Merckx. The name rolls off the tongue quite easily for how interestingly spelled it is. One single solitary syllable that perhaps means more than any other 10 words you could write about professional road racing. When a fan of cycling hears that name he/she instantly knows that you mean business, for there is no other single cyclist in the history of the sport who more truly exemplifies what it means to be a road racing cyclist.
Edouard Louis Joseph, Baron Merckx is unquestionably the greatest bicycle racer to ever strap in to a pair of pedals. So much has been written about this man and his exploits that I won't even pretend to be able to add anything to the lexicon of information that is available about him on the web. There are no links that need to be provided, just google his name and click on any of the thousands of URL's that pop up and start reading or watching.
Learning about Le Cannibale will not only be an interesting foray into the history of cycling, it will make you a better rider yourself.