Belgian champion bicycle racer, arguably the greatest professional rider ever. In a professional career stretching from 1965 to 1978, he recorded 445 victories in 1,585 races. During his peak years (1969-75), he won some 35 percent of the races he entered. Because the focus of the sport has become specialized since Merckx's era-the stars of one-day classics do not usually shine in multiday stage races, and vice versa-nobody is likely to approach his total wins. He was nicknamed "the Cannibal" for his voracious appetite for victories.
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