|Full Name||Édouard Louis Joseph, Baron Merckx|
|Profession||Professional Road and Track Bicycle Racer|
|Date of Birth||17 Jun, 1945|
UCI Road World Championships:
Belgian National Championships:
Six Days Race:
Tour de France:
Eddy Merckx was born on 17 June 1945 in Brabant, Belgium to Jennie and Jules Merckx. When Eddie was one year old, his family moved to Brussels, Belgium. It is known of Eddy Merckx that in his childhood, he was hyperactive and was involved in various sports like boxing, football, basketball etc. He started cycling at the age of 4 and got his first racing license in the year 1961 when he competed on his first-ever official cycle race. He hated school, and he was determined to pursue the sport at a competitive level. In 1962, he asked his parents and got permission to drop out of school to focus on competitive cycling; He eventually had to leave his studies to pursue his passion for cycling.
Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride.
Eddy Merckx started his amateur bicycle career in 1961 after obtaining his riding license and finished 6th in his first-ever amateur race. The same year, he competed in 12 other races and won his first race at Petit- Enghien in October and went to train under former bicycle racer Félicien Vervaecke.
In 1962, he won his 2nd victory in Kermesse; during this year he competed in about 55 races and claimed the Belgian Amateur Road Race title. He had about 23 wins in that season.
He was selected for the 1964 Summer Olympics for the Men's Road Race, where he finished 12th. Later, he won the amateur road race at the UCI Road World Championships in France in the same year. He ended his amateur cycling career with 8 victories in his cap.
Eddy turned professional in April 1965 and signed on with Rik Van Looy’s “Solo-Superia” (Belgian team). During his tenure with Solo-Superia, he competed in about 70 races, of which he won nine.
He soon contracted with the cycling team Peugeot-BP-Michelin and made his professional racing debut as a Professional Racer in 1966 at Paris-Nice Cycling Stage Race. During that year, he was part of the Tour of Flanders, Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Morbihan and 1966 UCI Road World Championships where he finished with 12th rank. He won a total of 20 races this season.
Merckx had several tournaments wins in 1967, beginning with a two-stage victory at the Giro di Sardegna. He also received a stage win at the Paris-Nice Stage Race at the time, followed by the overall races at the Milan-San Remo and La Flèche Wallonne races. He started his first Grand Tour with Giro d'Italia, where he won several stages, later earned the 9th rank by general classification. He also competed at the UCI Road World Championships in the Netherlands and won the tournament, earning the right to wear the iconic rainbow jersey when he became the World Champion.
He claimed his first stage victory win on the Tour of Sardinia in 1968. However, a knee injury kept him from winning and participating in races such as the Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo and Tour of Flanders but after being recovered from injury, he won the Paris-Roubaix race. Once again in 1968, he competed in the Giro d’Italia instead of the Tour de France and won the race according to both the standards in points and mountains classification. He had 32 wins that season.
In 1969, he started with the overall race wins of the Vuelta a Levante and Paris-Nice as well as the stage races. He won the Tour de Flanders, Milan-San Remo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. In May 1969, he started the Giro d'Italia race and won 4 stages, but later, he was suspended for a month for failing a doping test. However, the Cycling Governing Body (FICP) subsequently revoked the suspension and ultimately ended with a six-stage victory and won the award for the most aggressive rider. Paris-Luxemborg stage race win is also included in his other victories in 1969. He also competed in a racing competition in Blois where each rider was accompanied by a pacer on a derny, so Fernand Wambst was his pacer. During the race, an accident occurred due to a collision between Fernand Wambst, another pacer and Eddy himself. After which Fernand Wambst died in the accident and Eddy was hospitalized but returned for racing in October.
Cyclists live with pain. If you can't handle it you will win nothing.
Eddy began the 1970 year with victories on the Paris-Nice stage race, Gent–Wevelgem and Tour of Belgium. He also won the Belgian National Road Race Championship that year, with 8 stage wins as well as classifications of mountains and combinations. In the same year, he also competed in the Giro d'Italia and became the 3rd person to bag the titles of Tour de France and Giro d'Italia in the same calendar year.
In 1971, his first significant win of the year was a solo ride at the Giro di Sardegna. This was followed by wins in the Paris-Nice, Omloop Het Volk and the Tour of Belgium. He competed in the Tour de France in which he won several stages and overall. The same year he won the UCI Road World Championship, which was held in Switzerland for the second time.
Eddy broke the world hour record in Mexico City with a distance of 49.431 kilometres (31 mi) in 1972.
In 1973, Eddy chose Vuelta a España and Giro d'Italia, rather than Tour de France, and bagged both the titles that year. He was the first rider to accomplish this feat of winning both the titles in the same year. Other victories that year include the Grand Prix des Nations and the Paris-Brussels race. He had over fifty wins that season.
Eddy won the Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme, Milan-San Remo and Amstel Gold races in 1975. However, he finished second in the Tour de France that season. It was the first time he had lost a tour.
Eddy celebrated his record for the seventh win in Milan-San Remo in 1976. He also won the Catalan week. However, he was injured during the last stage and that put him behind by several victories that season. Other tournaments he competed in that season were the UCI Road World Championship, which he completed on the fifth position. In the same year, Molteni ended sponsoring his team.
FIAT became the new sponsor of Eddy's team and began the season with victories in the Tour Méditerranéen and the Grand Prix d'Aix in 1977. He finished sixth overall in the Tour de France and competed in the UCI Road World Championship. In September, he won the Kermis race and FIAT ended its sponsorship in late 1977.
In 1978, he competed in five races, and his last win in Zurich in February was a ubiquitous race.
Eddy announced his retirement from bicycle racing in May 1978 as advised by his doctor. After retirement, Eddy maintained his passion for cycling by founding Eddy Merckx Cycles in 1980. He left his post as CEO in 2008 but is still associated with the brand. Eddy Merckx Cycles is known as an elite chain which distributes to over 25 countries.
He managed the World Championship for the Belgian national team between 1986 and 1996. Eddy was instrumental in organizing the Tour of Qatar in 2002, which he also co-owned. He also co-owned and helped started the Tour of Oman Road Bicycle Racing Stage Race in 2010.
Video Credits: YouTube / inCycle
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