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Cycling great Eddy Merckx hospitalized after bike crash

Former cyclist Eddy Merckx pictured at the start of the first stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, 194,5km from and to Brussels, Belgium, Saturday 06 July 2019. This year's Tour de France starts in Brussels and takes place from July 6th to July 28th. BELGA PHOTO KRISTOF VAN ACCOM

BRUSSELS — A Belgian newspaper reported Monday that cycling great Eddy Merckx sustained head injuries in a crash while bike riding with friends.

The Het Nieuwsblad newspaper said the 74-year-old Merckx crashed Sunday and was admitted to a hospital in Dendermonde.

Merckx is regarded by many as the greatest cyclist ever. He won five Tour de France titles and a record 34 stages.

The 2019 Tour de France began in Brussels in July and feted Merckx to mark the 50th anniversary of his first Tour victory.

Known as “The Cannibal” for his appetite for winning, Merckx also won five Giro d’Italia titles, one Spanish Vuelta and a string of one-day classic races.

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