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.