Axel Merckx

Axel Merckx (born 8 August 1972 in Uccle), is a Belgian former professional road bicycle racer who retired from the sport in August 2007. Since he began his professional career in 1993, he has won an Olympic Bronze medal and competed in 8 Tours de France, finishing in 6 as the highest-placed Belgian rider. During the 2006 Tour he announced that he signed a new contract for one extra season with Phonak, (to be renamed iShares). He also mentioned that this will be his last season as a professional road bicycle racer. However, after Phonak announced that it would stop sponsoring the cycling team, Merckx signed a contract with T-Mobile Team, the same team where he started his professional career.

Despite several strong years of racing, including winning the Belgian national championship in 2000, Merckx is probably still more famous for being the son of five-time Tour de France champion Eddy Merckx than for any of his own cycling exploits. Despite being overshadowed by his father's formidable record, Merckx has repeatedly vowed to make his mark by accomplishing feats Eddy never managed - including a Tour de France stage win at the top of Alpe d'Huez and a win in the Paris–Tours World Cup race - but has yet to make good on these promises.

One place where he has overshadowed his father is at the Olympic Games. Merckx won the bronze medal in the road race during the 2004 Games in Athens. In the final kilometre, he moved off the bunch with a canny move, thus getting a result his father never accomplished. Eddy Merckx competed in the 1964 Olympics men's individual road race finishing 12th.

A good climber, Merckx is probably at his best in the mid-altitude mountain ranges, notably the Massif Central and the Ardennes. His favorite race, and the one he feels best in, is Liège–Bastogne–Liège. He is also always aiming for a Tour de France stage win, and can often be found in long breaks. His sprinting capacities are not that strong, so he is often beaten at the finish.

Merckx announced that he would be retiring from professional cycling at the end of the 2007 Tour de France. He cycled, and won, his last race in Lommel, Belgium in early August 2007.

Merckx married Canadian triathlete Jodi Cross in 1997, and currently resides in Kelowna B.C. He has two children, Axana and Athina Grace (born 30 June 2005).

Because his father Eddy Merckx has been made a baron (as personal title, but his nobility is hereditary), Axel Merckx also belongs to the (untitled) nobility. As such, he is officially referred to as Jonkheer Axel Merckx. The honorific Jonkheer is comparable to the British honorific "The Honourable", when the untitled person is the son or daughter of a baronet, earl or viscount. However it is rarely used in reference to Merckx.

Merckx currently serves as Directeur sportif for the Trek-Livestrong U-23 team

Axel Merckx has also created the Granfondo Axel Merckx National Series, with its inaugural event being the Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan on July 10, 2011 in Penticton, B.C. Canada. Axel's father, cycling legend Eddy Merckx, rode in the inaugural event.

Read more about Axel Merckx:  Palmarès