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Eddy Merckx releases new book as Brussels gears up for Tour de France
The Tour de France sets off from Brussels this summer, 50 years after legendary local cyclist Eddy Merckx claimed the first of his five victories in the race. A new book published this week looks back at a dramatic year.
Besides his first Tour victory, 1969 was also the year in which Brusselaar Merckx won some of cycling’s most prestigious races: Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. 1969: The Year of Eddy Merckx by VRT journalist Johny Vansevenant tells the story of his victories, his records and a disputed doping test.
The Tour’s Grand Départ comes to Brussels on 6 and 7 July, with a 192km road race from the capital to Charleroi and back, followed by team time trials the next day beginning at the Royal Palace in the city centre and finishing at the Atomium. The city is organising a host of cycle-themed events in the run-up to the big day.
Photo: Author Johny Vansevenant (left) with Eddy Merckx at the launch of his book this week in Brussels’ City Hall
© Belga/Kurt Desplenter