Roger Ilegems caused a minor upset at the 1984 Olympics by unexpectedly winning the inaugural Olympic points race. By doing so, Ilegems succeeded his coach Patrick Sercu, who had been the last Belgian cyclist to win Olympic gold prior to Ilegems. Ilegems immediately signed with a pro team. After spending some years racing in minor Belgian courses, he competed internationally in 1988. While he rode the Tour de France (did not finish) and the Vuelta a España (113th) that year, and won several minor races, he failed to make a lasting impression. He retired from pro cycling after the 1991 season. In 2008, Ilegems was briefly kept in a coma after failed surgery.