Merckx got his first bicycle at the age of three or four and competed in his first race in 1961.
His first victory came at Petit-Enghien in October 1961.
Merckx coached the Belgian national cycling team for eleven years, stopping in 1996.
In 2001, he played a large role in getting the Tour of Qatar organized to start in 2002.
After winning eighty races as an amateur racer, he turned professional on 29 April 1965 when he signed with Solo-Superia.
His first major victory came in the Milan–San Remo a year later, after switching to Peugeot-BP-Michelin.
Since Merckx's retirement from the sport on , he has remained active in the cycling world.
He was also the first rider to win all three major classifications – the general, points, and mountains classifications – in one Grand Tour at the 1968 Giro d'Italia, and again at the 1969 Tour de France.
After the 1967 season, Merckx moved to Faema, and won the Giro d'Italia, his first of eleven Grand Tour victories – a record that still stands today.