Belgian cycling is in mourning after the sudden death of Marc van Landeghem. The 65-year-old suffered a heart attack on Monday as he returned from the road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain.
Born in 1949, Van Landeghem was an integral part of the Belgian cycling fraternity and was a man who wore many hats and made many friends in his roles as a journalist, press officer and race organiser with numerous organisations, including Flanders Classic which organises a the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem.
Hugo Coorevits, a colleague from their time at the newspaper, Het Volk in 1980s, told Cyclingnews that Van Landeghem would be sorely missed.
“He was at Het Volk as a journalist for fifteen years before becoming a full-time journalist, but what I remember from that time was how passionate about cycling he was. In the winter he would occasionally turn his attention to soccer but his big love was cyclo-cross.”
Van Landeghem also helped run the Gent-Six Day track meet during the winter and in recent seasons worked at events such as the Eneco Tour as a media officer.
“He was always trying to improve the coverage of races but he was always trying to get better facilities for the writers and the photographers. He was a huge wheel in Belgian cycling,” added Coorevits.
After leaving Het Volk, Van Landeghem started his own press agency but he also wrote for Het Laatste Nieuws.
“He was the first to arrive at the races and one of the last to leave and he did the whole circuit. But what I remember most fondly was his laugh. When he laughed everyone could hear it. But he always spoke the truth and kept things black and white. There was never any grey. He said what his feelings were, but he loved the sport despite the problems; the good and the bad.”
“He was a servant of cycling and he tried to modernise the sport in a new era. He fought for so many things in the press room and so forth that a lot of people take for granted now. From the big to the little, to you young to the old; he knew everyone and he made sure he had time for anyone.
Lien Crapoen worked with Van Landeghem over the last few years as part of the Flanders Classic media team.
“Everyone knew Marc and he was great to work with at Flanders Classic,” she said..
“He was so passionate about the sport but always worked in a professional way and you could trust that with him everything would be well at a race.”
“Sometimes people thought he looked strict but he had a great spirit and he was always up for a joke. I’ll remember him like that; as a guy who was hard working, passionate but with a great sense of humour. Right now though I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like at the races without him. Marc belonged to the races. He was part of them. He will be missed.”