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by Shane Stokes
May 31, 2017
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Tour de France organisers ASO have unveiled plans to return to Brussels for the start of the 2019 event, thus marking the 50th anniversary of Eddy Merckx’s first Tour de France win.
Merckx won the Tour de France on his first attempt, dominating the race with a staggering 17 minute 54 second advantage over runner-up Roger Pingeon. Commenting on the news, the 71 year old Belgian said, “I’m very emotional. I hope I’ll still be alive.”
ASO noted that the first stage held outside French borders was to Brussels on the second day of the 1947 Tour. “Since then, the Belgian capital has welcomed the Grand Boucle ten times and ten stage finishes or half-stages have taken place there,” it said.
Race director Christian Prudhomme said that honouring Merckx was important. “It’s the least we could do,” he stated. “Eddy Merckx is an exceptional champion and a person of exceptional humility.”
Grand Départ Tour de France 2019 – Bruxelles by tourdefrance
The Belgian capital hosted the start of the Tour in 1958. This year’s race will begin in Düsseldorf, Germany. London was originally expected to host the race but in September 2015 its application was withdrawn. At the time the BBC stated that management at Transport For London and its parent body the Greater London Authority made the decision.
Grand Départ Tour de France 2019 – Eddy Merckx by tourdefrance