Eddy Merckx, who is generally considered to be the greatest cyclist of all time founded his eponymous bicycle company in 1980.
Merckx had retired as a professional rider a little under two years earlier. Merckx got the idea to build bikes from Ugo De Rosa, who headed the Italian bike manufacturer De Rosa, and who had built bikes for Merckx throughout his career.
Prior to starting his company, Merckx went to Italy, and got trained in the art of making bikes by De Rosa for several weeks.
Conversely, Ugo De Rosa visited Eddy Merckx in Belgium to get to know his first employees.
Merckx built his factory in what were formerly farm stables in Meise, a small town in the outskirts of Brussels, and went to live in farm house next door.
Later, the company moved to the bordering municipality of Zellik, where it remains until today. Eddy Merckx himself has resigned from company management and sold all his shares.