Brussels will host the start of the Tour de France in 2019. For the second time, the capital will receive the start of the Tour, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Tour victory of Eddy Merckx in 1969. The first stage on Saturday 6 July 2019 goes from Brussels via Charleroi back to Brussels. On Sunday 7 July 2019, there will be a team time trial in Brussels finishing at the Atomium.
The Tour of France is the third most viewed sporting event in the world and broadcast in 190 countries around the world. This is a unique opportunity, in addition to the sporting dimension, to promote the city, to put ‘Brussels on the map’. But also to reveal the architectural, cultural and culinary heritage and to emphasize the cosmopolitan and open aspect in Europe.
Brussels already hosted the start of the Tour de France in 1958, the year of the World Exhibition. In 1969, the year of the first overall victory of Eddy Merckx, the Tour passed in Brussels as well. The last time was in 2010, with an arrival of a stage starting in Rotterdam, already in honor of Merckx. During that stage, the peloton rode along Meise, hometown of Merckx, before finishing at the Avenue Houba de Strooper.
Saturday 6 July – Brussels – Charleroi – Brussels – 192 km
After leaving Brussels via Molenbeek and Anderlecht, the peloton rides to the “Muur van Geraardsbergen”, which was also part of the course of the first Tour of France of Eddy Merckx in 1969. From there it goes towards Charleroi and back to Brussels. The riders ride along the foot of the Lion of Waterloo, the battlefield where Napoleon and his troops suffered their defeat. In the final there is a passage in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe, where the young Eddy started cycling, and where he also won his first ever yellow jersey.
Sunday 7 July – Brussels Royal Palace – Brussels Atomium – 28 km (team time trial)
The wide avenues of Brussels lend themselves to a demonstration of strength of the teams against the clock, with few turns and some slight slopes. The finish line is drawn at the Atomium.