Great Cyclists of the Tour de France: Eddy Merckx

Fantastic Cyclists of the Tour de France: Eddy Merckx

Eddy Merckx is regarded by several to be the best cyclist of all time. His tenacity and refusal to relinquish his own likelihood to win earned him the nickname, “The Cannibal”. Merckx is one particular of only 5 riders to win the Tour de France 5 occasions. He only competed in seven installments of the Tour de France to win such an extraordinary quantity of them, and also finished second once for a total of six podium appearances.

Merckx, a Belgian rider, was born 1945. He started competing 16 years later, and participated in the Olympic Games in 1964 prior to turning specialist a year later. Merckx was a talented mountain rider, winning the Tour de France mountains classification twice as well. Merckx holds numerous cycling records, which includes the most stage wins at the Tour de France, of which he had 34.

Merckx created his very first Tour de France appearance in 1969, and he wasted no time in turning the cycling world on its ear. Merckx became the very first cyclist to ever win all 3 jerseys offered by winning the yellow (all round leader), green (ideal sprinter) and polka dot (greatest climber) jerseys. He would have won the white jersey (best cyclist 25 years old and younger) if it had existed at the time.

Regrettably, Merckx was in a terrible accident in a derny race which resulted in a cracked vertebra and twisted pelvis. Despite the fact that Merckx would go on to have even far more good results, he also acknowledged that the injury would go on to impact him permanently, as he was in near continuous discomfort whenever he raced, particularly although climbing.

In spite of the setback, Merckx followed up his 1969 win with a dominant overall performance in the 1970 Tour de France. Merckx won a record-tying eight stages even though winning the race and the mountains classification. He also completed second in the sprinter’s classification, solidifying his reputation as a brilliant all-about cyclist. Numerous wondered who, if any individual, could challenge the dominance of Merckx.

In 1971, Luis Ocaña answered that question by presenting a large challenge to Merckx. Ocaña took the yellow jersey and held it until a crash sadly forced him to withdraw from the race. As a result, Merckx was capable to take the lead and win the race for his third straight Tour de France victory. The next year, Ocaña was sick and could not race, so Merckx won his fourth Tour de France.

Then, the inexplicable happened. Merckx was really encouraged by Tour de France officials to not participate in the 1973 Tour de France due to worries of hostilities by French fans. Merckx was approaching Jacques Anquetil’s then-record of 5 wins, and many French fans didn’t want to see that take place. Extremely, Merckx complied and did not compete.

Merckx did compete in, and win, the 1974 Tour de France to equal Anquetil’s record of 5 wins. Even so, when he attempted to win a sixth Tour de France in 1975, he was punched by a French fan following having led for eight days. A later crash with Ole Ritter left him with a broken jaw, and Merckx finished the race only to finish second.

Merckx didn’t enter the 1976 Tour de France, and finished in sixth location in his final Tour de France look, in 1977. In 1978, Eddy Merckx retired following an absolutely superlative career. He retired with the most total victories by a cyclist in a career as properly as in a season, so his success wasn’t limited to just the Tour de France. Still, his performances and his wins in the Tour de France are what many fans will remember Merckx much more for.

Even although Merckx virtually undoubtedly could have won far more installments of the Tour de France than he did, his career stands as the standard of excellence in cycling that other greats have struggled mightily to reach. Even though other riders could have met the standard that Merckx set, it’s doubtful that any individual will ever exceed it.


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