Merckx mourns loss of former team-mate

Belgian says he tried to help depressed Van Schil

Eddy Merckx has said that the death of former team-mate Vic Van Schil is liking losing "a family member". The Belgian cycling great admitted to being shocked at the news that Van Schil had committed suicide on Tuesday. According to reports in the Belgian press, Van Schil was found dead in the garage by his wife at their home in Nijlen, near Antwerp.

Contacted by La Dernière Heure, Merckx said, "I feel terrible. It's as if I had lost a member of my family. We all knew that Vic wasn't well. We tried, in vain, to help him, to lift up out of that infernal spiral in which we'd seen him falling little by little. I am trying to understand all this, but I can't."

According to La Dernière Heure, Van Schil had become increasingly depressed in recent years as a result of serious problems with his son.

Van Schil joined Merckx at Flandria in 1968 and spent nine seasons with the great Belgian champion, establishing himself as one of Merckx's most loyal lieutenants.

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