Merckx applauds Alonso’s arrival to cycling

The Belgian said he is hopeful that Alonso's entrance into cycling will help the sport

Eddy Merckx is apparently pleased with cycling these days, from the decrease in doping cases to Formula One star Fernando Alonso’s formation of a new team.

In an interview with Spanish daily AS, Merckx said it’s “downright exciting” that Alonso, a two-time world champion F1 racer, is joining cycling. “I hope his arrival brings more sponsors to our sport.”

Alonso says he is building a new cycling team that will begin racing next season. He was recently at the Dubai Tour, meeting with riders and, reportedly, negotiating a sponsorship deal for his new team.

Merckx also spoke about the state of doping in cycling, which has decreased in recent years.

“Cycling has never been cleaner now,” he said. Merckx pointed to the “many measures” used to keep the sport clean, which include random blood tests outside of races as well as during races, along with the biological passport — “a very useful tool,” he said.

As far as the economic crisis in the sport that has caused several teams, most notably Euskaltel-Euskadi, to fold, Merckx blamed the international economic situation. He was hopeful that once things turn around, cycling will again be a sport in which companies will feel comfortable investing.

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