Eddy Merckx: 'Britain has always had great riders, now it's got great champions'

Cycling legend Eddy Merckx is relishing seeing Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish in action together at Six Day London - By Frank Smith

Photo: Chris Catchpole

The man widely recognised as the greatest cyclist of all time – Eddy Merckx – says he can’t wait to see Sir Bradley Wiggins race in front of his adoring fans at Six Day London.

Merckx won almost everything his sport had to offer during the 1960s and 70s – including five Tour de France titles - and is a huge admirer of Olympic champion Wiggins, one of the modern greats.

Wiggins, who was the first Brit to win the Tour de France in 2012, is set to ride alongside his close friend Mark Cavendish at Six Day London in October at a venue which holds special memories for the 36-year-old.

The last time the British duo raced at the Lee Valley VeloPark together, back in March, they won Madison gold at the Track World Championships and Wiggins also smashed the UCI One Hour Record there in June.

The reunion of Wiggins and Cavendish at Six Day London has been the talk of cycling this week and one of those looking forward to October’s event is Merckx.

"Wiggins has won three Olympic golds on the track, one on the road, world titles on the track and road and the Tour de France, he's a truly great champion," said Merckx.

"Just look at how fast he rode the hour record, it was a staggering performance and no-one will break that for a long time now in my opinion.

"British cycling is blessed right now with Wiggins, Froome and Mark Cavendish. They've always had great riders, now they've got great champions. It's a very exciting time.”

Six Day London takes place between 25-30 October 2016 at Lee Valley VeloPark on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Half term fun, with or without the kids. Tickets on sale now at www.sixday.com

Six Day London will see some of the world’s finest riders race across a number of different formats during the course of six days, all to the soundtrack of a top-level DJ and with beers flowing in the stands.

Last year was the first time Six Day racing had returned to these shores in 35 years and the 2016 edition is expected to be even bigger and better.

"At Six Day racing, you’re very close to the riders," added Merckx, who won 17 Six Day races around the world during his career.

“On the road the riders fly past you and you barely see them, but on the track, they pass you every 250 metres. It’s completely different. It’s a great atmosphere because you have sprints as well, people going off the front to try and get a lap, and there’s great support.

"It's a special atmosphere, like a football match, and a great chance to see the big names up close."

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