1969, the year in which Eddy Merckx won his first Tour de France. Now, 50 years later, his maiden victory is honoured with a Grand Départ in Brussels. The race organisers incorporated many similarities with the parcours back then. And Eddy Merckx has its own AG2R LA MONDIALE Team at the start to ride these famous roads, with Romain Bardet as the main man to shine in Eddy’s Tour. #ModernHeritage
1969. The last year of the sixties. It has been 30 years since a Belgian rider won the Tour de France. Impressive from a someone born in a small country like Belgium. 1969 was also the year mankind put a step on the moon for the first time in history, surf culture was booming, Elvis Presley was on his way back to the top and George Lazenby casted his one and only James Bond movie: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It all reminds in which global scope Eddy’s performance was realised.
The Tour 1969 got started in Roubaix, the day before Eddy’s Faema team won the team time trial in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe (near Brussels) and he took the Yellow Jersey for the first time his career. His teammate Julien Stevens won the next stage and took over the leader’s jersey, but in the 6th stage from Mulhouse to the Ballon d’Alsace Eddy regained control and never lost it again until Paris.
Parts of that sixth stage are copied by today’s race organisers, all in honour of the 50th birthday of Eddy’s first Tour victory. On July 11 the peloton will start in Mulhouse, ride over the Ballon d’Alsace and finish on top of La Planche des Belles Filles. But not only the opening weekend and stage 6 have similarities with the parcours of 1969. Also the Col de Peyresourde (stage 12), the Col du Tourmalet (stage 14), the Col du Galibier (stage 18) and the Col de la Madeleine (stage 19) were al climbed by Eddy and his team mates back then.
And now in 2019, 50 years later, we have our own team at the start of Eddy’s Tour. With the AG2R LA MONDIALE Team we will ride over these roads again and shine all in honour of the greatest cyclist of all time. From Romain Bardet to Oliver Naesen and their Stockeu69. We are ready to bring the modern touch to the heritage of this year’s Tour de France. Allez ALM. #ModernHeritage.