Roger De Vlaeminck was born on 24 August 1947 in Eeklo, Belgium. He is one of the great cyclists in history, but one who had to battle Eddy Merckx for supremacy throughout his career.
He is often called "The Gipsy" or "Monsieur Paris-Roubaix".
He is one of the great professional cyclists also to have claimed cyclo-cross championships, winning the amateur world title in 1968 and professional in 1975.
Such ability enabled him to win the bone-shattering Paris-Roubaix four times (1972, 1974, 1975, 1977) - still a record - and defeat Merckx several times in the process, including by the record winning margin in the race, 5 minutes and 21 seconds in 1970.
He was second in the 1975 world professional road race.
De Vlaeminck, who lives on a farm in Kaprijke, is still in cycling. He has been coaching cyclo-cross riders. In April 2004 he quit his job as coach to the John Saey-Deschacht team in Belgium to spend more time with his family, However he was tempted back to the sport in November 2004 as advisor to the Zimbabwe team as it prepared for the world championship in St. Wendel, Germany, at the end of January 2005.
De Vlaeminck is known for firm opinions about cycling and is often consulted by journalists. In particular, he criticizes the trend to have multiple leaders in a team. That, he says, means the best racers share important races between them.