Many politicians travelled to the Métropole hotel in Brussels late on Wednesday morning for the presentation of Eddy Merckx’s official biography by journalist Johny Vansevenant. First and foremost was Prime Minister Charles Michel who paid tribute to “a living legend renowned worldwide.”
“I was too young, but I do remember many stories my amateur cyclist grandfather told me,” explained Mr. Michel. “Eddy Merckx is an exemplary sportsman, who left his mark on our country’s sports history and who is a cultural symbol for Belgium, as I often realise when I travel abroad.”
Both Vice-Premier Kris Peeters, a great cycling enthusiast, and Brussels Budget Minister Guy Vanhengel were also present, as the region was involved in getting the book translated into French. “I remember well the first time I met Eddy Merckx 35 years ago, when I was a young reporter. He did a wonderful job as an informal ambassador for Brussels. Everyone in Belgium should get this book and hand it down to their children and grandchildren,” raved Mr. Vanhengel.
The author has worked as a political journalist for VRT (Flemish language broadcaster) since 1990. He thinks Eddy Merkx is a “perfect incarnation of Belgians in general” because of his Flemish origins, French education, and Brussels identity. “I am a real ‘zinneke’ (Brussels resident),” said the champion himself.