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"That's a nice signal from the political world that our work for more credibility of cycling has paid off."

Photo: Sirotti




07.11.2015 @ 06:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The German top riders and their president Rudolf Scharping are thrilled. For many politicians in the Düsseldorf city council, however, the slim majority that voted in favour of an official bid for the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2017 had a bitter aftertaste.


Because even though the voting was secret, it was obvious that only votes from the extreme right-wing Republicans and the AfD party allowed the city government to win 40-39.


Now the Tour organizers ASO must make their decision – there is no timetable for this. But Düsseldorf’s chances are good after London abandoned their plans. During next year’s Tour which will start on July 2 in Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, it will definitely be clear whether Düsseldorf will be the fourth German city after Cologne (1965), Frankfurt/Main (1980) and West Berlin (1987) to host the Grand Depart.


"That's a nice signal from the political world that our work for more credibility of cycling has paid off,” three-time world time trial champion Tony Martin told DPA. He also spoke on behalf of his new teammate Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb. With their performances, all three have contributed to the improvement of cyclingøs image after the many doping scandals.


In a press release, president of the German Federation Rudolf Scharping talked about the "very good news for the city and for cycling in Germany". However, the extremely close voting also showed "that cycling has more to do to convince the skeptics of our reputation.”


In Der Rheinischen Post, Michael Vesper, the chairman of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), called the decision "a contribution to the international positioning of German sport.”


The enthusiastic Düsseldorf Mayor Thomas Geisel (SPD), who had met with Prudhomme during the last Tour, must dig deep into his pockets. The total cost of the adventure was estimated at "more than six million euros for the city." The prologue will take place on the shores of the Rhine and the first stage will start one day later in the center of Düsseldorf. The Tour will stay in the city from Friday (team presentation) until Sunday (start of the second stage).


The potential financial gains have many unknowns. For London who had a very successful Grand Depart in 2007, that was too risky. This year the Grand Départ gathered more than two million people in Utrecht. Düsseldorf hope for the same kind of enthusiasm in Germany.



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