No Tour stage for Vlaams-Brabant

Tour de France organiser ASO has turned down the bid of Flemish Belgian province Vlaams-Brabant to host the arrival and departure of a stage of the world's most famous cycling race in 2006. According to ASO, the situation of the applying towns Vilvoorde, Rotselaar and Werchter (where a famous Rock festival is held each year in July) did not coincide with the parcours chosen for next year's edition of the race.

However, according to Belgian source Gazet van Antwerpen, the candidacy of the cities will be upheld for the 2007 Tour de France, which is speculated to pass through Flanders again. The finish of a stage is planned to take place on the site of the festival, where various related events may be organised.

Meanwhile, details of the 2006 Tour de France parcours through the Dutch Limburg region have apparently leaked. Cycling media in the Netherlands report that stage three to Valkenburg on July 4, 2006, will feature 30 kilometres on Dutch territory, coming from southern Belgium. The stage is thought to cross the frontier between the two countries in De Plank, continue via Schilberg, Hoogcruts, Slenaken (Loorberg), Schweiberg, Mechelen, Partij, Eys, Trintelen, Elkenrade, Schoonbron, Schin op Geul, Oud Valkenburg, up the Cauberg in Valkenburg and finish in Vilt.

Only ten days later, from July 13-16, the European Championships will also take place in Valkenburg (road race) and Heerlen (time trial). The official announcement of the 2006 Tour de France route will be made on Thursday, October 27 at the Palais des Congrès in Paris.

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