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Cycling 100 years BDC - EXPO
Bernard Deschamps
Fri 28 Oct Golden ages in cycling during 1965-1989 ...
Bernard Deschamps (K.S.K.D. Brugge) was, in his 1965-1985 period over six Silent Games / World Games and a 30-year career, not the best but the most popular cyclist of that time because of his nickname "Dove Poupou", referring to the equally popular French cyclist Raymond Poulidor who never wore a yellow jersey in the Tour de France despite his numerous podium finishes. Bernard never won a world title or individual gold at the Silent Games / World Games and only became Belgian champion 4 times, but also 11x runner-up, plus 4 medals at the World Championships, but above all his 5 Deaflympic medals, and finally his only gold medal at his last and 6th World Games in 1985 in Los Angeles (USA) in the team time trial.

During his period Bernard had to compete with a very strong generation that did not achieve such a long career nor podium places but more titles, Luc Uzeel (D.H.C. Kortrijk) was without any doubt the best cyclist (in the existence of deaf cycling) with 6 World Championship titles (5 road and 1 sprint), 2 times gold at the Silent Games / World Games followed by Gerald Troch (S. Gerald Troch (S.G.C. Aalst) with 2 World Championship titles (1 x time trial and 1 x sprint) as well as best Deaflympic cyclist with 6 medals (1 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze from three World Games), Marc D'hondt (K.D.S. Antwerpen) with 1 x World Championship in the sprint and 1 x gold at the World Games, but also Johny Schelpe (D.H.C. Kortrijk) (gold and silver at the World Games + 4 medals at the World Championships. The competition with Rudy Colpart (K.S.V.S. Gent), Marcel Dubois (Woluwé S.S.B.), Xavier Van Hecke (D.H.C. Kortrijk) was very tough at that time and this pushed them to reach high levels.

The greatest stimulator of the period 1960-80 was undoubtedly Henri Goossens (S.K.D. Brugge), then Technical Director at the C.I.S.S. and at our federation. Many doors were opened thanks to his network in the world of valid cycling, allowing Belgium to organise various World Championships.

Despite the fact that Belgium used to be a cycling country, it is currently poverty stricken with occasional isolated cases such as Michel Descornet (Woluwé S.S.B.) in the 1990's and Jean-Pierre Fauconnier (E.S.S. Mons) in the last 10 years.

However, cycling was one of the most special sports a century ago and Belgium also won 2 silver and 3 bronze medals in the five Silent Games before the 2nd World War '40-'45.

Little Story

Anecdote : At the 13th World Games in Bucharest (Romania) 1977 the food was a disaster so that the entire Belgian team had diarrhoea and was covered in stomach cramps. Bernard Deschamps lost no less than 13 kg in a few days days but still managed to win silver in the time trial thanks to the reception the day before at the Belgian ambassador the day before; all the food there had been completely eaten by the athletes in a very short time ! Especially Bernard ate the numerous pastries, just like Roger De Vlaeminck liked pastries before every race and used them to achieve his best victories...

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