label even worse
In 1983 De Wolf won the Coppa Ugo Agostoni, Giro della Romagna and the Tour of Tuscany, from then on he was the guy who could have.
A welcome drink for Gregor Braun, the big German finished 45th
1983 Het Volk was a good year for the Anglos. Paul Sherwen was the best placed English speaker in 16th place, Phil Anderson 22nd, Eric McKenzie 29th, Allan Peiper 30th, Sean Kelly 40th and Stephen Roche was 50th.
Gerrie Knetemann and best placed GB rider, Paul Sherwen. Sadly both are no longer with us
GB champion John Herety
1983 Omloop Het Volk Result:
1. Fons de Wolf (Bel) Bianchi-Piaggio in 5:33:00
2. Jan Raas (Ned) TI-Raleigh-Campagnolo
3. Luc Colyn (Bel) Fangio-Tonissteiner-OM Trucks at 2:21
4. Kim Andersen (Den) Coop-Mercier-Mavic
5. Etienne de Wilde (Bel) La Redoute-Motobecane.
6. Johan van der Velde (Ned) TI-Raleigh-Campagnolo
7. Adrie van der Poel (Ned) Jacky Aernoudt-Rossin-Campagnolo (Father of Mathieu)
8. Jozef Lieckens (Bel) Safir-Van de Ven-Moser
9. Rudy Matthijs (Bel) Boule d’Or-Colnago at 3:54
10. Ludo Peeters (Bel) TI-Raleigh-Campagnolo
11. Pol Verschuere (Bel) Bianchi-Piaggio at 4:05
12. Jan Van Houwelingen (Ned) Boule d’Or-Colnago
13. Frank Hoste (Bel) Europdecor-Dries-Eddy Merckx
14. Eric Vanderaerden (Bel) Jacky Aernoudt-Rossin-Campagnolo
15. Léo van Vliet (Ned) TI-Raleigh-Campagnolo
16. Paul Sherwen (GB) La Redoute-Motobecane (RIP)
17. Ferdi van den Haute (Bel) La Redoute-Motobecane
18. Marc Madiot (Fra) Renault-Elf
19. Valerio Piva (Ita) Bianchi-Piaggio (Now CCC DS)
20. Eddy van Haerens (Bel) Safir-Van de Ven-Moser
21. Adri van Houwelingen (Ned) TI-Raleigh-Campagnolo
22. Phil Anderson (Aus) Peugeot-Shell-Michelin
23. Eddy Planckaert (Bel) Splendor-Euroshop
24. Jos Op Het Eyndt (Ned) Europdecor-Dries-Eddy Merckx
25. Jean-Louis Gauthier (Fra) Coop-Mercier-Mavic
29. Eric McKenzie (NZ) Splendor-Euroshop
30. Alan Peiper (Aus) Peugeot-Shell-Michelin
40. Sean Kelly (Irl) Sem-France Loire-Mavic
45. Gregor Braun (Ger) Vivi-Benotto-Selle Italia
50. Stephen Roche (Irl) Peugeot-Shell-Michelin.