Cycling legend Eddy Merckx, 74, was out of intensive care on Monday after being treated for a serious head injury suffered when he fell from his bike.

The five-time Tour de France winner was hurt Sunday during a bike outing with friends and taken to hospital in Dendermonde, near Ghent in Belgium, Het Nieuwsblad newspaper reported Monday.

Stephane Thirion, the rider's friend and biographer, told AFP in the evening that Eddy Merckx had "left the intensive care unit".

The hospital declined to comment.

Earlier, former Anderlecht footballer Paul Van Himst, a long-time friend of the cyclist, told local television: "I contacted his wife Claudine yesterday. She said he is doing well given the circumstances." AFP