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Eddy Merckx fitted with pacemaker to regulate irregular heartbeat

Cannibal should be back in the saddle shortly following precautionary procedure

Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx has been fitted with a pacemaker as a precautionary measure due to potential problems associated with his irregular heartbeat.

The procedure was carried out last week in a clinic in Genk, reports Het Nieuwsblad, with the 67-year-old saying: “I was operated on by doctor Johan Van Lierde, a friend of mine.

“My heart has beat at 40 beats per minute since birth. So it was wise to take preventative measures to avoid that certain problems – among them, ones at night – might arise.“I’m now at ease on the subject,” added Merckx. who said that he should be allowed to get back on his bike within the next fortnight.

Het Nieuwsblad has also reported that in recent days, Jan Toye, owner of Palm Breweries, which dates back to 1597, has become majority shareholder in Eddy Merckx Cycles. Merckx himself retains a 6 per cent share in the firm that bears his name.

Merckx leads a busy liftestyle, travelling throughout the year to trade shows and other events, and also keeps himself active - last year, on the day of the Olympic Games opening ceremony, he arrived in London (pictured) for the opening of Belgium House at the head of a ride he had led in from Brussels.

He told Het Nieuwsbklad that following his operation, he should be allowed to get back on his bike within the next fortnight.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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