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Eddy Merckx: The Cannibal


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'This kid just arrived  this big  handsome Belgian kid with high cheekbones  but pretty quickly we all realised that on the bike he was a brute. He came at us from every angle  slaughtered every one of us  like some rabid wild man  some barbarian. He could have been the greatest footballer  the greatest skier  the greatest boxer of all time only he chose cycling.  

But Merckx also had this great drama in his life: he couldn`t stand  couldn`t tolerate  losing.` DINO ZANDEG  1967 Tour of Flanders champion  `The whole point of a race is to find a winner...I choose to race so I choose to win` EDDY MERCKX  

Between 1965 and 1978 Edouard Merckx took over the world of cycling  amassing an unequalled 525 victories and demolishing anything and anyone who got in his way. Merckx was cycling`s Pele  its Ali  even its Elvis. He was better and stronger than his rivals  but he was also different to anything that had come before.

His fourteen-year reign would revolutionise the sport.  The man who raced was a cannibal who devoured his rivals  with eyes only for victory. He was unmatched and insatiable; some even said he had magic in his legs. But the man who stepped onto the podium was an enigma. Unable to get to the bottom of what gave the Cannibal his hunger  frustrated journalists concluded that Eddy Merckx must simply be a machine.  

The truth was more complicated. Merckx was plagued with nerves and self-doubt  which he could only escape when racing. Off his bike  he obsessed about every ache  despite enduring enormous physical pain to be first to cross the line. His peers reconciled themselves to defeat  but Merckx feared losing more than anything else. And when the inevitable end of his career dawned he was ill equipped to recognise or admit his decline.  Merckx`s era was a golden age full of memorable characters who  at any other time  would have become legends.

Daniel Friebe has interviewed Felice Gimondi  Roger De Vlaeminck  Freddy Maertens  Bernard Thevenet  Raymond Poulidor  Walter Godefroot and many more of Merckx`s favourite victims to recreate the Cannibal`s successes and torments in vivid detail  and finally uncover the truth behind this unique athlete.  

A 2 DISC DVD : THE EDDY MERCKX STORY IS ALSO AVAILABLE
By: Daniel Friebe
Book: Paperback, 384 pages
Code: 943165