Eddy Merckx left the hospital on Friday. The 74-year-old Belgian cycling legend, a five-time winner of the Tour de France, was rushed to hospital on Monday for a major head injury.
Merckx fell during a bike ride with friends and briefly lost consciousness. A casual passer-by provided first aid, after which he was transferred by ambulance to a hospital in Dendermonde, Belgium.
The doctors did not want to take any risks with Merckx, because he has been in possession of a pacemaker for several years. He therefore had to undergo a series of investigations to find out the precise cause of his condition.
However, during the course of the day, Merckx was moved back to a normal room and five days later he was allowed to look up his own house again. He must take it easy for the time being and may not make intensive efforts in the coming period.
Merckx won the Tour for the first time fifty years ago
Fifty years ago Merckx won the Tour for the first time and partly because of that anniversary the Grand Départ was in Brussels this year. He was of course also present in the Belgian capital.
Except in 1969, Merckx won the Tour in 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974. He shares the record of five final victories with Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain. He also has a record number of stage wins (34) in the Tour.
Merckx, nicknamed the Cannibal, was also five times the best in the Giro d'Italia (1968, 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1974) and he was the strongest in the Vuelta a España in 1973.