Johan Museeuw

Johan Museeuw

Museeuw in 2006
Personal information
Full name Johan Museeuw
Nickname The Lion of Flanders,
De Zeemeeuw (The Seagull)[1]
Born (1965-10-13) 13 October 1965
Varsenare, Belgium
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 79 kg (174 lb; 12.4 st)
Team information
Current team Retired
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type Classics specialist
Professional team(s)
1988–1989 ADRenting
1990–1992 Lotto
1993–1994 GB-MG
1994–2000 Mapei
2001–2002 Domo–Farm Frites
2003–2004 Quick Step
Major wins

Grand Tours

Tour de France
2 individual stages (1990)

One-day races and Classics

UCI Road World Championships: (1996)
UCI Road World Cup: (1995, 1996)
Tour of Flanders: (1993, 1995, 1998)
Paris–Roubaix: (1996, 2000, 2002)
Amstel Gold Race: (1994)
HEW Cyclassics: (2002)
Paris–Tours: (1993)
Züri-Metzgete: (1991, 1995)
National Road Race Championships (1992, 1996)

Johan Museeuw (born 13 October 1965) is a retired Belgian professional road racing cyclist who was a professional from 1988 until 2004. Nicknamed The Lion of Flanders, he was particularly successful in the cobbled classics of Flanders and Northern France and was considered one of the best classic races specialists of the 1990s.

He won both the Tour of Flanders and Paris–Roubaix three times and was road world champion in 1996.[2] Other notable career achievements include two individual stage wins in the Tour de France, two final classifications of the UCI Road World Cup, two national road race championships and several classic cycle races. In 1996 he received the Vélo d'Or, awarded annually to the rider considered to have performed the best over the year.

At the end of his career he was involved in a doping case and convicted in 2008.[3][4]

Early life and amateur career

Born in Varsenare, Museeuw grew up in Gistel, West Flanders. His father Eddy had been a professional cyclist for two seasons, albeit without much success. As a junior and amateur, Museeuw practiced cyclo-cross in winter and had a few minor successes on the road.

Professional career

1988–1989: The early years

Johan Museeuw started his professional career in 1988 with ADR. In 1989 he was part of the ADR team with which Greg LeMond won his second Tour de France. During the Tour, Museeuw headed the peloton for days on end for his team leader in the yellow jersey.[5]

1990–1992: Sprinter

In 1990 he signed for the Lotto team and won two prestigious stages in the 1990 Tour de France.[6] He won the uphill-sprint stage to Mont Saint-Michel and the final stage of the Tour in Paris, both in a mass sprint.[7]

In 1991 he won several stage wins in smaller stage races and in August he won the Championship of Zürich, his first win in a World Cup race. In 1992 he placed third in Milan–San Remo, winning the peloton sprint behind Sean Kelly and Moreno Argentin. He won E3 Harelbeke, his first cobbled semi-classic race win, and the Belgian national road race title in Peer. He was second in the final points classification of the 1992 Tour de France behind Frenchman Laurent Jalabert for the second time. He did not win a stage, despite having won every peloton sprint behind a group of escapees that year.[7]

1993–1994: First classics victories

Johan Museeuw won his first Tour of Flanders in 1993.

In 1993 he moved to MG-GB, the team of manager Patrick Lefevere, with whom he developed a special friendship. With Lefevere, he converted from sprinter to classics specialist. He traded his powerful sprint for more endurance and stamina that allowed him to compete in the spring classics, specializing in the cobbled classics Paris–Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. He had a strong spring campaign in 1993: after winning a stage in Paris–Nice and Dwars door Vlaanderen, he started as one of the favourites in the Tour of Flanders. Museeuw won the Tour of Flanders in a two-man sprint with Frans Maassen, taking his first win in a monument classic. In the 1993 Tour de France he wore the jellow jersey for two days after a strong prologue and team time trial, and he placed second in the final points classification a third time. At the end of 1993, he won Paris–Tours, taking his third World Cup win.

Museeuw missed his second Tour of Flanders win by 7 mm in 1994.

In 1994 he won Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne and was a front-runner in all cobbled classics, but could win none. He narrowly missed his second victory in the Tour of Flanders, when he was beaten by Gianni Bugno in the sprint by 7 mm. One week later, in Paris–Roubaix, he was in a furious pursuit of Andrei Tchmil, but suffered a mechanical failure on the cobbles and finished 13th. He ended his spring campaign with a victory in the Amstel Gold Race after a two-man sprint with Italian Bruno Cenghialta, his fourth World Cup win. In the Tour de France, he wore the yellow jersey again for three days, before losing it to Miguel Indurain in the long time trial to Bergerac. He ended the year in sixth position of the UCI Road World Rankings.

1995–1997: World Cup and World Champion

In 1995 his MG-GB team merged with Mapei-Clas, forming the strong Italian-Belgian Mapei team that dominated cycling's classic races in the 1990s. He won the 1995 Tour of Flanders, earning him the nickname The Lion of Flanders in the Flemish media.[8] Later he won the Championship of Zürich and won the final standings of the 1995 World Cup, confirming his status as the best one-day classic rider of the year.[9]

Museeuw in the rainbow jersey in 1997

In 1996 he won the Brabantse Pijl,[10] but was third in the Tour of Flanders after suffering mechanical failure.[11] The next week, he finally claimed his first victory in Paris–Roubaix. His Mapei-GB team dominated the race and Museeuw arrived together with his Italian team-mates Gianluca Bortolami and Andrea Tafi on the Roubaix Velodrome.[12] Team manager Patrick Lefevere received a phone call from the office of Mapei’s managing director, Giorgio Squinzi, ordering Museeuw to win the race.[13] In the summer he won his second Belgian national road race title, but again failed to win a stage in the Tour de France. After a disappointing performance in Paris–Tours, where he wanted to secure his overall lead in the World Cup,[14] he stated he intended to quit cycling altogether. He changed his mind and started the next week in the world championship road race, where he was not considered a favourite because of the mountainous course in Lugano. To the surprise of many, and on his 31st birthday, Museeuw became world champion after a long breakaway with Mauro Gianetti, beating the Swiss in a two-man sprint.[2] Subsequently, he went on to win his second World Cup final standing.[15]

In 1997 Museeuw started the year with three stage wins in the Ruta del Sol [16] and Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne,[17] but failed to win another World Cup win. A crash in Milan–San Remo and the Tour of Flanders and a puncture in Paris–Roubaix prevented him from achieving success.[18][19][20] He finished sixth in Liège–Bastogne–Liège, his best result in the Ardennes classic.[21] He abandoned in the 18th stage of the Tour de France, in the rainbow jersey, after several unsuccessful attempts to win a stage in a breakaway.[22] He went on to defend his world title in San Sebastián, but missed the winning breakaway and finished eighth.[23]

Museeuw won his second Paris–Roubaix in 2000 on the Roubaix Velodrome. He won the Hell of the North classic three times.

1998–2000: Injury-ridden years

In 1998, one week after winning E3 Harelbeke and the Brabantse Pijl in the same weekend, he won the Tour of Flanders, thereby equaling the race's record of three wins. One week later, Museeuw made a horrific fall in Paris–Roubaix on the Trouée d'Arenberg cobbled sector, leaving his kneeknap shattered. On top came a dangerous gangrene infection which nearly forced doctors to amputate his left leg.[24] He fought back and resumed cycling after a long healing process, finishing third in the Tour of Flanders of 1999 and ninth in Paris–Roubaix, exactly one year after his horror crash. In 2000 he won Paris–Roubaix a second time after a 44 km solo.[25] Upon crossing the finish line in victory, he lifted his left leg, pointing to his knee as a reminder of the injury that had almost ended his career two years before. Later that year, he was again injured in a motor cycle accident, causing a severe head trauma and several days in a coma. His dogged determination and powerful riding style won him legions of fans all over the world and made him all the more popular in his native Flanders.[24]

Museeuw en route for his third Paris–Roubaix win in 2002.

2001–2002: Domo–Farm Frites

In 2001 he moved with team manager Patrick Lefevere to Domo–Farm Frites, where he worked on his comeback after his second accident. He placed second in Paris–Roubaix and fifth in the Amstel Gold Race. He started a last time in the Tour de France, but abandoned in the Pyrenees stages.

In 2002 he was back on top of his game, with a second place in the Tour of Flanders and a third victory in Paris–Roubaix. His win in the Hell classic was his tenth victory in a World Cup race.[26] Later the same year he won the HEW Cyclassics in Hamburg, totaling 11 World Cup wins.

2003–2004: Final years

In 2003 he followed Lefevere to the newly set up Quick-Step–Davitamon team. He won the Omloop Het Volk early in the season, but an illness obstructed his preparation for the classics. Towards the end of his career, he acted as a mentor to Tom Boonen, who was widely considered to be Museeuw's successor as leading figure in the cobbled classics. In his last years as a professional he attempted to set a new record in the cobbled classics, aiming to win the Tour of Flanders or Paris–Roubaix a fourth time, but failed. With six combined victories in the Tour of Flanders and Paris–Roubaix, he held the record of combined victories in these races until Boonen improved it in 2012.[27]

Museeuw ended his career in the spring of 2004 after 17 years as a professional and 59 professional victories. In his last classic race, the 2004 Paris–Roubaix, he punctured 5 km before the finish while riding in the leading breakaway, thereby losing his last chance of equalling Roger De Vlaeminck's record. He finished in tears, in fifth place, together with his long-time rival Peter Van Petegem.[28][29] Museeuw's last race was three days later, the Scheldeprijs in Belgium, on 14 April 2004, won by his young team mate Tom Boonen.[30] A farewell race was organized on 2 May in his home town Gistel. After his retirement, Museeuw took up a non-riding position with Quick-Step–Innergetic.


In 2003 a doping allegation surfaced in which Museeuw was implicated. Press reports insinuated the use of human growth hormone which he obtained from veterinarian José Landuyt. Police authorities claimed that Museeuw had purchased banned substances in 2003. They recorded phone conversations between Museeuw and Landuyt speaking of wasps as a codeword for Aranesp, a synthetic hormone known to increase red blood cell levels. Despite the absence of direct evidence, it was ruled in 2004 that there was sufficient argument for his athletic suspension for two years and referral to the criminal court.

On 24 January 2007, Museeuw confessed to the charges in a press conference, revealing that he had "not been completely honest in his last year as a professional, as he wanted to end his career in style", and announcing his resignation from his Quick Step team.[31]

In December 2008 Museeuw was convicted for doping offences by a Belgian Court, together with former cyclists Jo Planckaert and Chris Peers who were involved in the same affair.[32] Museeuw was given a 10-month suspended sentence, a fine of 2.500 € and further litigations.[3]

In September 2012 Museeuw gave an interview for Flemish newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen, stating that "nearly every rider of his generation doped", thereby implicitly confessing to the true extent of his doping use. He also stated that he is convinced the current generation of riders is "the cleanest cycling has ever seen".[4][33]

Career achievements

Major results

Grote Prijs Briek Schotte, Desselgem
GP Deutsche Weinstrasse
Criterium Oostende
Criterium Deerlijk
5th stage Tour of Belgium
3d stage Driedaagse van De Panne
1st stage Four Days of Dunkirk
1st stage Tour de l'Oise
3d stage Tour of Ireland, Nissan Classic
Tour de France
1st Stages 4 & 21
Dwars door de Morbihan
Criterium Aalst
Criterium Dilsen
Criterium Valkenswaard
Criterium Lichtervelde
2nd stage Ruta Del Sol
5th stage Ruta Del Sol
5th stage Four Days of Dunkirk
3d stage Midi Libre
2nd stage Tour of Britain
3d stage Tour of Ireland, Nissan Classic
Championship of Flanders
Criterium De Haan
Criterium Deerlijk
Criterium Bavikhove
5th stage Vuelta a Andalucía
1st stage Tour of Valencia
2nd stage Tour of Valencia
E3-Prijs Harelbeke
Criterium Bellegem
1st stage Bicicleta Vasca
2nd stage Ronde van de Mijnvalleien
Criterium Peer
Belgium Road Championship of Belgium
GP Wielerrevue
4th stage Paris–Nice
Dwars door België
4th stage Hofbrau Cup
Tour of Flanders
1st stage Tour of Switzerland
Criterium Hengeloo
Criterium Bavikhove
Amstel Gold Race
Criterium Made
Teleport Derny Amsterdam
8th stage Tour of Switzerland
Druivenkoers Overijse
Trofeo Laigueglia
Omloop de Vlaamse Ardennen, Ichtegem
Tour of Flanders
6th stage Four Days of Dunkirk
Four Days of Dunkirk
Druivenkoers Overijse
Grand Prix Eddy Merckx
Championship of Flanders
Criterium Bavikhove
Criterium Graz
UCI Road World Cup
Brabantse Pijl
Omloop Mandel-Leie-Schelde
1st stage Tour of Puglia
Belgium Road Championship of Belgium
World Cycling Championship, Lugano
UCI Road World Cup
Four Days of Dunkirk
1st Time trial Four Days of Dunkirk
1st Stages 1, 4 & 5 Ruta del Sol
Criterium Peer
Criterium Kortrijk
GP Breitling (with Oskar Camenzind)
Criterium Karlsruhe
Gala Tour de France
E3-prijs Harelbeke
Brabantse Pijl
Tour of Flanders
Dwars door België
Omloop Mandel-Leie-Schelde
Criterium Bavikhove
Grand Prix Briek Schotte, Desselgem
Omloop "Het Volk"
Brabantse Pijl
Dernycriterium Wilrijk
1st stage Guldensporen Tweedaagse
Profronde van Made
3d stage Tour du Région wallonne
HEW Cyclassics Hamburg
Profronde van Almelo
Omloop "Het Volk"
3d stage Tour of Denmark

Classics victories

Museeuw is the winner of 11 World Cup races, including six victories in "Monument" events:

He won the World Cup in 1995 & 1996. He became Belgian Champion in 1992 & 1996.

Museeuw won the World Cycling Championship in the road race in Lugano 1996. In that year, he also won the UCI Road World Cup, the only rider in history to accomplish both in the same year.

Museeuw also won the following classics and semi-classics:

Monuments results timeline

Monument 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Milan–San Remo 9 3 32 12 12 8 40 36 15 80
Tour of Flanders 62 2 14 1 2 1 3 14 1 3 33 16 2 38 15
Paris–Roubaix 12 16 7 4 13 3 1 3 DNF 9 1 2 1 33 5
Liège–Bastogne–Liège 36 12 58 13 6 90 DNF DNF
Giro di Lombardia 13

DNF = Did not finish
— = Did not compete

See also


  1. Clarke, Stuart (5 November 2015). "13 of the strangest nicknames in cycling". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  2. 1 2 "World Cycling Championships, Switzerland Men's Elite Road Race". cyclingnews. 13 October 1996. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  3. 1 2 Vanwalleghem, Rik (2009), Museeuw spreekt. Van Leeuw Tot Prooi, Lannoo, Belgium, ISBN 978-9-020976-15-1, p72-80
  4. 1 2 "Museeuw admits doping was part of daily life when he raced". VeloNation Press. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  5. Vanwalleghem, Rik (2009), Museeuw spreekt. Van Leeuw Tot Prooi, Lannoo, Belgium, ISBN 978-9-020976-15-1, p11-13
  6. "Johan Museeuw". Flanders Classics. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  7. 1 2 "Lotto cycling project/historiek/1990-1994". Belgian National Lottery. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  8. "Tour of Flanders, World Cup Round 2, Belgium, April 2, 1995". Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  9. "World Cup - Zuerich, 20 Aug 95". Cyclingnews. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  10. "36th Fleche Brabanconne/Brabantse Pijl (Belgium, Cat 1.3) March 31, 1996". Cyclingnews. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  11. "80th Ronde van Vlaanderen — Belgium". Cyclingnews. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  12. "Paris-Roubaix 1996". Cyclingnews. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  13. "Multilingual Paris-Roubaix". Cyclingnews. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  14. "Paris–Tours, France, World Cup Round 9". cyclingnews. 6 October 1996. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  15. "Japan Cup, World Cup Round 11. Rain forecast is cloud on Museeuw's World Cup horizon". Cyclingnews. 27 October 1996. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  16. "Ruta Del Sol, Tour of Andalucia, Cat 2.3. Spain, February 16-20, 1997". Cyclingnews. 20 February 1997. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  17. "Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne, Cat. 1.2. Belgium, March 2, 1997". Cyclingnews. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  18. "88th Milano-San Remo Race Report". cyclingnews. 22 March 1997. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  19. "81st Ronde van Vlaanderen, World Cup Round 2, Belgium, April 6, 1997". Cyclingnews. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  20. "Paris-Roubaix, World Cup Round 3, France, April 13, 1997". Cyclingnews. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  21. "Luik-Bastenaken-Luik, World Cup Round 4, Belgium, April 20, 1997". Cyclingnews. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  22. "Stage 18, Colmar - Montbeliard, 175,5 km". Cyclingnews. 24 July 1997. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  23. "World Road Cycling Championships, San Sebastian. Spain, October 7-12, 1997". Cyclingnews. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  24. 1 2 "Johan Museeuw". Flanders Classics. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  25. "98th Paris — Roubaix — Cat. CDM". Bath, UK: Future plc. 2000-04-09. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  26. Maloney, Tim (14 April 2002). "Johan Museeuw dominates Centenary Edition". CyclingNews. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  27. Wynn, Nigel (8 April 2012). "Boonen wins 2012 Paris-Roubaix with unstoppable solo attack". Cycling Weekly. London: IPC Media. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  28. Henry, Chris; Jones, Jeff (14 April 2004). "Museeuw's Roubaix reality". CyclingNews. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  29. "sporza video: 2004: Bäckstedt wint na pech van Museeuw". sporza.
  30. Jones, Jeff (15 April 2004). "Museeuw says goodbye". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  31. Cycling. "Nieuwsoverzicht".
  32. Museeuw convicted in doping case
  33. Vermeiren, Guy (6 September 2012). "Museeuw: "Nagenoeg elke renner nam doping"". Het Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). Antwerp: Concentra. Retrieved 5 June 2015.

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