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Stage 2, Tour de France 2019

Atomium, Brussels
Atomium, by Nine LaMaitre, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

The 2019 Grand Départ is in Brussels.

Stage 2 of the Tour de France 2019 is a team time trial from the Palais de Bruxelles to the Atomium. The route is along the wide avenues of the Belgian capital, with 'false flats', and few corners. As such, it is not very technical, and is expected to favour a team of powerful rouleurs.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2019: facts, figures, and map

A Google map of the route.

This is the official map of Stage 2, Tour de France 2019:

Map of Stage 2, Tour de France 2019
Map of Stage 2, Tour de France 2019, © ASO/Tour de France
Race details - Stage 2, Tour de France 2019
Date Sunday 7th July 2019
Stage classification Team time trial
Distance 27.6km

The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 2:

Profile of Stage 2, TDF 2019
Profile of Stage 2, Tour de France 2019, ©ASO/Tour de France

Stage 2, Tour de France 2019: timings

The first team sets off at 1430 and is expected to finish at 1500. The last team starts at 1615 and finishes around 1645.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2019: the route

Stage 2, Tour de France 2019: the route in Brussels

Palais Royal, Brussels
Palais Royal, Brussels, by Copeau-8456, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

Stage 2 of the 2019 Tour de France starts at the Palais Royal, Brussels.

The route takes the teams east to Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, south to Watermael-Boitsfort, passing the Hippodrome de Boitsfort, then north past the Free University of Brussels.

The riders will be in an urban highway tunnel when they cross the path they took shortly after the start. They are now heading north, past the Parc Josaphat to the Pont Teichmann over the railway lines; then they cross over the Willebroeck Canal, and skirt the Royal Domain of Laeken, which contains the Château Royal.

The last part of the route is through the Parc d'Ossegem, to place Louis Steens (Louis Steensplein), then right past the Atomium, and to the finish line just beyond the impressive metal oversized atom, level with the glamorous Parking Brupark.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2019: favourites for the stage win

There are very good time trialists in a number of teams. Sunweb, Mitchelton Scott, and CCC should all be going for the win. The plastics and fracking team have a chance. I'll go for Steven Kruijswijk's Jumbo Visma team as my pick.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2019: comments

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Stage 3, Tour de France 2019

Atomium, Brussels

Stage 3 of the Tour de France 2019.

Read about Stage 3 of the 2019 Tour de France.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2019: towns, sights and attractions

Stage 2, Tour de France 2019: Brussels

Grand Place, Brussels
Grand Place, Brussels

Brussels is a City in the Brussels-Capital Region. It's called Bruxelles in French, and Brussel in Flemish. It is neither part of French-speaking Wallonia, nor part of Flanders, but is an enclave within Flanders. In this way, it is a 'neutral' capital for both parts of Belgium.

Historically, it was Flemish-speaking; in the late C19th, there was a shift to French; technically, it is bi-lingual.

Brussels is on the river Senne. The name of the city probably derives from the Old Dutch broeksel, meaning marsh.

It is home to most of the institutions of the European Union, as well as the HQ of NATO. It's also a financial centre.


Brussels began with a chapel on an island in the Senne around 580. In 979, Duke Charles built a permanent fortification on the island. It was on a trade route between Bruges and Ghent, and its population expanded as a result; it specialised in textiles.

In 1183, Brussels became part of Brabant, within the Holy Roman Empire. In the late C15th, it lost its independence, but became capital of the Burgundian Netherlands, under the Habsburg Emporer.

In 1695, King Louis XIV of France bombarded Brussels, and much of the city, including the Grand Place, was destroyed.

From 1713, Brussels was part of the Austrian Netherlands, under the Austrian branch of the Habsburg family. In 1795, it was conquered by Napoléon, then after the Corsican's defeat in 1815, it joined the Netherlands under William of Orange.

Belgium became a country in its own right in 1830, and King Leopold I reigned from 1831.

Brussels was occupied by German troops in World War I and World War II.

Sights and attractions

Among the sights of Brussels is the Royal Palace, where the King of Belgium performs his functions. The Royal Family actually live in the Royal Castle of Laeken.

The Grand Place is at the heart of Brussels, and it's surrounded by impressive, historic buildings, with a mix of styles including Gothic and Baroque. The Grand Place is given a flower carpet in August.

The Manneken Pis is a small, bronze statue of a boy peeing.

Atomium, Brussels
Atomium, by Nine LaMaitre, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

The Atomium is outside the centre of Brussels, at Heysel. It was built for a 1958 Expo, and has nine steel spheres connected by tubes. It represents an iron crystal. Nearby is the Mini-Europe park, with models of famous European buildings.

Museums include the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, and the Musical Instruments Museum. There's also a Comic Strip Centre.

Parc du Cinquantenaire
Parc du Cinquantenaire, by Eoghan OLionnain, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The Parc du Cinquantenaire has an impressive triumphal arch at its eastern end. This is part of a U-shaped complex of buildings commissioned for the 1880 National Exhibition, commemorating fifty years of Belgian independence. (The current arch was only put up in 1905). Either side of the arch are museums - the Royal Military Museum on the northern side, and Autoworld and an Art & History Museum to the south.

European Union Institutions

The EU institutions based in Brussels include the European Commission (Berlaymont building) and the Council of the EU. The European Parliament holds many of its sessions at the hemicycle in Brussels, although it also meets at its formal seat in Strasbourg.

Food and drink

Brussels is well-known for chocolate, waffles, and chips and mayonnaise. You can also enjoy moules-frites.

There is a wide range of beers in most bars, including the traditional lambic - fermented in brewery attics with naturally-occurring yeasts. When cherries are added to lambic, you get kriek. There are also many strong beers originally developed and brewed by monks.

Grand Place, BrusselsPalais Royal, BrusselsAtomium, Brussels