Merckx’s style of racing could be summed up in two rules: 1. accelerate; 2. keep going and don’t look back. Expert analysis of the Merckxian philosophy provided by Fotheringham’s many interviewees amounts to this: “Mostly, he relied on pure power,” “There were no tactics with Merckx”. He would escape from the peloton with 100km to go, powering off into the sleet and the wind, elbows flailing with the effort, and not be seen again until the podium. Sometimes, the gap was so huge that the rider who came in second thought he’d won the race. In the Marseille stage of the 1971 Tour de France, spectators and camera crews were eating lunch, looking forward to the afternoon’s entertainment, when “the Cannibal” shot across the deserted finish line, 90 minutes ahead of schedule.