14 Surprising Truths Of Eddy Merckx

1. He grew up in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre where his parents ran a grocery store.

2. He played several sports, but found his true passion in cycling.

3. Merckx got his first bicycle at the age of three or four and competed in his first race in 1961.

4. After winning eighty races as an amateur racer, he turned professional on 29 April 1965 when he signed with Solo-Superia.

5. His first major victory came in the Milan–San Remo a year later, after switching to Peugeot-BP-Michelin.

6. Merckx broke the hour record in October 1972, extending the record by almost 800 meters.

7. He acquired the nickname “The Cannibal” after a teammate told his daughter of how Merckx would not let anyone else win, and the daughter referred to him as a cannibal.

8. The only major one-day race he did not win was Paris–Tours: his best performance was sixth in 1973.

9. Merckx was successful on the road and also on the track, as well as in the large stage races and one-day races.

10. However, Merckx was caught in three separate doping incidents during his career.

11. He began his own bicycle chain, Eddy Merckx Cycles, in 1980 and its bicycles were used by several professional teams in the 1980s and 1990s.

12. Merckx coached the Belgian national cycling team for eleven years, stopping in 1996.

13. In 2001, he played a large role in getting the Tour of Qatar organized to start in 2002.

14. He co-owns the tour and also the Tour of Oman, both of which he still organizes.

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