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The first definitive story of the greatest cyclist of all time

The whole point of a race is to find a winner... I chose to race, so I chose to win.'

For 14 years between 1965 and 1978, Edouard Louis Joseph Merckx simply devoured his rivals, their hopes and their careers. His legacy resides as much in the careers he ruined as the 445 victories – including five Tour de France wins and all the monument races – he amassed in his own right. So dominant had Merckx become by 1973 that he was ordered to stay away from the Tour for the good of the event.

Stage 17 of the 1969 Tour de France perfectly illustrates his untouchable brilliance. Already wearing the yellow jersey on the col du Tourmalet, the Tour's most famous peak, Merckx powered clear and rode the last 140 kilometres to the finish-line in jaw-dropping solitude, eight minutes ahead of his nearest competitor.

Merckx's era has been called cycling's Golden Age.It was full of memorable characters who, at any other time, would all have gone on to become legends. Yet Merckx's phenomenal career overshadowed them all. How did he achieve such incredible success? And how did his rivals really feel about him? Merckx failed drug tests three times in his career – were they really stitch ups as he claimed? And what of the crash at a track meet in Blois, France that killed Merckx's pacer Fernand Wambst, which Merckx claimed deeply affected him psychologically and physically? Or the attack by a spectator in 1975?

Despite his unique achievements, we know little about the Cannibal beyond his victories. This will be the first comprehensive biography of Merckx in English, and will finally expose the truth behind this legendary man.

Reviews

The most accomplished rider that cycling has ever known

Velo

For readers who are after good storytelling it can t be beaten.

Cycling Weekly

The awesome story of an extraordinary athlete.

Mark Cavendish

A beautifully written, vivid portrait not just of Merckx, but also his era and his 'victims'

Scotsman

Well written and well researched

Cycling World

The transformation of Merckx the man into Merckx the deity on two wheels. A superb piece of modern history.

Outdoor Fitness

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780091943165

    August 15, 2012

    Ebury Press

    384 pages

    RRP $27.99

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  • EBook

    9781448146680

    March 22, 2012

    Ebury Digital

    384 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
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