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by Shane Stokes
January 17, 2018
Greipel back to his winning ways on stage 1 of the Tour Down Under; Report: Froome’s defence to be based on malfunctioning kidneys argument; Bardet wants Froome to take a voluntary suspension while salbutamol case is progressing; UCI challenges Lotto-Soudal’s claims that Lambrecht was treated unfairly; Brussels Grand Départ announced for 2019 Tour de France; Landis predicts Froome case could spell end for Team Sky; USA Cycling announces squad for UCI cyclocross world championships; 100 years of the yellow jersey…but Froome is omitted; Video: Halvorsen talks about planned recovery from wrist fracture; Video: Cavendish interviewed by Irish amateurs on training ride
Tour de France organisers ASO have confirmed details of the start of next year’s race, saying that the 2019 Grand Départ will begin with two stages around Belgian and European capital Brussels. In a statement released on Tuesday, ASO said that a road stage will get things underway on July 6 of next year.
“The first stage will visit some of the hotbeds of Belgian cycling history and places that fully illustrate the deep relationship between the country and the Tour de France,” it said. “The riders will cross Flanders and Wallonia, with the Mur de Grammont as one of the main highlights of the route. On their way back to Brussels, they will pass through the city of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, where Eddy Merckx wore the Maillot Jaune for the first time ever, on route to the first of his five overall success, back in 1969.
“Sprinters will have a serious shot at glory, nine years after Alessandro Petacchi claimed victory on the last Tour visit at Brussels.”
On July 7 teams will work together in the search for glory. “The next day, a team time trial will highlight the most iconic monuments of the city. Between the Royal Palace and the Atomium, this will already be a key moment for the champions who want to earn their place alongside Eddy Merckx as legends of the Tour.”
The race has started in Belgium five times, with one of those Grand Départs taking place in Brussels some 61 years ago.