Eddy Merckx, a Belgian cyclist born on June 17, 1945, is widely regarded as one of the greatest cyclists in the history of the sport. His career, which spanned from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, was marked by an unparalleled dominance in both one-day races and grand tours. Merckx earned the nickname “The Cannibal” for his insatiable appetite for victory.
Here are some of the reasons why Eddy Merckx is often considered the best cyclist ever:
Grand Tour Success: Merckx won the Tour de France five times (1969-1972, 1974) and the Giro d’Italia five times (1968, 1970-1972, 1974). His 11 Grand Tour victories are a record that stood for decades.
Monument Wins: He triumphed in all five of cycling’s monuments: Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and Il Lombardia.
Versatility: Merckx excelled in both one-day classics and multi-stage races, showcasing his versatility as a cyclist.
Records Galore: He held numerous world records, including the Hour Record, which he set in 1972.
Total Dominance: Merckx was known for his aggressive style and his ability to win races by large margins, often leaving his competitors in awe.
Consistency: He maintained a high level of performance over an extended period, with a career that included over 500 professional victories.
Legacy: Eddy Merckx’s impact on the sport is enduring, and he remains an iconic figure in cycling history.