The finish of the World Cup in 1969.

The finish of the World Cup in 1969. © Archive Het Nieuwsblad

Former cycling world champion Harm Ottenbros has passed away at the age of 78 in his Dutch hometown of Strijen. The Dutch cycling association KNWU confirms this on Thursday. The Dutchman died in his sleep in the night from Wednesday to Thursday.

hc, vtvn, De TelegraafSourceBELGA

Ottenbros became world champion in Zolder in 1969 completely unexpectedly by beating Julien Stevens in a sprint. The Italian Michele Dancelli completed the podium in just over two minutes.

The years before his world title, Ottenbros had won two stages in the Tour of Switzerland and a stage in the Tour of Belgium. After winning the world title, he still triumphed in a stage of the Tour of Luxembourg and the GP Stad Vilvoorde.

The world title turned out to be a gift that was difficult to bear. In cycling races, especially in 1970, he had the feeling that he was not favored by the competition. Frustrated by the lack of recognition, he threw his bicycle off the Zeeland Bridge in 1976 at the end of his career.

© Archive Het Nieuwsblad

Hennie Kuiper was the next Dutch professional world champion (1975) and remembers Ottenbros as a strong rider and good person. Who didn’t always get the recognition he deserved. “In a country like France, with that world title, he was included in the gallery of important riders.”

In recent years, Ottenbros has been very active on the road bike. The day before his death he had made another trip. No relevant health complaints were known on falling asleep. In 2019, the world title of fifty years earlier was celebrated with cycling friends, which he now looked back on with pride.

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