How Eddy Merckx Bikes Prepared a Yellow-Green and Polka-Dot Bike for the Tour in the Dead of Night

  • News
Eddy Merckx Bikes has a rich history in cycling. One of the highlights was during the 2010 Tour de France, when we were the bike supplier for Quickstep-Innergetic. After Sylvain Chavanel's victory in Spa, we suddenly had the yellow jersey, green jersey, and polka-dot jersey in our ranks. We worked tirelessly deep into the night to steal the show the next day.

Some days, everything falls into place. July 5, 2010, was one such day. On Sunday, the Tour passed through Meise as a tribute to our founder, who lived there and ran our bike brand from his factory in an old farmhouse for many years. On Monday, the race went from Brussels to Spa, culminating in a great triumph for Sylvain Chavanel. 'La Machine' won the stage with nearly a four-minute lead, claimed the yellow jersey, and also became the owner of the green jersey.

Chavanel's Magnificent Solo Finish in Belgium

The second stage of the 2010 Tour is etched in collective memory. When Chavanel, along with Jürgen Roelandts, launched his decisive attack from the breakaway group, several key riders in the peloton crashed. Under Fabian Cancellara's leadership, the peloton decided to wait. With 20 kilometers to go, the Frenchman went solo and won the stage unchallenged.

Polka-Dot Jersey

It was extra special that Frenchman Jérome Pineau also secured the polka-dot jersey that day. In one day, Quickstep-Innergetic became the owner of the three most important leader jerseys in the Tour de France. It was brilliant for the whole team, but we knew it would be a short night at the factory. There was no configurator back then, so we had to act quickly.

Master welder Johan Vranckx remembers the day as if it were yesterday. "During the race, we knew we had one jersey, but it turned out to be all three leader's jerseys. We were prepared for a yellow jersey, but this level of success was unexpected. A yellow bike was already ready. Since Chavanel also claimed the green, it was decided to paint the EMX-5 yellow on one side and green on the other. The finishing touch was a signature from the master himself. Additionally, a polka-dot bike was painted for Pineau."

A Thrilling Night at the Farmhouse

"We started in the evening, and it was tough. The painting process involves several stages, and this was a special model. Three of us worked on it. You have to tape off the frame so one side is green and the other is yellow. It's precision work, and any mistake is unforgivable. There was some stress, as the press was watching, and you want to impress at the world's biggest cycling race."

By 2 AM, our employees were done. "But that wasn't the end; the bikes also had to be taken to the starting point in Wanze. Fortunately, the 'Tour circus' was nearby, and the trip wasn't too difficult. Tired but satisfied, Johan and his colleagues went to sleep after their shift."

Feat in the Jura

After Cancellara lost the jersey in the cobblestone stage, he put on another show on Saturday. Pineau solidified his mountain jersey from an early breakaway, but in the final, he was overtaken by his teammate. Impressively, La Machine won the stage and reclaimed the yellow jersey at Station des Rousses. His yellow triumph lasted just one day again.

Encore Performance

The next day, the team's mechanics started at 7 AM to prepare the bike. It was also the cobblestone stage to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, which meant extra work with wider tires (25 millimeters back then) and wheels with 32 spokes. Chavanel and Francesco Reda also needed gel under their handlebar tape, while others asked for double handlebar tape.

Everything was ready, and we stole the show in northern France that Tuesday. Unfortunately, it was not a successful stage for Chavanel, who had a tough day and lost his yellow jersey. However, the celebration wasn't over yet. On Saturday, La Machine won another stage and wore the yellow jersey for another day. Pineau wore the polka-dot jersey for nine days, with just one day off. Thus, it was a very successful Tour.

Photos: Photonews
Contact us