Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel will start for the Belgian team on Sunday as the two leaders at the world championships on the road. Sportweekend looks ahead to the World Cup with Rik Van Looy (88). What does the world champion of ’60 and ’61 Van Looy think of the strategy of the Belgians? And who will he see win on Sunday?
In 1960 and 1961, Rik Van Looy won the world title twice in a row. Wout van Aert’s fellow townsman is the only one to have won all the great classics at least once.
Is a cyclist’s career only successful when he has become world champion? “Yes, that’s normally part of it,” says Van Looy. “You win classics, you become Belgian champion, but that jersey with so many colors is unique.”
Van Looy is now 88 years old, but still as sharp as before.
“You know that Evenepoel can drive more than 40 kilometers from the finish alone, then he will no longer sacrifice himself like he did last year,” analyzes Keizer van Herentals.
“He starts to think about himself, which is his right. And vice versa, it is exactly the same with Wout van Aert.”
Evenepoel is no longer going to sacrifice himself, like he did last year
“And for whom are the teammates going to ride? If I have to say it harshly, it will come down to the wallet,” thinks Van Looy.
He himself sees no compatriot triumphing in the rainbow race. Who then? “The double winner of the Tour de France: Pogacar. That is actually my favorite in the race, in all races actually.”
“In the Tour de France he was not the same as 2 years before, but I have now seen him in Montreal. That was back what I saw 2 or 3 years ago.”
“You’ve lost someone and that’s why bad days sometimes come”
In recent years, the Emperor of Herentals hardly gave interviews anymore due to the illness and death of his wife Nini, who passed away at the beginning of last year.
“You’ve lost someone and that’s why bad days sometimes come,” says Van Looy. “I still miss her. We’ve been married for 67 years and then that falls away.”
“The granddaughters and the children take care of me. I can always call on them if necessary. So I can’t complain.” His own health is still good.