Sean Kelly among mourners at Claude Criquielion's funeral in Belgium this week. Photos by Graham Watson

Sean Kelly was among the mourners who attended former world champion Claude Criquielion’s funeral on Wednesday.

Many of the attendees had to stand outside Criquielion’s local church of Saint Martin in Deux-Acren, Belgium, as it was full to capacity. A world champion’s jersey and Belgian flag were draped over Criquielion’s coffin, to mark his cycling achievements.

Kelly told Flanders News that he had much in common with his friend Criquielion, who died last Wednesday at the age of 58 after suffering from a severe stroke.

“I was always good friends with him and we always worked well together in the races,” said Kelly. “I think coming from a background like myself… we’re a little bit the same character. Never give up, keep on fighting all the time.”

In addition to his 1984 world road race title, Criquielion won two editions of Fleche Wallonne (1985 and 1989), and the Tour of Flanders in 1987. He last raced in 1991 for the Lotto team, and went on to become a team sports director and manager.

Criquielion leaves two children and a wife.

The funeral of Claude Criquielion in 2015

Criquielion’s casket was draped with his world champion’s jersey

The funeral of Claude Criquielion in 2015

Many cyclists joined friends and family in paying their respects

The funeral of Claude Criquielion in 2015

A procession was held to honour Criquielion

The funeral of Claude Criquielion in 2015

A large crowd of mourners stood outside the full church

CLAUDE CRIQUELION LEADS SEAN KELLY IN THE 1984 TOUR OF LOMBARDY (Photo: Graham Watson)

Claude Criquielion leads Sean Kelly in the 1984 Tour of Lombardy