Monday, 20 February 2012
Heroes of the cobbles
Paul Deman 1889 - 1961
The first ever winner of Ronde van Vlaanderen in 1913 over a distance of 330km which incidentally culminated with four laps of a small wooden circuit around a pond in Ghent.
His cycling career is not terribly remarkable. A winner at Bordeaux-Paris over the insane distance of 592km. His story becomes more poignant with the outbreak of the first world war.
He Joined the Belgian Espionage Service smuggling documenst into Holland. His life and cycling career was almost cut dramatically short when he was captured by the Germans and was due to be shot. Thakfully, the Armistice intervened and was released.
Following the war, he started racing again and won Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Tours