Next year’s Tour de France will start in Brussels to mark the 50th anniversary of Belgian Eddy Merckx’s first of five Tour victories. It is also the 100th anniversary of the famous yellow jersey.
The 116th edition’s route was presented in Paris, France, today.
The yellow jersey was introduced in 1919, 16 years after the very first edition, to help spectators identify the overall leader on a given stage.
The route for 2019 will feature a total of 30 categorised climbs, five mountain finishes and 54km of time-trialling.
After the Grand Départ in Belgium, the route heads south across France via the Vosges and the Massif Central, before the riders tackle the Pyrenees.
There they will complete a stage at the top of the Tourmalet and an individual time-trial in Pau before they take on a mountain stage above Foix at Prat d’Albis.
The route then heads into the South of France through Nimes, before a trio of Alpine stages atop the Col d’Izoard, the Col du Galibier and the Col d’Iseran mountains, the latter being the highest paved road in Europe.
The race will essentially be decided on the final 33.4km climb atop Val Thorens on stage 20, with the 2019 winner crowned in Paris the next day.
The total distance is 3 460km and the race takes place from July 6 to 28.