A new lead

24/09/2013

It has been a few months since I posted any news on this blog. I was working on a chronological overview of Belgian’s national cycling jersey over the years and I kinda got stuck. Until yesterday when 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.

Thank you Sven! You got the fire burning again.

Being a journalist with an interesting cycling background, Sven managed to find the right track again and we found out that the Belgian national team was still riding black jerseys with red and yellow stripes in 1947, during the first post-war Tour de France. Ben Impanis, the son of late Raymond Impanis who participated in the 1947 TDF, still remembers his father’s words: “It was because of this black jersey that he lost the Tour. The black jerseys were absorbing all the solar heat which got Raymond overheated and thus cost him his victory”. That was the last time in Tour de France history that the Belgian national team wore black jerseys.

So guess what? In 1948 the riders competed wearing light blue jerseys with a Belgian tricolor band running along the chest. Who decided on the blue? Where did it come from? At this point I can only ‘guess’ but my theory that it was inspired by Alcyon, the bicycle brand that was sponsoring the two top riders of the national team at that time, still stands… Hopefully we’ll be sure in a few days from now because Sven is planning a visit to René Mertens, the last living Belgian national team member competing at the 1948 Tour de France. René is 91 years old, we hope he can finally solve the mystery…

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