The secret pro at cycling tips said it. Paul Kimmage wrote about it in his book. So is it really the case?
I have never been a spectator to such events and I wonder, for those who have attended before, how "good" or "realistic" these shows (if it is true that the winning order is fixed) are? Do a lot of spectators know that they are fixed? I suppose it's not as obvious as those wrestlings on TV, but do people pay their ticket to see it in similar mentality?
This practice evidently dates back to the 50s and earlier. At that point it was because the prize money made up a significant portion of the income of the racers, you'll hear references in books on the period to the "new kids" getting in trouble if they broke the agreements and won ahead of the predetermined favorites. Merckx was one of these troublemakers.