First of 10 murals honouring Belgian cycling stars unveiled

A large mural in honour of Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx was inaugurated in Meensel-Kiezegem in Flemish Brabant on Friday. The street art was commissioned by tourism agency Visit Flemish Brabant, which will install a total of 10 murals on well-known and important cycling routes in the province.

The painting, designed and made by the artist collective Threepack, shows Merckx with a "convincing and penetrating" gaze, looking at the cycling tourists passing by. The painting contains parts of his nicknames, such as the Cannibal, the Beethoven of the Tour and the Tamburlaine of the Pedals.

The yellow jersey that Merckx is wearing in the painting refers to his multiple victories in the Tour de France, and the number 525 represents his professional victories. No other pro cyclist has managed to break that record.


"It is a very great honour," says Merckx, who attended the inauguration. "My parental home is 50 m away. It is wonderful to receive this memory after so many years of my career. For tourists and, cycling, the most beautiful sport in the world, it can be inspiring. I am very proud of it."

The mural was applied to the Café 't Klein Verlet's facade, on both the Eddy Merckx cycling route and the Sven Nys cycling route. Ten other murals will line the routes, for example, on the R.EV 1703 Cycling Route in Pepingen in the Pajottenland, which guides cycling tourists through the home region of Flemish Brabant cycling star Remco Evenepoel. The Brabantse Pijl cycling route ​ and the EK gravel route, the Flandrienloop, the Dwars door het Hageland gravel route and the Cornet gravel route in Londerzeel will also feature murals.

"This region is world famous for its cycling," says Gunther Coppens, councillor responsible for tourism in Flemish Brabant. "Flemish Brabant is the largest cycling province in Flanders. We have a combination of hills, beautiful views and nice restaurants to relax in. We can be proud of that, and we put that in the spotlight with the new murals."

#FlandersNewsService | © PHOTO AFP ARCHIVE

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