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Memories of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, 1968: Merckx becomes the “Cannibal”

25/05/2023

The premiere of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in 1967 was to be forgotten, as it ended in farce. The climb was stormed by the fans, who began to push on the riders who, in turn, hung onto cars and motorbikes, completely distorting the outcome of the race. The only solution was to neutralise all GC times.

But it couldn’t end like that, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo deserved to be remembered in a different way, so Torriani decided to include them in 1968 as well, so as to draw a definitive line under the previous year’s mess. And no better story could have been written: in the 213 km Gorizia-Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the myth of Eddy Merckx began to take shape”.

The “Cannibal” attacked on the final climb, in the rain, recovered 9 minutes from 16 breakaway riders, went on to win with abysmal gaps to his rivals, gained the Maglia Rosa, which he kept all the way to the end, and won his first Grand Tour. Gianni Motta and Italo Zilioli came within four minutes, and reigning champion Felice Gimondi, in tears, within six, in what Merckx did not hesitate to call one of his best performances ever. 

The Flemish phenomenon reached the final stage in Naples 5 minutes ahead of Vittorio Adorni and 9 ahead of Felice Gimondi, beginning a domination that would last until 1974.

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