Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tickled Pink

Eddy Merckx in rosa during the '68 Giro

Edouard Louis Joseph, Baron Merckx (you may know him as Eddy Merckx) recently became the first inductee into the Giro d'Italia Hall of Fame. As such, he was presented with the Trofeo Senza Fine for his fifth and final Giro victory of 1974 (the trophy has only been awarded since 1999).

Eddy with his Trofeo Senza Fine (Trophy without end), looking tickled pink I might add

The organisers of the award stated,
We took a long time asking ourselves whether we should choose the inductees with a panel of experts or through a vote from our fans. We still haven’t decided, but it was soon clear to us that anybody who had to choose the first legend to be honoured would have chosen Eddy Merckx anyway: his five Giro wins would really have had everyone in agreement.
Not me. A name that immediately stands out as an equal to Merckx in the history of the Giro is Fausto Coppi. He also won five Giris. What's more, between his first and subsequent four victories was a forced hiatus from racing thanks to WWII. There is little doubt he would have notched up a few more without that little hiccup. What's more, he actually is a legend, being dead and all. And he's Italian.

Fausto Coppi; actually a legend.

Don't get me wrong though. I love Merckx. He's my favourite cyclist of all time (with Coppi). I realise that's not an original sentiment but I can deal with that.

The video below was "produced" by RCS Sport, the organisers of the Giro, to celebrate Merckx's induction and five victories. I say "produced" because it's kind of crap. The footage is nice, but there isn't anything there to further our knowledge of Merckx. The most I can say of it is that it bolsters my theory that Eddy Merckx and Elvis are the same person. And that Lou Reed doesn't really work as an accompaniment to cycling.

Whats more, the closing comment, "This is why he was called THE CANNIBAL" isn't quite right either. No, not because of the unnecessary use of capital letters, although that is annoying, but because it's not true.

In fact, that nickname was coined in 1969, long before he had won five Giris (he'd won one), worn the Maglia Rosa for 78 days (he'd worn it for 13), and had "one Giro d'Italia always in Maglia Rosa" (that was in 1973).

So how did it come about? It was in fact thanks to the 12-year-old daughter of Merckx's teammate, Christian Raymond, who, after having Merckx's style of racing explained to her, exclaimed, "That Belgian, he doesn't even leave you the crumbs...he's a cannibal".

Well, maybe if he were a loaf of bread. Still, it's a good nickname for him and he is a legend, even if he's not...

No comments:

Post a Comment