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In Memoriam: the true Champion Mondial

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In Memoriam: the true Champion Mondial

Old 05-05-22, 11:39 AM
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In Memoriam: the true Champion Mondial

Sad news today. The 1969 World Champion has passed away.

Harm Ottenbros rode for the Willem II Gazelle team at the time, and the only reason he was invited to participate in the World's was that Jan Janssen wasn't feeling well. 1969 was supposed to be Eddy Merckx' year, but all the big guns were watching him, and subsequently failed to pay attention when two "nobodies", Julien Stevens and Harm Ottenbros, rode away. Long story short: Ottenbros beat Stevens in the final sprint, and suddenly Gazelle had a World Champion.

Which led to renaming their pro bike model to Champion Mondial.

The Gazelle Champion Mondial became a big hit, and in 1975 it would produce another World Champion: Hennie Kuiper.

But Harm Ottenbros wasn't so fortunate. The pro peloton never forgave him for "stealing the title", and a few years later Ottenbros hung up his bike. It took Jan Janssen and 30 years for him to get back on a bike.

RIP, Harm!
Woo hoo!

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Old 05-05-22, 05:17 PM
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Interesting summary, thank you for posting. What I don't understand is why anyone would begrudge his winning the world champion's jersey. Two riders breaking away and staying away means that either they kicked everybody else's butts, or the peloton played silly cat & mouse games and the big guns blew the race. RIP, you earned it Harm.
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Old 05-05-22, 06:43 PM
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I was all set to take my Koga-Miyata out for a long overdue ride, but saw this thread, and took my Champion Mondial out instead, and did a nice evening ride in memoriam, black band of mourning covering the "Champion Mondial" stickers. I don't know much about the history of Gazelle racing and history, but I'm reading up on it. Thank you for this thread.
RIP Harm.

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