Brussels confirmed as location for 2019 Grand Départ
Brussels will host the Grand Départ of the 2019 Tour de France, race organiser ASO has confirmed.
The Belgian capital will host the start of the race in July 2019, marking the 50th anniversary of five-time Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx’s first triumph in the race in 1969. The 2019 edition will also mark the 100th anniversary of the race’s famous yellow jersey.
The announcement comes just a month before the start of the 2017 Tour de France in Dusseldorf, which begins with a 13km time trial followed by a 202km flat stage. The format of the opening stages of the 2019 race have yet to be announced.
Copenhagen and Portsmouth had previously put forward bids to host the start of the race, but both withdrew to pace the way for Brussels to be awarded the Grand Départ.
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Denmark’s capital Copenhagen have withdrew their candidacy for the 2019 race, instead focusing on securing the beginning of the Grande Boucle in one of the following two years.
Portsmouth have also rescinded their bid for 2019, telling Cycling Weekly in late 2016 that they now hope to bring the Tour to England’s south coast before 2025, meaning that the Brussels bid was the only option still on the table.
Brussels has staged the Tour on ten occasions, but not the start since 1958. The last time the race visited Brussels was in 2010, when Alessandro Petacchi won stage one from Rotterdam. Stage two also started there.
The last time Belgium hosted the Grand Départ was in 2012, when the Tour started in Liége.