by Old Bone Machine


Eddy Merckx looking as cool as Belmondo from director Jean-Luc Goddard’s classic 1960 film, Breathless. The original French title À bout de souffle literally translates as “at breath’s end”.

And there were countless occasions when he pushed himself to a state of exhaustion, such as the 1971 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, after which he had to shower in a chair, because he could barely stand. He would come back too soon after injury and illness – think of 1972 and the broken vertebra, 1969 and the serious head injuries at Blois. “You start from the principle that it will be OK, there are no limits and that anything can be solved by willpower.” But there is only so much that body and mind can take.

Merckx was always at breath’s end, leaving the cycling spectator breathless.


The above image is of the actor Jean-Paul Belmondo from the film Breathless.

The quote is taken from William Fotheringham’s superlative biography Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike.