The 2019 Tour de France will celebrate the legendary career of Belgian Eddy Merckx 50 years after his first Tour victory when the Grand Depart is held in Brussels on July 6. The race also celebrates the 100th year of the iconic maillot jaune - which Merckx wore for a total of 96 days, more than any other rider in history.
Race organisers, ASO, announced the route details of the 2019 Tour de France on October 25 at the Palais des Congrès in Paris. The route features 30 categorised climbs, five mountains finishes and only 54 kilometres of time trialling that are split between one team time trial and one individual time trial.
The race will begin with a 192km stage taking in many of cycling's historic challenges across the Flemish and Walloon regions, including the Muur van Geraardsbergen.
Stage 2 will be a 28km team time trial starting at the Palais Royal and finishing by the Brussels Atomium. Merckx claimed his first yellow jersey after his Faema team won a similar test in his home town of Sint-Pieters-Woluwe.
The race will then leave Belgium and head into France on stage 3's 214km race from Binche to Epernay, where the battle of the sprints will continue.
The race will head south through the Vosges and the Massif Central and over the Pyrenees, with a finish at the top of the Tourmalet, an individual time trial around Pau, and then a mountain stage over the steep Mur de Péguère before the finish above Foix at Prat d’Albis.
After the second rest day, the route heads into the Alps for three alpine stages that include the Col d'Izoard, the Col du Galibier, and the Col d'Iseran – the highest paved road in Europe.
The winner of the 2019 Tour de France will effectively be determined after one final climb to the finish line at Val Thorens on stage 20, before the race heads into Paris for the finale along the Champs-Elysees.
2018 Tour de France - Summary
The 2018 Tour de France saw a new face on the top step of the podium with Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) taking the overall victory ahead Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb). Thomas' teammate and four-time winner Chris Froome finished third.
While Froome started the race as the favourite for a fourth consecutive victory, he faced several struggles along the way, beginning with the upset crowds over his controversial salbutamol case that closed just days ahead of the Grande Depart. His three-week race also included a crash and signs of weakness in the mountains compared to previous years, managing third in La Rosiere, fourth on Alpe d'Huez and second in the final time trial.
In contrast, Thomas' near-perfect performance saw him claim the outright leadership of Team Sky after dominant victories in the Alps where he won the two stages in La Rosiere and on Alpe d'Huez, while wearing the yellow jersey. He went on to finish third in Saint-Lary-Soulan, second in Laruns and third in the time trial on the penultimate day, to seal the overall victory.
Between the Team Sky men, runner-up Dumoulin had an outstanding showing at the 2018 Tour de France, consistently at the top of his game on the climbs and in the time trial, while facing tough competition from Team Sky throughout the three weeks. It was his second Grand Tour runner-up performance of the year after also placing second at the Giro d'Italia in May.
In other areas of competition, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) secured a record-equalling sixth green points jersey at the Tour de France. Frenchmen, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) put on a show after winning two stages and claiming the mountain's polka-dot jersey, while Pierre Latour (Ag2R La Mondiale) won the youth classification.
2018 Tour de France general classification
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky||83:17:13|
|2||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb||0:01:51|
|3||Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky||0:02:24|
|4||Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo||0:03:22|
|5||Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo||0:06:08|
|6||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:06:57|
|7||Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team||0:07:37|
|8||Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates||0:09:05|
|9||Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin||0:12:37|
|10||Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team||0:14:18|