June 25, 2004
Why no six-timers?
Proof that interest in cycling is high: China's People's Daily has a story on the first 4 five-timers and how their try (or tries) to get a sixth yellow jersey failed.
Merckx, "The Cannibal", was world champion. He had won three major classics -- Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege -- and was apparently invincible in the Tour.
The Belgian, aged 30, dominated the race until the 14th stage up the Puy de Dome, when he was hit in the chest by a spectator.
It's notable all the different places that fan punched Merckx, depending on the storyteller: I've seen back, kidneys, ribs, chest, and gut.
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