Yesterday I received an interesting phone call from Sven Spoormakers, ex-cyclist and active journalist. He was working on an article and he got intrigued about the blue colour of the Belgian national team jersey just like me. Guess what?
I am rather sure that some form of Belgian national cycling jersey is used in the thirties because of Tour de France director Henri Desgrange’s decision to allow only ‘national teams’ to participate in the race since 1930.
Although Sven Nys is about to become the best cyclo-cross rider ever, he will never beat Roland Liboton being the world’s most successful cyclo-cross ‘championship rider’ of all times. This blog however is not about who is the greatest, it is about the fact that Liboton was without a doubt wearing the nicest Belgian champion jersey I have ever seen… for 10 years in a row…
The French Alcyon cycling brand has been the major sponsor of some of the world’s best cyclists in the early years of cycling. Amongst them many Belgians. Did Alcyon have an important impact on the blue colour of the Belgian national team jersey?
I received some very first hints by Dries Zaeytijd from the ‘Wiemu Roeslare’, who has been very helpful in starting my little research. Most likely the first national jersey was issued in 1927, the year of the first World Championship road cycling, with the participation of national teams.
I just found an interesting picture of Odiel Defraeye, winner of the Tour de France edition 1912 but above all Belgian Champion in 1911. I am very grateful to Wiemu, the cycling museum from Roeselare that has an amazing collection of pictures, posters and other documents about Odiel.
It all starts with the national flag. If we want to find out why our national (champion’s) cycling jersey is featuring black, yellow and red, it is because it mimics the Belgian flag. So what about this flag, who designed it?
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