Patrick Sercu was born on 27 June 1944 in Roeselare, Belgium. He began his career as a great track sprinter, winning the world amateur title in 1963, the Olympic Gold for the kilometre time trial in 1964 and the world pro sprint 1967 and 1969, with second places in 1965 and 1968.
He set indoor world records for 1 kilometre with a flying start of 1 minute 1.23 seconds in 1967 and with a standing start of 1 minute 7.35 seconds in 1972, and an outdoor kilometre record of 1 minute 2.46 seconds in 1973.
Later in his career he finished the Tour de France twice and was points winner in 1974. But he will be remembered as one of the greatest six-day racers ever, as from 1964 to 1983 he won a record 88 of 233 such races contested with several different partners. He coached the Belgian Olympic team in 1984. His father Albert won the "Het Volk" and was second in the world professional road race in 1947.