2012 Tour to stage opening 3 days in Belgium

LIEGE, Belgium (AP) - The 2012 Tour de France will spend its first three days in eastern Belgium, starting with a time trial along the river Meuse in Liege.

It will be the second time in eight years that the Tour starts in Liege. After the prologue, the first stage will be a hilly trek through the verdant Ardennes region, an early opportunity for breakaways in the three-week event.

The 120-mile first stage will start from Liege and make a big loop in eastern Belgium before finishing in Seraing.

The second stage will leave from the Liege suburb of Vise, but organizers are unsure if the race will then head into the Netherlands, Germany or Luxembourg, or head straight into France.

Next year's Tour starts in France, in the western Vendee region.

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