In 1972, Atari released PONG, Ford
introduced the Ford Courier compact
pick-up truck, The Godfather film
was released, the fifth manned Apollo
16 mission landed on the moon, the
Rolling Stones released Exile on Main
Street, Jackie Robinson died at age
53 and five men were arrested for
trying to bug the Watergate Complex.
HBO became the first pay cable
network. Prozac was created, the
Dow Jones closed above 1,000 for the
first time and Eddy Merckx won his
fourth consecutive Tour de France.
The son of a grocer who experienced
what he called “a beautiful
childhood,” Eddy Merckx started
riding at the age of three and got
his first race bike at the age of eight.
Around his neighborhood outside
of Brussels, his nickname was “Tour
de France,” as he was always on
two wheels. One could assume
that Merckx grew up dreaming of
winning the classics, but that wasn’t
the case. On Sundays, when the races
were held, his family would spend
the day visiting his grandmother
on the farm where he was born.
When we got the word that the
peloton photo shoot with Eddy Merckx
would take place at his company in
Miese, and that the talented Kristof
Ramon would be able to shoot the
portraits, the Chimays began to flow
and the stories began to bounce
off the walls at peloton HQ. What
Image > Kristof Ramon
came out of that celebration and
discussion is the definitive statement
that Eddy Merckx is, and will always
be, the greatest cyclist to ever live.
It’s difficult to explain to non-cyclists.
Eddy Merckx had 525 wins, but
there’s so much more. His shy, almost
humble demeanor, a charisma so
palpable that it’s sometimes impossible
to find the right words in his presence.
The knowledge that no matter
what you could ever accomplish on
your bike as a racer, a single year in
the career of Eddy Merckx would
make it seem barely significant.
The year that defines the greatness
of Eddy Merckx more than any
other point in his cycling career is
1972. Patrick Brady’s feature on
that sacred year in the cannon of
professional racing begins on page 48.
Enjoy the February issue of