For anyone not familar with Eddy Merckx, to explain in a single post why he is both the greatest cyclist of all time, and perhaps even the most dominant sportsman ever, is difficult. His palmeres (record) is without comparison across the ages of cycling. (Even before Lance Armstrong was discredited, to suggest his seven Tour victories made him the greatest was preposterous).
In cycling, Eddy is king. He won five Tour de France’s, including more TdF stages than anyone else (34), the most stages in one race (8, which he did twice) and has worn the yellow jersey for the most days (96). He’s also the only man every to win all three jerseys in a TdF (1969).
In the end the organisers didn’t want him there, so he also won five Giros, and a Vuelta. Of the seven riders to complete the Tour / Giro double, Eddy is the only one to manage it three times. In 1973, when he didn’t ride the Tour, he did the Giro / Vuelta double instead.
Eddy only managed to win the World Championship three times, but made up for that by winning twenty eight classics (surprisingly, a record) along with nineteen monuments. The next nearest rider in the monuments all-time-list is classics specialist Roger De Vlaeminck who managed eleven. Given that he raced against Eddy, this was quite an achievement, although remember Roger never won a Grand Tour, or set a world hour record on the track that would last for twenty eight years.
Eddy won Milan San Remo (the seasons first monument) a quite incredible seven times. The race is best known as the sprinters classic. Eddy wasn’t a specialist sprinter.
Eddy was also known as the Cannibal.