Richard Depoorter

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Richard Depoorter (born April 29, 1915 in Ichtegem , † June 16, 1948 in Wassen ) was a Belgian racing cyclist .

Richard Depoorter became a professional cyclist in 1937 . His greatest successes were two victories in the Liège – Bastogne – Liège race in 1943 and 1947. He was initially considered a specialist in one-day races and only started in 1948 in tours. In 1948 he finished fifth on the Tour of Luxembourg .

Depoorter also started in the Tour de Suisse in 1948 . On the fourth stage from Thun to Altdorf , the racing driver, who at that time was in a promising position for second place in the overall standings, fell in a poorly lit tunnel near Wassen .

At first it was said that he died immediately as a result of the fall. Two later autopsies in Belgium revealed that there were tire marks on Depoorter's body, and several witnesses, including the French journalist Jean Leulliot and the sports director of the French team La Perla , Francis Pélissier , said that a Belgian escort vehicle had run over him . According to other witnesses, the tour leader Carl Senn instructed them to remain silent about the course of the accident they had observed. After ten years of litigation, it was found that the escort vehicle had run over Depoorter; the driver was sentenced to six months' imprisonment and to pay the widow a sum of 1.5 million Belgian francs in damages .

On the 60th anniversary of Depoorter's death, a delegation headed by the mayor of Ichtegem traveled to Wassen for a memorial event and laid a bundle of alpine roses at the site of the accident, and a plaque was unveiled. The tunnel is now called the Depoorter Tunnel .


  • Koenraad Vandenbussche: Leven en dood van Richard Depoorter . Coemandruk-Bazuin Publishing House, 1997

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