<
>

2019 Tour de France start to honor five-time champion Eddy Merckx

The 2019 Tour de France will start in Brussels to celebrate the 50th anniversary of five-time champion Eddy Merckx's maiden win in cycling's biggest race.

Tour organizers say it will be the second time the race will set off from the Belgian capital, which hosted the race's Grand Depart in 1958.

This year's Tour starts in the German city of Dusseldorf on July 1. The Tour will return home for the 2018 start when riders set off from the Passage du Gois in western France.

The 2019 race will also mark 100 years since the race leader's yellow jersey was created.

Merckx, who won a record 34 Tour stages, is among four riders who won the Tour five times. Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain are the others.

Lance Armstrong's seven consecutive Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2005 were vacated in 2012 for performance-enhancing drug use.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.