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Eddy Merckx to remain in hospital for several days to undergo series of tests

Eddy Merckx
Eddy Merckx
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Eddy Merckx has left intensive care but will remain hospitalised for several days in order to undergo a series of medical tests, according to a report this morning from Belgian news agency Sudpresse. 

The 74-year-old, five-time Tour de France champion, suffered a serious head injury on Sunday after crashing while riding with friends in Belgium on Sunday. 

He was rushed to hospital in Dendermonde, near Gent, with doctors said to be particularly cautious given Merckx uses a pacemaker. 

Sudpresse reports that Merckx suffered a hemorrhage and was kept in intensive care overnight. On Monday afternoon he was given the green light to leave and was transferred to a regular ward. 

Merckx will still have to remain in hospital for "several days", according to the news agency, "in order to undergo a battery of tests".

Merckx is widely regarded as the most successful cyclist of all time, winning the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia five times, as well as 19 Monuments in a career that ran from 1965 to 1977.

He worked with Tour de France organisers ASO until 2017 and his legacy was celebrated at the Grand Depart of this year’s Tour de France in Brussels, on the 50th anniversary of his first yellow jersey.

Merckx was fitted with a pacemaker in 2013 after being diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia, something he may well have had during his riding career.

Merckx is not the only prominent former rider in hospital. Eighty-three-year-old Raymond Poulidor – eight-time podium finisher at the Tour – has spent the last few weeks in hospital, but appears to have shown some improvement in recent days, according to the French press.

Meanwhile, Roger De Vlaminck – a four-time winner of Paris-Roubaix during the 1970s – was admitted to hospital on Saturday due to a fever, according to the Belgian press, but is also now feeling much better.