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Tour de France: hundreds of thousands expected in Brussels today

Large crowds are gathering in Brussels for the start of the Tour de France.  An estimated one million people are expected to witness the event over the weekend.

The festivities started as early as last Thursday with the presentation of the cycling teams on Brussels historic market square.  Today’s stage starts and finishes in Brussels.  The start is at 12:00 CEST on the Koningsplein in central Brussels with the finish around 17:00 CEST outside Laken Castle.

The entire route is being closed for all traffic while the race is in progress.  Traffic chaos is anticipated and drivers are urged not to drive into Brussels this weekend.  Public transport that will be disrupted too is free.

The approach to Laken Castle at the end of the A12 motorway, the Koninklijke Parklaan, has been closed to traffic since Thursday to prepare for the race.  Hundreds of thousands are expected to converge on the Koningsplein in central Brussels for the grand Depart with festivities from 9:00 CEST onwards. 

The route of the start is closed from 7:00 CEST till 14:00 CEST, while the rest of the route is closed from noon till 20:00 CEST. 

To mark the Grand Depart in Brussels shops in central Brussels are staying open till 20:00 CEST on Saturday.  Sunday is a ‘Shopping Sunday’ with regular hours of trade.

On Sunday a team time trial is planned.  The first team starts from the Paleizenplein outside the Royal Palace of Brussels, the office of Filip King of Belgians, at 14:30 CEST. The first team is expected to arrive on the Eeuwfeestlaan near the Atomium around 15:00 CEST.  The last team starts at 16:15 CEST and should arrive thirty minutes later.

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