The greatest racer of all time? There’s never been a contest in the world of cycling–Eddy Merckx. They called the guy the cannibal for a reason. He ate the competition. A lot of people had lackluster careers thanks to Merckx, who basically won a race a week for six years. In total, you’re looking at 525 wins as a pro. That staggering number included five Tour de France wins, the world hour record, 11 grand tour wins… and if all that doesn’t blow your mind wide open, consider this: the guy didn’t do the cherry picking game of today’s modern racers. Eddy Merckx was a workhorse, a Belgian strongman who raced all year and kicked ass everywhere he went.
Which probably made life a bit of a bitch for his son Axel. Like pops, Axel joined the peloton at a young age. Axel, however, had a hell of a lot to live up to. People wanted Merckx the Younger to live up to his dad, but seriously, no one has ever lived up to Eddy Merckx. Hell, Eddy Merckx would have a hard time living up to Eddy Merckx. Again, 525 wins…damn.
None of which is to say that Axel just bummed around the fringes of the peloton, ferrying water bottles, fetching sandwiches and pushing aside the wind for better riders. The dude was a honch. He nabbed a bronze at the Olympics, was Belgian National Champ and raced the Tour de France 8 times (six times finishing as the fastest Belgian in the big show), They don’t just hand that shit out. Still, you gotta wonder… What it was like to live life in the shadow of The Greatest.
This video doesn’t exactly address all of the above, but it does give you a glimpse into Axel Merckx’s next great challenge–life after racing. What do you do when the one thing you’ve trained your whole life to do is over? Check out the video.