The plan to do that came from Alain Courtois, the former Secretary-General of the Belgian Football Association who, alongside with Merckx himself, had a meeting with Christian Prudhomme in 2014. And already back then, the Tour de France director was reportedly “pleasantly surprised” with the offer. Now everything looks a done deal according to the Belgian newspaper, and Brussels is to host the Grand Depart for the first time since 1958.
That would mean that Copenhagen, another prime candidate for the 2019 Grand Depart, would be left empty-handed and would have to try again in 2021. Nowadays, the Tour de France starts abroad every other year with this year’s edition starting with a time trial in Dusseldorf. This year, Belgian fans will have their chance to see the pros during the third stage, which starts at Verviers.