This ‘little guy’ was not so little in size though as at 1.96m (6ft5in) he was easy to spot throughout his career working on the front for his teamleaders or going in the long range breakaways in his Landbouwkrediet days. At just 29 years old and after just one year in the WorldTour with Lotto-Belisol Dirk was calling it a day.
Words & pics contributed by Angelo Giangregorio
The Classic of the Falling Leaves is always charged with emotions, either because it’s the last race of the season or because the atmosphere indicates the end of the Summer. This year there was one more reason for a professional cyclist, it was the last time he rode this Classic. Dirk Bellemakers will retire at the end of this year.
The race was finished, he was the second last rider to arrive and the last who made the time cut, more than 20 minutes after Joaquim Rodriguez. I saw Bellemakers coming from the bottom of the finish straight when almost every photographer were gone. It was late and it was raining.
As an amateur I was still there. I never get tired to see the riders, even the last one. I started taking some photos of him when he asked me to send them to him as a memory of his days as a pro rider.
At that moment I felt a sense of inadequacy: in a moment so important/intense for him a pro photographer would be better, I thought. But then I also thought that only an amateur would wait till the arriving of the last rider, only an amateur could take those pictures.
Of course I’ll send them to him, ciao Dirk.
Dirk Bellemakers Bio:
2008 – 2012 : Landbouwkrediet
One GrandTour: Tour of Italy 2013 finishing 111th.