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Eddy Merckx: The Cannibal

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  17 reviews
'The whole point of a race is to find a winner... I chose to race, so I chose to win.'

For 14 years between 1965 and 1978, cyclist Edouard Louis Joseph Merckx simply devoured his rivals, their hopes and their careers. His legacy resides as much in the careers he ruined as the 445 victories - including five Tour de France wins and all the monument races - he amassed in his
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published 2012 by Ebury Press
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3.94  · 
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 ·  254 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Martin Mccann
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
As a good summary of the life of the man voted in a number of polls as one of the best sportspeople ever, this is quite good. All the highs and lows are there, and there is an analysis of what drove The Cannibal, and what made him different to those who have gone before and come after him. While Armstrong may be held high in the eyes of many, it must be remember Merckx was succesful in Classics as well as the Grand Tours, whereas Lance just concentrated on the Tour.
Friebe allows for competing
Dan Cohen
May 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sport, biography

It's worth a read, but I don't feel that this is one of the better cycling books. I umm-ed and ahh-ed about whether to give it 2 starts or 3 so it's fair to say it's on the border for me. The writing is confusing and, at times, inelegant - I found I was having to read some sentences a few times to understand them. I didn't feel that I had gained significant insight into the subject and the pen pictures of other characters were too numerous and too short for any of them to stick in my mind. Even
Chris Haney
Three stars is probably generous since the author only spoke with Merckx for ten minutes. Very insightful to the world of the peleton of the 70's
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zbytočne komplikovaná angličtina, vďaka ktorej sa človek občas stráca v záplave mien a udalostí ... kniha určená pre znalých cyklistickej histórie a fanúšikov tohto športu 😉
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great biography about the greatest cyclist of all time that sheds light on what it must have felt like to be regarded as superhuman but provides enough nuance to make Merckx human
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eddy Merckx can be an enigma for anyone with a growing interest in cycling. Friebe points out that football has Pele and Maradona, tennis has Borg and McEnroe (and maybe Federer), F1 has Schumacher and Senna (and Clarke and Fangio), but cycling has only Merckx.
Knowing about sporting icons is essential because they reflect the values and approaches that are the essence of their sports. The interesting part of the Merckx story is that his inevitable dominance of cycling history seemed to be a fact
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I picked this up from the local library on a whim. My knowledge of elite level cycling, such as it is, comes largely from Geoffrey Wheatcroft's History of the Tour de France, with a smattering from Victor Hugo Pena's 'A Significant Other' and the small amount I was able to glean watching Eurosport in French at a loose end in a hotel room for a few days back in, I think, 2006.

But really, what made Merckx's story interesting to me was not primarily, the cycling but the way it traced the career of
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two main thoughts reside at the closing of is book.

The first is that Friebe's writing is easy, low impact and conversational - for the first half of the book, at least; it seems to lose those qualities somewhat in the second half - although the final chapter works well.

*He speaks quickly, Eddy Merckx. His eyebrows are almost permanently raised, not in surprise but arched almost like brackets around everything he says, or around everything he is; almost as if to say, ‘I’m telling you this, but
Gumble's Yard
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Very much written in Herbie Sykes/Rouleur style and relies on a large number of current interviews with Merckx’s contemporaries (with in many cases comments on the interviewees and many based at cycle races especially the Giro) and mainly his rivals; he explicitly makes a strength of the book’s weakness – that Merckx contractually wouldn’t talk to him and instead bases the books around the enigma of Merckx: when did people realise how good he was, how did they adapt to him, what did they think d ...more
Richard Graveling
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very detailed accounts of the exploits of the world's most successful cyclist. Should be read by Armstrong supporters who maintain this accolade should go to him. Merckx dominated everything, not just the TdF.

Mentions the doping allegations, but not much detail on this (quite refreshing having read Hamilton et al). Concentrates on the cycling career and not the man after retirement (fair enough), I am sure there could be another book on Merckx's contacts post-retirement (introductions to Michele
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Eddy Merckx: The Cannibal is a very thorough account of his cycling career that emphasizes his trials and drawbacks. The author has an encyclopediac knowledge of the races and competitors of the late 60s/ 70s.
Carl Wells
Jun 11, 2012 added it
Shelves: gave-up-on
Couldn't get into it. Perhaps I need more background on the era. Just too many names and characters on every page. Flipping through it there were some great stories, but not worth the full read for me at the moment.
Dec 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cycling
Good, though it was largely academic and dry. No dispute he's the greatest cyclist ever (so far) but I couldn't seem to get a rhythm with the book. Did drive me to watching some of the stages mentioned on YouTube - what a different era than the one we live in today.
Patrick  O'Rourke
May 15, 2016 rated it liked it
An enjoyable read. Unfortunately I don't really know that much about cycling and most of names, races and technical terms required me to frequently consult the Oracle at Wikipedia. As such I kinda wished I had more foreknowledge going in.
Sławek Karwasz
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Daję pińć gwiazdek, bo to dobra książka jest.
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Daniel Friebe is one of Britain's leading cycling journalists and a veteran of nine Tours de France. For the last five years Daniel has been the Features Editor of Procycling Magazine. He collaborated with cycling superstar Mark Cavendish on the bestselling Boy Racer - My Journey to Tour de France Record Breaker.