Many consider Eddy Merckx to not only be the finest rider of his generation, but also the finest rider in the history of professional cycle racing.
The Belgian won pretty much everything there was to win – and often many times over. From Grand Tours to Classics, Merckx amassed a total of 525 victories in a career that spanned the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.
In the mountains, on the flat, in sprints, on the cobbles – whatever the terrain, ‘The Cannibal’ showed no weakness. Merckx belongs to an elite club of riders who have won the Tour de France five times, and he holds the record for the most Tour stage wins: 34. He also won the Giro d’Italia five times, and the Vuelta a España once.
Merckx conquered every major one-day race, with victories in Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Tour of Lombardy and the world championships.
Merckx’s involvement with cycling continued after his retirement from racing in 1978, with his eponymously-named bicycle company, his involvement with race organisation and as an ambassador for the sport.