Cycling lovers and sports fans, are you already prepping for the Tour de France 2019? It will be an incredible event, not just for the amazing competition itself, the effort and the commitment of the athletes, but also because it will start from Belgium, more exactly from Brussels!
The unconventional starting point -the 23rd starting in a foreign country in the history of the Tour- will be in honor of the Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx. He received a first honor in 2010, when the Rotterdam-Brussels leg passed in front of his house in Meise -North of Brussels-, but in 2014 the Mayor of Brussels asked to host the start of the race and dedicate it to the athlete, to commemorate the effort and goals of Eddy.
Eddie Merckx started his career as a racing cyclist on 16 July 1961 in Laeken. The years 1965-1968 can be considered as his rise to the top, while from 1969 to 1975 it is possible to talk about the Merckx Era, during which he largely dominated international cycling, winning most of the races he entered. An all-round cyclist, he excelled in the grand tours and the classics, but also in time trials, criteriums and the end of season six-day events.
In March 1980, Eddy Merckx created his cycle brand, “Eddy Merckx Cycles“. He managed the company for 30 years, selling it in 2008. He was also a selector for the Belgian elite men’s road and cyclo-cross teams from 1986 to 1997.
He worked as a consultant for RTBF for cycle race programs, and until 2004 he also organized the Grand Prix Eddy Merckx, a time-trial race around Brussels which brought together some of the best specialists in the discipline.
Eddy Merckx is the most successful Belgian cyclist and as such he is considered one of, if not the greatest, cyclist in the history of this sport. The achievements of this outstanding career count 5 Tours de France, 5 Giro d’Italia, 3 road world championships, one Vuelta a España, the hour record and 31 classic wins.
The 2019 edition of the Tour the France will celebrate also the centenary of the yellow jersey. The jersey has the color of the newspaper “L’Auto”, the original organizer of the Tour de France, started for the first time the 18th of July 1919.