There is no doubt who sits at the top of any list of the greatest cyclists in history. Merckx, a road racer from Belgium who was born in 1945, holds more professional victories than any other cyclist. He won the Tour De France and the Giro d’Italia five times each, holds three world championships, and won the so-called "Monument" races (high-level, one-day cycling races) a record 19 times -- including each race at least twice, the only rider to ever do so.
Merckx is one of only two cyclists to hold the so-called "Triple Crown" -- to win the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the World Championship in the same year. In 1984, he set the hour record -- the distance for riding in one hour -- at high altitude in Mexico City.
The record stood for twelve years before falling to Francesco Moser, who used a specially-designed bike for aerodynamics. In 2000, the Union Cycliste Internationale changed the rules for the mile record, requiring a traditional bike to be used, and in the same year Chris Boardman beat Merckx’s record by just 10 meters. However, his ride was conducted at sea level. The mile record was again beaten in 2005 by Ondrej Sosenka, who has faced doping allegations.