The routes for the opening two stages of the 2019 Tour de France in Brussels have today been revealed.
The Grand Départ will provide an opportunity to celebrate two landmarks; the iconic race leader's yellow jersey becoming a centenarian and 50 years since Belgium’s Eddy Merckx claimed his maiden Tour de France victory.
It will be the fifth time that the Tour de France has started in Belgium and the second occasion on which it has begun in Brussels, 61 years after the first.
Routes for the opening two stages were revealed at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Brussels.
The first stage will visit some of the hotbeds of Belgian cycling history and places that are said to "fully illustrate the deep relationship between the country and the Tour de France".
The riders will cross Flanders and Wallonia, while the Mur de Grammont will be one of the main highlights of the route.
On their way back to Brussels, competitors will pass through the city of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, where Merckx wore the yellow jersey for the first time ever en-route to the first of his five overall successes in 1969.
Sprinters are expected to have a strong chance at glory, nine years after Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi claimed victory on the last Tour de France visit to Brussels.
Stage two will be a team time trial around the centre of the city.
The 28-kilometres course will take in some of the most well-known sites in Brussels, starting at the Royal Palace and ending by the Atomium.
The rest of the route is due to announced in a ceremony in Paris later this year.
The 2019 Tour de France is scheduled to begin on July 6.
Brussels was confirmed as the host of the Grand Départ in May 2017.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the 2019 race will "link Brussels to Paris, two cities that have recently suffered greatly from terrorism".
Both Brussels and Paris have been subjected to terrorist attacks in recent years.
A policeman was shot dead and another two wounded in an attack in the French capital in March 2017.
In November 2015, around 130 people were killed in a series of coordinated assaults in Paris.
Thirty-two people died in a series of bomb blasts in Brussels in 2016.
Last year's Grand Départ took place in German city Düsseldorf on July 1 after London pulled out of the race to stage the event.
Vendée in western France is due to host the start of the 2018 Tour de France on July 7.