The rough diamond polished by Italian hands.
Nineteen sixty-eight was an important year for Eddy Merckx signing for the Italian Faema team. He entered into a new environment that taught him new methods about care, preparation and feeding. Racking up many road success such as World Champion (1967) at only 22 was a sign to everyone of his increasing importance especially to the Italian Faema team.
The polished diamond winning Tre Cime Lavaredo.
Merckx said, "I had remained a rough diamond who was now being polished by Italian hands. The new approach clearly reaped it's rewards. My racing weight went down to 72 kilograms (158 pounds). My climbing in particular was to benefit as result. I won the Tours of Sardinia, Catalonia, Romandie and Italy comfortably. That final victory in the Giro was especially important because I won it almost effortlessly. I seemed to be flying. The crowning glory was, of course, that memorable stage over the Lavaredo where I made mincemeat out of everyone for 30 kilometers. In 1967, I had fully blossomed as a one-day racer, while in 1968 it became clear that I had a great future as a major stage racer."
The young diamond among the stars Gimondi & Anquetil.