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Brussels to host the Tour de France 2019 Grand Départ

Joseph Delves
30 May 2017

Tour de France to begin next door in Belgium

With Portsmouth and Copenhagen having already dropped out it was essentially a formality that the start of the Tour de France would be heading to Brussels in 2019, a fact now confirmed by organisers ASO.

The race will set off from the Belgian capital, and home of the EU parliament, before taking in a further two stages around the country.

The world's most prestigious Grand Tour has been a frequent visitor to neighbouring Belgium, and will return in time to coincide with fifty years since the nation's most famous rider, Eddy Merckx, scored his first win.

The proximity of the country to France should also please the teams, who have frequently had to deal with the logistical challenge of travelling between the start of the race and its home nation.

Equally, with Belgium being potentially even more cycling obsessed than its Gallic neighbours the race is guaranteed a warm reception.

The announcement comes after both Portsmouth and Copenhagen abandoned their respective bids. Portsmouth city council had been seeking a grant in excess of £2 million from the government to fund the bid.

However, with British Cycling choosing to focus its efforts on hosting the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire that year the bid fizzled out.

Denmark’s bid fell out of favour after teams objected to the distance involved in transferring from the country to France.

This year the Tour de France begins in Düsseldorf on Saturday 1st July.

London had been in the running to host this year’s Départ until the city's then Mayor vetoed the idea on grounds of cost.

Lead image: Wikimedia Commons

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