Cycling Exhibition: 100 Years of the Yellow Jersey
The 100th anniversary of the Tour De France Yellow Jersey will be taking place as part of the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in Brussels. 2019 is a significant year for Belgian Tour de France anniversaries – it marks 50 years since the first victory of Eddy Merckx (1969), 100 years of the Yellow Jersey, worn 111 times by Eddy Merckx (still a record), and the last Grand Départ from Brussels took place in 1958.
The race was first organized in 1903 to increase sales for the cycling newspaper L’Auto and has been held annually since its first edition in 1903 except when it was stopped for the two World Wars. Traditionally, the race is held primarily in the month of July. While the route changes each year, the format of the race stays the same with the appearance of time trials, the passage through the mountain chains of the Pyrenees and the Alps, and the finish on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
As a professional road and track bicycle racer Merckx is widely seen as the most successful rider in the history of competitive cycling. His victories include an unequalled eleven Grand Tours (five Tours of France, five Tours of Italy, and a Tour of Spain), all of the five Monuments, three World Championships, the hour record, every major one-day race other than Paris–Tours, and extensive victories on the track.
Indeed, it was during the 11th edition of the Tour in 1919 that Henri Desgrange, founder and director of the race that year, created the myth of the ‘Yellow Jersey’ in the newspaper L’Auto, which was the main sponsor of the race at the time. Since then, this is how the first-placed racer is easily recognizable among the riders. Espace Wallonie, Brussels. Until 14 July.