Germany's capital of Berlin will be the scene of a new pro race as of the coming year. After three years of being a sportive ride, the Velothon Berlin will join the pro ranks on May 22.
The new race has prominent support from Berliners Erik Zabel and Jens Voigt. Zabel will be the race director, while Voigt hopes to ride the event with the new Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project.
"I hope very much that Team Luxembourg, for whom I now ride, will send me with a team to Berlin, because a start in my hometown would mean a lot to me,” Voigt told the dpa press agency.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has given the race a 1.1 ranking, but it intends to move up. By 2013, it plans to be a part of the World Tour. Germany's only other World Tour race is the Vattenfall Cyclassics, which is also organised by Upsolut Event GmbH.
The race will cover about 180 kilometres, with the exact course to be announced later. After a long circuit outside the city, it is expected to end with multiple laps of a nine kilometre-long downtown circuit course.
In addition to Voigt and the Luxembourg team, the organisers are hoping to attract the top sprinters, including German Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) and Robie McEwen (Pegasus).