It may have escaped your notice, but it’s Eddy Merckx’s 70th birthday today, and in the age of social media this means riders and races taking to Twitter and Instagram to congratulate the great man.
1. Fabian Cancellara
With three wins at Paris-Roubaix, Cancellara matched Merckx’s total in 2013, with a third Tour of Flanders victory the following year giving him one up on one of his racing idols.
2. Tour of Flanders
Merckx won two Tour of Flanders, six years apart in 1969 and 1975, and the guys at the Ronde remembered one of those wins in this classic shot.
3. Tour de France
Of course, it wasn’t just the Classics where Merckx excelled. His five Tour de France titles equalled the tally of Jacques Anquetil and has since been matched by Bernhard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.
4. Bradley Wiggins
Wiggins regularly states that his idol growing up was Indurain, but the connoisseur of cycling history took to Instagram to wish Merckx a happy birthday.
5. Giro d’Italia
Not only does Merckx hold the record for most Tour wins, he matched Alfredo Binda and Fausto Coppi’s five Giro d’Italia victories in 1974, completing the Giro/Tour double on three occasions.
Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, used this iconic picture of Merckx in yellow showing his immense strength in the mountains.
7. Team Belgium
In the mid-90s, Merckx had a spell as coach of the Belgian national team and was part of the Belgian Olympic Committee.
8. Paul Sherwen
Sherwen has been commentating on the Tour de France for some decades now, but the former pro was a fresh-faced 13-year-old when Merckx won his first Tour in 1969.
9. Eddy Merckx Bikes
Post-retirement, Merckx set up his own eponymous bike company, who have created a special limited edition machine for his 70th birthday.
10. RSC Anderlecht
It’s not just the world of cycling that joined in the celebrations either, with Merckx’s beloved Anderlecht Football Club getting in on the act as well.
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