Sport: King of the Road

A recent cartoon in a Belgian newspaper showed King Baudouin eagerly clasping the hand of Bicycle Racer Eddy Merckx. In the surrounding crowd, one spectator is seen asking a companion: "Hey, who's that fellow shaking hands with Eddy?"

Good question. While some Europeans may have trouble identifying the monarch of Belgium, just about everyone recognizes Merckx, the reigning king of the road. One of the most popular athletes on the Continent, the handsome Belgian dominates bike racing the way Brazil's Pelé rules soccer. Fans hail him as the "Beethoven of the bike." Sportswriters call him "the synthesis of bulldozer and adding machine."...

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