Thursday, December 15, 2011
Eddy Merckx, Commandeur de la Legion d'Honneur
Eddy Merckx was awarded the Legion of Honour grade "Commandeur de la Legion d'honneur" today by French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the presidential Elysee palace in Paris.
"It’s a considerable honor," said Merckx, who was initially made Chevalier at the start of the 1975 Tour de France.
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour (French: Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur) is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. The Order is the highest decoration in France. There are five levels: grand croix (grand cross), grand officier (grand officer), commandeur (commander), officier (officer) and chevalier (knight).
Merckx won the Tour de France five times, the Giro d'Italia five times, the Vuelta a España once, won all the monuments* of cycling at least twice, with 19 monument victories in all, won the world championship once as an amateur and three times as a professional, and broke the world hour record.
*the five monuments of cycling:
Milan–San Remo (Italy)
Tour of Flanders (Belgium)
Giro di Lombardia (Italy)
Photo: Eric Feferberg (AP)
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