The Tour de France celebrates in 2019 not only Eddy Merckx, who fifty years ago, in 1969, his first Tour win, but also the hundredth anniversary of the yellow jersey. “That first Tourzege is still the most beautiful souvenir of my career”, said Merckx Thursday on the Tourpresentatie in Paris. “It was a childhood dream that I realized”, 30 years after the previous last Belgian tour winner, Sylvère Maes, in 1939.
Merckx was as a small boy, already fascinated by the Tour, followed the matches via the radio and imitated the match after in the park of Sint-Pieters-Woluwe with his friends. He cherishes fond memories of the time and know him in the summer of 2019 again a beautiful time to wait, especially with a busy schedule by the Tourstart in Brussels.
“But I am proud that the Tour is a homage to Brussels, to my career,” he says. “This is a tribute for me and also a great way to get to Brussels in the spotlight. I hope that it is a celebration for the whole of Belgium and this Tourstart contributes to the popularity of cycling in Brussels.”
“This is a Tour for climbers”
“The yellow jersey is still the most beautiful jersey in cycling,” Merckx. “It will be a nice battle in 2019. This is a Tour for climbers, if you have three arrivals have above 2,000 meters, that is certainly not of the cat. I think that Froome is a good contender is on a fifth victory, and then you have also Bardet that with so little tijdritkilometers well. Also, Thibaut Pinot can mean anything, as he rides in the Tour as now this autumn. And who knows may be a young guest such as Egan Bernal surprise, as he is the Tour should drive at least, you never know.”