2019 Tour De France To Start In Belgium In Homage To Eddy Merckx
Belgium will host the start of the Tour de France in '19, "with two stages paying homage" to the country’s greatest ever cyclist, Eddy Merckx, on the 50th anniversary of his first victory in the race, according to Blenkinsop & Rossignol of REUTERS. Merckx, nicknamed the Cannibal, won the Tour de France five times from '69-74, along with five Giro d‘Italias, Spain’s Vuelta once and "a series of one-day classic races, including Belgium’s Tour of Flanders." The first stage on July 6, 2019, will run 192km "out of and back to Brussels." The circuit will include the Mur de Grammont, "a steep and narrow cobblestone road." On its "return toward the capital, it will pass the site of the Battle of Waterloo." The second stage on July 7 will be a 28km team time trial from central Brussels and concluding at the Atomium, a landmark building constructed for the World Fair of 1958 (REUTERS, 1/16).