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Belgium's Eddy Merckx leads peloton to London
July 25, 2012 / 10:25 AM / 5 years ago

Belgium's Eddy Merckx leads peloton to London

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium launched a fitting promotion for its presence at the London Olympics on Wednesday -- by sending a delegation of its sporting personalities to London by bicycle.

<p>Belgian five-time Tour de France and Giro d'Italia winner Eddy Merckx prepares to cycle to London for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, in Brussels July 25, 2012. REUTERS/Laurent Dubrule</p>

Former Tour de France champion Eddy Merckx is leading 24 cyclists, including former Belgian sports personalities and celebrities, on a three-day route to London.

“We promote cycling, and we want to go biking to London,” Merckx said on the sidelines of a news conference in Brussels.

Cycling is one of Belgium’s national sports and Merckx, who won the Tour de France five times, is a highly regarded figure in the country and has an underground station named after him in Brussels.

“Belgium is doing a great honour to the UK by sending the greatest cyclist of all time to London,” Jonathan Brenton, Britain’s Ambassador to Belgium, said during the launch event.

The cyclists, who also include Merckx’s son Axel and Johan Museeuw, a winner of 11 World Cup races, will stop off in the Belgian town of Ypres on their way to London.

Reporting by Ben Deighton; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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