Gimondi suffered a hart attack when he was swimming in the sea in Sicily. "He was one of the greatest cyclists of all times and a real gentleman", says Eddy Merckx, who is only two years youngers than Gimondi.
"Two weeks ago we had contact a last time. How many times were we competing on the road? This time I lost. I lose a friend and the opponent of my life. We were rivals for many years, but at the end of our career we became friends. We still kept in touch. I am devastated", Merckx (74) said.
Gimondi was one of the few riders to win the three big cycling tours: Italy (Giro), France and Spain (Vuelta). But he also won classic races like Paris-Roubaix. His record could have been much more impressive if it hadn't been for Eddy Merckx, who won both the Giro and the Tour de France five times.