Edouard Louis Joseph, Baron Merckx was born on June 17, 1945 in Meensel-Kiezegem. He is better known as Eddy Merckx. The French magazine Vélo called him "the most accomplished rider that cycling has ever known.". The American publication, VeloNews, called him the greatest and most successful cyclist of all time.
He won the Tour de France five times, won all the monuments of cycling, won the Giro d'Italia five times and the Vuelta a España once, won the world championship as an amateur and a professional, and broke the world hour record.
Tour of Flanders
Merckx won the Tour of Flanders two times. The first time was in 1969. It was his fifth year as a professional rider and he won serveral other top races already. The organizers of the Tour of Flanders were dreading the fact that Merckx would never win the monument of Belgian cycling. But he did. He left the bunch with still 70 kilometers to go, his attempt was never seen before and was thougt of being too impulsive. But he succeded and reached the finishline alone. He had managed to stay five minutes ahead of Felice Gimondi and eigth minutes in front of the tired bunch.
His second victory was even more impressive, Merckx left the bunch this time at the Oude Kwaremont, still 104 kilometres to go. Only Frans Verbeeck could keep his wheel but Merckx left him with six kilometres to go to win his second Tour of Flanders.