Half Man, Half Bike
The Life of Eddy Merckx, Cycling's Greatest Champion
By William Fotheringham
(Chicago Review Press, Paperback, 9781613747261, 320pp.)
Publication Date: April 2013
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Leading cycling writer William Fotheringham presents the biography of the greatest cyclist in history, Eddy Merckx—the extraordinary man who is to cycling what Muhammad Ali is to boxing. This definitive history chronicles his life, examining both the ups and the downs. Throughout his professional career Merckx amassed an astonishing 445 victories and a remorseless sense of domination that created his legend. But his triumphs only tell half of a story that includes horrific injury, a doping controversy, and tragedy. To discover the background of the Belgian cyclist’s former invincibility, the author spoke with those who were there at the time and those who knew Merckx best. This is the singular tale of a man whose fear of failure would drive him to reach the highest pinnacles before ultimately destroying himself.
William Fotheringham is the cycling correspondent at the Guardian newspaper, covering the Tour de France as well as three Olympic Games. He launched Cycle Sport magazine in 1993 and ProCycling magazine and website in 1998. He is the author of A Century of Cycling, Cycle Racing, Cyclopedia, and Put Me Back on My Bike.
"Stirring." —Graham Robb, author, The Discovery of France and Parisians, in The Guardian
"Incredible reading. . . . A fascinating account." —Bike Radar
"A fine history of the Belgian's career. . . . Impressive." —The Inner Ring
"The research is meticulous, the recapitulation of Merckx's races sweet reminiscences for those who witnessed them and things of wonder for those who did not. . . . To read about his feats is like reading of the labours of [Hercules]. . . . Marvellous." —The New Statesman
"Superbly timed, researched, and written. . . . Fotheringham has authored more than a few excellent biographies of cycling's greats, but I think it only fair to say that he has excelled himself with this volume. Every now and again along comes a book that is well nigh impossible to put down. . . . Fotheringham's writing has surely reached its own apogee in this truly superb book." —The Washing Machine Post
"Fotheringham, one of the most entertaining of cycling writers, provides interesting historical and political background. . . . This book is yet another quality title from Fotheringham; a fascinating story of, by any measure, the greatest competitive cyclist of them all." —Cyclo
“Extensively researched with insightful views of the man and athlete from fans, mentors, family and rivals.” —London Cyclist
“A fascinating, often bleak portrait of a remarkable athlete and an unnerving man.” —Sunday Times