Merckx in the 1967 Paris-Roubaix.
As I'm writing this Sunday post, a large group of soggy cyclists passed in front of my window. It's 1C very cold, rain turning into sleet. Ah, as I sit nice and toasty warm, outside is the perfect conditions for my favorite miserable, exciting and unpredictable classic... Paris-Roubaix!
This is a lead up before I begin reading my next book, Eddy Merckx: The Cannibal, by Daniel Friebe. It's a natural tie-in.
Merckx turned professional in 1965 with Solo-Superia riding uncomfortably under Belgium King of the classics, Rik Van Looy. The following year, he joined Tom Simpson and Peugeot-BP and made his first attempt in L'Enfer du Nord. He placed 15th behind winner Felice Gimondi.
In 1967, Merckx got into the winning groove...
His wins were bigger, bolder and better. First place: Milan-San Remo, Ghent-Wevelgem, Flèche Wallonne and the World Championship Road Race. Merckx said...
In my third year as a pro, I slowly started to reap the rewards of the hard work I had put in earlier.
His second attempt in Paris-Roubaix was a learning curve for the young Cannibal. He rode eagerly among some of the elite of cycling : Jan Janssen, Rik Van Looy, Raymond Poulidor, Gianni Motta and Rudi Altiq. Here's a fine video on this 1967 race. Jan Janssen won the race, Van Looy (second) and Altiq (third). Eddy Merckx fought to 8th place. A befitting, gritty, black and white look with an exciting finish.
Hard fought right until the end.