When researching the article on the hour record bike, I contacted Eddy Merckx several times, spent quite some time on the phone with his pleasant secretary, send my questions via e-mail and fax, but later was told he was too busy and not really interested in the details history. I never received a response.
When Merckx sent the bike to Il Vecchio, he said he was sure that it was the hour record bike. However, that does not mean that it really was. The frames could have been mixed up - disassembled for shipping, then lying around the factory for years, nobody might recall which frame was the one he actually rode in the event. The information on the standard Cinelli-equipped bike vs. the Pino-equipped one comes from contemporary press reports, where you can see the bikes in photos. I think there is one of Colnago standing by the track with the back-up bike on his shoulder. Funnily, the photo is captured "Colnago with the hour record bike" when you can tell from the time-keepers' poses behind that Eddy actually is on the track riding the real bike.
There was a very nice Cycle Sport special issue on Merckx a few years ago, with an interview where he talked in detail about his accident at Blois on the track, when his motorpacer crashed and died. What I said in my earlier post was taken from that interview, so I doubt talking to Merckx again would reveal much new insight.
Desperation may have been too strong a word, but from what Merckx said, his meticulous attention to detail came after the accident, in response to the problems he had.
Jan Heine Editor Bicycle Quarterly 140 Lakeside Ave #C Seattle WA 98122 http://www.bikequarterly.com
At 12:05 PM +0000 5/9/08, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
>Yours is an interesting point of view, but I doubt that Merckx'
>meticulous attention to everything he did, both before and after
>his accident, could ever be interpreted as "desperation" in the
>commonly held sense of the word, that is, to lose all hope.
>In any event, Merckx is still around, has good English, and few
>would dispute has the best palmares in bike racing history.
>Certainly he would make an interesting subject for an interview.
>There hardly seems any reason to speculate about any facts he
>himself might be able to provide. For example: which bike was
>actually used in the Hour record ride-the Brussels bike, the
>Cambiago bike, or yet another bike?
>This opportunity will not last forever.
>George Hollenberg MD
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Jan Heine
>Date: Friday, May 9, 2008 12:37 am
>Subject: Re: [CR]Colnago Shop Drawings
>To: email@example.com, Classic Rendezvous
>> At 11:52 PM +0000 5/8/08, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
>> > What is more interesting in these drawings, are the fine
>> >differences ( too numerous to be repeated here) specified by
>> >for bikes he designated for different races. Such attention to
>> >detail marked his career-the most brilliant in the history of
>> I have read many times that after his back injury, Merckx never
>> was totally comfortable on a bike, and thus was changing the
>> dimensions all the time in the elusive search for the bike that
>> fit perfectly. So this is less a sign of perfectionism than one
>> What is amazing is that most of Merckx' career, and most of his
>> victories, occurred after that accident... showing you how much
>> determination the man had!
>> Jan Heine
>> Bicycle Quarterly
>> 140 Lakeside Ave #C
>> Seattle WA 98122
>George Hollenberg MD