“Merckx, half man half machine”, portrait of the Cannibal
William Fotheringham reviews the figure of the Belgian cyclist in this book
Eddy Merckx is the most winning cyclist of all time, but his figure goes far beyond numbers. Beyond those 445 victories with which he concluded his career. He was a cyclist marked by an insatiable character. And there, to that character that explains everything that the Belgian got, is where the author, the British journalist William Fotheringham in "Eddy Merckx, half man half machine" intends to get.
For this it has testimonials from several people around Merckx, partners in their time in active through which the author tries to transfer to the reader everything that drove that prodigious head. His character sometimes caused him not to be too dear to the rest of the platoon, as reflected in some passages in the book.
Fotheringham dives among the glorious moments of the Cannibal, but also in the darkest. as the positive that deprived him of the triumph in the Giro of 1969. Merckx always defended his innocence and that episode served for the International Federation to modify the anti-doping legislation, although not to return the triumph in a Giro that bore his name.
The legend of Merckx is also built through the name of its rivals, among which the Spaniards are not lacking, especially Luis Ocaña, their great enemy on the roads in the early 70s. But also the Tarangu Fuente.
Merckx was a unique, insatiable competitor. Far from the "friendly" cycling that Miguel Indurain practiced. It was a matter of ambition, but it also had a psychological effect, as some of the testimonies that populate the book collect. Many of his rivals did not dare to face, although there were exceptions. He tormented them above all, an evidence: “Most of the time all you saw was his ass", confesses Txomin Perurena in these pages.
“Merckx, half man half machine”
Author: William Fotheringham
Publisher: Road Books
320 pages (22.90 euros)