Photo of the week: Hero’s welcome
The Tour de France takes off from Brussels this weekend, and central to activities is the one and only Eddy Merckx
Week of the Grand Départ
It was chosen for a reason: this year is the 50th anniversary of Merckx’s first Tour victory (there would be four more). It’s also the 100th anniversary of the Yellow Jersey – which Merckx, incidentally, wore 111 times, still an all-time record.
Merckx, who has lived his entire life in Flemish Brabant, was in Grote Markt yesterday for the introduction of the Belgian teams taking part in the Tour. Some 75,000 people crowded the square to get a glimpse of the cycling hero and cheer for the home teams.
“I hope that everyone here will enjoy the start of the Tour de France as much as I plan to,” said Merckx. “I am so grateful to Brussels for making me such a big part of this event.”
The Week of the Grand Départ includes a Fan Park at De Brouckère, the final of the (extraordinarily competitive) Eddy Merckx board game championships and the first two stages of the 106th edition of the world’s most famous cycle race.
Photo: Yorick Jansens/BELGA
number of times Merckx won the Tour de France
first Tour of Flanders
Merckx becomes first Belgian to win the Tour de France in 30 years