His specialty was riding a bike. I think the astounding numbers are less important than the depth of his accomplishments. There have been better sprinters, climbers, and tt specialists. There are plenty of riders that made transitions from winning at one discipline to winning at another. There are grand tour specialists who have managed to win 2-3 in a 12 month period, or strung together many consecutive wins for one grand tour. Others have held the hour record. A very small number of riders have managed to win on the track and the road in the same season. But Merckx is in a class by himself in having done all of the above.