Fifty days before the Tour de France Day 1 in Brussels on 6-7 July, the capital dons yellow — the symbolic colour of the leading racer’s jersey. In anticipation of the big day, various events to come were presented on Friday at the foot of the yellow arch installed at the Mont des Arts, in the presence of former Belgian champion cyclist Eddy Merckx and elected city officials, of which Mayor Philippe Close.
“It makes us proud that it starts in Brussels, 50 years after I won my first Tour de France,” Merckx said. “The yellow jersey is magical, so it’ll be great to see Brussels in yellow. It brings back great memories.”
Yellow will multiply in the city through various artistic decorations and events until the end of August. For example, the huge arch made of yellow bicycles installed near the Mont des Arts, one of the Atomium spheres partially covered with the send-off’s symbol, and of course Manneken-Pis will periodically wear his yellow 1958 jersey.
The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert illuminated in yellow; yellow bicycle wheels floating above certain streets; two kilometres of bright banners suspended; yellow jerseys appearing throughout the streets; yellow accents a bit everywhere.
As part of the “Belgium, otherwise phenomenal” campaign, 40 photographs will be exposed on the Parc de Bruxelles gates (until end of August), 16 of which devoted to the Tour de France.
On Saturday, Belgian Pride will be preceded by a bike cortèg composed by the Belgian water-polo team Mannekenfish. The water polo team will crisscross the city centre dressed in yellow and rainbow colours.
On Sunday, the 7th kilometre of Brussels 20 km (Bois de la Cambre) will also be tinted with yellow.
A Cycling Festival will be held on Sunday 2 June under the Arcades du Cinquantenaire as part of the Environmental Film Festival, the day before World Bicycle Day: many activities are scheduled.
The third edition of the BXL TOUR will take place on Sunday 16 June. The start will be given by Eddy Merckx. It will run for 40 km, covering in part the Tour de France 28 km “against the clock” stage.