Eddy Merckx is regarded as the greatest and most successful cyclist of all time. Between 1961 and 1977, he established several world cycling records, some of which remain unbroken to this day. He also won the Tour de France the Giro d’Italia and the Liège-Bastogne-Liège race five times each, the Milan-San Remo Classic race seven times, the Paris-Roubaix race and the Tour of Wallonia three times each, the Tour of Belgium and the Tour of Lombardy twice each, the Tour of Spain and the Tour of Switzerland once each, plus 32 other International Classic races. He won the Cycling World Championship four times, plus 17 six-day time trials.
Following his retirement from competitive cycling, Merckx was made a Belgian Baron and a member of the Belgian Olympic Committee. He coached the Belgian national cycling team for a period in the 1990s. He now owns a bicycle-making business and is much in demand as a commentator of cycling events and an adviser on the setting-up of new events, such as the Tour of Qatar, which has featured on the UCI tour calendar since 2002.