A warm welcome to this site, which was set up in tribute to Eddy Merckx, the greatest rider of all times. To celebrate his 70th birthday, we present you the EDDY70, a limited edition high-performance racing bike with a design reminiscent of Eddy’s unforgettable years with the Faema team. Of this stainless steel bike only 70 copies will ever be made. Through this site you may order your very own personalised copy.

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The EDDY70 is a limited edition, state-of-the-art instrument of victory with a design reminiscent of the Faema chapter of Eddy’s cycling career. And although the material it is made of refers to the steel age of cycling this is a modern high-tech and high-performance racing bike. Moreover, it is handmade in Belgium by one of the best technicians who spent his entire career working with and for Eddy Merckx himself.

We introduce this bike in view of Eddy Merckx’s 70th birthday on 17 June. Only 70 copies will ever be made and the first specimen (No 1) has already been reserved for Eddy Merckx.

As of 28 January you can place your order for one of the 69 other bikes through this website. It will be specially built for you by Johan Vranckx, Eddy’s ‘inside man’. In the meantime, we suggest you acquaint yourself with this marvellous racing bike by studying its technical specifications. 

History

  • The Glory Days with the Faema Team

  • Photocredit: Olycom

Eddy Merckx would probably not have been the sportsman we all admire if it hadn’t been for the teams that stood by him. The Faema team was especially important to him, both as a person and as a racing cyclist. That is why the  EDDY70 is based on the bikes Merckx used to ride in his Faema days. History meets future in a unique high-performance bike.

Attention, here comes Eddy Merckx!

The history of Faema goes back to 1945, when Carlo Ernesto Valente set up his coffee machine factory in Milan. Faema is the acronym for Fabbrica Apparecchiature Elettro Meccaniche e Affini and to this day, the Italian company has been producing innovative and successful coffee machines. Partly also thanks to Eddy Merckx.

In 1955, the espresso machine manufacturer decided to sponsor a pro cycling team in order to promote a new range of espresso machines. The predominantly Italian team soon attracted talented and successful Belgian racing cyclists, such as Lomme Driessens and Rik Van Looy. Eventually, this led to the merger of the Faema and Flandria teams and the new Faema team, headed by Marino Vigna and  Lomme Driessens, kept racing under Italian licence.

In 1968, Eddy Merckx joined Faema and soon established himself as the real leader of the team. In the peloton, where French was the most used language, everyone said that Faema stood for Faites Attention, Eddy Merckx Arrive! (Attention, here comes Eddy Merckx!)

Merckx as a team player

Despite his relentless desire to win, which earned him the nickname ‘the Cannibal’, Merckx was a very loyal team player. He often said he would never have been able to win all these races without the help of his teammates. Hence, it would feel wrong not to mention their names in this website.

The FAEMA team of 1968

1. Eddy Merckx (BE).

2. Roger Swerts (BE).

3. Jos Spruyt (BE).

4. Guido Reybroeck (BE).

5. Vittorio Adorni (IT).

6. Patrick Sercu (BE).

7. Victor Van Schil (BE).

8. Martin Vandenbossche (BE).

9. Luciano Armani (IT).

10. Pietro Scandelli (IT).

11. Mino Denti (IT).

12. Ambrogio Portalupi (IT).

13. Guido De Rosso (IT).

14. Noël Depauw (BE).

15. Antonio Bailetti (IT).

16. Robert Lelangue (BE).

17. Giovanni Bettinelli (IT).

18. Vittorio Casatti (IT).

19. Julien Delocht (BE).

20. Lino Farisato (IT).

21. Luciano Soave (IT).

22. Emilio Casalini (IT).

23. Lauro Grazioli (IT).

24. Bruno Mealli (IT).

25. Luigi Zuccotti (IT).

 

 

Three momentous wins

Eddy Merckx scored an impressive number of victories during his career as a professional cyclist: 525 to be exact. Summing them all up would yield a staggeringly long and sterile list that would not do justice to Eddy’s remarkable achievements. Instead, we’ll focus on three incredible wins.

  • 1968, Tre Cime di Lavaredo

  • Recovering 8 minutes over the final 12 kilometres - Photocredit: Tonny Strouken
 
  
‘The victory on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo of the 1968 Giro was undoubtedly the day where I was strongest in the mountains in my entire career.’ – Eddy Merckx

It’s easy to understand why Eddy Merckx still speaks emotionally about his victory in the 20th stage of the 1968 Giro d’ Italia. That day, the three majestic Dolomite peaks of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo looked more forbidding than ever against the dark grey sky. They formed the perfect backdrop for one of Merckx’s  hard-fought victories.

The day had started promisingly, with comfortable temperatures and slightly overcast skies. But by the time the stage started, the official forecast was for heavy rain and a steep drop in temperature. And 80 kilometres into the race, it started pouring. A group of cyclists, including Galera, Favero, Bitossi and Polidori, grabbed their chance and broke away from the pack. Numbed by the cold and drenched to the skin the peloton let the escape go.

At 136 kilometres from the start, Eddy Merckx and teammate Willy Van Neste launched a counter attack. But their attempt to catch up with the leading group soon failed when Merckx had a puncture. As a result of which he fell further behind.

At about 17 kilometres before the finish, the peloton set out to climb the Passo Tre Croci. This mountain pass is but the build-up to the short but incredibly steep final climb to the 2304-metres high Tre Cime di Lavaredo. At this point, Merckx signalled his teammates to increase the tempo and at the foot of the Tre Croci, he sprinted away. Braving the ice cold rain and wind, he was determined to take back the 8 minutes he had lost to the lead pack.

The escapees at the head of the race didn’t look overly alarmed as there were only 12 kilometres to the finish. But with a blistering burst of speed Merckx managed to overtake them one after the other. Only 200 metres before the finish, after a fierce duel, Merckx defeated his last opponent, the talented Polidori, and established his dominance with a convincing win. Over a mere 12 kilometres he had made up for the 8 minutes he had lost earlier in the race. Since Fausto Coppi in the 40s, nobody had accomplished such a monumental feat.

Roll of honour

1. Eddy Merckx

2. Giancarlo Polidori

3. Vittorio Adorni

4. Joaquim Galera

5. Luciano Armani

6. Mario Anni

7. Franco Bitossi

8. Attilio Benfatto

9. Giorgio Favero

10. Willy Van Neste

6hr 20min 20sec

@ 40sec

@ 54sec

@ 1min 4sec

@ 1min 27sec

@ 1min 33sec

@ 1min 57sec

@ 2min 15sec

@ 2min 30sec

@ 2min 57sec

 
  • 1969, The Tour of Flanders

  • The day the wall did not choose the winner - Photocredit: Pressesport
 
 
‘Winning Milan-San Remo three times is great. But winning the Tour of Flanders for the first time is even better’ – Eddy Merckx

In the spring of 1969 Eddy Merckx was in top form. Earlier in the cycling season he had won Paris-Nice, and Milan-San Remo and journalists were speculating whether he would finally be able to add the Tour of Flanders to his already impressive list of victories. In 1966, he had failed to do so because of an accidental fall. In 1967, it was a lack of tactical insight that had kept him from winning and in 1968, he had had to acknowledge his superior in Rik van Looy.

But on the eve of the 1969 Tour of Flanders (Flanders Finest) Merckx didn’t care much about what the journalists were saying. He had a painful knee and was unsure if it would hold out for the duration of the race. To make matters even worse, heavy showers had been forecast. It felt discouraging.

So, it was with mixed feelings that he walked up to the starting line where he joined 170 very eager racing cyclists. Soon after the start, he joined the leading group and when the peloton was slowed down, he accelerated and broke away together with 32 other riders. The effort paid off, as Merckx was the first to reach the top of the Kwaremont hill. But the initial sense of satisfaction quickly gave way to frustration when he had a puncture. With the help of his ‘bodyguards’ Spruyt, Van De Kerckhove and Stevens he managed to rejoin the leaders.

As the pace picked up and the slopes got steeper more and more riders dropped out of the leading group. By the time Merckx had reached the Muur van Geraardsbergen, he was up against the might of the Italians Gimondi, Bitossi, Basso, Adorni and Zilioli. And it was Bitossi – not Merckx – who was the first to reach the top of the Muur. In those days, the locals used to say that ‘the Wall chooses the winner’. Eddy Merckx would soon prove them wrong.

With 70km left to race, Merckx began to ride like the devil was on his tail. In the warmth of his comfortable car directeur sportif, Lomme Driessens, started mumbling curses. He hastily pulled alongside Merckx and shouted: ‘You’re crazy! The headwind is going to wear you down!’ But Merckx took no notice and kept battling against the stormy weather leaving his opponents behind him. He finished 5 minutes and 36 seconds before Gimondi and more than 8 minutes before Basso, who came in third. Merckx wasn’t crazy. He just loved to win.

Roll of honour

1. Eddy Merckx

2. Felice Gimondi

3. Marino Basso

4. Franco Bitossi

5. Bernard Van De Kerckhove

6. Michele Dancelli

7. Barry Hoban

8. Frans Verbeeck

9. Georges Claes

10. Jos Spruyt

6h20’00””

@ 5’36”

@ 8’08”

in the same time

in the same time

in the same time

in the same time

in the same time

in the same time

in the same time

 
  • 1970, Paris-Roubaix

  • Recalibrating the scale of what makes a great cyclist - Photocredit: Tonny Strouken
 
 
‘Arenberg isn’t where you win Paris-Roubaix, but it’s where you can lose it.’ – Eddy Merckx

Paris-Roubaix is said to be the most prestigious one-day classic a racing cyclist can have on his palmarès. It is also known as ‘the hell of the North’ mainly because it sends riders over rough cobblestone roads. But also because the race takes place in early spring, when the weather is still cold and wet.

On Sunday morning, 12 April 1970, 155 racing cyclists appeared at the start line for the 69th edition of Paris-Roubaix. After a ride of 266 kilometres, only 43 of them would reach the finish. It was indeed an eventful ride. At 89 kilometres into the competition, there was an accidental fall that split the peloton into four separate groups. It was instantly clear that this would have a determining effect on the further development of the race. And the appalling weather conditions made it all even worse. Merckx got totally numbed by the cold and briefly considered giving up. But then the sun broke through and gave the riders new energy to push on.

The most dreaded Wallers-Arenberg cobbled sector reduced the leading group to 22 cyclists and Merckx found himself in the company of strong riders such as Eric Leman, André Dierickx, and both Eric and Roger De Vlaeminck. And then, at that moment of all moments, Merckx appeared to be down on his luck. He got a puncture and his opponents immediately increased the pace. ‘Time to show your mettle,’ he whispered to himself and   after he had caught up with the leading pack he started riding even harder. In the last 30 kilometres, none of his opponents could match his blistering pace. What he did, had rarely been done before and has never been rivalled since. He rapidly recovered from a seemingly hopeless situation, managed to break away and finally won the race by finishing more than five minutes clear of second-placed Roger de Vlaeminck. Merckx recalibrated the scale of what makes a great cyclist.

Roll of honour

1. Eddy Merckx

2. Roger de Vlaeminck

3. Eric Leman

4. André Dierickx

5. Walter Godefroot

6. Frans Verbeeck

7. Jan Janssen

8. Roger Rosiers

9. Gerben Karstens

10. Jean-Pierre Monseré

(Faema-Faemino)

(Flandria-Mars)

(Flandria-Mars)

(Flandria-Mars)

(Salvarani)

(Geens-Watney-Diamant)

(Bic)

(Bic)

(Peugeot)

(Flandria-Mars)

6hr 23min 15sec.

@ 5min 21sec

@ 5min 29sec

s.t.

@ 7min 7sec

s.t.

s.t.

s.t.

@ 8min 5sec

s.t.

41.653 km/hr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Made in Belgium

  • Johan Vranckx

  • Eddy’s inside man! - Photocredit: Jeff Clark Photo

Eddy Merckx was a man of many talents. For instance, he was exceptionally good at spotting special aptitudes in people around him. That is how he ‘discovered’ Johan Vranckx, a man with exceptional and valuable skills.

In 1980, shortly after Eddy’s racing career ended and his life as a businessman began 16-year-old Johan Vranckx  landed himself a job at the Eddy Merckx factory, which was actually a barn outside the former cyclist’s home. In those early days, Vranckx had little else to do than brazing cable stops on Merckx’s steel frames, but he quickly became a trusted voice in Eddy’s ear as his brand grew. ‘Working for Eddy was a dream come true,’ Vranckx says. ‘Thirty-four years is a long time. We are good friends now.’

When Merckx branched out to titanium, aluminium and even carbon, it was Vranckx who went to Italy to learn from De Rosa. Merckx even sent him to the U.S. to learn from Litespeed. Vranckx has earned Eddy’s trust and when the engineers come up with new designs, Eddy will always personally seek out Vranckx’s opinion on their plans and proposals.

While Merckx bicycles has focused on carbon frames, Johan has not moved upstairs to the offices or headed over to the Asian factory. He is still on the shop floor, building custom Merckx frames from scandium. These frames, handmade in Belgium, ensure Merckx bicycles will always be a true manufacturer, staying close to the heart of production. While the scandium frame may not be in the catalogue anymore, Merckx aficionados know they are still available, every one TIG welded by Eddy’s inside man and carefully coated and precisely set in-house by a loyal and dedicated team of exceptional craftsmen. Eddy has a knack for spotting true talent.

Contact

EDDY MERCKX CYCLES
FRANS SCHACHTSTRAAT 29
B-1731 ZELLIK
BELGIUM
T+ 32 (0)2 269 62 72
F+ 32 (0)2 269 93 67
BE28 3100 4234 3620
eddy70@eddymerckx.com

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