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Merckx: The real record to break is the world hour mark

Belgian legend Eddy Merckx has added his voice to the debate about Lance Armstrong's bid for an unprecedented sixth yellow jersey in this year's Tour de France, suggesting that no great champions are complete without attempting the world hour record. Throughout cycling history, many of the greats, from Merckx to Francesco Moser, have capped glittering careers by attempting the hour record. Armstrong, who is favored to win an unprecedented sixth Tour and overtake the four other five-time winners - Jacques Anquetil, Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain - has said that he would one day

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By Agence France Presse

Belgian legend Eddy Merckx has added his voice to the debate about Lance Armstrong’s bid for an unprecedented sixth yellow jersey in this year’s Tour de France, suggesting that no great champions are complete without attempting the world hour record.

Throughout cycling history, many of the greats, from Merckx to Francesco Moser, have capped glittering careers by attempting the hour record. Armstrong, who is favored to win an unprecedented sixth Tour and overtake the four other five-time winners – Jacques Anquetil, Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain – has said that he would one day attempt the record. But the last time the subject came up was three years ago.

In an interview with La Derniere Heure newspaper, .Merckx, considered the biggest champion in cycling history, gave the 32-year-old American his due while taking note of their different approaches to the sport.

“Of course, you don’t win six Tours if you’re not a great rider,” he said. “His (Armstrong’s) method of getting to the top of his sport was simply different from mine. He limits his objectives throughout the year, while in my career I competed in 1860 races, without counting the six-day (track) events.”

In addition to his five Tour victories, Merckx won a coveted double in 1973, taking both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, and claimed a record seven Milan-San Remo and five Liège-Bastogne-Liège classics.

But the triumph he holds dearest was his world hour record.

“For me there’s only one record, and that’s the hour record,” he said. “And that’s one I’ve beaten. So, when it comes to victories, I’m more or less complete.”