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Eddy Merckx to address school pupils at European parliament Tour de France event
Secondary school pupils in Brussels have a unique opportunity to meet Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx and the director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, at a European parliament event next month.
The parliament is appealing to teachers and pupils (aged 12-14) from a broad range of schools in the capital to register for the exercise on 22 March, which comes ahead of Brussels hosting the 2019 Grand Départ for the world-famous cycling race this summer.
The afternoon begins in one of the parliament's committee rooms, with a dictation exercise on the Tour de France, read by interpreters in each of the EU's 24 languages. A discussion will follow with Merckx and Prudhomme - and there will also be the opportunity to visit the Hemicycle and see other parts of the parliament.
There is room for 420 pupils to take part. To register your school group for the event, fill in the form here. Volunteers are also sought to help mark the papers.
Brussels was chosen for this year's Tour de France Grand Départ to mark 50 years since Merckx first won the famed cycling race. The last time the city hosted the Grand Départ was in 1958 to coincide with the World's Fair.
The 2019 Tour will begin on 6 July with a 192km opening stage from Brussels to Charleroi and back. Riders will leave the capital via Molenbeek and Anderlecht before tackling the 9.2% ascent of the Muur van Geraardsbergen.
Spectators can then cheer the cyclists through Enghien, Braine-le-Comte, Seneffe, Courcelles, Gosselies, Genappe, Waterloo and Overijse as they head back to the city centre via Laeken.
The following day, 7 July 2019, sees a time trial starting outside the Royal Palace, passing the Cinquantenaire park, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Auderghem, Watermael-Boitsfort, the Bois de la Cambre, ULB, Etterbeek, Montgomery and up to Van Praet, Laeken and an Atomium finish.
The city is planning a whole range of activities in the 100 days leading up to the Grand Départ. We'll have all the details shortly.