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Rik Van Steenbergen Biography
Rik Van Steenbergen (September 9, 1924- May 15, 2003) was a Belgian cyclist, considered to be one of the best among the great number of successful Belgian cyclists.

Rik Van Steenbergen was born in Arendonk in a poor family. He started cycling as a professional during World War II in 1942, after being an amateur since he was 14. The next year, he won his first important races, and became Belgian road cycling champion. In 1944, he won the Tour of Flanders classic, which he would win again two years later.

During his long career, which lasted until 1966, Van Steenbergen won several more classics (Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Brussels, Milan-San Remo). Also, he won the World Road Cycling Championships three times (1949, 1956 and 1957), equalling the (still standing) record of Alfredo Binda. His last world title, a year after his second, was won in front of a home crowd. In addition, he placed third in the first post-war championships in 1946.

Van Steenbergen also excelled on the track, and won a record number of 40 six-day events, and improved two World Records. His track capabilities made him an excellent road sprinter. However, he usually had difficulties with climbing, which prevented him from winning one of the major big stage races. He nevertheless placed 2nd in the 1951 Giro d'Italia. Some suggest that he could have competed for victory in the stage races had he concentrated on them, instead of racing almost every race he could enter. It is estimated Van Steenbergen has won slightly less than 1000 races, though accounts differ widely.

Van Steenbergen died after a prolonged sickness at the age of 78.
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Rik Van Steenbergen.