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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News Flash for May 16, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Rik Van Steenbergen dies

One of the world's greatest all round riders, Rik Van Steenbergen, has died aged 78 in a hospital in Antwerp. Van Steenbergen passed away on Thursday evening after a long illness, having been hospitalised for the last month. The Belgian nicknamed "Rik I" or "The Boss" won an incredible 952 races on the road and the track during his career that spanned 25 years, and he will be remembered by many for his achievements.

His professional career started in 1943 during the Second World War, and he won 15 road races that year, including the Belgian championship and the Championship of Flanders. He also won 27 races on the track, and that was the beginning of an enormously successful career. During his time Van Steenbergen rode against the likes Fausto Coppi, Louison Bobet, Ferdi Kubler, Hugo Koblet, Gino Bartali, and later, Rik Van Looy, who was nicknamed "Rik II". He retired in 1966, having spent the last few years concentrating on the track.

Career highlights include:

3 World Road Championships (1949, 1956, 157)
8 major classics wins (Tour of Flanders x 2, Paris-Roubaix x 2, Flèche Wallonne x 2, Paris-Bruxelles, Milan-San Remo)
7 Belgian Road Championships
4 Stage wins in the Tour de France
15 Stage wins in the Giro d'Italia (including second overall 1951)
6 Stage wins in the Vuelta Espana
40 Six Day wins
6 European Track Championships
9 Belgian Track Championships


Born: Arendonk, September 9, 1924
Died: Antwerp, May 15, 2003
Height: 1.86m
Weight: 83 kg
Professional between: 1943 and 1966
Teams: Mercier-Hutchinson (1943-54), Elve-Peugeot (1955-59), Peugeot-BP (1960), Van Steenbergen-Solo (1961), Solo-Van Steenbergen (1962), Solo-Terrot (1963).

Major Road Wins

1943: Belgian Road Race Championship, Championship of Flanders
1944: Tour of Flanders
1945: Belgian Road Race Championship
1946: Tour of Flanders
1948: Paris-Roubaix
1949: World Road Race Championship, Flèche Wallonne, 2 stages Tour de France
1950: Paris-Brussels, 1 stage Tour de France
1951: 2 stages Giro d'Italia (second overall)
1952: Paris-Roubaix, 3 stages Giro d'Italia
1953: 1 stage Giro d'Italia
1954: Belgian Road Race Championship, Milan-San Remo, 4 stages Giro d'Italia
1955: 1 stage Tour de France
1956: World Road Race Championship, 6 stages Vuelta a España (5th overall)
1957: World Road Race Championship, 5 stages Giro d'Italia
1958: Flèche Wallonne

Beltran signs for US Postal Service-Berry Floor

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

US Postal Service-Berry Floor has just signed 31 year old climber Manuel "Triki" Beltran, who has been released from his contract at the imploding Team Coast.

"We are very excited at adding Beltran to our squad," team directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel told Cyclingnews from his home in Valencia, Spain. "Beltran is a very experienced rider and a solid climber who will fit in well with our plans and strategy. Triki will give us more depth in the mountains. He will mesh with Roberto Heras and Jose Rubiera on the team."

Although Beltran, from Jaen, Spain was third in the Vuelta Aragon behind Piepoli and Simoni in April, he hasn't raced since then due to woes at his former Team Coast. Bruyneel told Cyclingnews that Beltran signed last Sunday and his first race will be the 55th Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré, although Beltran will likely take part in the upcoming US Postal Service-Berry Floor TDF training camp program.

Beltran was 9th in the Vuelta a España last year and 52nd in the Giro d'Italia. A Mapei man in 2000-2001, Beltran was 11th at the 2000 Tour de France on GC, last winning a race in the 1999 Tour of Cataluyna for Banesto. "Triki" Beltran has shown he is an excellent GC rider in grand tours, with a 13th overall in the '98 Vuelta and 14th in the '97 Tour De France to his credit.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)