August 7, 2007 – On Wednesday, August 8, Axel Merckx will turn 35 and retire from the sport of professional cycling. Merckx and his wife, Canadian triathlete Jodi Cross, now live just outside of Vancouver, B.C., with their two daughters Axana and Athina Grace.
The Belgian rider, and son of the great Eddie Merckx, has been riding professionally since 1993 when he first signed with the Motorola Team, and while he may not have racked up the Tour wins of his father, his parlmarÃ¨s would be enough to make any cyclist proud.
Merckx was the Belgian National Road Champion in 2000. He has had stage wins at the 2005 DauphinÃ© LibÃ©rÃ© and the 2000 Giro d’Italia. And in 2004 he won a bronze medal in the road race at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens — something that his father was not able to add to his long list of accomplishments.
Merckx has competed at eight Tours de France and has been an enormous asset to every team that he has been a part of including the Davitamon-Lotto team (2003-2005), Phonak in 2006 and T-Mobile in 2007.
He did not win a stage at the Tour de France and many fans were pulling for him on Stage 18 of the 2007 Tour when he found himself in an early breakaway with Thomas Dekker (Rabobank), Sandy Casar (FranÃ§aise des Jeux) and Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom). Casar took the win at the line but Merckx was satisfied yet emotional after the stage telling reporters about the support that he could feel from the spectators along the route throughout the stage. They had known who he was and that they were saying goodbye.