He won 88 six day titles - 15 alongside Eddy Merckx - and 17 Grand Tour stages

Patrick Sercu, the most successful six-day track rider of all time, has died at the age of 74.

The Belgian’s death was announced on Friday by his son, Christophe.

During his career as a professional cyclist from 1965 to 1983, Sercu formed part of the winning pair at an astonishing 88 six-day meetings from 223 he took part in.

His most successful partner in those track events was Eddy Merckx, with whom he won 15 six-day titles.

Other winning pairings were formed with cycling greats of the era including Peter Post, Rudy Altig, Freddy Maertens, Francesco Moser and Roger De Vlaeminck.

Still on the track, he was three times world champion in the sprint and won gold in the kilo at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

On the road, he won 11 stages of the Giro d’Italia and six at the Tour de France, where he also won the green points jersey in 1974.

After retiring from racing, Sercu became race director of the Six Days of Ghent – and event that as a rider he won on 11 occasions.

Among those paying tribute on Twitter was Dean Downing, who recalled how Sercu persuaded him and brother Russ to take part in the Ghent event.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.