2006 Tour de France to Benelux

According to Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure, the first week of next year's Tour de France will be carried out in Luxembourg, in the Southern Netherlands and in the Belgian Ardennes. Starting from the French town of Strasbourg on July 1 with a traditional opening time trial - so much is official - the first stage of the 2006 Tour will start and end in that very same city close to the German border.

The second stage on July 3 will reportedly also start in Strasbourg, and end in Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg or in the French town of Thionville close to the border with Luxembourg. German media have also speculated about a return to their country on that day.

On the next day, the peloton will supposedly start in Esch-sur-Alzette and finish the third stage in Valkenburg, Netherlands. The Tour de France is said to return to its home land on July 5, starting from Huy, Belgium, and finishing in Saint Quentin. Huy's mayor, Anne-Marie Lizin, has confirmed that her city will be one of the stage cities of the Tour next year, as well as being the traditional finish of the Flèche Wallonne.

Race organiser ASO will present the 2006 Tour de France in Paris' Palais des Congrès on October 27.

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