I met Roger for the first and only time in 2017 in Tielt during a Kermesse…here seen that day with Eric Leman (ex pro) Photo Martine Verfaillie

Flanders is a Flandrien poorer because Roger Decock died at the age of 93. In 1952 Decock won the Tour of Flanders in terrible conditions. Roger Decock, together with Briek Schotte and Rik Van Steenbergen, among others, was part of a generation of Flandriens that flourished after the Second World War. Decock learned to love the bicycle during the same war when he was operating as a smuggler in the border region with France. Decock has also hardened that period, something that came in handy later in the race. After all, the 1952 Tour of Flanders was one of the toughest editions in history. “Wind, hail, rain, snow water”, Decock would tell the course story several times in his juicy West Flemish. “Suddenly I received a visit from a pharmacist from Menen, who asked if he could rub me in. All the water that fell on me that day felt like warm water. It was as if I was cycling next to a stove.” That Tour of Flanders would remain by far the biggest and most beautiful victory on the honor list of Decock, although he also won the Scheldeprijs, Paris-Nice, and the Championship of Flanders (translated from the Sporza website)

Pepe, we’re going to miss you …says his granddaughters today, this poem was written for you …”Ridden your last ride… Your last bib number pinned…The highest coll contested…Your most heroic story last told…Here we are at the end of your match…Your last victory gesture…You will remain my champion forever…I’ll see you again, just don’t know when or where …Veronique, May 31, 2020

(All B&W photos courtesy of the social page of Roger “Cockske” Decock with thanks)

In behalf of the Belgian project and the Irish Cycling Fraternity, our sincere condolences to his family, friends and supporters, Rest in Peace Petje Decock & Namens het Belgische project en de Ierse Wieler wereld, onze oprechte deelneming aan naaste familie, vrienden en supporters, Rust in Vrede Petje Decock