Eddy Merckx suffered a haemorrhage during his bike fall and will remain in hospital for the next few days as doctors conduct further tests, it has emerged.
It is not yet known whether the 74-year-old’s fall was caused by another ailment, but ultimately Merckx hit his head and suffered a heamorrhage before he was immediately transferred to the intensive care unit at Dendermonde hospital in the Flemish region of Belgium.
Merckx had been enjoying his ritual Sunday bike ride with friends and former team-mates who remain local to Meise, where the cycling legend lives, according to Belgian news site Sudpresse.
After being placed in intensive care, Merckx was later transferred to another unit so that doctors could conduct a series of tests on the Belgian, who was fitted with a pacemaker six years ago.
A friend of Merckx, who had been in contact with Merckx’s wife, told Belgian broadcaster Sporza: “I had contact with his wife last night. According to her it’s all-in-all good.”
Merckx is one of three cycling legends who have found themselves admitted to hospital recently, with Raymond Poulidor also hospitalised last week, his family initially “very worried” before his condition “improved significantly on Friday following treatment.
Then, Roger De Vlaeminck was placed in intensive care on Saturday morning with a fever. The 72-year-old will remain in hospital while doctors monitor him and oversee further medical checks. The Belgian is said to be “doing well now” however, after taking himself to hospital after feeling ill the previous evening.
Merckx is considered the most successful rider in history, having won a record five Tour de France titles and 34 individual stages, as well as winning all five Monuments multiple times. Roger De Vlaeminck also won all five Monuments, including Paris-Roubaix five times, having competed at the same time as Merckx.
Raymond Poulidor, meanwhile, is famous for finishing second three times in the Tour de France, including behind Eddy Merckx in 1974. With the eight podium places in the Tour but no wins, Poulidor was known as ‘The Eternal Second’, his biggest victory during his career being the overall classification at the Vuelta a España in 1964.