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Farewell to Marc Wauters - The "Soldier" Retires
By Staff
Date: 10/17/2006
Farewell to Marc Wauters - The "Soldier" Retires

Farewell to Marc Wauters - The "Soldier" Retires
A day on the Zolder circuit to salute Marc Wauters of Rabobank , who raced his last race and spent the day with friends and fans.

By Bart Hazen

On Sunday October 15th there was the Farewell of Marc Wauters (Rabobank) at the auto circuit in Zolder. This circuit is also well-known from the World Championships Cycling 2002 when Mario Cipollini took the title.

Marc Wauters interviewed on the podium.
Photo c. Bart Hazen

The race of  the circuit of Zolder was his farewell race; the special event in Zolder si reminiscent of a the circuit race held from1964 through 67 with winners Tom Simpson, Patrick Sercu, Noël De Pauw and Raymond Steegmans. Today's event to honor Wauters had special activities for friends and fans that came out for the day. Events included a  two man  time-trial and a Criterium. In the two man time trial a pro rider was partnered with a former pro, journalist, politician, or sponsor to race against the clock.  Niels Scheuneman and a local politician won the time trial.

Wauter's Family Time Trial Photo c. Bart Hazen

There were also races for novice, juniors and other classes. Marc rode a time trial with his youngsters, joined by other families adding to the fun at the day as fans, press and the pro's saluted the "Soldier" and his career.

Rabobank leads the criterium. Photo c. Bart Hazen

At the start of the criterium, riders like Tom Boonen, Michael Boogerd, Gert Steegmans, Geert Verheyen, Aart Vierhouten, Maarten den Bakker, Theo Eltink, Gerben Löwik and lots of other riders who have rode together with Marc or are his personal friends took to the line and join in the festivities.

Among them, former riders like Erik Vanderaerden, Erik Dekker (now sport-director Rabobank), Frans Maassen (now sport-director Rabobank), Carlo Bomans (Belgium national selector), Wilfried Peeters (now sport-director Quick Step) and Rabo bosses Erik Breukink and Theo de Rooij alsotook the start to honour Wauters. The criterium was won of course by Wauters ahead of Erik Dekker and Michael Boogerd.

The "Soldiers" battalion on the criterium course.
Photo c. Bart Hazen

During the Criterium the riders stopped to change clothes. Instead of cycling clothes they wore military clothes because of Marc's nickname "The soldier". Around 17.00 in the afternoon the day was done and Marc is officially was retired from pro cycling as a rider.

Marc, Boonen and a smiling Michael Boogerd lead the charge of the "Soldiers" brigade. Photo c. Bart Hazen

After a career of 16 years it's time to stop for the 37 year old Belgian rider, born in Hasselt, Belgium on February 23, 1969. Marc went pro in 1991 with Lotto, he rode with the team until 1993 before changing to Wordperfect and later Novell. After this team stops he went back to Lotto for 2 years. In 1998 he was signed by Rabobank and finished the last 8 years on the Dutch team.

His most beautiful moment was the Tour stage into Antwerpen (2001), where he took the yellow-jersey and could enjoy riding the 2nd stage through his home area. Mark Wauters finished the Tour five times in his career. Fans gathered for autographs and presented gifts to Marc on the podium. As the other riders showed their appreciation to the fans. Best wishes to Marc Wauters in his retirement and future from the staff and readers of the

Rabo Sports Director Frans Maassen Photo c. Bart Hazen

Selected Palmares:
2005: Belgium Championships TT
2003: Belgium Championships TT
2002: Belgium Championships TT
2001: Grote Prijs Eddy Merckx
2001: Stage from Saint-Omer to Antwerpen in the Tour de France
Joseph Vögeli Memorial
Rheinland-Pfalz Tour (1st in 3rd stage b)
GP Eddy Merckx,
Tour of Great-Britain,
Tour of Luxemburg (1st in 4th stage),
Rheinland-Pfalz tour (1st in 1st stage)
Paris - Tours
1996: 1st in 6th Stage Four Days of Duinkerken
1995: 1st in 5th Stage Ruta del Sol
1994: 1st in Ster van Zwolle, 1st in Ronde van Limburg

1991: Lotto/Super Club (22)
1992: Lotto  (23)
1993: Lotto/Caloi  (24)
1994: WordPerfect (25)
1995: Novell (26)
1996: Lotto/Isoglass  (27)
1997: Lotto/Mobistar  (28)
1998 - 2006 Rabobank (29 - 37)


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