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55th Grand-prix François Faber
International cycling stage race for amateur riders
August 6 to 7, 1977

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Past winners 1978  next edition to come latest edition



The 55th Grand-prix François Faber, the first organized by the ACC Contern, had several young and talented riders at the start, among others a very strong Belgian National team with some future big names in cycling in it. It was the same team of riders between 20 and 21 years that dominated the Tour de l'Avenir with 6 stage wins (among them 4 for Guido Van Calster) and finished 4th in the team-time-trial world championships, a few weeks only after having participated in the GP Faber. Most of these riders became professionnals as of the next year.

The in-form man among these Belgians suerly was Daniel Willems, the eventual Belgian amateur national champion, a race that he won ahead of Frank Hoste and Claudy Criquiélion. It was his second national title after he had won in the junior category in 1975. In 1976, for his first year as an amateur, Willems has won 2 stages at the Ronde van Kempen as well as the national military championships and he has finished 2nd at Gent-Opwijk. In 1977, before coming to the Faber in the three-coloured jersey, he had won the Ruban Granitier Breton, Rund um Düren, Brussel-Zepperen, Seraing-Aix-Seraing, the Ronde van der Vlaamse Gewesten and a stage at the Ronde van Limburg.
Daniel Willems was professionnal rider between 1978 and 1985 for the teams Capri-Sonne and Boule d'Or. He has in his palmares more than 80 victories, among which the Tour du Hainaut, Het Volk for amateurs and the Tour de Liège (3 stages and overall) in 1978. His most important wins are 2 stages at the Tour de France 1981 (in Roubaix ahead of Duclos-Lassalle and in St-Priest ahead of Hinault), 2 stages at the Tour de France 1982 (in Longwy before Demierre and in Aulnay before Kelly), the Flèche Wallonne, the Tour of Belgium (overall and several stages), the Brabantse Pijl, the Henninger Turm Race, the Scheldeprijs, Paris-Tours, 6 out of 13 stages at the Tour de Suisse in 1980 as well as the Vuelta Andalucia

René Martens had finished in 1975, at the age of 20 years, 3rd of a stage at the Tour de Liège, before coming back the next year to win the overall classification and two stages of this race, as well as the Tyiptyque Ardennais. In 1977, he has also won the Flèche Ardennaise and the Circuit du Hainaut and finished 3rd of a stage at the Ronde van Limburg.
René Martens has been professionnal for the teams DAF, Teka and Fagor in the years 1978 - 1990 and was mostly a classics specialist. In his first year as pro already, he finished 12th in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Later, he won the Ronde van Vlaanderen in 1982 ahead of Eddy Planckaert and Rudy Pevenage. Among his 18 victories, there is also Bordeaux-Paris, two times the Flèche Hesbignonne as well as the 9th stage of the Tour de France 1981, which he won ahead of Régis Clère and Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle.

Fons De Wolf had already around 40 victories in one and a half year as amateur on his palmares before coming to the Faber in 1977, among them the overall classification and two stages of the Tour de Namur in 1976, then Brussel-Opwijk, Gent-Ieper and the Tour du Hainaut in 1977. He had also finished twice on the podium of the Ronde van Vlaanderen for amateurs and was 4th in the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976.
Fons de Wolf turned professionnal in 1979 and rode for different teams like Boule d'Or and Vermeer Thijs until 1990, winning about 60 races. He was long considered as the next Eddy Merckx in Belgium and won among others Milano-San Remo, Giro di Lombardia, Giro di Romagna and Giro di Tioscana. He also took 5 stages in the Vuelta, two stages in the Tour of Belgium and the 3 days of La Panne as well as a stage in each the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de Suisse.

Before turning Amateur, Guido Van Calster had already finished second of a Belgian championship in the junior category. In 1976, he has won a stage at the Tour de Namur and then, a year later, he was the winner of Het Volk for amateurs and finished 2nd of Seraing-Aix-Seraing and of the Flèche Ardennaise
Guido Van Calster was professionnal rider between 1978 and 1989, winning 37 victories for the teams DAF, Del Tongo, Ariostea and Lotto. In 1978 already, he has won the Omloop van West-Vlaanderen and a stage of the Tour Méditéranéen. After that, the tall Belgian has won numerous stages in big races, for example in the Dauphiné Libéré, the Tour of Belgium, the Tour of the Basque country, the Tour de Suisse (2 times), au Tour of Aragon and the Vuelta a Espana (3 stages in 1984)

The youngest rider of the team was named Claude Criquiélion, but had already a nice palmares with the Tour des 6 Vallées and a stage win in the Tour du Hainaut. For his first year as an amateur, he has finished second of a stage at the Tour de Namur. 2nd and 3rd of stages at the Tryptique Ardennais and 3rd of the Belgian National championships behind Willems and Hoste.
The "Crique" was of course one of the biggest riders of his generation and during his professionnal career in the teams Splendor, Hitachi and Lotto, which lasted from 1979 to 1991, he won the world road championships in 1984, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, two times the Flèche Wallonne, Pijl van Brabant, Clasica San Sebastian, Tour de Romandie, Catalonian Week, Grand-prix de Wallonie or 2 stages in the Tour of Luxembourg. He was also Belgian National champion and finished several times on the podium of the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, as well as in the Vuelta a Espana.

Dirk Heirweg had finished 46th in the Olympic Games in Montreal, at the age of 21 years. The same year, in 1976, he has won two stages of the Tour du Hainaut and was 2nd overall in this tough race. In 1977, before coming to Luxemburg, Heirweg had finished again on the podium of the Tour du Hainaut as well as 2nd in Gent-Ieper behind Fons de Wolf and 2nd of the Belgian military championships.
The long professionnal career of Dirk Heirweg will last from 1978 to 1992 with a total of 89 victories on his list for different teams like Flandria, DAF or TeVe Blad. He was two times Belgian National champion on the track (1978 and 1979) and won a stage in the 4 days of Dunkirk, Omloop Wase Scheldeboorden, two times Omloop der Vlaamse Ardennen, Nationale Sluitingsprijs, GP Briek Schotte, a stage of the Tour of Denmark, the championships of Flanders and two times the Omloop Schlede-Durme (2 fois). Heirweg has won an impressive number of Kermis races, but was also 2nd in the Belgian National championships as well as, for example, 2nd and 3rd in stages of the Vuelta.

Before lining up in the Grand-prix François Faber, young climbing talent Ludo Wynants had finished second of the Ronde van Vlaanderen for amateurs 3rd in Seraing-Aix-Seraing and second in the Ronde der Vlaamse Gewesten.
Wynants was pro between 1978 and 1992 for the teams Capri-Sonne, Boule d'Or and Tönissteiner, and won amongst others the 7th stage of the Tour de France 1985, ahead of Herrera and Winnen, the Ronde van Limburg or a stage in the Tour de l'Avenir 1984 in front of Miguel Indurain. At the end of his career, Wynants also tried some cyclo-cross and was, for example, winner in Hoogerheide in 1991.

Next to these Belgian team, the other riders seemed to have only small chances. In-form contenders certainly were the Englishman Jim Philipson, winner of the Gippsland 3 Day cycling classic in 1973 or the Australien Ian Chandler (25 years), 9th in the team-time-trial competition at the Montreal Olympic Games of 1976, He has also won the Tour de la Yonne and a stage in the Tour de Liège (ahead of Frank Hoste), before finishing second of the Ronde van Koewacht in the Netherlands. The Danish riders were also among the favourites with Lars Udby (20 years), the recent winner of the Herning Gadelobet or young Kim Andersen, still unknown at that moment.



06.08.1977 STAGE 1: WALSDORF - HACHIVILLE (150 km)

1. Dirk Heirweg BEL 3.55'15"
2. Daniel Willems BEL
3. René Martens BEL
4. Guido Van Calster BEL
5. Ludo Wynants BEL

07.08.1977 STAGE 2: LUXEMBURG - REMICH (50 km)

1. Daniel Willems BEL 1.16'53"
2. Guido Van Calster BEL
3. Lars Udby DEN
4. Dirk Heirweg BEL
5. Claude Criquiélion BEL

07.08.1977 STAGE 3: CONTERN - CONTERN (100 km)

1. René Martens BEL 2.43'08"
2. Dirk Heirweg BEL
3. Fons De Wolf BEL
4. Jim Phillipson GBR
5. Claude Criquiliéon BEL


1. Dirk Heirweg BEL 7.55'06" -
2. René Martens BEL 7.55'38" 38"
3. Daniel Willems BEL 7.57'16" 2'10"
4. Guido Van Calster BEL 7.57'26" 2'20"
5. Ian Chandler AUS 7.59'54" 4'48"
6. Ludo Wijnants BEL 8.00'57" 5'51"
7. Claude Criquielion BEL 8.02'41" 7'35"
8. Alfons de Wolf BEL 8.04'04" 8'58"
9. Johan van der Meer NED 8.04'58" 9'52"
10. José Da Silva LUX 8.06'13" 11'07"


1. Dirk Heirweg BEL


1. Rene Martens BEL

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