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Wim van Est
Personal information
Full name Willem van Est
Date of birth March 25, 1923(1923-03-25)
Date of death May 1, 2003 (aged 80)
Country  Netherlands
Team information
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Major wins
Bordeaux-Paris (1950, 1952, 1961)
Ronde van Vlaanderen (1953)
Infobox last updated on:
June 26, 2008

Willem van Est (March 25, 1923 – 1 May 2003) was a Dutch cyclist. He is best known for being the first Dutch cyclist to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France of 1951 and for falling into a ravine while wearing it.

Contents

Biography

Van Est was born in the town of Fijnaart, in North Brabant. Prior to his cycling career, he used to smuggle tobacco by bike, but was eventually caught and served several months in prison. He started his cycling career (as an amateur) in 1946, after a professional runner had seen him race in a local competition as part of a wager. His first major victory came in 1950, when he won the 600-km Bordeaux-Paris race.

In 1951, Van Est was part of the Dutch team for the Tour de France. In the 12th stage, from Agen to Dax, he escaped with a small group. He won the stage and gained 19 minutes on the leader, enough to move up to first place overall. As the first Dutchman to wear the accompanying yellow jersey he was praised by the public and media at home.

The next day, in defence of his position, Van Est was chasing the leaders in the descent of the Col d'Aubisque. Due to a flat tyre (according to Van Est himself), he slipped away and fell into a 70 m deep ravine. Miraculously, he survived the fall and had no serious injuries. Using a chain of tyres, and helped by spectators and his manager, he managed to get back to the road. Van Est wanted to continue, but was persuaded to go to the hospital.

At home, Van Est's fame grew even more when Pontiac, which had supplied watches to the Dutch team in the Tour de France, started an advertising campaign "His heart briefly stopped beating, but his Pontiac kept ticking".

Later in his career, Van Est twice won the Ronde van Nederland, wore the yellow jersey again in 1955 and 1958, placed 8th in 1957 and won two more stages. Also, he won Bordeaux-Paris two more times, two national road titles, four national titles in the individual pursuit on the track, as well as three medals in the pursuit at the World Championships. Nevertheless, he remained most famous for the two days in the 1951 Tour de France. To remember this event, a monument was placed on the mountain 50 years after the event, on July 17, 2001.

Wim van Est died in his hometown Sint Willebrord.

Palmarès

1947
Saarland Rundfahrt
1949
Etten-Leur
 Netherlands national track pursuit championship
Putte-Mechelen
1950
Brugge
Dendermonde
Houthalen-Helchteren
Luxembourg
Lyon
Oostburg
Oostkamp
Sint-Willebrord
Steenbergen
Bordeaux-Paris
Tilburg
1951
Avignon
Bordeaux
Duisburg
Etten-Leur
Grenoble
Köln
Luxembourg
Lyon
 Netherlands national Interclubs championship
Borgerhout
Tour de France:
Winner stage 11
1952
 Netherlands national track pursuit championship
Omloop van Limburg
Oosterhout
Ronde van Nederland
Sint-Willebrord
Nokere Koerse
Bordeaux-Paris
1953
Belsele
Geleen
Tour de France:
Winner stage 16
Kerkrade
Leiden
 Netherlands national track pursuit championship
Pont-l'Abbé
Ronde van Vlaanderen
Zandvoort
Koewacht, Koewacht
Rotterdam
Acht van Chaam
Eede
1954
Driedaagse van Antwerpen
Ronde van Nederland
Tour de France:
Winner stage 4B
1955
Acht van Chaam
 Netherlands national track pursuit championship
 Netherlands national interclubs championship
Turnhout
Amsterdam
Mandel-Leie-Schelde
Etten-Leur
1956
 Netherlands national track stayers championship
 Netherlands national interclubs championship (with Piet van Est)
Netherlands Dutch National Road Race Championship
GP Stad Vilvoorde
Maldegem
Boom
1957
Netherlands Dutch National Road Race Championship
Tour de France:
8th place overall classification
1958
Etten-Leur
 Netherlands national track stayers championship
1959
Kruiningen
Rotterdam
Wilrijk
1961
Bordeaux-Paris
Mortsel
1963
Brasschaat
 Netherlands national interclubs championship (with Piet van Est)
Drie Zustersteden
1964
 Netherlands national interclubs championship (with Piet van Est)

External links

See also

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Thijs Roks
Dutch National Road Race Champion
1956-1957
Succeeded by
Jef Lahaye
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