There's a famous surfing saying, "Eddie would Go", well in cycling, they used to say "Eddie will Win". He took part in over 1500 races in his career, and won 525. There are baseball players that would beg, borrow, and steal for a 'batting average' of that percentage. Eddie was able to do it time and time again, and when you consider the races he placed on the podium (allowing for 2nd and 3rd), Merckx's percentage is staggering.
He had 80 wins while he was still an amateur! He won every 'classic' aside from Paris-Tour, the Giro d'Italia FIVE times, and the Vuelta a Espana.
A famous quote concerning Eddie was when someone asked if he would win a race, and another competitor replied, "If he WANTS TO, he will"...
These days, Eddie is still quite involved in the world of cycling- his bicycles are used by the Quick Step Pro Tour team, and he is a close friend of 7-time Tour de France champion, Lance Armstrong. He is cycling royalty, and on a day when we await the pros in Brussels in the shadow of the King's Palace, it seems appropriate to honor the greatest 'Patron' the peloton has ever seen.