2019 Tour de France to start in Flanders

The 2019 Tour de France starts in Brussels with a stage that features a Flanders Finish,  followed by a team time trial

The 2019 edition of the French GrandTtour is set to start in Brussels, Belgium, 50 years after Eddy Merckx won the race for the first time. More details have surfaced regarding  the opening stages.

The race starts on Saturday, the 6th of July with a normal stage in Flanders and Wallonie that will be followed by a team time trial in the city of Brussels the day after. 

BMC Racing team's Greg van Avermaet told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad that he expects the first stage to include the Muur van Geraardsbergen and that it will have a typical "Tour de Flanders" finish, which would allow him to wear the Yellow jersey in his country.

2019 Tour de France to start in Flanders

2019 Tour de France to honour Eddy Merckx with Brussels start

The 2019 Tour de France will start in Brussels in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first of Eddy Merckx's five victories

"It's the least we could do," said Tour director Christian Prudhomme.

"Eddy Merckx is an exceptional champion and a person of exceptional humility."

"I'm very emotional, I hope I'll still be alive!" said the 71-year-old Merckx, a three-time world champion who holds the record for the most stage wins on the race, and who also won the Giro d'Italia five times and the Vuelta a Espana once.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo added the 2019 Tour "will link Brussels to Paris, two cities that have recently suffered greatly from terrorism".

"We wanted to find an event that ties our two cities."

Brussels has hosted the Grand Depart once before, in 1958. It will be the 23rd time a country outside France has been chosen for the start of cycling's most famous stage race and the fifth time from Belgium.

2019 Tour de France to honour Eddy Merckx with Brussels start