If it wasn’t for a certain Eddy Merckx, the name Freddy Maertens would no doubt be the most famous Belgian cyclist of all time. While he didn’t exactly live in the shadow cast by The Cannibal, his impeccable palmarés doesn’t alway receive the recognition it deserves.
Home Turf: Freddy hurts Fransesco up the Koppenberg
This guy buried the “curse of the rainbow jersey” after the second of his two World Championships, winning an unprecedented 53 races while in the coveted stripes. Add a bunch of stages at the Tour and Giro mixed with a stellar Classics record, and you have one of the greatest unsung and somewhat enigmatic cyclists to have graced the road.
With the Vuelta a’Espana going on at the moment, we salute the feats of Freddy, who won the race in 1977 picking up a staggering 13 stage wins along the way. We will never see this again. Chapeau monsieur Maertens.