Eddy Merckx shines yellow on the door of his house

50 years ago, the Tour celebrated its first stage with two sectors in Woluwe-Saint Pierre, a municipality of Brussels. That's where the best in history was born.

50 years ago, the Tour of France celebrated its first stage with two sectors in Woluwe Saint Pierre, a municipality of Brussels with an illustrious citizen: Eddy Merckx. The Belgian was born in Meensel-Kiezegem, where his father, Jules, was a carpenter, but the family moved there, 45 kilometers away, where he opened a new business, a grocery store. Merckx grew up in Woluwe-Saint Pierre, and there he also became a cyclist.

The first sector hosted a 147-kilometer course that dominated Marino Basso to the sprint. As in the opening day of yesterday, the stage climbed Muro de Grammont, also known as Muur-Kapelmuur or Muro de Geraardsbergen. And did not disappoint expectations. The public that filled the traditional rise of the Tour of Flanders could witness an attack of Roger de Vlaeminck, the best classicomano of the time, which immediately responded Merckx. A group of eleven cyclists was formed that did not finish the job, but there was the show.

The second sector was a team time trial, just like today. The almighty Faema dominated the 15.6 kilometer layout with 45 seconds ahead of the Bic of Jan Janssen and Lucien Aimar and the Salvarani of Felice Gimondi. The victory came with double prize, because he dressed the local hero as leader, Eddy Merckx, who in the prologue of the previous day had been only 7 seconds behind the yellow of Rudi Altig.

Merckx yielded the jersey on the next day to his partner of equipment Julien Stevens, that same year would be runner-up of the world, but he recovered it in the sixth stage, on July 4, in the Balón de Alsacia, and he did not let go anymore. The great Eddy pulled out the roller to win that Tour at 24 years old, the first of five, with seven stage wins, and a few advantages of 17:54 minutes over the second classified, Roger Pingeon, and 22:13 over the third, Raymond Poulidor.

Photos from as.com
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