Eddy Merckx is to cycling what Muhammad Ali is to boxing or Pele to soccer: simply the best there has ever been. Merckx amassed an astonishing 445 victories. Lance Armstrong, by comparison, managed fewer than 100. Merckx didn’t just beat his opponents; he crushed them.
But his triumphs only tell half a story that includes horrific injury, a doping controversy, and tragedy. He was nicknamed “the Cannibal” for his insatiable appetite for victory, but the moniker did scant justice to a man who was handsome, sensitive, and surprisingly anxious.
A number-one bestseller in the United Kingdom, Half Man, Half Bike is the definitive story of a man whose fear of failure drove him to the highest pinnacles before ultimately destroying him.
About the Author
William Fotheringham is the cycling correspondent at the Guardian newspaper, covering the Tour de France as well as three Olympic Games. He launched Cycle Sport magazine in 1993 and ProCycling magazine and website in 1998. He is the author of A Century of Cycling, Cycle Racing, Cyclopedia, and Put Me Back on My Bike.
"Stirring." —Graham Robb, author, The Discovery of France and Parisians, in The Guardian
"Incredible reading. . . . A fascinating account." —Bike Radar
“Fotheringham expertly traces Merckx’s career from his early races in Belgium to his successes at the Tour de France, painting a nuanced portrait of a man best described by his wife as ‘driven on by a power that was unique to him.’ The power behind this account is Fotheringham’s skill in bringing Merckx’s races alive on the page.” —Booklist
"The research is meticulous, the recapitulation of Merckx's races sweet reminiscences for those who witnessed them and things of wonder for those who did not. . . . To read about his feats is like reading of the labours of [Hercules]. . . . Marvellous." —The New Statesman
"Superbly timed, researched, and written. . . . Fotheringham has authored more than a few excellent biographies of cycling's greats, but I think it only fair to say that he has excelled himself with this volume. Every now and again along comes a book that is well nigh impossible to put down. . . . Fotheringham's writing has surely reached its own apogee in this truly superb book." —The Washing Machine Post
"Fotheringham, one of the most entertaining of cycling writers, provides interesting historical and political background. . . . This book is yet another quality title from Fotheringham; a fascinating story of, by any measure, the greatest competitive cyclist of them all." —Cyclo
“Extensively researched with insightful views of the man and athlete from fans, mentors, family, and rivals.” —London Cyclist
“A fascinating, often bleak portrait of a remarkable athlete and an unnerving man.” —Sunday Times