Eddy Merckx in hospital after bike crash


A head injury saw the 74-year-old Flemish cycling icon in intensive care as a precaution

Out of danger

Flemish cycling legend Eddy Merckx has been discharged from intensive care after a fall from his bike at the weekend. The 74-year-old was taken to hospital in Dendermonde on Sunday, reportedly suffering from a serious head injury.

Merckx (pictured), a five-time Tour de France winner, has a history of heart problems and uses a pacemaker, prompting doctors to carry out extra checks as a precaution. He has now been transferred to a regular hospital room. It is not yet clear when he can leave.

He is, however, out of danger, according to his friend, Serge Vermeiren. “He is better but still has to rest,” Vermeiren told reporters on Monday.

Merckx took centre stage during this summer’s Tour de France Grand Départ, which set off from Brussels to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Merckx’s first yellow jersey.

Photo: Kristof Van Accom/BELGA

Flemish cycling

Flemish cyclists have played a dominant role in the history of European bicycle racing. With the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), the region also has a classic cycle race.
Flandriens - The legendary pioneers of the Flemish cycling tradition are called “Flandriens”. They include Roger De Vlaeminck, Eddy Planckaert, Johan Museeuw and Walter Godefroot.
Eddy Merckx - Having won 525 races in his career, Brusselaar Eddy Merckx, nicknamed “the Cannibal”, is considered one of the greatest cyclists of all time.
Trophy - The annual Flandrien Trophy honours the best Belgian cyclist of the past season. Professional cyclists choose and vote for the nominees.

number of times Merckx won the Tour de France

1 913

first Tour of Flanders

1 969

Merckx becomes first Belgian to win the Tour de France in 30 years