According to Het Nieuwsblad, the 74-year-old, who many experts consider to be the greatest in cycling history, was taken to hospitals in Dendermonde outside Ghent with severe head injuries.

The medical team treated Merckx cautiously, since he has had a pacemaker since 2013 because of irregular heartbeat, something he probably had during his active career 40-50 years ago.

According to wife Claudine, everything is under control and during the day Merckx should have been moved from intensive care to a regular care department for new tests.

The Belgian worked with the organizer of the Tour de France until 2017. For eleven years he was also the Belgian national captain, and this year was celebrated with the start of the classic in Brussels, this 50 years after his first total victory in the Tour de France.