The Bayern Rundfahrt is bucking the negative trend for cycling in Germany and will be held until at least 2013. Race organizers have announced that the race's main sponsor has signed up for another three years and that the International Cycling Union has confirmed its dates for 2010.
The Bavarian Volksbank and Raffeisenbank chains have extended their agreement as main sponsor for the six-stage race held across south-eastern Germany. "The banks have been a trusted partner since the Bayern Rundfahrt was created in 1980,“ said race organizer Ewald Strohmeier. "This partnership has made the Bayern Rundfahrt what it is today and I am very happy that we now have the security to plan for several years and that we will jointly work on the further development of the race.“
Hans Höglauer, director of the banks' marketing division, said that "For more than 30 years we have overcome the highs and lows together and I am proud that we have done our part to make the Bayern Rundfahrt one of the most important German cycling events.“
The UCI has confirmed the race's dates as May 24 to 29 in 2011. Strohmeier expects a strong field. "The dates at the end of May have proved to be successful and we have already had many requests to ride next year.“ Details of the race route will be presented the beginning of December.
HTC-Columbia's Maxime Monfort won the race this year, with Linus Gerdemann winning in 2009 and Christian Knees in 2008. Jens Voigt and Michael Rich have both won the race three times.
The slow death of German cycling
Over the last few years, many races have disappeared from the German scene including the Deutschland Tour, Sachsen Tour, Friedensfahrt, Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt, Neidersachsen Rundfahrt and the Hessen Rundfarht.
Of the major one-day races, only the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg has survived without difficulty. Other such prestigious races as Rund um Köln and Rund um den Henninger Turm, most recently called Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt, have struggled to find sponsors.
The problems for German cycling have been exacerbated because there will be no German ProTour team in 2011. Team Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile turned over its licence in 2007 to Bob Stapleton's newly established team, currently called HTC-Columbia. Team Gerolsteiner disppeared after a series of doping scandals in 2008, and Team Milram is folding at the end of this season.